HIGHLIGHT – Seven women make up 35% of Furniture Today’s list of people to watch in 2022, and all of them hold key leadership roles in their respective companies.
While our list isn’t exhaustive of all women in leadership roles in the furniture industry, our numbers align with what’s happening in other industries around the world.
According to the latest stats from Catalyst, 2021 has been a strong year for women in leadership positions. Catalyst is a non-profit organization that helps drive change in the workplace. The organization said the proportion of women in leadership positions globally increased by 31% last year. Ninety percent of companies worldwide have at least one woman in a leadership position in 2021.
And on that note, take a look at the women we’ve highlighted on our People to Watch list this year. They continue to leave a significant mark on the companies they work for and on the industry.
- Laura Alber, President and CEO of Williams-Sonoma Inc., stands out not only as a skilled leader at the lifestyle retailer with six consumer-facing brands, but also as an advocate for the role of women. Currently, 55% of Williams-Sonoma’s management team are women and the majority of the company’s board of directors is held by women. This year, the company was named for the fourth consecutive year to Forbes’ list of America’s Best Employers for Women.
- Anna Brockway, president and co-founder of Chairish, has helped make second-hand shopping chic. Brockway launched the online vintage furniture, art and home accessories retail service in 2013 with her husband Gregg Brockway, the company’s co-founder and CEO. As the couple’s family grew, so did the need for bigger homes and furniture. The idea was born and during the pandemic the online market saw a surge of activity.
- Chandra Holt, CEO of Conn’s HomePlus, is a newcomer to his position. She just marked her first year leading the top 100 retailers, and earlier this year she launched a three-year growth strategy for the retailer that includes strengthening the core retail business, improving credit offerings and accelerating e-commerce growth while improving consumer experience.
- Shelley Huff, CEO of Serta Simmons Bedding, joined the leading bedding manufacturer late last year. Under his leadership, the company is expanding its supply chain and streamlining its manufacturing network, suppliers and retail partners.
- Tammy Nagem, Managing Director of High Point Market Authority, has been driving the High Point market for over 20 years since joining HPMA. An expert in logistics and operations, Nagem is set to become President and CEO of the Autorité du marché in 2023. She has established three key areas: making the High Point Market a must-attend event; obtain the financing necessary to support the initiatives of the market authority; and fostering more diversity, unity and inclusion to strengthen the industry.
- Debbie Propst, President of Global Retail at MillerKnoll, brings a strong retail background to his role leading the company’s brand portfolio. She oversees MillerKnoll’s portfolio of brands and ensures they maintain unique identities. The company’s retail growth is a priority, and Propst is spearheading this initiative.
- Anne Smith, Administrative Director and President of Home Upholstery for Hooker Furnishingsjoined the furniture business in 2008. Since then, she has transformed the company from a small family business into a company focused on employee development with leadership development programs.
I’m Sheila Long O’Mara, Managing Editor at Furniture Today. Throughout my 25 year career in the furniture industry, I have served as editor for several industry publications and had a brief stint at a public relations firm where I worked with some of the leading bedding brands in the industry. I joined Furniture Today in December 2020 focusing on bedding and sleep products. It’s a homecoming for me, as I was a writer and editor at Furniture Today from 1994 to 2002. I’m happy to be back and look forward to telling the important stories that impact retailers. and bedding manufacturers.