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Commentary: The Business

Here’s How We Can Level The Playing Field For Women In The Jewelry Industry

The Women’s Jewelry Association empowers women to lead and succeed.




THE FUTURE SUCCESS of the jewelry industry calls for empowering more female leaders and connecting with the women who wear our products. As executive director of the Women’s Jewelry Association, the premier empowerment organization for women in the jewelry and watch industries over the past three decades, I see women striving for opportunities to lead each day.

Next month, the Women’s Jewelry Association is launching the March is Me Month campaign, a consumer-marketing initiative developed by over 30 women executives in the industry to empower female consumers to self-purchase. Women designing for women and women marketing to women makes sense. We are bringing together retailers, manufacturers and brands across many segments of our industry to participate in an industry-wide self-purchase campaign.

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At its core, the Women’s Jewelry Association’s mission is to grow and cultivate women leaders. We believe education is the most powerful tool to boost confidence and professional success, and we have robust programming that caters to our members’ needs coast to coast. In 2020, we will launch a new strategic plan focused on building a pipeline of diverse talent, enabling more women to become successful in business and continuing our strong mentorship program. We also offer training to our chapter leaders on how to run effective boards and provide members the opportunity to take ownership of complex projects.

Our members are present and future leaders. Some members are already tasked with making critical decisions in their professional lives that affect hundreds, if not thousands, of employees, suppliers, miners, manufacturers and consumers. Other members are students and recent graduates preparing to embark on their careers in jewelry design, gemology and retail. Still others are trying to maintain a work-life balance while managing high-performing teams inside corporate companies and brands. The industry needs to continue cultivating a culture of opportunity and inclusion for women.

The Women’s Jewelry Association is proud to welcome both men and women into its membership. We embrace our male members because connecting with them means we are building stronger bonds and business relationships. Working toward equality in the workplace in our industry is no small feat. It cannot be done without the mentorship and advocacy of our male colleagues. We need to continue harnessing their support so that we can level the field when it comes to more women in the boardroom, more money in our paychecks, and greater access to capital to grow our businesses.

There’s still much to be done, but the Women’s Jewelry Association is excited to work with our sponsors, our partners and other associations in 2020 to continue advancing women and creating more opportunities for them to lead and succeed.


Jennifer Markas is the executive director of the Women’s Jewelry Association.



Wilkerson Testimonials

When Liquidation Is the Best Option, This Legendary Jeweler Chose Wilkerson

George Koueiter & Sons Jewelers, a 65-year old jewelry institution in Grosse Pointe, MI, had always been a mainstay in this suburban Detroit community. But when owners George and Paul Koueiter were ready to retire, they made the decision to close rather than sell. “We decided our best option to do the liquidation sale was Wilkerson,” says Paul Koueiter. The results, says George Koueiter, exceeded expectations and the process was easy. “Wilkerson just kept us in mind,” says George. “They never did anything without asking and whatever they asked us to do was just spot on.”

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