When I started at HFA, the first picture I saw of David Gunn he was wearing a western shirt and a cowboy hat. This bigger-than-life Texan had an intimidating appearance. When I met him, however, I realized his heart was bigger than life—the heart he has for the home furnishings industry and HFA and its members.
David Gunn has always shown a desire to unite people, one of the hallmarks of his leadership of the HFA board. It doesn’t mean that David doesn’t have deeply rooted beliefs and strong opinions. Still, he always ensures that everyone is heard and that discussion is balanced. He served as an officer for six years, one more than is called for, because of the departure of a couple of association leaders who sold their businesses. Through it all, his guidance and leadership were consistent—something we needed.
As part of our association by-laws, David must roll off the board as his journey up the officer ranks ends. David was board president in 2021 and this past year chairman meaning he led during the bulk of the Covid era. His calming and steadying influence has supported leadership and the entire HFA team through the most challenging times in this association’s century-long history. There have been so many twists and turns and unexpected challenges that David’s steadfast support and leadership have been invaluable.
His dedication is impressive because he has provided leadership through one of his most challenging personal times. The sudden loss of his wife and partner, Gina, in 2021 rocked David, his family, and the Knight Furniture community to the core. Yet through it all, he continued to serve HFA. That is inspiring. That is David Gunn.
Other Departing HFA Board Members
As 2023 begins, three long-time Home Furnishings Association Board Members will rotate off the board as they reach term limits. For the last nine years, they have guided the efforts of HFA during critical moments. They began serving at the beginning of HFA (from combining three home furnishing associations in 2013) and continued through the transition to a new CEO (the second in HFA’s history) and then during the unprecedented two-and-half years of the Covid pandemic. It hasn’t been easy; however, it would have been harder without them.
Our by-laws require that they roll off the board for a year; however, we know each will not stop contributing to our industry or HFA.
Karen Craig is a long-time furniture rep who brought her unique perspective to the board. She always asked one question when the board tackled pressing issues, “how can I help?'” That willingness and an undying love of our industry marked Karen’s time on the board.
Kerry Lebensburger is an industry icon. There is no one more passionate about the young up-and-coming members of our industry than Kerry. He understands and consistently advocates the need for home furnishing companies to evolve and to look to the next generation for guidance and inspiration. Kerry is an idea generator who leaves a legacy of challenging staff and board alike to think innovatively and to see new possibilities.
Andrew Tepperman, a Canadian retailer and noted innovator in home furnishings retail, is always one to prod and question. He guaranteed that fellow board members would be challenged to think about a 360-degree approach to any subject that was tackled. Without contemplation, nothing gets by Andrew, which is a beautiful quality for a leader.
Thank you does not say enough; however, all of us at HFA share a profound gratitude for their service.