Farooq Kathwari, chairman, CEO and president of Ethan Allen Interiors, has written a memoir that chronicles his childhood in Kashmir, his arrival in America, and his path to the leadership one of the world’s iconic furniture companies.
Kathwari will discuss his book, “Trailblazer: From the Mountains of Kashmir to the Summit of Global Business and Beyond,” at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18, in the ballroom of the Western Connecticut State University Westside Campus Center, 43 Lake Ave. Extension, Danbury. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is requested at alumni.wcsu.edu/kathwari or (203) 837-9820.
The event is designed as a “conversation,” moderated by Dr. Chris Kukk, director of the Kathwari Honors Program at WCSU, and Anusha Atique, a Kathwari Honors student. Kathwari will also sign copies of his book. A 5 p.m. reception will precede the conversation.
Kathwari grew up in Kashmir, a region known for being under the disputed control of both India and Pakistan – and for its mountains. As it happened, Kathwari’s love of mountain climbing helped him in his business career.
After graduating from New York University with an M.B.A., he was determined to find a job in finance on Wall Street. Knowing no one in the industry, he started at No. 1 Wall Street and began introducing himself to businesses on the first floor. On the 16th floor, he met the human resources director for Bear Stearns, who saw that in his application, Kathwari listed mountain climbing as a pastime. The HR director liked mountain climbing too, and hired him.
“The mountains got me the job,” Kathwari said.
At about the time he turned 26, Kathwari met Ethan Allen founder Nathan Ancell. Eventually, he took over Ancell’s job as CEO.
“I used to think, ‘Why did he do it when there were so many talented people with much more experience?’” Kathwari said. “Now when I look at the capabilities of people — that spirit of entrepreneurship, of adventure — that Nat Ancell saw in me, I better understand, because I am looking for people like that.”
For more information, call the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.