WJA’s ‘Women in the Know’ conference to focus on empowerment

The Women’s Jewelry Association will host its Third Annual “Women in the Know” conference for professional women in the jewelry industry to be held Friday, March 10, from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Katie Murphy Amphitheater at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. 

The daylong business conference will bring together women from all facets of the fine jewelry and related industries. Presentations will focus on topics such as professional development, empowering oneself, gaining control over finances, dealing with difficult conversations, and jump-starting a career. 

“The ‘Women In The Know’ conference is designed to be thought-provoking and life-changing,” said Ann Arnold, WJA’s newly elected president, and a vice president of Lieberfarb, Inc. “The roster of compelling women speakers from inside and outside the industry will motivate, inspire, prod, entertain, and in general empower women in our industry to achieve their goals.” 

The conference is comprises several general session speakers, a luncheon presentation, breakout sessions, and panel discussions. Following the conference will be a networking cocktail reception, where attendees can mix and meet the speakers. 

General session speakers are:

The opening presentation will be given by Dr. Marcia Firestone, founder and president of the Women Presidents’ Organization for women whose businesses annually gross over two million dollars. The Women Presidents’ Organization is currently operating in 54 locations nationwide and in Canada. Firestone has had an impressive career focused on women’s economic development and education. She sits on numerous boards and was appointed in 2003 to the National Women’s Business Council, which reports to the president and congress on issues of importance to women in business. She will speak about her own leadership role and the empowerment she has brought to women entrepreneurs. 

Kate Betts, Editor of TIME Style & Design, will address “Luxury: How We Shop Now,” a look at how luxury shopping behaviors are changing, from the influence of high-technology to the evolution of retail design. Betts is an internationally recognized fashion journalist who has impacted some of the most important fashion and lifestyle magazines of our time, including Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, W, WWD, and Metropolitan Life. She regularly appears on network and cable television.  

Debbie Goldstein of Triad Consulting will present “Tackling Difficult Conversations at Work and in Life.” She will lead conference attendees through role-playing exercises and self examination quizzes, based on material developed by the famed Harvard Negotiation Project.  

Dr. Valerie Young, the founder of ImposterSyndrome.com, is an internationally known speaker who has presented to such diverse audiences as Daimler Chrysler, Starbucks, Harvard, and American Women in Engineering. Her talk on “The Art of Winging It” will focus on understanding and eliminating the psychological barriers preventing women from embracing their full potential.

The final general session features “Reinventing Yourself for Leadership” from Leslie Grossman, Co-Founder, Women’s Leadership Exchange. Through multimedia educational conferences around the U.S., WLE offers established women entrepreneurs access to the tools and connections that drive business growth. Grossman has launched or run five different companies all focused on women in the areas of marketing, public relations, and event management.  She is the author of SELLsation! How Companies Can Capture Today’s Hottest Market: Women Business Owners and Executives (WPE Press, October, 2005).  A distinguished speaker and leader of many business associations, including  National Association of Women Business Owners, SBA National Advisory Council, and Fashion Group International, she serves on many advisory boards committed to women entrepreneurs.

Breakout sessions offer:

• “Five Ways to get Sued and How to Avoid It” presented by Cecilia L. Gardner, Esq., President, CEO & General Counsel, Jewelers Vigilance Committee
• “Unpregnancy™–9 Months, 9 Lessons to a New You” by Julia Roberts, Life Strategy Coach and author
• “Jump Start Your Career with Inspiration – 5 Ways to Get Unstuck and Moving Again” presented by Deborah Brown-Volkman, President, Surpass Your Dreams, Inc.
• Beth Polish, Founding CFO of ivillage and author of In the Market for Money: The 5 Essential Stages, will show how embracing the right money mindset will reveal a new view of one’s business that will impact on future control and growth. 

An afternoon panel discussion will feature five dynamic women in the jewelry industry – all recipients of the WJA Awards for Excellence – who will share their inspirational life stories of the road to success and what it takes to be a “Woman of Excellence.” They include Helene Fortunoff, president, Fortunoff; Phyllis Bergman, president, Mercury Ring Corporation; Erica Courtney, president, Erica Courtney; Linda Goldstein, president, Goldstein Communications; Carol Brodie, chief luxury officer, Curtco Media.  The panel will be moderated by Michael O’Connor, senior VP, Platinum Guild International, USA.

Co-chairs for the WJA WITK Conference are Fran Pennella, director of Marketing & Portfolio Planning, JCK Events, and Cindy Edelstein, president, Jewelers Resource Bureau.

Tickets for the Conference are $145 for WJA members and $170 for non-members available from the WJA website, www.womensjewelry.org, or by calling WJA Headquarters at 856-423-3156.  Onsite registration will be available with ticket prices at $174 and $199 for members and non-members.  Tickets for the networking cocktail reception are $25 prior to March 1 and $35 onsite.