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WithIt announces 2011 Board of Directors, Mary Leigh Howell new president

VP of RLF Communications takes helm of women's leadership development network

GREENSBORO, N.C. — WithIt, the women's leadership network for home and furnishings professionals, announced its 2011 Board of Directors. Mary Leigh Howell, vice president of RLF Communications, based here, is the WithIt 2011 president.

"It's an honor to lead an organization that has meant so much to me on a professional and personal level," Howell said. "WithIt's value to its membership and our industry is a constant, and the Board will continue to develop compelling educational events and networking opportunities for home and furnishings leaders."

She also said that WithIt, founded in 1997, will launch an enhanced website, complete with a series of online topical seminars and networking tools.

The WithIt Board of Directors is made up of an executive committee, vice presidents who lead major committees, vice presidents who represent industry niches and vice presidents who represent geographic regions.

"WithIt builds relationships that are permanent, reliable and perhaps show their greatest worth when everything else in life seems unsteady," Howell said. "Because of this, the organization attracts talented and tireless professionals to serve on its board."

Serving on the 2011 executive committee:

+ Chairman board of governors - Liz O'Brien, sales representative, Ekornes, Star
International and Carter Furniture
+ Chairman - Stephanie Lowder, president and creative director, Rare Bird Creative
+ President - Mary Leigh Howell, vice president, RLF Communications
+ Vice president/president elect - Julia Rosien, president,
+ Vice president - Debbie Beers, vice president of consumer strategy, art and science hub,
Furniture Brands International
+ Treasurer - Kira Staggers, audit associate, Smith Leonard PLLC

Vice presidents/committee chairs are expected to perform the duties of an assigned WithIt
committee. The 2011 officers are:

+ Marketing - Amanda Williams, public relations account supervisor, Wray Ward
+ Media - Julie Smith Vincenti, president/manager, Nine Muses Media LLC
+ Mentoring - Lorri Kelley, vice president of sales - Western US, Palliser
+ Education - Cathy Smith, director of design and merchandising, De Leo Textiles
+ Membership - Cindy Williams, vice president of sales, Info Retail
+ Scholarship foundation - Violette Forman, general manager, Havertys Furniture

Vice president at large officers serve as representatives of an industry niche. The 2011 vice
presidents at large are:

+ Millennial outreach - Amy Voelker, vice president of merchandising communications,
+ Casegoods/upholstery - Beverly Kastel, marketing manager, Ekornes
+ Supplier - Libby Langdon, president, Libby Interiors Inc.
+ Retail - Shelley Parlin, chief operating officer, Profitsystems

Regional vice presidents are tasked with building membership and developing events within their geographic region. The 2011 regional vice presidents are:

+ Vice president New York metro/Northeast region - Jana Platina Phipps, owner, Home Couture Collective/Classical Elements
+ Vice president Florida - Alexia Rouquette, director of marketing and public relations, Twin Star International/Classical Flame
+ Vice president Virginias/Carolinas - Trisha Kemerly, president, WhipSmart Creative
+ Vice president Chicago/Midwest - Joan Franken, owner, Concepts & Designs
+ Vice president Dallas/Southwest Region - Cameron Cook, public relations manager, Four Hands
+ Vice president Las Vegas/West Region - Kassie Smith, president, Kassie Smith Lifestyle Group
+ Vice president international - Donna Bartlett, president, ViewIt Technologies, Inc.

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