Home Furnishings Leadership Institute




Louisiana State University
The Home Furnishings Leadership Institute is a four-day program that prepares retailers for the next level of professional growth. Developed in conjunction with Louisiana State University (LSU) Executive Education, this in-depth, highly personalized program focuses on the core competencies necessary to run a successful retail home furnishings operation, including strategic thinking, planning and execution.

Check out photos from our last event!

The HFA Leadership Institute was an interesting, industry-specific, training that allowed me to meet business owners from all over North America. I have made industry contacts that will help me as I continue to learn and grow in the home furnishings industry.
Anna Ferguson
Braken Ridge Furniture


Developing and retaining strong, strategic leaders is one of the most important investments that an organization can make to ensure future growth and sustainability. To assist organizations in making this investment, the Home Furnishings Association has worked in concert with LSU Executive Education to offer a Home Furnishings Leadership Institute for individuals in the mid to upper career levels within a home furnishings retail operation.


Combining face-to-face instruction with the campus environment of LSU, this program provides participants with an intellectually stimulating learning atmosphere where they will assess their effectiveness, learn to capitalize on their strengths, identify and improve upon their weaknesses, and increase their awareness of the economic, social, and competitive environments in which their companies operate.


– Managers who are working in areas of the business where an organization-wide point of view will prove helpful in their development.

– Managers who have progressed rapidly within the organization or managers who have been identified as having the capacity for greater responsibility within the near future.

– New business owners or individuals who desire to sharpen their analytics, leadership, social and decision-making skills.

Program Details

the details:

  • Four days of face-to-face group instruction on the topics described. Topics will be presented by LSU Executive Education faculty, leading practitioners and industry experts. Instruction will be held at the LSU campus in Baton Rouge, LA.
  • A pre-course online DISC personality assessment (course instruction will include an explanation of DISC assessment).
  • A pre-course online Emotional Intelligence assessment (course instruction will include an explanation of EI Assessment).
  • Welcome Networking Reception at LSU on the first night
  • All course materials for participants
  • Tour of LSU athletic facilities and local brewery on campus
  • Certificate of completion

To qualify:

  • Applicants chosen to participate must work in the home furnishings industry.
  • Applicants must have a minimum of two years management experience.
  • An application fee must be paid before participation.
  • Participants are expected to pay their travel and hotel expenses.

Program fees:

$3,775 (HFA Members), $4,770 (Non-HFA members*)

This includes tuition, education materials, continental breakfasts, and lunches for a four-day face-to-face educational program held on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge. The fee is subject to change and is payable in full upon receipt of acceptance invoice. HFA and LSU Executive Education reserve the right to cancel any program. No college course credit from LSU will be awarded for this program.

*Non-HFA retailers program fee of $4,770 includes one-year membership in HFA. 

PROGRAM scholarships:

First 20 HFA members to apply and be accepted will receive a $1,000 scholarship**. Additional scholarships may be available. Inquire with Kaprice Crawford—kcrawford@myhfa.org or 800.422.3778 Ext. 102.

**One scholarship per company.

Course Descriptions

This module is designed to transform managers into strong and effective leaders by stimulating an awareness of the environment in which his/her organization operates and the factors that determine its success or failure by presenting a framework of practical concepts and philosophies of leadership.

This module covers the results of participant’s DISC assessment. The module helps participants to better understand how they make decisions, how they influence others, how they view change and how they view rules and procedures. This self-awareness is critical in being a more effective, understanding and insightful team member and leader.

This module will review the set of skills that capture one’s awareness of their own emotions and the emotions, of others, and how one can use this awareness to manage themselves effectively and form quality relationships. Emotional Intelligence will be reviewed as an adaptive leadership skill that allows one to become highly successful when well managed.

This interactive module provides training on the primary functions of feedback, the differences between teaching and coaching, guidelines for delivering effective feedback, guidelines for making negative feedback more effective, tools for recognizing and dealing appropriately with defensiveness in recipients, and guidelines for receiving feedback on one’s own performance.

This interactive learning module focuses on managing the sales process. Participants will cover techniques required to successfully manage and maximize their sales team, gain the ability to inspire and motivate to achieve outstanding results, receive a toolkit of practical ideas to improve their personal effectiveness as a sales manager, evaluate their own performance as well as that of their team, and gain the confidence to tackle the hardest managerial issues. This session will cover current marketing trends, digital and social media marketing, e-commerce trends, analytics, and marketing psychology. Participants will learn to build an effective sales and marketing strategy, and how to differentiate one’s product/service and company in a competitive selling environment.

In this module faculty will guide participants through interactive sessions featuring role-plays, small group activities and practice to help build value-added negotiation skills. Participants will learn to offer key benefits found in long-term relationship building; learn closing techniques and when to use them; negotiation tactics and creating win-win scenarios. Development of skills and best practices to aid in negotiating with vendors, manufacturers, contractors and in negotiating leases and loans.

The skills of effective personal and corporate branding will be studied in this module. Participants will be provided with a leader’s guide to leveraging their own personal brand as a powerful and positive marketing technique. Discussion and activities focused on exploring the connection between leader’s personal brand and their corporate brand will reveal how closely linked and important both are in creating a successful business.

This module will cover the full host of managing a home furnishings operation from front end to back end operations, including warehouse, distribution and logistics, inventory management and control, merchandising, product buying strategies and planning, visual merchandising, integrative marketing, and customer in store experience. Tools and techniques on how to analyze how all functions are performing will be covered. Change management in regards to strategy will also be reviewed.

(Course instructed by LSU faculty and Tom Olinde)

In this module participants will develop significantly higher levels of financial literacy and business acumen. They will be better able to articulate the organization’s financial and strategic imperatives, read and interpret financial reports, align their department and personal goals to overall company success, make better decisions and inspire others to do the same. Develop a big picture understanding of the company’s financial and strategic goals and articulate how the company’s objectives connect to departmental and personal goals.

This module focuses on why making the shift to strategic thinking is necessary for the individual leader and for the organization. It provides systematic approaches to effectively making decisions and solving problems. It provides practical problem-solving techniques that will drive and maintain consensus and buy-in for strategic decisions. The influence of legislative actions on the home furnishings industry as well as the importance of leaders being mindful and engaged with government activity surrounding the industry will be discussed as it relates to strategy development.

This module is designed to address human resource management issues and decisions. The following are core areas where training will be focused; HR Audits, Employee Handbooks, Managing Compensation, Policies and Procedures, Succession Planning, Performance Evaluation and Management, and Employee Relations and Labor Law.

This module will review the difference between succession planning and mere replacement planning and how to prepare people to take on the responsibilities of leadership so that the company maintains success and ensures long-term survival. The module has a primary focus on developing talent from within an organization and will cover the process of identifying key positions within the organization to ensure employees are recruited, and then developed to fill those positions. In this module participants will learn the importance and process of succession planning and review the significance of mentoring as a component of succession planning. This module will also cover the unique issues faced by family owned businesses in regard to succession planning and the need for well executed ownership transitions between family members.

HFA Members