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WJA Taps Watch Executive to Lead International Board; Awards Responsible Business Grants January 19, 2022 (0 comments)


New York, NY—The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) has elected Susan Chandler (image), chief merchandising officer for Citizen Watch America, as the new president of the WJA international board of directors. 

“I am thrilled to lead WJA through the 2022 – 2023 term. Each board member brings a unique talent and skill set to our organization from business development to digital expertise, and will help us inspire and empower women in our industry toward professional success,” says Chandler.

WJA’s organizational theme for 2022 is Generating Community Impact. The association will continue to emphasize diversity, equity and inclusion, responsible sourcing and sustainability, and business development in its educational trainings and events. Through thoughtful sponsorships and partnerships, WJA will be able to invest in its membership and enrich the careers of women in the industry. 

“As we head into 2022, WJA is focused more than ever on providing value to our members. Our theme this year ensures that our programming and partnerships are optimized for making the most impact on our community,” adds Jennifer Markas, WJA executive director.

Joining Chandler on the 2022 WJA board's executive committee are newly appointed officers Nan Palmer of FACEts Consulting and LuxeRox, treasurer; Raquel Alonso-Perez of Harvard Mineralogical and Geological Museum, vice president of chapter affairs; and Jacqueline Raffi of Hearts On Fire, corporate secretary. Also serving on the executive committee is immediate past president Jacqueline Cassaway.

Six newcomers have also been elected to the WJA Board. These new members include Aida Alvarez, senior vice president at Roberto Coin; Shauna Brook, founder & CEO of Shauna Brook Marketing & Communications; Donna DeLucia, vice president of technical sales at Guild + Facet; Tanya Parikh, CEO and founder at Janvier LA; Mark Smelzer, chief content executive at The Zing Report/Jewelers Mutual Group; and Victoria Wieck, designer/ShopHQ on-air guest and host of Million Dollar Passion Podcast.

WJA also honored outgoing board members Molly Bell of Rio Grande; Monica Elias of Elias World Media; Jenny Luker of Platinum Guild International USA; Craig Selimotic-Danforth; Benjamin Smithee of The Smithee Group; Lauren Thompson of JCK Group; and Tonia Zehrer of Signet Jewelers.

Visit to see a full list of WJA’s current board members.

Separately, the Women’s Jewelry Association Foundation is pleased to announce the first recipients of its new Responsible Business Education Grant: Megan Cochran and Mary Enright. This new grant, sponsored by Platinum Guild International USA, will give these two WJA members the opportunity to enroll in a top-rated sustainability course at New York University’s Stern School of Business Executive Education online program.

Cochran is a multi-faceted, independent designer and jeweler based in Oceanside, CA. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and a Graduate Jeweler diploma and CAD / CAM certification from the Gemological Institute of America and over 14 years of experience as a designer and product developer for international brands and retailers. In 2020, she started her own business, Megan Cochran Jewelry Design, offering design and production services to small jewelry businesses invested in a more ethical approach to design and sourcing. She is a proud member and volunteer with Ethical Metalsmiths and the Women’s Jewelry Association, serving as Treasurer of the San Diego chapter.

Jewelry Designer and Master Goldsmith Enright has almost two decades of experience in the jewelry industry, both as designer and business owner. The success of her boutique style jewelry gallery and workshop in Ireland brought her much critical acclaim both nationally and internationally which led to a successful solo exhibition in New York in 2016. Shortly thereafter, she moved to New York City and worked at Tiffany & Co. as a model maker in its Jewelry Design and Innovation Workshop. She is currently a CAD/CAM Instructor at GIA and a member of the Women’s Jewelry Association, serving on the Diversity and Communication committees of the New York Metro chapter. 

“WJA Foundation is optimistic about its forward-looking and innovative charitable approach with a focus on sustainability education. A partnership with Platinum Guild International USA extends the opportunity to support and develop more sustainability leaders within the industry,” said Markas. 

“PGI is proud to support WJA Foundation’s Responsible Sourcing & Sustainability Fund and its business education grant towards NYU programs,” added Jenny Luker, president of Platinum Guild International USA and a former president of WJA. “We feel it is important for our industry to make a continued commitment toward sustainable practices in all levels of business, and the first place to start is education. We are excited to see the positive impact these opportunities will have on the recipients’ businesses.” 

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