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WJA Announces 2016-17 International Board

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Brandee Dallow, director of Rio Tinto Diamonds North America Representative Office, as the new president of the WJA International Board of Directors

(Press Release)
NEW YORK, NY – The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) elected Brandee Dallow, director of Rio Tinto Diamonds North America Representative Office, as the new president of the WJA International Board of Directors, with Jenny Luker of Platinum Guild International taking on the president-elect role. Dallow succeeds Andrea Hansen of LuxeIntelligence, who served for two years in the position.

Joining Dallow, Luker and Hansen on the 2016-17 WJA Board’s Executive Committee are Kristie Nicolosi of The Kingswood Company, treasurer, as well as two newly elected vice presidents: Michelle Peranteau of Baume et Mercier, vice president of administration; and Desiree Hanson of the NPD Group, vice president of chapter affairs.

"It is such an honor to be chosen to lead the Women’s Jewelry Association for the next two years," says Dallow. "This is a responsibility that I do not take lightly, and I will endeavor to represent the WJA with the utmost transparency and boldness. I am looking forward to working alongside such a fantastic, diverse group of board members to further the mission of our great organization – developing creative and impactful programs and initiatives that inspire the next generation of female leaders in our industry."

"Passion and commitment are hallmark characteristics of our dedicated board volunteers," says Bernadette Mack, WJA’s executive director. "WJA is fortunate to be the beneficiary of the professional and creative excellence that this new slate of directors brings."

The WJA also elected three U.S. regional directors to further bridge communications between the international board and each of the WJA chapters: Danielle Ingwer Cohen of Leo Ingwer (Eastern); Sara Commers of Commers Custom Jewelers (Central); and Clare Ullman of Clare Ullman Designs (Western).

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Ten newcomers, including two men for the first time in WJA’s history, have also been elected to the WJA Board. They include Cohen and Commers, as well as: Craig Danforth of the Gemological Institute of America, international affairs co-chair; Monica Elias of Elias World Media (EWM), sponsorship chair; Rebecca Moskal of Communique, events co-chair; Erin O’Donnell of Emerald Expositions; Maren Rosen of Stuller; Benjamin Smithee of The Smithee Group, education chair; Lauren Thompson of Jewelers of America, public relations coordinator; and Deborah Yonick of Yonick Writing Co., WJA Unplugged director. WJA Unplugged is a group formed to link WJA members not geographically located near any chapter.

WJA Board members continuing for additional two-year terms include: Lita Asscher of Royal Asscher, international affairs co-chair; Ruth Batson of the American Gem Society; Katie Dominesey of JCK Events; Peggy Jo Donahue of Donahue Communications, communications chair; Cindy Edelstein of Jeweler’s Resource Bureau, membership co-chair; Suzan Flamm of Jewelers Vigilance Committee, bylaws co-chair; Hayley Henning of True North Gems, international affairs co-chair; Debbie Hiss of Debbie Hiss Consulting, mentorship chair; Natalie Humphrey of Forevermark, events co-chair; Becka Johnson Kibby of The Edge Retail Academy, new chapter development chair; Regina Leadem, luxury goods consultant; Allison Neumann of Allison Neumann Studio, bylaws co-chair; Michelle Orman of Last Word Communications; and Fran Pennella of Benali Consulting, membership co-chair. Serving as director ex-officio is Lisa Slovis-Mandel of Lisa Slovis Metalsmiths, WJA Foundation president, who is also taking on the latter role for the first time.

Retiring board members include WJA Past Presidents Ann Arnold, Phyllis Bergman, Kendra Bridelle, Tryna Kochanek, Anna Martin and Yancy Weinrich. Other members rotating off the board include Lisa Cochin, Peggy Kirby, Nancy Moeller, Janel Russell and Diane Warga-Arias. Arnold also concluded her two-year term as president of the WJA Foundation.

"WJA thanks these distinguished women for their collective years of service to the association," says Dallow. "Many of these leaders have agreed to assist in the development of a WJA Advisory Council, so that they can continue to play an active mentorship role to women in our industry. We are grateful for their ongoing advice and the legacy of board commitment these women bring to WJA."

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