WJA Professionals Hold Conference

The Women’s Jewelry Association held its third “Women in the Know” conference, at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. The daylong event drew more than 200 attendees, a 37 percent increase over last year’s figures and a 138 percent spike from its inception.

This year’s educators focused on life empowerment, difficult peers, branding, and more. Among the highlights:

  • Debbie Goldstein, Triad Consulting, Cambridge, Mass., gave tips for handling difficult conversations. She advised people to get more information from others, to learn how they make decisions, and then consider why you may have differences with them.
    Goldstein explained that in the workplace, individuals are supposed to suppress their emotions, but since that’s difficult to do, they generally leak out. She reminds us that it’s OK to say “I’m frustrated” when this happens. To keep an upset office mate from becoming more disgruntled, don’t say any of the following: “Calm down, it’s not so bad,” “What did you expect?” “What you need to understand is …,” or “Here’s the answer.”

  • Do projections to know where your business is headed, advised Beth Polish, author of Market for Money and a founding chief financial officer of iVillage in New York. Polish spoke about changing mindsets regarding finance and money and the role they play in businesses.
    “A person with a money mindset makes projections,” she told attendees. “While your business model will change over time, the sooner you do projections, the sooner you’ll know what’s going on in the business.”
    An additional tip for merchants: Know your endgame—what do you want out of the business? If you want to sell it one day, consider likely customers.

  • When a person is a brand, you know what they stand for; so be the brand. That was the message from Leslie Grossman, author of SELLsation and co-founder of the Women’s Leadership Exchange. (Grossman is headquartered in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.) Grossman cited some famous female brands—Martha Stewart for homemaking, Oprah Winfrey for trust and compassion, and Suze Orman for money and financial freedom—as evidence of the significance of branding for a career.
    “If you brand yourself, your perceived value in the marketplace will soar because you stand for something,” she said. The key principles of branding are: Be an authority on something you love spending every minute doing; stand for what you believe in; build credibility for your brand; and be yourself—an original.