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Event Calendar

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

WJA Metro | Speed Mentoring

Start Date: 5/1/2019 5:30 PM EDT
End Date: 5/1/2019 9:00 PM EDT

Venue Name: GIA GEM Tower

50 West 47th Street
New York, NY  United States  10036

Organization Name: WJA NY Metro Chapter

Hayley Henning
Phone: 845-473-7323

WJA Members - $15 | GIA Students - Free

You're invited to an exclusive Speed Mentoring Event at GIA New York!
Sharpen your focus and get career suggestions based on your experience and personality. 
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 network with multiple mentors!

When: Wednesday, May 1st, 2019 at 5:30 pm (first mentoring session starts at 6:10 pm sharp!)
Where: GIA Gem Tower, 50 West 47th Street, New York City

Registration extended until Tuesday, April 30 at 2pm. When registering, make sure you fill in all required fields right up to the check-out button in order to get a confirmation of your registration.

In a departure from past mentoring events, mentees now must ARRIVE AT GIA AT 5:30 PM TO SIGN UP FOR MENTORING SESSIONS IN PERSON, NOT ONLINE. 

You'll still be able to meet with two professionals for 20-minute sessions during the evening, and network in between with other professionals. You just must arrive at 5:30 pm to choose your mentors in person, not online.

Additionally, Conversation Pits will take place for all attendees between mentor meetups. These will be led by Jennifer Heebner, president of WJA NY Metro Chapter, industry journalist, and executive director of the Cultured Pearl Association of America; Jackie LeBental, owner of BLC Luxury Consultancy Agency and trends editor at The Retail Jeweler; and Cecilia Echeverri, marketing and communications manager at the International Colored Gemstone Association.


Peggy Jo Donahue is the owner of Donahue Communications, Content Creation and Social Networking. She works with a variety of clients both within and outside the worldwide jewelry and gemstone industries. She previously worked as director of the MJSA Education Foundation, and as public affairs director for both MJSA, the association for jewelry makers and designers, and Jewelers of America. At the latter, she communicated the jewelry industry's proactive response to the Blood Diamond film, the No Dirty Gold campaign, and conflict rubies from Burma. She was also editor in chief of both Professional Jeweler and JCK magazines, where she earned two Neal Awards from American Business Media for her reporting on legal and crime issues. Donahue is the author of five books. Her pro bono work includes: member of the Advisory Group for the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), a non-profit organization working to improve the lives of artisanal and small scale diamond miners; member of the Advisory Council for Ethical Metalsmiths; member of the Women's Jewelry Association International Board (communications chair); member of the WJA New York Metro Board (social networking communications); member, Jewelers Equality Alliance Board. She also serves as a job coach at the Gemological Institute of America’s Career Fairs.

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 and panelist at industry events 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 For more information see his web site at

Karen Janowski is an industry veteran with experience in the wholesale, manufacturing and retail sides of the business.  She is also a founding member and former president of the Women’s Jewelry Association Metro Chapter. For the past 12 years she is has been working as a retail sales professional on the main floor at the iconic Tiffany & Co flagship store on Fifth Avenue.  

Kendra Bridelle was born and raised in the jewelry industry, and she has spent the entirety of her professional career honing her passion for jewelry and design. After traveling the country first as a jewelry sales representative for high fashion jewelry brands, then as a regional sales manager for other prestigious, luxury brands, it didn’t take her long to become vice president of a high-profile, diamond site-holder brand. 
In 2010 that Kendra realized her long-standing dream of launching her own collection of jewelry, LusciousS; designed to evoke a woman’s changing emotions. In 2010 she was labeled “The Mover and Shaker” on IDEX magazine’s “She’s the One” cover, along with other notable women in the jewelry industry. Kendra credits her involvement with WJA, where she served as international president from 2010 to 2012, for giving her the opportunity to forge lasting relationships with other women who worked in every facet of the jewelry industry. These personal connections, and the intimate window they gave her into women’s psyches, continue to be a driving force.  
Luscious got a national boost when Kendra was offered a spot on a national shopping network in the Fall of 2013 with immediate plans to expand globally through direct television and department stores. She attributes her comfort in front of the camera with her connection to women and her genuine passion for the jewelry she creates. Currently, she is the sales director at Freida Rothman.

Freida Rothman is a premier Brooklyn-based jewelry designer whose work is sold nationally in leading department stores, independent fine jewelry stores, and fashion boutiques. She’s a second-generation jeweler and learned about fine jewelry craftsmanship from her father. Coming from a fine jewelry background, she wanted to use the same artistic techniques to create jewelry that was accessible but still made with impeccable craftsmanship, not compromising on attention to detail and beauty. Her signature matte gold finishes and two-toned colored metals set her apart from other designers. Freida’s primary design inspiration comes from her hometown of Brooklyn. From her window, the architectural skyline of New York meets the steel and cable span of the Brooklyn Bridge. On the streets, the youthful diversity and urban style of women is clearly visible. She only sees the beauty in this city as it gave her family a second chance at life when her grandparents immigrated here after the Holocaust. It’s important for her to keep the legacy of her grandparents alive. Freida continues to explore the depths of fashion in an unexpected way that evokes a captivating and indefinable characteristic. 

Eve Streicker, the founder of Original Eve Designs, specializes in creating custom jewelry and unique items inspired by her travels around the world. With work experience at Tiffany & Co. in education and luxury sales training, in museum and auction house settings, as well as managing jewelry production for small designers and purchasing estate jewelry from the public, Eve has a wide array of experiences that contribute to her love for jewelry, history, gemstones, and craftsmanship.
Eve is a certified Graduate Gemologist and Graduate Pearl expert by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). She received her M.F.A. in Metal/Jewelry/CAD-CAM from Tyler School of Art at Temple University and her B.A. in Art History and Studio Art Practice from Williams College. Eve is the president elect of the Women's Jewelry Association (WJA) New York Metro Chapter. She is a member of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), Jewelers of America (JA), and the GIA Alumni Association. Eve is also the proud recipient of the WJA Shining Star Award 2017, WJA Member Grant 2015, and the Bertha Anolic Memorial Grant 2013.

The CEO/founder of Pietra PR, Olga González has over 10 years of experience working within the field of jewelry communications. A certified gemologist (FGA DGA) and appraiser, she specializes in growing mid to large-sized companies within the jewelry, fine mineral, and luxury watch trades. Clients range from designer brands and manufacturers to trade non-profits, galleries, and grading laboratories. She has served as president of PRSA-NY board, founded and chaired the inaugural 15 Under 35 Awards, and was the 2018 recipient of the PRSA-NY President's Award.
Additionally, Ms. González serves as the director of networking for the Women’s Jewelry Association New York Metro Chapter board, and is a member of ASJRA, The New York Mineralogical Club, Gem-A, and GSUSA. She is a regular contributor to trade and consumer publications on gem and jewelry-related topics.  

Ray Griffiths’ enduring love for the craft of making fine jewelry spans more than forty years, and it’s been his constant companion while creating fabulous jewelry for his avid fans. Renown for his meticulous metal work, profound technical skills, and use of exquisite gemstones, Ray Griffiths Fine Jewelry collections encompass several historical references seamlessly integrated with his hallmark application of crownwork®. At fifteen, he went on to apprentice with a master jeweler at Dunklings in Melbourne, and learned to restore antique jewelry, tiaras and crowns.  Here, Griffiths developed his proficiency in crownwork®, a specific cutout technique employed by master metal smiths of the 18th and 19th centuries to lesson the weight of royal headpieces.
Griffiths continued his studies in Gemology and diamond technology, and made the move to Sydney in the early 1980s. He made his life-long dream of moving to New York City and opening an atelier jewelry boutique there a reality. In 1998, Griffiths launched Ray Griffiths Fine Jewelry, a branded jewelry collection featuring his signature crownwork® detailing.  Jewelry lovers and collectors appreciate the special pieces Griffiths creates, but ultimately it’s his enduring love for the craft of making fabulous jewelry that keep his fans coming back for more.

Afshin ( Alan ) Hackman is the co-founder and vice president of Intercolor USA, based in New York city, which was formed nearly 40 years ago and is a family owned and run business. Afshin travels the world to source top quality sapphires, rubies and various other gems. Intercolor’ s customer based includes other distributors, special order manufacturers , and many of the top stores in US and around the globe. Afshin’ s expertise in identifying gemstones derives from 38 years of experience as a buyer and participating in hundreds of trade shows and seminars.

Lauren Thompson is a marketing and communications specialist with strong digital strategy experience—specifically, email marketing, web strategy, and content development. She is currently the associate director of digital development and communications at Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace. In this role, she communicates JA’s message of consumer confidence in jewelry and promotes the association’s retail and supplier members to trade and consumer audiences through email marketing, web content and print communications. As the digital communications leader at JA, Lauren oversees JA’s website content and web development in addition to email marketing outreach. Lauren was introduced to the industry through her editorial work at Professional Jeweler magazine, and the Basel Show’s former publication, Basel Magazine. Both positions were a crash course in watch and jewelry brands and retail jewelry trends. She is thrilled to serve on the WJA National Board as VP of Chapter Affairs and the WJA New York Metro Chapter board as secretary. 

Katty Lau has over 10 years of experience in the jewelry industry and is a third-generation jeweler who immigrated from Hong Kong to New York when she was 6 months old. She’s had a lifelong love of art and design, studying in Parsons in Paris and earning her BFA in Fashion from Parsons School of Design in 2005. She has also studied at Le Arti Orafe in Florence, Italy. Katty was most recently name VP and creative director of Magnolia Jewelers in New York. She enjoys using her experience and creative talents in all areas of her retail business, whether it is in developing relationships with wholesalers, managing and developing the authorized brands the store carries, or designing, packaging, and personalizing her clients’ shopping experiences to add to their collections. Ever since she became a mother in 2011, she has become inspired to be more involved with community service and volunteering with nonprofits such as her work with Keoni Movement Arts and Leap Forward. She is proud to be a board member of the WJA community and looks forward to empowering and cultivating a supportive community for women in the industry.

Please note that event tickets are non-refundable but transferable.

WJA is a 501(c)(6) organization. Contributions to section 501(c)(6) organizations are not deductible as charitable contributions on a donor’s federal income tax return. They may be deductible as trade or business expenses if ordinary and necessary in the conduct of the taxpayer’s business.

The WJA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Contributions to qualified 501(c)(3) organizations may be deductible as charitable contributions on a donor's federal income tax return. Tax ID #22-3492014


Online Registration

Registration is Closed
Closed: 4/30/2019 2:00 PM

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