What It Means to Be Involved With WJA

This week has been a busy one in terms of events—jewelry market visits, but also goings-on within the Metropolitan chapter of the Women’s Jewelry Association, of which I’m a board member. On Wednesday night our chapter had a board meeting to discuss upcoming events, on Thursday night we had a new-member cocktail party at Heritage Auctions (thank you director of jewelry and onetime Metro copresident Karen Sampieri for letting us use your beautiful space!), and on Friday morning about 30 members gathered at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square for a morning breakfast and networking event. (Click here to join.)

I attended all of this week’s events and was struck by the diversity of replies from members who introduced themselves and explained what they were hoping to achieve through involvement. Many were looking for jobs, some were seeking out new clients, and others—myself included—were looking for professional growth and to acquire new skills. But as I reflected on the biggest reason why I rejoined WJA (I was a founding board member of the Pennsylvania chapter many years ago), I realized that it is because of the people involved now: president Danielle Ingwer-Cohen, immediate past president Desiree Blessing Hanson, communications director Lauren Thompson, communication committee member April Scorcia, national board members Peggy Jo Donahue and Cindy Edelstein, president-elect Amanda Gizzi, mentoring codirector Hayley Henning, and many more, are the kind of positive-thinking and -acting individuals with whom we should all strive to surround ourselves. Their collaborative spirits, authentic, down-to-earth ways of carrying themselves, supportive natures, and infectiously upbeat attitudes collectively radiate such a high-voltage force field of good energy that if pooled together, surely the positive vibes these girls exude could power Manhattan for a week.

Hayley, for example, recently got involved with the United Nations through her post as executive director of the Tanzanite Foundation and proposed that our chapter get involved next year during International Women’s month. (We’re looking into that.) Danielle, meanwhile, assured me that we would bounce back stronger than ever from our decision to shelve a spring event due to difficulty in obtaining preferred speakers. And dear product development guru Rekha-Leigh Punch returned my suitcase to my office after the breakfast ended this morning because I left it at the restaurant in my mad dash out the door to write morning copy.

These women lead by example and perfectly capture the essence of what WJA exists for: to empower, educate, and bring other women in jewelry into the fold to help, nurture, support, and share. Yes, these are the types of people with whom I like to surround myself—and I feel privileged to do so.

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