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WJA Announces Speakers and Sponsors for Virtual 2020 Awards for Excellence

Keynote presenters include notable authors and a TED Talks speaker on corporate leadership.




Jim Hemerling and Dolly Meese

Jim Hemerling and Dolly Meese

(PRESS RELEASE) The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) has announced its keynote speakers for its online 2020 Awards for Excellence celebration taking place at 7 p.m. EDT on July 27. Jim Hemerling of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Dolly Meese of Brighthouse (a BCG company) will be speaking on business transformation, managing change and purpose.

“Jim’s and Dolly’s keynotes will explain how businesses can move confidently into a future that’s rapidly evolving,” says WJA President Jennifer Markas. “As Jim notes, these times require agility and flexibility – but asking employees to constantly adapt can take a toll if company leaders don’t inspire and empower them. Dolly’s presentation will take a deep dive into the importance of underscoring a company’s purpose as a ‘North Star’ to help teams focus on what’s constant, amid a sea of change. WJA is thrilled to partner with our Transformation sponsors, BCG and Citizen, to sponsor these timely addresses.”

Hemerling is a senior partner, managing director and fellow at Boston Consulting Group, with a focus on transforming organizations to deliver and sustain breakthrough performance. With over 25 years of experience as a senior advisor, Hemerling focuses on going beyond short-term results to bring holistic, sustainable performance to organizations. His experience includes working with clients around the world in technology, consumer, financial, and manufacturing industries. He is the author of several books and his work has appeared in magazines such as Bloomberg Businessweek, Fortune, Forbes, the Economist, Manager Magazine, and on TED Talks and CNBC.

Dolly Meese is global head of offerings and managing director of BrightHouse, a global creative consultancy that helps organizations uncover their purpose, and then translate it into growth of people, profits, and social impact. Meese has worked with Fortune 500 companies around the globe. An engineer by education, her 20 years of experience have spanned corporate America and independent owners, providing her a unique perspective for her clients. She is the co-author, with Hemerling and others, of Purpose with the Power to Transform Your Organization, and she also contributed to a paper entitled The Rewards of an Engaged Female Workforce.

The Natural Diamond Council is the Leadership sponsor of WJA’s Awards for Excellence virtual event. NDC participation supports the efforts of the WJA Foundation, and the Association’s mission to empower women through community, connection and collaboration. Winners of WJA’s recent grants and scholarships will also be highlighted.


Forevermark is the Empowerment sponsor of the event, and Jewelers of America is WJA’s Mentorship sponsor. Both organizations support the professional growth of women in the jewelry industry.

WJA will also make available two additional, but separate sessions, after its virtual event, on the topics of diversity and mentorship. The diversity conversation will center around how business can improve the outcomes for people of color by leading with purpose, and understanding the economic and professional barriers to entry. In the mentorship session, WJA will outline its extensive mentorship opportunities and explore what makes a good mentor relationship.

“The WJA Awards for Excellence gala will raise funds to support a new generation of women in the jewelry and watch industries, through our grant and scholarship programs,” says WJA Board President Jacqueline Cassaway. “This year, our online celebration’s keynote speakers will add welcome clarity on leadership during the ever-changing times in which we find ourselves. We look forward to virtually ‘seeing’ you all on July 27.”

To register for WJA’s Awards for Excellence Virtual Event, click here.

To become a sponsor, contact Markas 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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