High Point Market is a place of where my Design Tribe gathers. The buyers, the influencers, the Designerlebrities, the Makers. It is a mecca of the most beautiful home furnishings, talent, creativity and in my opinion, has the fiercest boss ladies around. I feel confident in saying this because these are the ladies that have paved the way for us other women in what is historically a male-centric industry.
In this blog post I share with you a treasure. She is wise, she is savvy, she is stylish, and perhaps the biggest blessing is that she is a friend. In a competitive industry, with an unforgiving calendar of markets and countless launches of new products, Ms. Lois Del Negro, CFO of Global Views makes has a steady, chich style that whispers ferocity. She is an inspiration to me not only professionally but also in spirit.
We began our journey together as maker and client. Now we orbit together and try to enjoy high tea in whatever town we are in. I like it because in a world of fierce, we are two ladies in the world sitting down and, well, being ladies. Ladies with watercress sandwiches, pretty macaroons, and maybe an outfit that doesn't need to survive a long market day. I hope you enjoy this casual chat which began at The Palm Court over High Tea at the Plaza Hotel (The Plaza Hotel in New York City is a landmark and a Beaux-arts masterpiece, built in 1907 and occupying a prime piece of New York City real estate near the fabled corner of Fifth Avenue and Central Park South.) and finished at the High Point Market this past April.
Before I begin, I’d like to share that we had the “New Yorker” Tea and it was completely delightful! Especially the smoked salmon with pumpernickel and the pain d’epice eclair… sooo yummy and ladylike!
Interview with Ms. Lois Del Negro
AS: Good morning Lois
LD: Good morning Aviva.
AS: How are you?
LD: I’m fine, thank you.
AS: We’re at High Point Market in April 2019 and I’m just going to jump right in even though we started our conversation at High Tea in NYC. How do we know each other?
Lois and I had afternoon tea at The Plaza Hotel
LD: We met through the industry and we… it’s one of those things when you meet some people you feel you’ve known them in a previous life.
AS: It’s like that, right?
LD: And I think that’s us.
AS: That is us. That is us! I think that I was trying to remember how we knew each other and I feel like it might have been you floated into the showroom and you bought something. And you had a really good eye… it was something unusual. But then I realize that in a funny way I felt that I had known you for a long time. Also, I noticed right away that you have a very, very good eye. 😀
LD: I bought a beaded throw.
AS: Yes it was a one-of-a-kind tapestry!
LD: It was a tapestry and it sits in my New York apartment and everyone that comes in goes “Where did you get it?”
AS: It was a really good piece -- with a lot of hand work.
LD: Yes it was a really good piece. It was a unique, one-of-a-kind piece.
AS: Yes it was. As most of my things are. Ms. Lois, may I ask you what you do, your title and the amazing post that you have?
LD: I am with Global Views, I'm the CFO and I also handle Hospitality and International Sales.
AS: Thank you. And how long have you been in the Home Furnishings Industry?
LD: Well, I actually started at Macy’s in 1974 on their training squad.
AS: When you were 7.
LD: When I was 7, of course. I was a prodigy.
AS: Yes, yes, me too. I started when I was 7 also. And this blog post, as most of my blog posts are, are about helping people, women specifically, on their journey and inspiring them to empower themselves and chase their dreams. I have a few basic questions which I always ask everybody. And my first one is: “What is your spirit animal?” Just to make it break the ice.
LD: You know I thought about it. And I think my spirit animal is a bird of some kind. Not a specific bird.
AS: One that flies?
LD: Maybe it’s a hummingbird. One that constantly moves in order to keep itself alive.
AS: Yes I understand that spirit. A lot.
LD: They say a hummingbird never really stops flying, they’re always constantly in motion. So maybe that’s my spirit animal.
AS: I think that’s appropriate Ms. Lois. And the other thing I ask is “Do you believe in magic?”
LD: I do believe in magic.
AS: What does that look like to you?
LD: Magic is when something happens in your life that you don’t expect to happen at the time that it happens. But it fulfills the need that you have at that moment.
AS: I also believe there is magic in connectivity between people…
AS: ...and the chemistry and the things that occur when those worlds collide or are harmonious together whether it’s a friendship or by your merchant or partnership in business and I enjoy that magic that you and I have.
AS: It makes me feel like I have a secret weapon in my back pocket.
LD: True, it really does.
AS: Yes, and a friend, actually because we tea together, right? Round one was at tea at the Plaza.
Aviva: The other thing is I know that you travel a bit as do I. May I ask you what you keep in your hand luggage, your hand parcel, when you go on an airplane to keep you comfortable and sorted?
LD: I received a gift from a very special friend.
AS: (laughter) You don’t have to say that!
LD: It is my little cashmere travel set which I have absolutely bonded with.
AS: Lois, this is not an advertisement, you don’t have to mention it!
LD: No, but I have to tell you I have used it consistently.
AS: It’s perfect right? ( I had gifted Ms. Lois a cashmere jetsetter kit. (Click here to purchase.)
LD: Yeah, I’ve used it consistently. I have my iPhone with my earbuds. I always carry a magazine with me. I have sinus spray. (laughter)
AS: Practical things!
LD: And hand sanitizer.
AS: Oh me too, yeah that’s a good one.
AS: I like to inquire about journey -- about detours and challenges along the way. What are the three thoughts of advice that you would give somebody that maybe has a question about their path or not sure what they're doing, or how to do it? You gave me some really good words last time, I’m hoping that you can share with us.
LD: I think the most important thing is to be true to yourself, don’t let obstacles stop you, “No” is not a word you should accept. I am a three-time cancer survivor. And the most important thing is to have a plan. It doesn’t have to be a formal plan, but to have a guideline and stick to that guideline and be true to yourself. Be true to yourself.
AS: Yes. So Ms. Lois you’re the complete Girl Boss right? Actually, more like a Lady Boss!
AS: And that, I imagine would come with challenges as well as “Hoorays.” And there’s not a lot of women in your position heading up as large of a company that Global is. Is that challenging for you? That sounds pretty challenging. I mean, you’re in my “fierce lady” category. Do you feel you’re pretty fierce in the post?
Lois on stage at the ARTS Awards
LD: I don't’ feel fierce. I feel that my job, especially in my stage of life, is to pass on all of the knowledge that I have accumulated. When I started out in this industry there were no women and you had to forge going ahead on your own and if you can impart to the next generation and the generation after that some of the things that you’ve learned and mentor them -- that's the important thing that I see the job. The actual details of what I do in the financial area is one aspect; it is taking all that knowledge to the next step and the next generation which I think is the important part of my job at this point in time.
AS: I think that’s really good too, to give back and to grow a foundation.
LD: Yeah, this is my job right now.
AS: Lastly, sort of in the spirit of passing things on, I like to, together, gift somebody you’re grateful to or admire. Someone that you think that they’re doing a good job just for the spirit of giving and being grateful. Who might that be for you because I’m going to send them something from the both of us?
LD: I have been blessed with some really good friends in my life. One who I’ve known since I was 5. And I’ve made some really good friends in this industry. Mary Wilson of Left Bank Art has become a friend, and a confidante. When I was undergoing my treatment for my last cancer thing, she was my inspiration because she too is a cancer survivor.
AS: I orbit with her because I collaborate on an art collection with Left Bank Art. She is a very special lady.
LD: She’s like a sister from a different mother.
AS: I'm going to send her a little salutation from us, just because. And I hope that you don’t mind that I do that from both of us.
LD: Thank you for doing that.
AS: No problem, it's my pleasure.
AS: Lois thank you so much for taking the time to hang out with me for a few moments during busy, busy market. You know, I am very grateful for our friendship and I thank you for that.
LD: And thank you for your friendship.
AS: Thank you for that too.