The Women's Jewelry Association (WJA) has appointed a new executive director, Jennifer Markas, who begins work Sept. 10. Bernadette Mack, the outgoing executive director, will work with Markas during her transition until the end of the month.
The trade is facing its #MeToo moment after stories of degrading behavior emerge. In her blog and trade journal Barbara Palumbo, who has spent 30 years in the jewelry and watch industry, wrote about the prevalence of sexual harassment in the industry — “Women deal with this literally every single day in our industry”.
The Women’s Jewelry Association’s mission is to help women in the diamond, jewelry and watch industries advance and develop professionally through networking, education, leadership and the provision of member services. Programs include grants, interactive workshops, mentorship programs and awards of excellence. The Diamond Loupe had the opportunity to sit down with Ayelet Lerner, one of the women involved with setting up the WJA chapter in Antwerp.
The Diamond Loupe: Tell us a little bit about yourself in the business.
The Women's Jewelry Association revealed the 2017 winners of its Awards for Excellence at a gala in New York earlier this week, reports Ashley Davis for National Jeweler. The Design award went to Wendy Brandes, a former journalist and award-winning designer of fine jewelry inspired by women's history and pop culture. Betty Sue King, owner of King’s Ransom, was honored with the award for excellence for a Manufacturer, Dealer, Supplier. “The WJA has no glass ceiling,” she said.