Speed Mentoring for GIA Students
Free to GIA Students
Sharpen your focus and get career suggestions based on your experience and personality. You're invited to an exclusive Speed Mentoring Event at GIA New York. Don't miss this opportunity to meet one-on-one with jewelry professionals in a casual setting to network, ask questions or get guidance on your current or desired career. During the evening, you have the chance to meet with multiple mentors and network!
How it Works
You'll be able to meet with two professionals for 20 minute sessions during the evening, and network in between with professionals throughout the night. When you register, you will select the mentors you'll meet with in the "Sessions" tab. Only two mentors per person, one time slot per each mentor.
MEET THE MENTORS
Malak Atut is the "Chief Sparkle Maker" at ZAIKEN Jewelry. Malak lives, perceives, and creates within "the beauty of contrast". Prior to making the crossover to fine jewelry design, she worked in the hospitality industry and from there moved with grace to a successful career in consulting/professional services. The designer fortuitously spent her first paycheck on a piece of jewelry that she had made. ZAIKEN Jewelry is inspired by the individual, their different sides and the roles they play. The designs successfully execute a modern spin on timeless elegance. The innovative designs combine unexpected gems, color palettes and surprising details. Malak proudly creates all her jewelry in New York City, working with talented craftsmen and women who assist in realizingher vision from her mind and making it into reality. In 2016 Malak was awarded the Women's Jewelry Association Dazzle Diva Award, for Best in Daywear/Business Wear. She has also been acknowledged by industry experts in her repeat nominations for the WJA Award for Excellence in Design. Malak's work has been widely featured in W Magazine, Veranda, Elle, INDESIGN Magazine,The Huffington Post, WWD, The Jewellry Editor, TJF Trend Book, the World Gold Council, and media outlets including ABC News, The Today Show, and People Style Watch, amongst others. Malak is also committed to giving back to her industry; she has served as Vice President and President of the Contemporary Jewelry Design Group, and is currently serving on the board of the Women’s Jewelry Association Foundation.
Regina Ciarleglio is an executive with 25 plus years of experience in the Watch & Jewelry industry. She began her career at Cartier and has since held positions at Swiss Army Brands, Gucci and GE Capital. She currently is Director of Retail Development for Worthy, Inc.
Regina has also served as a consultant in the Watch & Jewelry industry specializing in finance and career development. Regina has served on the board of Jewelers Vigilance Committee and currently on the Women’s Jewelry Association. She is currently attending GIA as a Graduate Gemologist candidate. She is well versed in using LinkedIn as a career tool and has mentored in this field for the past five years.
Candace Edelman, COO at Alex Sepkus Inc., has a BA in Design from the University of Maryland, College Park. In 1997 Candace became a Manager, Buyer and Merchandiser for Chepita in Aspen, Colorado. In 2002 she joined Alex Sepkus, Inc in NYC as the Sales Manager. Candace is responsible for sourcing and purchasing gem stones, developing color mixes, and styling the traveling collections. She manages the sales and customer relations of the business, and is responsible for trade show activities and trunk show appearances. Candace Edelman completed her Graduate Gemology Degree in 2013 from the Gemological Institute of America. In 2013 she received the WJA award for Honors in Sales and Merchandising. In 2013 she judged the AGTA Spectrum awards, and the Diva portion in 2014.
Olga Gonzalez is a communications specialist and gemologist with ten years of experience within the jewelry trade. The CEO/Founder of Pietra PR, she applies “think outside of the box” strategies for growing designer jewelry brands, manufacturing companies, trade non-profits, diamond grading laboratories and other companies within the jewelry industry, both B2B and B2C. A certified gemologist (FGA, DGA) and jewelry appraiser, Olga Gonzalez is currently President-Elect of PRSA-NY and Director of PR for the Women’s Jewelry Association Metro Chapter. She is a regular contributor to numerous trade publications, which include seven years of writing for Gems & Jewellery magazine, a Gem-A member publication.
Kristin Hanson knew she wanted to make the world more beautiful with her jewelry artistry since she was a child. Her transformative, luxuriant designs won her the coveted 2007 Couture Awards as one of America's top couture designers! Hanson's designs and dedicated work as an educator and natural color diamond specialist evolved to international recognition as a leader in the fine jewelry industry. Hanson studied over 6 years classical European fine jewelry, first journeying to Colorado to study with legendary master goldsmith Harold O'Connor. Kristin Hanson further pursued master in historic Florence, Italy under the tutelage of Giampaulo Babetto. Tuscany, inspired her love of architecture and a passion for luxury. She returned to her New York origins and launched her first public collection at Bergdorf Goodman. Kristin's creative philosophy embodies contemporary signature forms carefully designed to accentuate the innate beauty of rare natural color diamonds. Her collection is now available at Neiman Marcus stores. Kristin Hanson specializes in Argyle Pink Diamonds, launching her latest SKYLINE collection with Rio Tinto Diamonds. Recently, Platinum Guild International awarded Kristin Hanson with the Platinum fashion Innovation Award at JCK in Las Vegas.
Ben Janowski, owner of Janos Consultants, comes from a New York diamond family that reaches back nearly 100 years to Portugal and Belgium. He has been in the diamond and jewelry industry for his entire career, first in top management positions for major American companies and then, for the last 22 years, as a consultant specializing in strategic planning for the American market. In that capacity he has consulted for dozens of large and small companies. He has often appeared as a guest speaker or panelist at industry gatherings, and has written many articles for a number of trade publications, including a monthly opinion column for JCK Magazine for five years. Currently, he writes a blog at janosconsultants.blogspot.com. For more information see His web site at www.janosconsultants.com.
Austrian jeweler Elena Kriegner decided that she wanted to be a “jewelry maker” when she was 6 years old and started to make her first creations. By the time she was 12, her schoolmates and neighbors were buying her beaded necklaces, bracelets and earrings. She passed the entry exam of a prestigious European Jewelry Design School and started 4 years of training in the craftsmanship of “Goldsmithing.” She graduated as “Goldsmith,” and then added two more years of training and received her degree as “Master Jewelry Maker.” With her distinct style and her love for technical challenges and versatile ways of changing and moving pieces, Elena knew that she wouldn’t fit into any of the traditional jewelry businesses. She started her own workshop in the Austrian village where she grew up, and created one-of-a-kind signature pieces for private clientele. To perfect her skills, she traveled to South Africa and worked with a gemstone cutter, to Greece where she taught classes in jewelry design—and many trips to New York to integrate her style with fashion. Elena now lives and works in New York City, where she gets inspired and creates all her designs in her Chelsea studio that she shares with her sister, an internationally renowned graphic designer.
In 1981 Rachel Rosin started her jewelry career on DeBeers US advertising and marketing programs. After 20 years in that position she left to become a consultant. Ten years ago she joined Diamond Staffing Solutions, where she works today, as an executive recruiter in the jewelry industry.
Ben Smithee has been nominated as one of the “Top 10 Youth Marketers,” received the American Marketing Association’s “Marketer of the Year” Award (Marketing Research Category), and Co-Hosted “The Social Radar” on Good Morning Texas, and “The Weekend Insider,” on KTXD – where he and his Co-Hosts brought Dallasites the latest in consumer trends and culture. He started his first consultancy, SPYCH, in 2009 and grew it to become a highly-respected and innovative Insights and Intelligence firm. His expertise in digital marketing and the Millennial consumer segment propelled Ben to consult some of the world’s biggest brands, such as Coca-Cola, Del Monte, General Mills, Sterling Jewelers, ACS, GEICO, McDonald’s, Kroger, ebay, Comcast, and more. After exiting his day-to-day role at SPYCH he helped to launch a disruptive events firm, RELEVENTS, serving as Chief Strategy Officer. At the same time, he launched The Smithee Group (TSG), where he currently serves as CEO. Ben continues to be a frequent keynote speaker around the globe, having presented in nearly 20 countries spanning 6 continents. TSG consults clients in Digital Strategy and Consumer Sciences, helping big brands think smaller and small brands think bigger. He is an active supporter of The Warren Center, an organization that supports families that have children with developmental delays, as well as the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization in New York City.