Inspiring, engaging, empowering, collaborative and fun are just a few of the words that participants used to describe IFAI’s recent Women in Textiles Summit. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual event for established and emerging leaders took place March 4–5, 2021, on a virtual platform with the enthusiastic participation of more than 100 attendees.
Event emcees, Apurba Banerjee of Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation and Rachal McCarthy of NTI Global, guided the event to encourage audience interaction throughout a variety of education and networking sessions.
Kim Glas, president and CEO of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) presented the education session “Leading the Change” and discussed how individuals can advocate for themselves and their careers. Lucy Dunne, professor and co-director of the Wearable Technology Lab and director of the apparel design program at the University of Minnesota, detailed changes in textiles and sew products, and Paige Mullis, brand director at Glen Raven Inc., spoke about building a culture of innovation within businesses.
Roundtable discussions, wellness breaks and even a game of trivia accomplished what can be difficult in a virtual setting—bringing people together. According to attendee Andrea Lynn of Sonoma Sails, “Right away when I sat in the room, the energy was different. Women are less fearful and just jumped in.”
Women in Textiles Summit event manager Jill Newman acknowledged the challenges of transitioning an event to a virtual setting. “This event is close to my heart, and I think those who have attended feel the same way, so we put a lot of thought and creativity into making this event as meaningful as possible on a virtual platform. That said, we can’t wait to be together again in-person in 2022.”
The next IFAI Women in Textiles Summit will take place Feb. 16–18, 2022, at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in Braselton, Ga.