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A Letter From Outgoing FS President Karen Ernst

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The Board and staff of The Furni­ture Society would like to extend a heart­felt thanks to outgo­ing Pres­i­dent Karen Ernst for her lead­er­ship of the Board of Trustees.

We are grate­ful for her years of dedi­cated service and guid­ance. She has been a source of calm and thought­ful direc­tion as our orga­ni­za­tion navi­gated a return to in person events and happen­ings. We couldn’t have done this without her and look forward to her contin­ued rela­tion­ship with The Furni­ture Society in the coming year. Thank you, Karen!

Ernst Karen

I can’t believe it has been almost six years since I began my time on the Board of Trustees of The Furni­ture Society (TFS). I have (mostly) main­tained a member­ship to TFS since 2002, attend­ing my first Furni­ture Society confer­ence in 2005 in Indi­anapo­lis, then five addi­tional confer­ences, includ­ing three where I brought a few of my Edin­boro students along. In 2017 I felt like I was in a place in my acad­e­mic career to try to give back to the orga­ni­za­tion that I had gotten so much from. At the Kansas City FS Sympo­sium, held in conjunc­tion with the Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion of Wood­turn­ers (AAW), I had the chance to get to know a few of the FS Board members better and expressed my inter­est in getting more involved.

I attended my first Board meeting in San Fran­cisco at Cali­for­nia College of the Arts (CCA) in 2018 and was so excited to have the chance to engage in the field of furni­ture design beyond my contri­bu­tions as an educa­tor and a maker. From that first meeting, to our most recent one six years later, I have felt grate­ful to have found a commu­nity within the Board and really the FS member­ship-at-large, that places value on, is inter­ested in, and is driven by so many of the same things I am. As many of you have expe­ri­enced, TFS really strives, in both its virtual and in-person gath­er­ings, to build a commu­nity where new connec­tions can be made, new ideas and infor­ma­tion can be shared, and the field of furni­ture in all its forms can continue to evolve.

TFS, along with much of the world, has weath­ered signif­i­cant change in the last few years. Though the early 2020s were tough to say the least, this orga­ni­za­tion was really pushed to rethink how we engage with our member­ship, leading to an expan­sion of the types of program­ming we offer, includ­ing virtual events and a lot more content shared through social media. We are currently holding confer­ences every other year, alter­nat­ing with regional events that are likely more acces­si­ble for many of our members. I think it is hard to dupli­cate the feeling of gath­er­ing in person – recon­nect­ing with and making new connec­tions with our peers always leaves me so excited and inspired.

I have really enjoyed working with the Board of Trustees of the Furni­ture Society, both the past and current members, as well as our volun­teers. In partic­u­lar, TFS has enjoyed the stabil­ity and produc­tiv­ity that comes from having excel­lent staff in place, with our Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Monica Hampton and Direc­tor of Educa­tion Pam Robin­son. This orga­ni­za­tion would not be what it is today without all the work they have both invested.

I really believe that the time I have spent on the Board has contributed to many oppor­tu­ni­ties coming my way and has deep­ened my connec­tion to this field; as we tran­si­tion into new lead­er­ship, I want to express my grat­i­tude to you all for having me as your Board Pres­i­dent. The last two years have gone by quickly – this type of lead­er­ship posi­tion was a new expe­ri­ence for me, and I learned a lot about where my strengths (and weak­nesses) lie. TFS is an orga­ni­za­tion that is near and dear to me, and I am happy to have been able to contribute some­thing to its history. I feel confi­dent in the orga­ni­za­tional and lead­er­ship skills that Board Pres­i­dent Kathryn Hall Asaro and Vice Pres­i­dent Abby Mechanic possess and am excited about the future of The Furniture Society.”

With grat­i­tude,