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Board & Staff
|Abi Sood, President||
Abi Sood is Founder & CEO of Avasa Home. He was born and raised around the textile industry. His family's sourcing business has been operating out of India since the 1960s, sourcing products from all over south Asia and offering them to the world. After joining the family business for a short time in the 1990s, Abi decided to break off on his own and started manufacturing home textiles. After almost 20 years of experience, the idea for Avasa was born in 2014. With a keen eye for design, a deep knowledge of the handicrafts available in the region, and the technical understanding of the production process, Abi launched Avasa to offer his take on home linens to the global village.
|Jonsara Ruth, Vice President||
Jonsara Ruth is Design Director at Parsons The New School Healthy Materials Lab, Founding Director of the MFA Interior Design Program, and Associate Professor at Parsons School of Design. Here she led AFTERTASTE, a symposium that brings new definition to the field of interiors. Central to her work is listening to and learning from diverse perspectives, and studying human experience, behavior, and health as principal motivations for design. Material curiosities drive her research.
|Gat Caperton, Secretary/Treasurer||
Gat Caperton is the president and CEO of Gat Creek, a West Virginia manufacturer of hand-made, solid-wood home furniture that he acquired from its founder in 1996. Gat Creek, originally named Tom Seely Furniture, the 40+year-old business now employs over 100 skilled people in Berkeley Springs and sells furniture throughout the U.S. In 1990, Caperton received a B.A. in Economics from Davidson College, where he also played on the school's football team. He currently serves on the boards of the Shepherd University, Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation, the Natural Capital Investment Fund, and the West Virginia Nature Conservancy. Gat and his wife Susan live in Berkeley Springs and have three daughters: Eliza, Katie, and Evie.
|Michela O'Connor Abrams||
Michela is the Founder of MOCA+, offering an innovative approach to design thinking and leadership for companies making good design the foundation of their business strategy. Michela is the former CEO of Dwell Media, building it from its start-up phase to an internationally recognized media brand. Prior to Dwell she led companies from startup to exit and turnaround to high growth, at companies like IDG, Softbank, McGrawHill, Ziff Davis, and Future Media. She serves on the board of Arcbazar and is an advisor to Turkel Design, Nebia, Aplat Inc., NextPlay, and NewStory. She is a sought-after speaker on leadership, design, and media and is always game to share her passion for good design and business innovation.
Interior designer Thom Filicia is founder and principal of New York City-based design firm, Thom Filicia, Inc., which has earned him widespread acclaim and notable clients. Filicia is universally known for his ability to create stunning modern, yet classic interiors that retain an inviting aesthetic that reflect the individuality of his clients. His unmistakable design sensibility has earned him countless accolades from the design world, but his recognition expanded beyond the design world when he was cast as the interior design expert in the hit show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Filicia's camera-friendly personality and design acumen garnered him a huge following and led to numerous TV appearances and a new TV show on Bravo, with former cast-mate Carson Kressley, called Get A Room with Carson & Thom. Filicia's diverse design portfolio includes an eco-friendly apartment for Riverhouse, Manhattan's first premium (LEED certified) "green" luxury condominium tower, which received a merit award by Interior Design magazine for "Best Eco-Residential Design Interior".
Co-founder and creative director of Design Works International, Nancy works alongside Neil Breslau, her business partner, husband and co-founder of Design Works International. She is recognized for her natural ability to connect her passion for color and design with a keen understanding of the changes and developments in lifestyle trends, helping brands to adapt and capitalize on an ever-changing market. Coupled with almost three decades of industry expertise, Nancy looks for inspiration everywhere which affords her a unique perspective and talent for marrying design with commerce. Nancy is the talent behind various retail brands and product development programs, specializing in trend research and development, print and color direction, and keynote speaking for industry events.
|Jennifer K. Harmon||
A veteran in the interior textiles market with 30 years experience, Jennifer K. Harmon has a passion for textiles that can be traced back to her early career years in textile design and product development. As a seasoned, visionary business executive, she applies both creative & critical thinking skills and believes advancing both art and science is vital in the business environment.
Jennifer is recognized for her commitment to sustainability, and she values environmental stewardship, diversity, and equality. She admires the late Ray C. Anderson, the founder and chairman of Interface, Inc and voice in industrial sustainability, and attributes his influence to her continued pursuit to help organizations reach their business goals sustainably.
Jennifer earned her undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University College of Textiles, receiving a BS in Textile Technology with a Concentration in Design. After gaining leadership and industry experience she went on to complete her Master of Business Administration at Montreat College.
Jennifer is a known to be naturally curious with a sense of adventure. Outside of work, she enjoys sharing her love of travel with her great niece and nephews and hopes to inspire others with her optimism and appreciation of cultural diversity.
|Michael J. Hirschhorn||
Michael J. Hirschhorn is founder & CEO of mebl | Transforming Furniture. By expanding the market for beautiful new furniture reimagined from old wood, metal and plastic, mebl seeks to help accelerate the transition to an environmentally sustainable and circular economy. Previously, from 2008 - 14, Michael served as Executive Director of the International Human Rights Funders Group, a global network of donors and grantmakers committed to advancing human rights. From 2003-08, Michael was Executive Director of the Coro New York Leadership Center in New York City; from 1995-2001, he served as Executive Director of the Literacy Assistance Center, also in NYC; and, prior, he was as an Assistant to the Chancellor of the NYC Public Schools and a Visiting Non-Profit Executive at the Yale School of Management. Michael plays leadership roles on the boards of a number of non-profit education, arts/design and human rights organizations and grantmaking institutions. He received his BA from Yale University and his MBA & MSW from Columbia University. Michael lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife Jimena Martinez and their feisty young-adult twins.
Matt Huber, Executive Vice President, Belfort Furniture oversees day-to-day operations. Matt is responsible for moving Belfort Furniture forward with technological advances such as implementing e-commerce into the company’s revenue stream and online design help services. He has a keen eye for new trends in merchandising to draw a younger consumer to the showroom. Currently, Matt is overseeing a store expansion to include 160,000 square feet of additional retail space.
Matt is involved with the Belfort Furniture corporate designated charities such as the annual YMCA Loudoun County charity golf tournament that has helped to raise over $600,000 to provide quality after-school care and summer camp opportunities for children in Loudoun County, Virginia. He is very devoted to sustainable practices and is passionate about educating and inspiring the public about stylish, sustainable furniture. He is a graduate of Brown University.
|Julia Noran Johnston||
Julia Noran Johnston is President of Business of Home. Founded in 2009, BOH has become the go-to source for insight and analysis on business trends for interior design professionals and anyone working in the home category. She has covered the industry for nearly 20 years, starting out at Architectural Digest and then Veranda, and currently oversees content creation and distribution to over 180,000 design professionals through BOH's online and print channels. She is on the Board of Directors for the Decorative Furnishings Association (DFA), and is a member of the Design Leadership Network and the Decorators Club. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
Libby Langdon is an interior designer, author, product designer and makeover television personality, as well as the creative force behind New York City–based design firm Libby Interiors, Inc. She is known for her “Easy, Elegant, Everyday Style,” as well as her licensed home-furnishing collections, including lighting for Crystorama, rugs for KAS, and outdoor furniture for NorthCape, as well as artwork for Paragon and a complete home collection of upholstery and case goods for Fairfield Chair Company, launched in Fall 2019 at High Point Market. Her interior design work and home products have been featured in leading shelter magazines, including Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Hamptons Cottages & Gardens, Better Homes and Gardens, and Woman’s Day. Langdon has been a regular design expert on NBC’s TODAY Show, HGTV’s Small Space, Big Style, The View, The Rachael Ray Show, The Early Show and NBC’s Open House. Langdon travels the country presenting her design seminars to consumers, designers, and retailers about all things design.
Cindy Morris is president and CEO of Dallas Market Center, the global wholesale marketplace and tradeshow management company hosting dozens of business-to-business trade events each year inside its 5 million square foot campus. Morris joined Market Center Management Company in April 1989, was named executive vice president of marketing in August 1992, COO in 2002, and president and CEO in 2015. She has overseen strategic growth across key product categories, significant new business initiatives, and effective international partnerships. She has been instrumental in establishing and strengthening collaborative relationships with retailers, trade organizations, manufacturers, and sales representatives. Under her guidance, Dallas Market Center has attracted tens of thousands of new customers and maintained industry-leading loyalty from the more than 200,000 Dallas Market Center customers. Their award-winning marketing programs and customer-focused communications have resulted in trade events and markets attended by more retail buyers and interior designers from across the U.S. and internationally.
Phantila Phataraprasit is the co-founder and CEO of Sabai Design, a sustainable furniture company with the mission to make conscious living accessible. After graduating from Columbia, she worked at Morgan Stanley for a year before attending NYU School of Law. Phantila is from Thailand, was recognized by Inc.’s Female Founders 100 (2021) and is passionate about all things sustainable/circular.
Jason is internationally renowned in the furniture industry for his fresh contemporary designs. His work has been published in dozens of design and lifestyle magazines as well as hundreds of blogs. Notably, he was honored at the 21st Annual ARTS Awards as Product Designer of the Year, the youngest ever recipient of this prestigious award. In late 2009, he won VERANDA magazine’s inaugural ‘The Art of Design’ Award for his body of work in the ‘Trade Secrets’ category. Jason is VP/Creative Director for The Phillips Collection, an SFC Founding Member, in High Point, North Carolina. In 2007, he founded Jason Phillips Designs, a brand that serves as a conduit for his out-of-the-box design concepts and freelance work.
|Jeronimo Cooklin, Ex-oficio||
Jeronimo Cooklin founded the Sustainable Furnishings Council to transform the home furnishings industry and to help preserve the world's forests. Involved in the furniture Industry since 1986 and in Sustainable Development since 1998, he put these two together to form SFC in late 2006. He founded PaTS, a Peruvian nonprofit organization in the Peruvian Amazon, working with the Yanesha indigenous community members helping them to become artisans and business people, who are able to create a sustainable living for their families while preserving their forests. Additionally, in 2010, Cooklin founded MaderArt & Technologia SAC, or MATS, to develop fine craftsman furniture utilizing Amazon hardwoods. He is a naturalist and lover of the outdoors and lives in Lima, Peru.
Scarlette Tapp is the Executive Director of the Sustainable Furnishings Council and the Sustainable Furnishings Educational Fund. Scarlette is a nonprofit professional with extensive experience in fundraising, communications, and marketing. Her penchant for building capacity has served nonprofits in Western NC and Upstate SC over the last decade.
Susan Inglis is Resident Expert and Educator in Chief at the Sustainable Furnishings Council, which she helped found in 2006. She has led SFC to work with industry leaders to establish criteria to gauge the sustainability of furniture products and practices; develop programs for educating all sectors of the industry; and attract hundreds of companies to membership. Inglis is also founder and owner of From The Mountain, a company that imported hand spun cashmere yarn from Afghanistan, providing safe income for over 100 women there. Inglis serves on the Board of the American Sustainable Business Network and was awarded a 2017 Visionary Leadership award by the NC Business Council. She lives in North Carolina.
Angie Kenny is serving as the Member Services Manager. She has a degree in interior design and has worked in the field in NYC and in Greensboro, NC, where she was part of the design team building Proximity Hotel as the first LEED Platinum hotel in the U.S. She supports SFC members in making continuous improvement in reducing energy consumption, in managing supply chains, and promoting outreach. Angie is also a yoga teacher, with a calm and encouraging voice that SFC Members will appreciate. She is pleased to be part of SFC's transformational work.