Seasoned Entrepreneur LuAnn Nigara Inspires Excellence at ICFA Educational Conference

HIGH POINT – “Running a business is more than learning about how it’s done. It’s about making decisions and taking action,” says LuAnn Nigara, keynote speaker at the International Casual Furnishings Association Educational Conference in Orlando on February 15. The recognized author, podcast host and business consultant will kick off a two-day program with her talk, “Excellence is a Decision.”

The former co-owner of Window Works, an award-winning window treatment and awning specialty store in Livingston, N.J., Nigara shifted her focus after 30 years in retailing to help other home furnishings professionals strengthen their business, sales and negotiation skills as well as principles for outstanding customer service.


LuAnn Nigara

In addition to her opening address, Nigara will lead a breakout session on “Three Things You Can Do to Improve Your Outdoor Furniture Business” as well as sign copies of her best seller “A Well-Designed Business – The Power Talk Friday Experts,” being distributed to all attendees. 

ICFA’s 2022 Educational Conference is scheduled at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort on February 14-17 and features a roster of experts to address the current business environment and ways to be most successful in the outdoor furniture industry.

To set a foundation for strategizing business moves in 2022 and beyond, Mark Vitner, managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo’s Corporate and Investment Bank, will present the latest U.S. economic outlook. Vitner is responsible for tracking national and regional economic conditions and produces regular publications on residential and commercial construction, regional economies and issues affecting small business.

Bob Phibbs, aka The Retail Doc and founder of SalesRX, will deliver the Wednesday morning keynote presentation, “Get the Sale, Not the Order.” A presenter at the 2019 Conference in San Antonio, Phibbs has partnered with ICFA to provide an online learning curriculum designed for retail sales associates in a program largely underwritten by ICFA. He contends that store associates can be trained to integrate their own unique personalities in building rapport with shoppers and fully engaging to sell more merchandise and provide outstanding customer service.

Appealing to all attendees, Tom Shay of Profits Plus Solutions will take a close look at how to beat any competitor by determining ways to do what they don’t and/or what they can’t. His talk, “8 Ways to Beat Any Competition” will explore delivering the right products and services in the right location, community and method. Shay brings experience as a fourth-generation small business operator with knowledge of the daily responsibilities of store owners, managers and staff.

Jeff Kortes, author of “Give Your Employees C.R.A.P. and 7 Other Secrets to Employee Retention,” will focus on how managers can utilize caring, respect, appreciation and praise effectively to strengthen their company’s human resources. With more than 25 years of HR experience at leading corporations, he has worked to recruit, retain and develop employees.

Lee and Terry Resnick, experts on business succession planning, will return for their third participation in an ICFA Educational Conference with an update resulting from changes in tax laws as well as impactful tax proposals that may become tax law. The presentation is key for all business owners regardless of whether they already have an estate and /or business succession plan and also for those that are not yet thinking about the future of their company.

Also returning is Chris Andresen, senior vice president at Dutko GR, with a report on “What’s Happening in Washington?” As part of the government relations team for ICFA, Chris specializes in identifying policy opportunities and threats in order to create legislative and regulatory strategies.

The agenda additionally features breakout groups, roundtable discussions and a variety of social opportunities for networking. A retail design tour to Patio Style and Summer Classics Home in Winter Park, Fla., and golfing at Disney’s Magnolia Course are optional activities taking place on Monday before the alfresco opening reception and dinner.

Attendees can register for the Conference online at https://www.icfanet.org/2022educationalconferenceregistration. A limited block of discounted hotel rooms can be reserved online at https://www.swandolphingroupres.com/index.cfm?group_code=IN5403.