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WJA Awards for Excellence Nominees Announced

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Winners will be named in July.

(Press Release) POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – The Women’s Jewelry Association has announced its nominees for the association’s annual Awards for Excellence. The awards are given to female professionals in the jewelry and/or watch industries who have demonstrated significant achievements throughout their careers in categories that include: design; manufacturer, dealer, supplier; merchandising and product development; business services; large-scale, independent, and open-format retail; marketing and communications; and editorial media.

This year, the WJA Awards for Excellence categories were reviewed and redefined, as necessary, in a committee led by WJA Awards and Ballots Chair Jennifer Heebner. “An eligible nominee must have a reputation for integrity, honesty, high ethical standards, and credibility, according to the new WJA Awards for Excellence criteria,” said Heebner. “She also must devote time and effort to help women in the jewelry industry excel.”

The winner in each category will be announced at the WJA Awards for Excellence gala on Monday, July 24, 2017. The awards will be presented at Pier 60 on New York’s Chelsea Piers.

The 2017 WJA Awards for Excellence nominees are:

Category 1 – Design

Wendy Brandes, owner/president, Wendy Brandes Jewelry; Deirdre Featherstone, founder, Featherstone Fine Jewelry; Annie Koenig, president, Annie K. Jewelry; and Pippa Small, owner, Pippa Small.

Category 2 – Manufacturer, Dealer, Supplier

Maureen Murphy, group director of customer service, Lee’s Manufacturing; Betty Sue King, owner, King’s Ransom; and Gabriella Harvey, director of procurement and product services, Gemfields.

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Category 3 – Merchandising & Product Development

Anna Samsonova, assistant fashion buyer, Ben Bridge Jeweler; Nan Lung Palmer, owner and managing director, FACEts Jewelry Consulting; and Laura Klemt, president, Artistry, Ltd.

Category 4 – Business Services

Pat Henneberry, vice president of learning and development, Hearts On Fire; Jo-Ann Sperano, paralegal/mediation specialist, Jewelers Vigilance Committee; Judith Shechter, director of global business development, Gemological Institute of America; and Rachel Jackson, vice president of client solutions, ERCBPO, and former director of jewelry, XO Group.

Category 5A – Large-Scale Retail

Carol Pennelli, president and chief commercial officer, David Yurman; Judy Fisher, senior vice president of merchandising, Signet Jewelers; and Lisa Bridge, vice president of education, and designer, Ben Bridge Jeweler.

Category 5B – Independent Retail

Alexis Padis, director of operations, Padis Jewelry; Jan Rose, owner, Rose Jewelers; Tara Silberberg, owner, The Clay Pot; and Melissa Quick, president, Steve Quick Jeweler.

Category 5C – Open-Format Retail

Nadine Kahane, founder & CEO, Stone & Strand; Beth Gerstein, co-CEO, Brilliant Earth; and Sophie Kahn & Bouchra Ezzahraoui, co-founders, AUrate New York.

Category 6 – Marketing and Communications

Olga González, CEO/founder, Pietra PR; Donna Jolly, director of marketing, American Gem Society and AGS Laboratories; Megan Whitmire, marketing manager, American Gem Trade Association; and Monica Elias, CEO, Elias World Media.

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Category 7 -Media: Editorial

Eileen McClelland, managing editor, INSTORE magazine; Brecken Branstrator, senior editor, National Jeweler; Barbara Palumbo, founder/editor-in-chief, Adornmentality; and Severine Ferrari, editor in chief, Engagement 101.

Earlier this year, nominations for the WJA Awards for Excellence were submitted by WJA members and industry professionals through an electronic nominations process open to all. The awards committee, consisting of past winners of the awards, then selected the final nominees in each category. Ultimately, a secret online ballot will be held, and each individual on the committee will vote for her choice of winner in each category. The votes are tallied at WJA headquarters, and the names of the winners are kept a tightly guarded secret until the evening of the gala.

Along with announcing the WJA Awards for Excellence winners, the gala also celebrates three WJA Hall of Fame honorees. Announced earlier this year, the 2017 honorees are: Cecilia Gardner, president, CEO, and general counsel of Jewelers Vigilance Committee, who will receive the WJA Lifetime Achievement Award; Michael Pollak, CEO of Hyde Park Jewelers, who will receive the Ben Kaiser Award; and Day’s Jewelers, which will receive the WJA Corporate Award.

“WJA congratulates our 2017 WJA Awards for Excellence nominees, each of whom has demonstrated significant achievements throughout their careers,” said Brandee Dallow, president of the Women’s Jewelry Association. “We look forward to applauding our honorees and nominees at the WJA Awards for Excellence gala on July 24.”

The WJA Awards for Excellence gala has been a part of the industry’s social calendar since 1984. The evening raises money for scholarships and grants to deserving women entering or working in the jewelry industry. A silent auction and raffle will again be mounted in 2017 to raise funds for these important causes. WJA scholarships and grants are managed by the WJA Foundation, a 501(c)3 corporation.

“The Awards for Excellence Gala is our prime opportunity to raise funds for our scholarship and grants program,” said WJA Executive Director Bernadette Mack. “We are grateful to all of our honorees, nominees, attendees, and sponsors for their dedication in participating in this event, to invest in the new women entrepreneurs, veterans, and students who win our grants and scholarships. Last year, the WJA Awards for Excellence Gala raised $40,000 for these cash awards. Our goal is to top that amount in 2017.”

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Tickets for the gala are now on sale here: www.womensjewelryassociation.com/awardsforexcellence

A few select sponsorship opportunities at the Gala, considered one of the industry’s top networking events of the year, are also still available. Interested companies or individuals can contact WJA Executive Director Bernadette Mack, bernadette@womensjewelryassociation.com, for more information, or click here:
www.womensjewelryassociation.com/Files/WJA-AwardsForExcellence-Sponsorship-web.pdf

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Diamond Empowerment Fund Now Doing Business As Diamonds Do Good

The change will be celebrated at DDG’s signature event June 1 in Las Vegas.

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(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK – Seizing on the simplicity, significance and resonance of its “Diamonds Do Good” tagline, the Diamond Empowerment Fund announced that it will evolve its business name to Diamonds Do Good. In keeping with the change, the non-profit organization has reimagined its logo and will be doing the same to its signature Las Vegas event held on the eve of the opening of the JCK Show.

Inspired by Nelson Mandela in 2007, over the past 12+ years the Diamond Empowerment Fund’s mission has supported programs that develop and empower people in diamond communities around the world. In recent years, its mission expanded to exemplify and tell the stories of the good that natural diamonds do for people in the communities where they’re mined, cut, polished, and sold. Those stories have resonated with consumers and the trade alike: consumers have a better image of the natural diamond industry, and are more interested in purchasing a natural diamond after reading the ‘do good’ stories hosted on diamondsdogood.com. Likewise, members of the industry now identify their own sustainability programs under the ‘do good’ banner and use #diamondsdogood in their social media outreach, further building on the message and ensuring that diamonds continue to be a source of sustained economic development around the world.

Having created and trademarked the Diamonds Do Good name in 2014, the organization will now identify itself under this moniker moving forward, and has rebranded itself with a fresh, new look to mark this evolution. It will be celebrated at DDG’s signature event June 1 in Las Vegas, as a reimagined evening and experience that draws the industry’s top global leaders.

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Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair to Be back in February 2020

Respond by February 14th, 2019 to get special free privilege for Trade Missions.

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(PRESS RELEASE) Apart from showcasing extravagant collections of jewelry and offering an international trading platform twice a year, the Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair has become a place where trust is established, and where business partners have turned into friends from long years of trading.

With quality products from manufacturers, traders and designers, lasting relations could be enhanced at the 65th edition of the Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair from February 25 to 29, 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand.

For the pre-registration form, click here. Email the form back at ttclausa@att.net or FAX: 323 466 1559.

Respond by February 14th, 2019 to get special free privilege for Trade Missions.

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Jewelers Mutual Donates $500,000 to Three Organizations in Charitable Campaign for 2019

The amounts donated to these organizations were based on votes by the company’s personal jewelry policyholders.

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(PRESS RELEASE) NEENAH, WI — In honor of Giving Tuesday, Jewelers Mutual Group announced the culmination of its charitable campaign for 2019, resulting in $500,000 in donations to three deserving organizations. Funds were distributed this week to Feeding America, the Kids In Need Foundation and Special Olympics. The amounts donated to these organizations were based on votes by the company’s personal jewelry policyholders.

“It is important to have our policyholders be a part of our give back efforts because we share a mutual passion to help others in need. By encouraging them to vote, they made their voices heard, and were able to support the causes they are passionate about,” said Scott Murphy, Jewelers Mutual president and CEO. “Together, we really can do more, and we’re thrilled with the interest, engagement and the results this campaign has received both locally and on a national level.”

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More than 40,000 votes were made by Jewelers Mutual policyholders during the five-month voting period. Based on policyholder votes, Feeding America received $178,300, Kids In Need Foundation received $169,500, and Special Olympics received $147,200. Donations will also be made to Canadian organizations with similar missions.

How policyholders’ votes and corresponding Jewelers Mutual donations impacted the three organizations:

  • Feeding America
    The donation of $178,300 helps provide at least 1,783,000 meals.*
  • Kids In Need Foundation
    The donation of $169,395 supplies over 820 classrooms and 21,000 under-served students with supplies and resources. Additionally, Jewelers Mutual became the first national sponsor of GiftATeacher.org, a program which funds and provides enough school supplies to supply an entire classroom for a full semester.
  • Special Olympics
    The donation of $147,200 by Jewelers Mutual helped train approximately 2,450 Special Olympics athletes and provide a significant and life changing impact for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Jewelers Mutual encourages and supports its employees to be socially responsible and involved in their community. In addition to the dollars being donated, employees volunteered their time to assist all three organizations in 2019– sorting meals and stocking food for Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, a member of the Feeding America network; taking part in the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics; and, packing and distributing 2,000 backpacks for the Kids In Need Foundation.

Jewelers Mutual looks forward to continuing its philanthropic pursuits in 2020 to support charitable organizations important to its employees and policyholders. For more information on how Jewelers Mutual gives back, visit JewelersMutual.com/social-responsibility and check out this video and infographic highlighting the past year.

*$1 helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local member food banks.

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