As this HomeWorld Business preview of the International Home + Housewares Show arrives this week (February 15, 2016 issue), much of the housewares industry is feverishly preparing for the Chicago show that again runs a bit earlier than usual (March 5-8).
It’s no different in the HomeWorld offices as our team readies the hundreds of pages covering the annual show that will arrive in the mail, at the McCormick Place exhibit halls and outside all those Chicago hotel doors.
This can be a hectic time for everyone in this industry getting ready for the show, often so focused on completing the job at hand that the importance of the job can get lost in the frenzy. The importance of all the people needed to complete the job sometimes gets lost, too.
In chronicling those in the foreground of today’s housewares news, we shouldn’t lose sight of the valuable contributions by people behind the scenes whose names are unlikely to appear in HomeWorld text and headlines.
One such name is Judy Colitz.
If you don’t recognize the name, you’re probably familiar with Judy’s work. As the veteran manager of special events and executive services for the International Housewares Association, Judy choreographed many IHA-sponsored events, including the Housewares Charity Foundation gala, the Chief Housewares Executive Super Session (CHESS) conference, and the annual Global Innovation Awards (gia) gala.
With confidence and compassion, Judy’s high standards lifted the caliber and elegance of each production. And in the process, she helped lift the caliber and elegance of an industry that can seem fairly unadorned to the uninitiated.
I had the privilege of working closely with Judy on HomeWorld’s Housewares Design Awards for many years when the IHA provided support for the program and Judy was assigned to help coordinate the annual awards gala in New York City. Ever the detailed perfectionist, she would check with me often to make sure everything was in order, even though I’m certain she knew it was. And she was content to sit in a corner table at the back of the room (if she ever sat down) to let others enjoy the spotlight.
It is the saddest of ironies that Judy recently succumbed to breast cancer after giving so much of her time and talent to the Housewares Charity Foundation and its legacy cause, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Judy’s devotion lives on, though, in everything she did to help raise the bar of this industry’s commitment to giving people a little more hope.
Whether or not you knew Judy Colitz, give her a big hand. She deserves it. And she would want you to applaud everyone behind the scenes doing their part to lift the caliber of this industry.