Stop, look and listen: The future leaders are here | Cindy W. Hodnett

Although it’s hard to believe, Furniture Today’s annual awards recognition for tomorrow’s future leaders is just around the corner, and we’re once again focusing on telling the stories of the people who are, or will be, making key decisions and driving the home furnishings industry in just a few short years.

As anyone who has been part of our industry for any length of time will attest, there is going to be a significant changing of the guard over the next 10 years, and many of tomorrow’s leaders are already making a name for themselves in their respective manufacturing or retail roles. Notably, these next-gen leaders come with a new skill set, and their unique perspectives will quite possibly be the most important “must have” factor in any company’s future success. Yes, it will be that different.

Consider this: Millennials are approximately between 27 and 40 years old, and they are setting up households, having kids, “adulting.” Gen Z is currently 27% of the U.S. population by some accounts and currently between 11 and 26 years old. Many of the oldest members of the Gen Z category are in first jobs, enjoying increased earning power and fueling purchases with their opinions — consumers of influence for themselves and their family households.

Both demographic groups are, by and large, digital natives, a characteristic that influences everything from how they shop to what they consume, and they are the ultimate content curators. They are globally connected, technologically savvy and gearing up to take the reigns from established leadership.

The transition will change the way most companies do business, and it’s already in motion.

The future leaders of the home furnishings industry are now influencing product development, technology innovation and marketing platforms. They are learning legacy success strategies from their company’s current leadership and subsequently developing their own unique twist on business as usual with fresh ideas and intuitive focus. And every company in the industry would do well to make note of where they are and what they’re doing.

Furniture Today’s annual 40 Under 40 recognition is an unparalleled opportunity to showcase these forward thinkers, the innovators and the next brain trust that will guide all things home for decades to come.

We want to tell the stories, and we invite you to let us know who’s making a difference.

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