The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is making plans to celebrate three distinguished industry leaders at the annual ADL National Home Furnishings Industry Tribute Dinner set for June 13, 2019 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. Funds raised support the international organization’s efforts to combat anti-Semitism, bigotry and all forms of prejudice.
Slated for honors this year are Michael Traub, chief executive of Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC; Simon Kaplan, chief executive and chairman of Crest Furniture; Ellen Gefen, president of the Gefen Company, Inc.
“ADL is one of the nation’s premier human relations and civil rights agencies, so it’s fitting that all three of these individuals are being recognized not only for their accomplishments in the home furnishings industry, but also for their modeling and influence of positive change in the community and the workplace,” relates Neil Goldberg, chairperson of ADL’s National Home Furnishings Industry chapter. “As an industry, we are proud to be traveling with these three people on the path to building a better world.”
At the awards tribute dinner, Michael Traub will receive ADL’s Humanitarian Award, “presented to those individuals who personify the highest ideals of our nation and ADL,” Goldberg describes. “They translate the vision of freedom, justice and equality into a living reality.”
Retailer Simon Kaplan will receive ADL’s Lifetime Achievement Award, created to recognize those who have demonstrated love, compassion and sensitivity for mankind, through contributions of time, energy and efforts with their commitment to spreading the message of ADL among friends, colleagues and the community. An industry icon, and World War II-combat veteran, Kaplan founded Crest Furniture, based in Dayton, N.J., in 1971.
Gefen—who has provided generations of retailers, manufacturers and consumers with an in-depth look at the best in home furnishings products and designs—will be presented with ADL’s American Heritage Award. The award was established to honor leaders in the business and professional world who in their careers and communities personify the ideals of the nation and the spirit of the ADL and serve as shining examples to others for their leadership, dedication and energy.
The National Home Furnishings Industry honors individuals annually for their dedication, leadership, accomplishments and contributions to the Home Furnishings Industry, while providing influence and inspiration for positive change in the community. The division continues to be the leading industry fundraiser for ADL. The industry board lead by Chair Neil Goldberg serve as ADL ambassadors across the country helping to raising awareness about ADL’s important and timely work in local communities and businesses.
More on the honorees:
Ellen Gefen: Ellen is president of The Gefen Company, Inc., founded more than three decades ago in partnership with her husband Mark. She pioneered the use of video and later web-based reporting through “The Home Fashion Report,” a professionally produced television show broadcast twice a year from the High Point Market. She is equally adept on both sides of the camera educating viewers about trends, and regularly shares her insights on CBS Morning News, NBC’s Weekend Today, and via national and regional magazines and newspapers. Off camera, Ellen is equally influential, advising and mentoring decision-makers in every segment of the home furnishings industry with her simple, “do the right thing” philosophy.
Simon Kaplan: Simon Kaplan is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman for Crest Furniture. A veteran of World War II, Simon came home to New Jersey with a Purple Heart, and the Bronze Star. He founded Crest Furniture in 1948. Simon’s love of the furniture industry has led to the expansion of his business including nine Value City locations, and nine Ashley Home Stores, with more to come. With over 70 years of experience in the furniture industry, Simon is determined to stay active in the following his “Project 100” mission; he hopes to live to 100 (at the minimum) and plans to continue the work he loves.
Michael Traub: Michael Traub is Chief Executive Officer of Serta Simmons Bedding (SSB), LLC, the world’s largest bedding company. He was appointed CEO on January 1, 2016 and is responsible for overseeing Serta International and Simmons Bedding Company’s operations in the U.S. and Canada. Under Michael’s leadership, SSB is focused on enhancing its market leadership position and delivering profitable growth across SSB’s portfolio of Serta and Simmons Beautyrest products and brands. Michael joined SSB as President of Serta in September 2014 and has since demonstrated his leadership and operational capabilities across a range of corporate functions and brand initiatives. He brings nearly 25 years of industry experience to SSB, having worked for leading global brands in a variety of sales, marketing, manufacturing, distribution and finance roles.
About ADL: ADL is a leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education and fighting hate online, ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate. For more information, visit www.adl.org.