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Gift for Life Welcomes New Board Leadership

Furniture World News Desk on 3/22/2023

Pictured L to R: Ari Lowenstein, Chair,  Sarah Mount, First Vice Chair, and  Emalee Hoffman, Second Vice Chair.
Pictured L to R: Ari Lowenstein, Chair, Sarah Mount, First Vice Chair, and Emalee Hoffman, Second Vice Chair.

Gift for Life, the gift, stationery and home decor industries’ national charitable organization, announced new leadership of its Board of Directors, with Ari Lowenstein of Emergent Workshop serving as Chair through 2025. 

Along with the election of a new Chair, Gift for Life also instituted a change to its Vice Chair role, splitting the current duties into two positions. Board member Sarah Mount of International Market Centers was elected as First Vice Chair, and Emalee Hoffman of Orange Circle Studio/Studio Oh! was elected as Second Vice Chair.

After serving as the GFL Chair for the past 2 years, Cole Daugherty of Dallas Market Center steps into the role of Immediate Past Chair. 

Ari Lowenstein has been involved in the gift industry internationally since 1997. After owning a gift company in Italy for 12 years, he moved back to the U.S. and worked as Business Development Manager for Clear Solutions and The Unemployed Philosophers Guild. In 2014, Lowenstein co-founded Canopy, one of the first Seller Account Management companies guiding the presence of many businesses on Amazon. In 2016, he founded Emergent Workshop, a consulting company advising manufacturers and service providers. In 2019, Lowenstein joined Brandwise, serving as Chief Strategy Officer and then as SVP of Corporate Development at MarketTime. He has served on the Executive Board of the Museum Store Association and as President of the Gift Sales Managers Association.  While staying engaged with the gift industry, earlier this year Lowenstein opened Ari’s Pantry, a catering company in Dallas, to fulfill his passion for cooking! Lowenstein joined the GFL Board in 2017, becoming Vice Chair in 2021 and Chair in 2023.

“I am honored to serve as the Chair of Gift for Life and to be surrounded by an extraordinary Board of Directors,” said Ari Lowenstein. “Each of them is a leader in their organizations and represents that which is truly special about our industry. I welcome the opportunity to work alongside Sarah and Emalee and the other board members to continue finding new ways to help others. The history of Gift for Life over the past 31 years is remarkable. So much work has been done by so many. Continuing that tradition, while preparing for the future, is our goal.”

As Vice President of Content & Digital Marketing at IMC, Sarah Mount leads a creative and digital team focused on engaging buyers and sellers across its physical markets in Atlanta, High Point and Las Vegas. Prior to this role, she led the marketing team for Juniper by IMC. Mount’s gift and home industry experience spans 15+ years, including 6 years as VP of Marketing at AmericasMart Atlanta, leading all marketing communications strategy, branding and events for its markets and daily business. She was named as one of Gift Shop’s 40 under 40, Class of 2019.  Mount joined the GFL Board in 2021 and was elected 1st Vice Chair in 2023.

“I am honored to assume this role in 2023 with the goal of uniting our industry to support the good work of World Central Kitchen across the globe. My involvement to date with Gift for Life has shown me how empathetic and generous our industry is, and I’m looking forward to doing great things together this year.”

Emalee Hoffman has been a part of the gift and home industry for more than a decade. She began her career as a buyer in 2009, joining Orange Circle Studio/Studio Oh! in 2014, ultimately working her way from a role in customer service to Vice President of Sales. She’s also a member of GHTA and is working on the 2023 content committee. Hoffman joined the GFL Board in 2021 and was elected 2nd Vice Chair in 2023.

“Being part of Gift for Life, this past year has truly been a highlight, and I look forward to being 2nd Vice Chair,” said, Emalee. “The work World Central Kitchen does is incredible! I am honored to be part of the GFL team to help fundraise for such a great organization."

The Gift for Life Board is comprised of recognized leaders in the gift, home and stationery industries:  Alana Branston, Emerald Expositions; Andrea Padilla, Transpac; Angela Jacobson, Stephen Joseph; Ari Lowenstein, Emergent Workshop; Cathy Steel, Cathy Steel Associates; Christina Bell, Clarion Events; Cole Daugherty, Dallas Market Center; Crystal Vilkaitis, Crystal Media; Emalee Hoffman, Orange Circle Studio/Studio Oh!; Jessica Barile, Paddywax; Julie McCallum, Gift Shop Plus; Landon Metts, MarketTime; Lenise Willis, Gifts & Decorative Accessories; Matt Katzenson, Fine Lines; Maureen Carpenter, The Queens' Jewels; Monica Loving, Ivystone; Nancy Michael, International Housewares Association; Peter Schauben, Appelman Schauben; Russ Jones, Ivystone; Sarah Mount, Juniper; and Sheila Charton, Springboard Futures.



About Gift for Life
Gift for Life was founded by Peter Schauben of Appleman Schauben in 1992 in response to the tragic loss of industry lives to AIDS. The organization’s first meeting at the National Stationery Show brought together a cross-section of the industry’s leading publishers, market centers, sales reps, manufacturers, and retailers – all willing to convene and work together towards a common goal. Since that time, Gift for Life has raised nearly $6 million for AIDS research, education, treatment and care through nationwide at-market events, cause marketing programs and direct donations. In 2021, with COVID-19 temporarily causing cancelation of in-person events at industry markets, Gift for Life pivoted towards online digital events with a specific emphasis on COVID-related hunger relief. In 2023, the all-volunteer organization will continue to support programs that address hunger relief. More information is available at www.facebook.com/giftforlife.

About World Central Kitchen (WCK)
World Central Kitchen (WCK) was founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen uses the power of food to nourish communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis and beyond. In 2020, with COVID-19 straining traditional food security safety nets like school feeding programs, city services and food banks, WCK pivoted to safely distribute individually packaged, fresh meals in communities that needed support and launched the Restaurants for the People program to scale nationwide. Fast forward to 2022 and the escalating crisis in Ukraine and at home. When disaster strikes, WCK’s Chef Relief Team mobilizes to the front lines making sure there is always a warm meal, an encouraging word, and a helping hand. World Central Kitchen has provided tens of millions of fresh, nourishing meals for communities around the world. Donations will be used to support emergency food relief efforts and resilience programs. For information, visit www.wck.org. If you’d like to host your own fundraiser for World Central Kitchen, click HERE or contact a member of the Gift for Life board.