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WJA Announces 2019 Awards for Excellence Honorees

Annual gala set for Monday, July 29, during New York’s summer jewelry trade show week.




WJA Announces 2019 Awards for Excellence Honorees

Stellene Volandes, Mark Hanna, Carol Pennelli

(PRESS RELEASE) The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) has announced its 2019 honorees for the association’s annual Awards for Excellence gala, to be held Monday, July 29, 2019. The gala will once again take place at Pier 60 on the Chelsea Piers in New York City, and will continue its new Visionary format and event design for the second year.

“The Visionary Awards’ revamped program was an incredible success for WJA last year and we’re thrilled to continue this new tradition with our truly remarkable honorees in 2019,” said Jenny Luker, WJA board president. “Our Visionary Awards will go to women who have been trailblazers and the driving forces of leadership in their companies. Our Cindy Edelstein Mentorship Award will go to a man who provides exemplary support and mentorship to women.”

The two individual WJA Visionary Awards will be bestowed on Carol Pennelli, president, David Yurman; and Stellene Volandes, editor in chief, Town & Country magazine. Previous Visionary Award recipients are Mercedes Abramo, Cartier; Caryl Capeci, Hearts On Fire; Nadja Swarovski, Swarovski; and the partnership between De Beers Group & UN Women.

Mark Hanna, chief marketing officer, Richline Group, will be presented with the Cindy Edelstein Mentorship Award. Hanna is the fourth recipient of the award which was established in 2016 after the passing of Cindy Edelstein, a longtime WJA member who dedicated her life’s work to the development, encouragement, and enrichment of the lives of women in the jewelry industry. This is the first time the award recipient has been announced before the event. Previous winners of the mentorship award are Bev Hori (2018), Peggy Jo Donahue (2017), and Cindy Edelstein (posthumously in 2016).

Pennelli is the president of David Yurman, overseeing all functions outside of design and creative. She reports directly to David Yurman, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of the brand. Pennelli joined the company in 2002 as chief commercial officer, where she oversaw all aspects of David Yurman’s commercial channels, profit and loss, and general performance, including retail, wholesale, digital, and outlet businesses. Prior to joining David Yurman, she served as senior vice president of sales, education, and global special events at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.


Volandes was named editor-in-chief of Town & Country magazine in 2016. Before her appointment, Volandes had been style director at the magazine since March 2012, and before that she was jewelry & accessories director. Previous to her work at Town & Country, Volandes was style editor for Departures magazine starting in 2003. Volandes is a graduate of Vassar College, and holds a master’s degree in English and comparative literature from Columbia University. Her book, “Jeweler: Masters, Mavericks, and Visionaries of Modern Design,” was published in 2016 by Rizzoli.

Hanna is chief marketing officer of Richline Group, a Berkshire Hathaway Company. He chairs Berkshire Hathaway’s Sustainability Leadership Committee and is an active speaker and advocate on responsible issues at events such as the UL Responsible Sourcing Summit, MJSA Expo, Pure Earth, and the Jewelry Industry Summit. He serves on various boards including the Mercury-Free Mining Challenge, the Responsible Jewellery Council, the Special Olympics, and the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance. The CMO Club named Hanna the 2015 and 2018 CMO of Year, Corporate Social Responsibility.

“WJA congratulates our honorees for their distinguished achievements. The elevated event experience we’ve been able to present through the Visionary Awards program runs parallel with the strides WJA is making programmatically for its members. We’re leading the charge for progress in areas that matter most to women in the industry: mentorship, gender equality, financial support through scholarships and grants, and making connections,” said WJA Executive Director Bernadette Mack.

At its annual Awards for Excellence gala, WJA brings together industry leaders for a social evening that also raises money for its scholarships and grants for women. A silent auction will again be mounted to raise additional funds for these important causes. Sponsorships for the gala are currently available. Please contact WJA Executive Director Bernadette McGovern Mack at: Tickets to the awards gala will go on sale later this month.



She Wanted to Spend More Time with Her Kids. She Called Wilkerson.

Your children are precious. More precious than gold? Absolutely! Just ask Lesley Ann Davis, owner of Lesley Ann Jewels, an independent jewelry store that — until the end of 2023 — had quite a following in Houston, Texas. To spend more time with her four sons, all in high school, she decided to close her store. Luckily, she was familiar with Wilkerson and called them as soon as she knew she wanted to move on to bigger, better and more family-focused things. Was she happy with her decision? Yes, she was. Says Davis, “Any owner looking to make that life change, looking to retire, looking to close, looking for a pause in their career, I would recommend Wilkerson. Hands down!”

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