CJA selects two persons to head its organization

The position of executive director of the California Jewelers Association will now be shared by two jewelry industry veterans.

The CJA Board of Directors approved the unique job-sharing concept in which Noel Cheney, currently the CJA executive director, and Rossana Aguilar, former director of membership and affiliate relations for Jewelers of America, will share the responsibilities of CJA Executive Director, with Cheney occupying an office in Northern California and Aguilar covering the Southern California area.

The responsibilities each will assume have been spelled out in detail, yet the arrangement will allow each to step into an activity or project handled by the other, if the occasion demands.

“The key is communication,” said Keith Norris, CJA president. “They will be in constant communication with each other, with the executive committee, the board and the CJA membership at large. Each will know what the other is doing at all times, and the end result will be that the CJA will have two very capable people in charge if its day-to-day operations.”

“This arrangement will give us a double-barreled thrust in all our activities, including the forthcoming Western Jewelers Showcase, where we will be able to take advantage of Noel’s background in producing the CJA Showcase (the predecessor to the Western Jewelers Showcase) for the past two years, and Rossana’s experience in working with the JA Affiliates.”

The Western Jewelers Showcase will involve the CJA; the Intermountain Jewelers Association, with members from Idaho, Nevada and Utah; the Oregon Jewelers Association; Pacific Northwest Jewelers Association, which includes Washington and Alaska; and the Rocky Mountain Jewelers Association, representing Colorado retailers. It will be held Oct. 19 at the Universal Studios Globe Theater in Los Angeles.

Cheney joined the CJA in January 2000 and brings an extensive background in the jewelry industry. Although she was born in the United States, she moved to Switzerland with her Swiss-born parents and apprenticed with a jeweler and lapidary cutter in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, one of the world’s leading gemstone cutting centers. She returned to the U. S. in 1994, studied at GIA, and after graduation accepted a position with GIA. She also was in the retail side of the business in Pasadena, Calif., and in 1997 joined JA, where she became Manager of Certification and Education.

Aguilar entering the jewelry industry in 1991 after working in the travel and hospitality industries. She was Membership Manager for the American Gem Society, and played a major role in the organization’s relocation to Las Vegas. In 1997, she moved to New York to assume the position of director of membership and affiliate relations. In that role she managed all aspects of JA’s membership operations, staff and projects, and worked with 42 state associations, assisting them in developing membership recruitment programs.