ICFA Names Jackie Hirschhaut as Executive Director
Hirschhaut is the vice president of public relations and marketing for the American Home Furnishings Alliance, a trade association based here that represents hundreds of manufacturers and importers of home furnishings for the U.S. market. ICFA is a wholly owned subsidiary of AHFA.
She now assumes leadership of the 370-member trade association dedicated to the casual furnishings industry, comprised of manufacturers/importers, retailers, designers, sales representatives, suppliers and media associate members.
“Jackie brings a wealth of industry knowledge to ICFA, as well as a passion for our industry,” said Ward Usmar, ICFA chairman and vice president of sales for TUUCI. “She has worked closely with Joe over the past several weeks, ensuring a smooth transition of leadership and continuity in our mission.”
Andy Counts, CEO of AHFA, noted that the Association conducted a national search and interviewed a pool of qualified candidates. “Jackie is a perfect fit for this job, given her knowledge of the industry, expertise in marketing and media relations, and experience in association management.” Counts added that Hirschhaut will retain her responsibilities as vice president of public relations and marketing.
Following Hirschhaut’s hire by AHFA in 1998, she became the architect of a program designed to educate consumers and inspire them to desire a beautifully furnished home. That program became the industry’s most successful and longest running public relations initiative ever.
Prior to joining AHFA, Hirschhaut was editor-in-chief of the award-winning Elegant Bride consumer magazine. She is the author of three books on wedding planning. Previously, she held various editorial posts at Furniture/Today and its sister trade publications for six years, earning the 27th Annual Editorial Award presented by the Dallas Market Center for excellence in trade journalism in the furniture industry. She began her career in retail management as a home textiles buyer at Woodward & Lothrop in Washington, D.C., with experience in product development throughout Asia for the affiliated Associated Merchandising Corporation stores. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island with degrees in journalism and marketing.
She is a past chairman of the Board and chairman of the Board of Governors of WithIt (Women in the Home Industries Today). She is a member of the Advisory Board of Bauder College in Atlanta and serves on the Professional Advisory Board of the Department of Communications at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. For more than 15 years, Hirschhaut has served on the American Society of Furniture Designers’ panel of judges for its annual Pinnacle Awards. In addition, she chairs the judging of the Design Emphasis Award presented to rising college students by the International Woodworking Fair. She is a graduate of the Institute of Organizational Management, sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.