Launched spring of 2021 to coincide with International Women’s Day, Women in the Flooring Industry (WIFI) held its first board meeting this month taking critical steps forward in establishing the nonprofit corporation’s purpose and path forward. 

Built for the long-term, WIFI was formed specifically to grow the floor covering industry and the next generation of women within it, reported founder and current Pro Tem Chairman Emily Morrow Finkell, CEO of EF Floors & Design.

“For many years, so many of us talked about the need for an organization that offered networking and support opportunities for the women in the floor covering industry,” explained Morrow Finkell. “It never seemed to happen until a strange phenomenon occurred, COVID-19, which literally brought us all to a snail’s pace. It was during that time when our now executive board members connected and decided if not now, when? And so, with that, I took that question one step further, if not us, who?”

WIFI’s objectives and purpose are clear: to empower, connect, support, encourage, develop, educate, inspire and attract current and future women in the floor covering industry. It will create and offer networking, leadership development, mentorship, relationship-building opportunities and tangible materials to enable women to succeed. 

“While there are many groups out there in the name of women, each of them have a unique purpose and audience, we want our organization to meet the needs of anyone, including these other groups, to be an inclusive for all, and we have set the groundwork for WIFI to be around for generations to come,” Morrow Finkell offered. “We hope that the floor covering industry will continue to thrive and offer opportunities for each of us to grow, learn and connect in meaningful ways.”

Founding directors are Morrow Finkell; Amy Rush-Imber, editor in chief, Floor Covering Weekly; Andrea Blackbourn, executive director of the Floor Covering Industry Foundation; Brenda Knowles, vice president commercial, Shaw Industries; Dana Teague, vice president, Informa Markets Design Group; Tanja Kern, associate publisher and editorial director BNP Media; and, Terri Daniels, vice present PR & communications, CCA Global Partners.

Clearly on its way to meeting set goals, WIFI has successfully applied for 501c3 status, achieved Articles of Incorporation; approved its bylaws; and, voted on Pro Tem officers — Morrow Finkell as chairman, Kern as secretary and Teague as treasurer. 

Noted Teague, “As the organizer of SURFACES, the largest North American flooring event, we look to support communities within our industry and we recognize that women are essential to the flooring industry. It is important that women have the opportunity to network, share experiences, gain new skills and support each other.”

And, Teague added, WIFI already has a certain power behind it. “WIFI, working with SURFACES and media partners, will have a highly visible, global platform with which to deliver in-person and on-line learning opportunities, create meaningful networking events and recognize women who excel in the industry.” For example, she offered, “The inaugural offering of the Women’s Leadership Conference at SURFACES followed by a networking reception is already well-subscribed proving that women, and men who support women, are eager to start getting back together in 2022!”

Look for the WIFI founding directors at Surfaces in Las Vegas beginning February 1. To learn more about WIFI and how you can be a part of its future impact, contact womeninfloorcoveringindustry@gmail.com

Founding Board of Directors

Chairman: Emily Morrow Finkell, CEO, EF Floors & Design,  

Vice Chairman: Amy Rush-Imber, Editor in Chief, Floor Covering Weekly

Nominating Chair: Andrea Blackbourn, Executive Director Floor Covering Industry Foundation 

Fundraising Chair: Brenda Knowles, Vice President Commercial, Shaw Industries 

Treasurer: Dana Teague, Vice President Informa Markets Design Group

Secretary: Tanja Kern, Associate Publisher and Editorial Director, Floor Trends & Floor Covering Installer

Communications Chair: Terri Daniels, Vice President PR & Communications, CCA Global Partners