Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) has cancelled its live 2020 Awards for Excellence gala, which had been scheduled to take place July 27. Instead, WJA will pay tribute to the annual event that same day, via an online celebration and keynote presentation.
“The WJA Awards for Excellence gala is our annual opportunity to celebrate women’s expanding leadership in the jewelry industry, while also raising funds to support a new generation of women designers and small business owners through our grant and scholarship programs,” says WJA Board President Jacqueline Cassaway. “This year, we’ll continue the celebration online, while also offering a keynote presentation to inspire all supporters of women’s success. Be sure to save the date!”
Since late March, WJA’s well-known face-to-face networking, education, and leadership development events have continued online, with professional development events hosted at the national and local chapter level. The organization uses these opportunities to connect, educate, and inform its members and others in the trade.
“Our national and regional programs have covered a wide spectrum of topics, from building your brand online, financial management, and market analysis - to creation in isolation, responsible sourcing, and learning about vintage jewelry,” says WJA Executive Director Jennifer Markas.
WJA members are making use of WJA Connect, an online community platform created for them to collaborate, share knowledge, and build relationships. Other members are using their time to learn negotiation skills through WJA’s online training course from Negotiable.
WJA is also coaching its members in leadership skills through its Mentorship Program, which now includes Mentor Match, a custom online tool that allows users to set up a profile and select preferences that align with their schedules and availability.
Finally, WJA is in the process of choosing the recipients of its 2020 scholarships and grants, administered by the WJA Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation. Women entering the jewelry industry are using these funds to further their educations or prepare their businesses for the new post-pandemic world.