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WithIt announces 2014 WOW Award winners

Ceremony held during Las Vegas Market

WOW Award winners honored by WithIt at market Karrie Forbes, left, Mattress Firm, Leadership Award; Susan Gravely, Vietri, Legacy Award; Leah Kirkland, MicroD, Future Leader Award; Russell Bienenstock, Furniture World, Education Award; and Mary Knackstedt, Knackstedt Inc., Mentoring Award.WOW Award winners honored by WithIt at market Karrie Forbes, left, Mattress Firm, Leadership Award; Susan Gravely, Vietri, Legacy Award; Leah Kirkland, MicroD, Future Leader Award; Russell Bienenstock, Furniture World, Education Award; and Mary Knackstedt, Knackstedt Inc., Mentoring Award.
The top floor of World Market Center Building B was filled with some of the industry's best and brightest talent on Sunday night when members and supporters of WithIt, a women's leadership development network for the home and furnishings industry, gathered for the 2014 WOW awards.

The ceremony is held each year to recognize leaders who have made a significant impact on their companies and the industry.

"I can't think of a better way to cap off the first day of market," said Bob Maricich, CEO of International Market Centers, which owns and operates the World Market Center. "This is a celebration of the success, and we're here to acknowledge the difference that each of the nominees makes in our industry."

Jena Hall followed Maricich with a tribute to Margaret "Peggy" Traub, a co-founder of WithIt, who died earlier this month.

Betty Lyn Eller opened the awards presentation.

"I want to congratulate the 12 finalists in the room tonight," Eller said. "Each nominee was selected by an industry of their peers, and it's not about who's standing at the end, but standing collectively."

Mentoring award winner Mary Knackstedt, left, Knackstedt Inc.; Mentoring award finalist Sharon Davis, ART-Accessories Resource Team; Future Leader award finalist Jenny Heinzen York, Home Accents Today.Mentoring award winner Mary Knackstedt, left, Knackstedt Inc.; Mentoring award finalist Sharon Davis, ART-Accessories Resource Team; Future Leader award finalist Jenny Heinzen York, Home Accents Today.
The Mentoring award is given to an executive or organization that has supported advocacy, development or promotion of women in their company. For 2014, Mary Knackstedt of Knackstedt Inc. received the award.

"As an industry, our strength is in working together, everyone from the person working on the bench making the furniture to the communications people to the distribution people and designers - all of the players that really make this the great industry that it is," Knackstedt said. "And we have an opportunity to really make it even greater in the future if we all work together."

The Education award is given to an executive or company that has developed programs to educate associates, retailers or consumers about home furnishings. Russell Bienenstock of Furniture World magazine received the award.

"I would like to invite all of you here tonight to come see the Furniture Library when you visit High Point, a wonderful, one-of-a-king resource for the industry offering more than 5,000 volumes on furniture design," Bienenstock said. "Whether you own a library on a big scale, or you are writing articles that go out to the industry in general, or whether you are just helping somebody - a retailer or a furniture designer or a wannabe furniture designer who has called our office, there is an opportunity to be helpful, and that is what education is all about."

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