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JVC Honors John Kennedy; Reveals Industry Leaders’ Secret Passions January 11, 2021 (0 comments)


New York, NY—In an industry-wide virtual event replacing its canceled annual luncheon, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee on Friday presented its Stanley Schechter Award to John Kennedy (pictured), president of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance.

And in an unusual program replacing its typical speaker, JVC invited six of its leading board members to give the industry a glimpse into their personal lives and share their favorite hobbies. Among those were Forevermark USA president and JVC board chair Charles Stanley, who is an avid lifelong beekeeper, and Susan Jacques, the former CEO of Borsheims who now heads GIA (Gemological Institute of America), and is a motorcycle enthusiast.

Tiffany Stevens, CEO and general counsel of JVC, opened the session by highlighting the rapid change the industry has undergone in just a few months.

“While we lived quietly in quarantine, professionally we jumped on board a bullet train of 10 years’ of change in 10 months. As an industry, we’ve mostly come back stronger and wiser, more aware, more digital, and more unified as a community,” she said. Support for the JVC community allowed the organization to also grow digitally, and support from the Smithee Group, in particular, allowed the JVC to make its FTC Guides free to everyone in the industry, she said.

“JVC is the only industry organization that represents everyone,” said Stevens. “Wherever laws and regulations are happening, we make sure your voices are heard. When it comes to safeguarding consumer confidence, JVC steps in and makes sure consumers can be confident in our industry.” Visits to the JVC website have more than tripled every month since March, and those pages that highlight how it protects the industry are constantly hit, she said.

Stanley introduced the Stanley Schechter Award and John Kennedy.

“JVC proudly established the Stanley Schechter Award in 2002 to honor Stanley’s legacy and important contributions to JVC. The winners embody leadership and passion for the industry. “John Kennedy is a longstanding giant of the industry, leading not only his own organization but a number of others, most notably as secretary of the 24 Karat Club [of the City of New York]. John’s leadership provides us all with a greater level of protection, stability, and security in these uncertain times.” 

The American Gem Society also honored him and named its law enforcement award in his honor, said Stanley.

Kennedy, in his remarks, paid tribute to Stanley Schechter, as well as his family. 

“I’ve been around long enough that I knew Stanley Schechter. He passed away in 2000 and was widely known in industry for honesty and integrity. I know his son Joel and grandson Michael, and it’s a tribute to Stanley that both his son and grandson have carried on the family legacy as industry leaders.” 

Kennedy also acknowledged the JVC’s complementary efforts to JSA and praised Stevens’ leadership. “I’ve always felt an affinity with JVC, not only that we’re all lawyers, but that we share the same mission in protecting the industry. JSA protects from crime, JVC protects the integrity and ethics of industry. Both are essential to the long-term health of the industry. 

“The industry is very lucky to have Tiffany and staff working in their behalf. Tiffany’s talent and passion make her one in a million.”

Like his remarks at JSA’s own virtual presentation last week, Kennedy reiterated the important role Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co. has played in JSA’s success.

Next, Stevens introduced “Leaders in Leisure,” a look at the hobbies of six of the JVC’s board members. As mentioned, Stanley is an avid beekeeper, something he began as a young boy with his grandmother in England and has continued today in the United States. He led the audience through the process of gathering honey and introducing a new queen into a hive.

Jacques, meanwhile, rides with her husband on the back of his Harley-Davidson, and says their love of motorcycles grew out of a love of the outdoors and being able to experience nature through riding. The two have frequently attended the famed annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, SD, but this year have spent most of the quarantine time on their farm in Nebraska, she said.

Greg Kwiat of Kwiat is the lead singer for a Beatles and Rolling Stones cover band. The band doesn’t impersonate either group, it just sings the music. He ran a video, and indeed the band does sound very much like the originals.

In his role as jeweler, Kwiat has met Mick Jagger, the Stones’ famed lead singer—but he did not mention his role in the cover band to the rock 'n roll legend. (Jagger’s daughter Jade is a well-known jeweler in her own right.)

“It just didn’t seem like the right moment,” he smiled.

Nathalie Diamantis, head of Italian designer brand Pomellato in the Americas, took her audience on a brief tour of the vineyards of both Italy and California’s Napa Valley, as her passion is traveling and wine, something she’s been interested in her whole life.

“Being in an Italian company has helped me to learn so much about Italian wines, far beyond the Chianti that everyone knows,” she said.

Finally, Dave Bindra of B&B Gems is a self-described “sneakerhead,” walking (no pun intended) his audience through his collection of famous footwear that includes and original pair of red and black Nike Air Jordans. One of the viewers joked that pair of sneakers probably is worth as much as his important gemstones.

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