AGS Conclave 2019: Seattle, Here We Come!

The jewelry biz will descend on tech-centric, Starbucks-drinking Seattle April 8–10 for the annual AGS Conclave

The American Gem Society (AGS) will host its annual Conclave event in Seattle April 8–10, featuring a lineup of top-notch speakers scheduled to lead sessions that respond to a raft of modern challenges jewelers, gemologists, and retailers are facing in 2019.

Dan Thurmon, president of management consulting firm Motivation Works Inc., will kick off Conclave’s opening day with a lunch presentation focused on actions in business that inspire change. The event’s keynote speaker, Galen Emanuele, works with corporate teams to create profound shifts in how they communicate and perform—and at Conclave he’s ­expected to explain his concept of “Yes, and” as a way to boost efficiency and engagement in business.

Steve Gutzler, a thought leader and speaker on leadership and emotional intelligence, and Kelly McDonald, a respected marketing and advertising expert, will also lead dynamic sessions. And keynote breakfast speakers Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, stars of the TV series Whose Line Is It Anyway?, will deliver a comedy-filled presentation that (reportedly!) relies heavily on audience participation.

“I think one of the biggest challenges for our members is differentiating themselves so they can compete in the rapidly evolving retail space as well as compete with online retailers,” says Katherine Bodoh, CEO of AGS and AGS Laboratories. “According to JCK’s 2018 State of the Industry survey, 47 percent of respondents say improving the in-store buying experience is the number one strategy to combat online competition. Seattle is known for its innovative businesses, so we’re including sessions that will take our members to the next level by [exploring timely] topics like customer experience, creating high-performance cultures, retail innovation, and responsible sourcing.”

Conclave Seattle will also feature more than 90 breakout sessions—GIA is doubling its hands-on gemology classes this year—and 13 ­networking events. Educational tracks will cover appraisals, gemology, business management, marketing, products and services, sales, and technology. And new this year: the AGS Gemstone Gallery—a showcase for jewelry and gemstones from AGS suppliers.

Bodoh characterizes this year’s event, and Conclave in general, as “more than an educational event; it’s a community of like-minded ­individuals who, over the course of three days, build relationships that last their entire career.”

18k white gold bracelet with 4.35 cts. t.w. diamonds; $14,900; Ashi Diamonds; 212-319-8291;

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