Awards for Excellence Visionaries 2020

On Monday, July 27, 2020 WJA hosted its annual Awards for Excellence event online and highlighted the positive outcomes of our programming and membership activities. The fundraiser, accompanied by our online auction, helped to support the WJA Foundation to increase educational, business building and professional development opportunities for female and female-identifying jewelry professionals. To date, the WJA Foundation has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in support to small business owners, aspiring designers and students who are about to embark on their jewelry careers. 

Leading Through Transformation was the theme and focal point for our 2020 event. Keynote Speakers Dolly Meese and Jim Hemerling, dynamic leaders from Boston Consulting Group, shared how businesses can move confidently into the future that's rapidly changing. and focused on how to use your company's 'purpose' to help us focus on what is constant, amid a sea of change.

The event concluded with two separate conversations on diversity and mentorship--critical pillars of WJA's programming. 



Dolly Meese is global head of offerings and managing director of BrightHouse, a global creative consultancy and a Boston Consulting Group company that helps organizations uncover their purpose, and then translate it into growth of people, profits, and social impact. Meese has worked with Fortune 500 companies around the globe. An engineer by education, her 20 years of experience have spanned corporate America and independent owners, providing her a unique perspective for her clients.  She is the co-author, with Jim Hemerling and others, of "Purpose with the Power to Transform Your Organization," and she also contributed to a paper entitled "The Rewards of an Engaged Female Workforce."


Jim Hemerling is a senior partner, managing director, and fellow at Boston Consulting Group, with a focus on transforming organizations to deliver and sustain breakthrough performance. With over 25 years of experience as a senior advisor, Hemerling focuses on going beyond short-term results, to bring holistic, sustainable performance to organizations. His experience includes working with clients around the world in technology, consumer, financial, and manufacturing industries. He is the author of several books and his work has appeared in magazines such as: Bloomberg Businessweek, Fortune, Forbes, the Economist, Manager Magazine, and on CNBC.


Conversation on diversity, equity and inclusion

Guest Speaker

Nicole Taylor is a diversity, equity & inclusion consultant and director of the international women's nonprofit Changemaker Chats. With over 10 years of DEI experience, Nicole's work includes launching global employee resource groups, producing women-focused personal and professional development programs, and serving as inclusion committee chair for an intercontinental EdTech company. She continuously drives forward meaningful conversations and actions in DEI through panel discussions, facilitating town halls, and crafting transparent corporate communications for internal and external audiences. Nicole was recently featured on Factora Wealth’s “Coffee & Coin” podcast as she discussed the economic disparity facing women of color and how we can all show up to bridge the gap.


Morgan Miller is Senior Account Executive at The COUTURE Show. It is here that she is able to help elevate the success of the businesses of hundreds of designers whose work she admires and respects. Prior to her position at  The COUTURE Show, Morgan oversaw international accounts of over 60 retail partners, a sales team and e-commerce at her favorite jewelry brand Satomi Kawakita. Morgan sits on the Women’s Jewelry Association’s (WJA) National Board of Directors. As of April 2020, Morgan became the chair of WJA’s Diversity Committee promoting, supporting, and amplifying voices through thought leadership and community. In June 2020, Morgan joined the NYC Jewelry Week Advisory Council promoting jewelry as a category of celebration in the city of New York. 


Conversation oN the power of mentorship


Mentorship is one of WJA’s most important pillars. For over three decades, WJA has mentored and uplifted hundreds upon hundreds of women through our programming, providing access to experts in the jewelry and watch industries. Our mentorship conversation featured panelists Jacqueline Cassaway, President of WJA, along with Sara Commers, WJA Board Member and Megan Cochran, WJA Member, as they discussed the best ways to secure and work with a mentor.

The live interview included:

  • Why it’s important for women to cultivate powerful advocates during their career
  • What the main ingredients are that make for a powerful mentor/mentee relationship
  • What WJA’s Mentorship Lifecycle means and why mentorship is not just a one-on-one relationship
  • How can jewelry professionals can keep learning, developing and networking throughout their career from student to business owner to executive







THANK YOU TO our 2020 online auction contributors