Next Generation-NOW Hosts Inaugural Next Gen Day at High Point Market

High Point Market Authority, High Point University and Ashley Furniture Industries, this free event features a full day of activity focused around broadening the participation and interest of the next generation in the home furnishings industry.

“As the home furnishings’ industry association, it is our responsibility to encourage young people to join our industry and to provide them with the opportunities to learn and engage with each other. Close peer relationships have been the foundation of our industry and one of the best ways for our next generation to acquire the knowledge to make them a success. By hosting events such as these we are supporting our future leaders and the health and success of our industry,” said Sharron Bradley, CEO, NAHFA.

Scheduled for Monday, October 21 with a full day’s agenda, the event kicks off with a visit to High Point University. HPU motor coaches will shuttle participants to the campus where students will interact with industry professionals to discuss opportunities for careers in the home furnishings industry.

Representatives from influential manufacturers, service providers and national retailers will share their passion for the industry and insights on the diverse opportunities available to graduates and young professionals. HPU students will have time to ask the panel questions about the variety of positions available and help dispel any myths about limited options. “Ashley is a family owned business that looks forward to the continued growth that new blood and fresh ideas always bring. With a third generation member soon to graduate from engineering school, nothing is more satisfying than seeing the younger generation continuing the family traditions,” said Kerry Lebensburger, President of Sales, Ashley Furniture Industries. The shuttles return to market with attendees and HPU students for a lunch, panel discussion and job-shadowing afternoon.

Facilitated by Ray Allegrezza, Editor-in-Chief, Furniture Today, “3 Guys and a Mic – Insights and Anecdotes with Industry Icons” well known panelists will share stories of how they first became involved in the industry as well as triumphs and challenges along the way. A Q&A at the end of the session will provide tips for the next generation to navigate the deep waters of an every-changing business landscape.

“Next Gen is an important organization to be involved in because it helps the future generation build the tools they need to learn today that will shape this industry tomorrow. We all have similar circumstances and challenges in Next Gen, and its very valuable to learn and grow together; building a support system from within that will set us all up for success,” said Joey Gunn, Knight Furniture, NGN Advisory Board Member.

The day also features additional educational opportunities and a job shadowing component for HPU students as well as young professionals and mentors from all facets of the industry. Market attendees have the option of attending a seminar in the NAHFA’s Retailer Resource Center in Plaza Suites. “Marketing Strategies for Attracting Gen Y” is offered by event sponsor, MicroD, Inc. focusing on today’s savvy shopper. Panelists will answer questions, review strategies, and share business insights that have been successful in reaching this influential demographic. The session will also be broadcast live via the Next Generation NOW channels.

“In this inaugural event, we have the opportunity to help shape the future of this industry,” said Tom Conley, President and CEO of the High Point Market Authority. “HPU students will have the opportunity to job shadow members of the Next Gen group through a mentoring program that will give them the chance to visit showrooms and learn more about the industry from a young professional’s viewpoint.”

Next Generation-NOW’s sponsors include benefactor sponsor Ashley Furniture Industries, Coaster Company of America, High Point Market, FurnitureDealer.net, GE Capital, Surya Rugs, and MicroD, Inc. Next Generation-NOW is facilitated by the North American Home Furnishings Association. To become a sponsor and support this important segment of the industry contact Cindi Williams, NAHFA Marketing & Events Director, at cwilliams@nahfa.org or at 916-960-0277.

For more information or to register online go to www.ngnow.org/next-gen-day/

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About Next Generation-NOW
Next Generation-NOW is a community of young, passionate and vibrant home furnishings professionals that are the future of the home furnishings industry. Working together, this community will develop the next group of industry leaders through educational events, social networking and guidance and give a voice to the unique needs of future generations in the furniture industry. For more information, visit www.ngnow.org.

About the NAHFA
The North American Home Furnishings Association is the nation’s largest organization devoted specifically to the needs and interests of home furnishings retailers. The organization’s membership encompasses more than 10,000 stores in all 50 states and several foreign countries. Providing a unified voice, the organization will allow those in the industry to work more cohesively as well as increase negotiating power and cost efficiency. Three offices serve the organization with locations in the East, West and Central United States.

About the High Point Market Authority
The High Point Market Authority, www.highpointmarket.org, is the official sponsor and organizer of the High Point Market in High Point, N.C. Featuring an extensive selection of exhibitors spanning every category, style, and price point, and attracting tens of thousands of visitors from more than 100 countries twice each year, the High Point Market is the driving force of the home furnishings industry. Find the High Point Market anywhere online, and follow on Twitter using the hashtag #hpmkt.

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