Danbury businessman got start mountain climbing
DANBURY — Farooq Kathwari got his first job because of his love of mountain climbing.
The chairman, CEO and president of Ethan Allen Interiors grew up hiking in his home region of Kashmir. It was that interest that led him to his first job on Wall Street and to becoming the head of the Danbury-based furniture company with more than 300 stores across the country and world.
He will discuss that journey at 6 p.m. Monday in the ballroom of the Western Connecticut State University Westside Campus Center. A reception will be held at 5 p.m.
Kathwari outlines his story in his new memoir, “Trailblazer: From the Mountains of Kashmir to the Summit of Global Business and Beyond.” He will sign copies of the book at the event.
After earning a master’s degree in business from New York University, Kathwari went floor-to-floor on a Wall Street building to introduce himself to businesses. He was hired when the human resources director for Bear Stearns saw on Kathwari’s application that the two shared an interest in mountain climbing.
“The mountains got me the job,” Kathwari said in a press release.
Around the time he turned 26, Kathwari met Ethan Allen founder Nathan Ancell. Later, 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.”
The program 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.
Register for the free event online or by calling 203-837-9820.