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  • Gift for Life

Gift for Life Announces Changes to Board of Directors

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

November 8, 2023 — Gift for Life, the gift, stationery and home decor industries’ sole national charitable organization, announced today the addition of two newcomers – Kim Mancuso-Telford, General Manager for NY NOW, and Kate Duff of Claxton Consulting – to its 24-member board of directors.


“We’re delighted that Kate and Kim have joined the GFL Board. We welcome the energy, expertise and customer-centric approach they each bring to our ranks,” said Ari Lowenstein, Gift for Life chair. “We look forward to both of these newcomers playing an active role not only in raising Gift for Life’s industry profile, but also in expanding its impact.”



From left: Kate Duff, founder of Claxton Consulting; Kim Mancuso-Telford, general manager, NY NOW.


Kate Duff is the founder of Claxton Consulting, a solutions partner to the Home & Gift industry, offering strategic guidance and operational expertise. She brings years of sales, business development and management experience from her time at Pomegranate, Archipelago Botanicals, 3FLOZ and Vizability.


“After all these years in the gift industry and seeing all the good that Gift for Life has done, I'm thrilled to be joining the board,” said Duff. “I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and helping wherever I can!”


Kim Mancuso-Telford is the General Manager for NY NOW, leading the team in the evolution of a premier wholesale event and marketplace. On a mission to better service the retail industry, she is passionate about developing and motivating teams, building community and creating unique opportunities for clients.


“I’m excited to be joining the Gift for Life Board of Directors and supporting this incredible organization,” said Mancuso-Telford. “It is a privilege that ignites my passion to advocate for meaningful change and give back to the community.”


In addition to welcoming the two newcomers, Gift for Life also bid a fond farewell to former chairman, Matthew Katzenson of Fine Lines, and Nancy Michael of the International Housewares Association, who are stepping down after decades on the board.


“We want to offer our heartfelt thanks to Matt Katzenson, who was a former chair of Gift for Life, and Nancy Michael for their many years of service,” said Ari Lowenstein, current chair. “Their leadership, passion, energy and fundraising efforts helped to shape the organization and make it the charitable powerhouse it is today.”


The Gift for Life Board is now comprised of 24 recognized leaders in the gift, home and stationery industries. Members are: Jessica Barile of Design Works Collective; Kelly Bristol of Just Got 2 Have It; Maureen Carpenter of The Queen's Jewels; Sheila Charton of Springboard Futures; Randa Crisler of The Portico Collection, Inc.; Cole Daugherty of Dallas Market Center; Kate Duff of Claxton Consulting, Wes Hardin of Diverse Marketing; Emalee Hoffman of Orange Circle Studio/Studio Oh!; Angela Jacobson of Stephen Joseph; Russ Jones of Ivystone; Amy Loewenberg of NY NOW + SF NOW, Emerald X; Ari Lowenstein of Emergent Workshop/Ari’s Pantry; Julie McCallum of Gift Shop Plus; Kim Mancuso-Telford of NY NOW; Landon Metts of MarketTime; Sarah Mount of ANDMORE; Andrea Padilla of Transpac; Fred Rosenkampff of The Link Companies; Peter Schauben of Schauben & Co.; Angela Schmook of Road Runners; Cathy Steel of Steel Associates; Crystal Vilkiatis of Crystal Media; and Lenise Willis of Gifts & Decorative Accessories.


Founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen (WCK) uses the power of food to nourish communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis and beyond. To date, it has served 300 million meals to communities across the globe. When disaster strikes, WCK’s Chef Relief Team mobilizes to the front lines making sure there is always a warm meal, an encouraging word and a helping hand.


Donations will be used to support emergency food relief efforts and resilience programs. For information, visit www.wck.org. Gift for Life was founded in 1992 by a small group of gift industry professionals responding to the tragic loss of friends and colleagues because of AIDS. Since then, Gift for Life has raised nearly $6M for AIDS research and education and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment with charity partners AmfAR (American Foundation for AIDS Research) (1992-2007) and DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (2008-2020). In 2021, with COVID-19 temporarily causing cancelation of in-person events at industry markets, Gift for Life pivoted towards online digital events with a specific emphasis on COVID-related hunger relief, and World Central Kitchen’s global crisis-related hunger relief efforts. More information is available at www.facebook.com/giftforlife.


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