Judith Ripka to Keynote ‘Women in the Know’ Conference

Fusing creativity with business principles will be at the top of the agenda of the Women’s Jewelry Association’s fourth annual “Women in the Know” conference, to be held Friday, March 16 at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Katie Murphy Amphitheater.

This full-day gathering will bring together professional women from all areas of the jewelry and related industries, with presentations focusing on leadership skills, networking, luxury marketing strategies, public speaking, website development, and more.

Three general sessions get the day started, followed by a networking luncheon, breakout sessions, and a “Women of Excellence” panel discussion. A cocktail reception wraps up the day with an awards presentation to WJA chapters’ “Shining Stars.” 

During lunch attendees will have the opportunity to shop a “Marketplace” of accessories and industry-related services offered by 20 suppliers.    

The opening keynote speaker will be Judith Ripka, founder and chairman of the board of The Judith Ripka Companies, Inc., who will talk about “Passion, Persistence, and Performance.” Headquartered in New York City, Ripka’s company has grown into a multi-million dollar business with more than 120 employees, including 105 women. One of the world’s leading woman entrepreneurs, she has won the prestigious DeBeers’ Award for Diamond Design and was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Carole Hyatt, an author and speaker specializing in careers, follows with a general session about “How Smart Leaders Deliver Results.” Hyatt has been writing and lecturing about career topics for over 30 years, and her books, The New Woman’s Selling Game, Shifting Gears, When Smart People Fail, and Lifetime Employability have helped millions throughout the world effectively identify and accomplish their goals. .

What are the most successful luxury marketers doing to increase customer loyalty? Greg Furman, president of Furman Communications & Marketing as well as founder/chairman of The Luxury Marketing Council, will discuss “The Ever Evolving Luxury Market and Best Marketing Practices for Success.” Since 1994 The Luxury Marketing Council has been the global thought leader on trends and developments in the luxury arena, and its worldwide membership includes executives from 700 luxury firms.

Other speakers participating in several afternoon breakout sessions, include:

• Renee Palmer – president of Pink Rat, a New York City-based web design and consulting firm that focuses on small and medium-sized businesses. She will speak about the importance of a website and how to maximize Internet visibility.
• Linda Zimmer – business and professional coach with over 30 years of experience working with the jewelry and other luxury industries. Zimmer has been an executive board member of WJA and has also received the WJA’s Award for Excellence in Sales. She will speak about “The Journey of Reinvention – Your Business and Personal Life.”

• Larry Sharpe – president of Neo-Sage Institute, a sales and service training guild as well as an entrepreneur advisory organization. Sharpe will discuss the benefits of efficient, effective networking.

• Beth Schoenfeldt – president of Ladies Who Launch, a national women’s business group offering resources, networking and support to women starting new business ventures. Her topic, “The Feminine Approach to Business, Ownership and Success,” will help attendees better understand themselves, their employees and their customers.

• Erica Keller — senior trainer for Media Training Worldwide, a media and presentation training firm that has trained thousands of executives, government officials and business people. She will entertain, educate and inspire with “Speaking Secrets from World Famous Leaders.” 

The “Women of Excellence” panel, featuring WJA Award for Excellence past winners, will be moderated by Lynn Ramsey, president of Lynn Ramsey Public Relations and former president/CEO of the Jewelry Information Center. Panelists will share their inspirational life stories on the road to success, including Julianne Jaffe, vice president, J.J. Marco; Candy Udell, president, London Jewelers; Chris Correia, president, the Chris Correia Collection; Tania Riddell, accessories editor, Modern Bride; and Diane Mattioli, sales director, luxury goods, Conde Nast Media Group.

Advanced tickets for the conference are $175 for WJA members and $200 for non-members and are available from the WJA Web site, www.womensjewelry.org, or by calling WJA Headquarters at (856) 423-3156. Onsite registration will be available with ticket prices at $205 and $230 for members and non-members. Tickets for the networking cocktail reception are $35 prior to March 9 and $45 onsite.

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