Diamond Empowerment Fund Elects Phyllis Berman Board President



The Diamond Empowerment Fund unanimously elected Phyllis Bergman president of its governing board.

Bergman, CEO of Englewood, N.J.–based Mercury Ring, has served on the DEF advisory board since 2008 and heads its product development committee.

On Aug. 3, the group announced that Nancy Lyman was joining as executive director.

“I’m very excited to become president of DEF’s governing board and take the organization to the next level, Bergman said in a statement. “The jewelry industry has done very well through the resources of Africa, and I believe it’s the industry’s responsibility to give something back. DEF’s mission of empowering Africans through education is something I firmly endorse: giving a hand up, not a handout.”

Bergman is currently the chairman of the Twenty Four Karat Club of the City of New York, sits on the board of directors of the Diamond Development Initiative, is the incoming chair of the Jewelers Board of Trade, is a past president of the national Women’s Jewelry Association, currently chairs WJA’s Scholarship Committee, and is a past member of the American Gem Society board of directors.

Bergman has been the recipient of multiple jewelry industry awards, including the American Gem Society Triple Zero Award, the Women’s Jewelry Association Hall of Fame, and WJA’s annual Award for Excellence in Manufacturing. Outside the jewelry industry, she is active in the Women’s Presidents Organization, the Central Park Conservancy, and previously spent many years active with ORT, a global organization that teaches vocational skills.

Bergman was unanimously elected to office by the DEF governing board, with full support of the non-voting advisory board. Upon her election, she moves from the organization’s advisory board to its governing board.

Members of the DEF advisory board include:

  • Russell Simmons, Rush Communications, chairman
  • Lita Asscher, Royal Asscher of America
  • Donna M. Baker, GIA
  • Nicola Breytenbach-Steiner
  • Michael Kaplan, Rocket Box
  • Dilip Mehta, Rosy Blue
  • Festus G. Mogae, former president of the Republic of Botswana
  • Linah Mohohlo, Bank of Botswana
  • Scott Rauch, Simmons Jewelry Co.
  • Hedda Schupak, industry analyst and editor, The Centurion Newsletter
  • Elliot Tannenbaum, Leo Schachter Diamonds

Members of the DEF governing board include:

  • Cathy Calhoun, Calhoun Jewelers
  • Rebecca Foerster, Rio Tinto Diamonds
  • Ellen Haddigan, Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering
  • Edward Hrabak, Sterling Jewelers Inc.
  • Anna Martin, Standard Chartered Bank
  • Sally Morrison, Forevermark
  • Varda Shine, Diamond Trading Co.
  • Yancy Weinrich, JCK Events
  • Jaci Wilson-Reid

Non-board officers include Nashon Craig, secretary, and Rich Slomovitz, treasurer, both of Rush Communications.