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2017 Jewelry Industry Summit Announces Agenda and Speakers




It will take place Jan. 29-30.

The Jewelry Industry Summit, an open forum on sustainability and responsible sourcing, announced an agenda, along with speakers and sponsors, for its second two-day meeting to be held Jan. 29-30 at the Tucson Convention Center.

The Summit’s goals are fourfold:

  • Generate broad-based awareness of facts related to the jewelry industry supply chain and responsible sourcing, and explore what works and what does not.
  • Learn about and review progress on current industry-wide initiatives and developments related to sustainable business practices and responsible sourcing.
  • Develop shared visions for key stages of the jewelry industry supply chain that support the broader industry vision for sustainable business and responsible sourcing.
  • Design prototypes of tools and strategies that enable businesses in the supply chain to make progress through continuous improvement.

The summit agenda includes two days of morning and afternoon sessions, during which participants gather in small groups at tables and work on guided problem solving of a variety of issues. Speakers accompany both morning sessions and the first afternoon one.

On Day One in the morning, participants will tackle “Strengths, Opportunities and Aspirations” and hear from speaker Lisa Manley, executive vice president, sustainability strategy & communications, at Cone Communications, a public relations and marketing agency that specializes in corporate responsibility communications and strategy. Cone is also known for its series of studies on consumer expectations of responsible business, which demonstrate that consumers globally believe companies have an explicit responsibility to drive social and environmental change, and to address these issues through their operations, their products and services and their unique expertise.

After lunch, the afternoon session of Day One will open with speaker Thea Polancic, managing partner of ClearSpace LLC, a Chicago-based consulting firm. She is also the founder and chair of the Chicago chapter of Conscious Capitalism, which builds on the foundations of classic capitalism principles: voluntary exchange, entrepreneurship, competition, freedom to trade and the rule of law – and adds other elements, including trust, compassion, collaboration and value creation.

Once Polancic finishes, participants will work on “Imagining the Future of Industry Segments” and “Identifying Key Elements of a Sustainable Future.” A reception ends the first day.


On Day Two, the summit opens with speaker Bob Mitchell, vice president of social and environmental responsibility for the Electronics Industry Citizen Coalition. EICC members commit to and are held accountable to a common Code of Conduct and utilize a range of EICC training and assessment tools to support continuous improvement in the social, environmental and ethical responsibility of the global electronics supply chain. After Mitchell’s talk, participants will work on “Identifying Possibilities to Support Sustainability by Industry Segment” and “Exploring Possibilities to Support Sustainability.”

On the last afternoon of the summit, the summit groups will work on “Prototyping Tools, Strategies, Initiatives” and “Rapid Stress Testing of Prototypes.” The final session will wrap up with “Refine, Redesign, and Plan for Prototypes.”

Sponsors for the summit at press time include the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), Signet Jewelers Ltd., ABN AMRO Bank, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), SCS Global, the Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences (AIGS), the Rapaport Group and media partner The New Jeweller magazine.

The Summit’s poster sessions, a popular feature at the last gathering, will commence on Sunday evening during the cocktail reception. Posters will address the challenges the jewelry industry faces pertaining to responsible sourcing in its supply chain for precious metals, gems and pearls. A representative from each  organization sponsoring a poster will be on hand for questions. Deadline for participation in the poster sessions is Jan. 23, 2017. Applicants should act quickly, as there is a limit of 20 posters. Contact Richard Nehls at with your expression of interest.

The planning committee for the second summit includes: Jeff Bilgore – AGTA / Jeffrey Bilgore LLC; Cecilia Gardner, Jewelers Vigilance Committee; Cleo Zancope Gnatek, Jane Taylor Jewelry; Doug Hucker, AGTA; Christina Miller, Christina Tatiana Miller Consulting; Richard Nehls, LA Rocks; Mike Pace, Diamond Producers Association; Sam Shiroff, Signet Jewelers; and Barbara Wheat, Gemalytics LLC / Natural Colored Diamond Association.

Cheri Torres and Mike Feinson of Innovation Partners are again working with the committee to design and facilitate the summit. To learn more about them, visit


The Summit is funded by donor companies and individuals, as well as by the registration fees of attendees. Cost to attend this year is $275, which includes a reception on the evening of Jan. 29, coffee breaks, and lunches. It also includes a free registration for the AGTA GemFair at the Tucson Convention Center, which runs Jan. 31-Feb. 5.

Attendees are expected to include both larger and smaller companies that have already made significant commitments to responsible sourcing and sustainability. But the summit also enthusiastically welcomes industry members who are new to the topic of sustainability and responsible sourcing, from miners, cutters, and manufacturers to wholesalers, designers and retailers. It will also invite representatives from banks, accountants, insurers, consultancies, governments, associations, media and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to attend. Already, the Summit has registered participants from 12 countries.

To register for the 2017 Jewelry Industry Summit, visit

Act quickly, as the summit sold out last year. While at the site, you can also review the outcomes of the March 2016 summit and discover resources and information related to sustainable business practices and responsible sourcing.

To learn more about summit sponsorship opportunities, visit

For all other information regarding group registration, scholarships or sponsorships, contact Barbara Wheat at




This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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