MRC’s Paris Gholston Joins WithIt Board


Women’s leadership development network keeps most of 2020 board in place for 2021

Paris Gholston, industry communications specialist for the Mattress Recycling Council, has been named to the board of WithIt, where she will serve as vice president of scholarship. MRC manages the state-mandated recycling programs in California, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

WithIt is a leadership development network for women in the home furnishings industry based in High Point, North Carolina. Madeline Brown, marketing manager for Sherrill Furniture Companies, also has been named to the board and will serve as vice president of networking.

The group said its 2020 board of directors largely will stay in place for 2021 “to maintain continuity and stability within the organization to allow the group to focus their energies on goals and opportunities for WithIt that were not able to be realized during the pandemic,” according to a news release. Lorri Kelley, principal of Lorri Kelley Advisors, will remain WithIt president for 2021.“Our success during the past year has been the result of an active, dedicated board of directors who worked tirelessly to preserve our resources while fulfilling the mission of WithIt,” Kelley said. “This year, we will build upon those successes we realized throughout a difficult 2020 to ensure this important organization is stronger, more resilient and more relevant than ever before, both in 2021 and well into the future. It is going to be a great year for WithIt, and I am honored to serve once again with such an impressive and committed group of leaders.”

WithIt will continue to host weekly and monthly virtual events, including monthly speed networking events for members on Hopin and a professional development brunch on March 26.

The 2021 WithIt board includes:

  • Chair: Lark Shirley-Stevens, executive director of marketing and membership, Furniture First
  • President: Lorri Kelley, president, Lorri Kelley Advisors
  • Vice President/President-Elect: Renee Loper-Boyd, vice president marketing, International Market Centers
  • Second Vice President: Emily Severson, vice president of supplier relations,
  • Secretary: Bonnie Wallace, operations manager, IHFRA
  • Treasurer: Jamie White, Hanes Brands
  • Professional Development: Rene Johnston-Gingrich, vice president of training development, Profitability Consulting Group
  • Business Development: Carolyn Crowley, president, Myriad Software
  • Scholarship: Paris Gholston, industry communications specialist, MRC
  • Membership: Deena Gardner, vice president of marketing and communications, Reverie
  • Marketing: Jessica Smithson, category manager for upholstery furniture, The Dufresne Group
  • Events: Cathy Valent, vice president of home decorative and fabrics merchandising, Springs Creative Group
  • Technology: Lori Dolnick, senior vice president, Frank Advertising
  • Emerging Leaders: Victoria Valentinas, principal, VLV Designs
  • Supplier/Design: Maria Killam, principal, Maria Killam Colour & Design
  • Connections: Tori Evans, vice president of business development, endygo
  • Networking: Madeline Brown, marketing manager, Sherrill Furniture Companies
  • Executive Advisory Council Liaison: Pamela Thomas, director of supply chain, Universal Furniture