Aspiring gem and jewelry professionals network with industry veterans and employers
(NEW YORK) - More than 550 people including GIA (Gemological Institute of America) students and alumni, job seekers and industry professionals attended the GIA Jewelry Career Fair on July 13. Sponsored by Jewelers of America at the Javits Center in New York City, this unique event gave aspiring jewelry professionals the opportunity to network with people from all areas of the gem and jewelry industry; listen to an inspiring opening panel with industry leaders; and meet with recruiters from more than 50 companies looking to fill hundreds of positions.
“This was perhaps the most enthusiastic Career Fair we have had in 25 years,” said GIA Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Kathryn Kimmel. “The combination of a tight job market and rising jewelry sales means that there are great opportunities at all levels in the gem and jewelry industry.”
The half-day event began with a panel discussion “Job Success in Today’s Market.” Moderated by Jennifer Wilson, GIA senior vice president and general counsel, the lively discussion featured industry luminaries offering their advice for how to match aspirations to goals and find success.
Joel Schecter, executive vice president of Richline Group Inc., recalled his father’s advice for what he looked for in great employees, including passion. “I was excited about the jewelry industry and had the skills which led to passion. This is what will make you want to go to work every day and love Mondays.” Fallon Bock, a recent GIA graduate and now a diamond quality specialist for Leo Schachter Diamond Group, also shared her father’s advice. “Don’t tell someone to do any job that you wouldn’t, or haven’t, done yourself,” she said. Bock also shared three practices that helped her prepare to enter the industry: “Know your worth; trust the skills you learned at GIA; and act like a sponge, embracing everything that everyone has to offer.”
Greg Kwiat, chief executive officer at Kwiat & Fred Leighton, talked about change in the industry. “I am always excited to meet people coming into this industry. We need change in this industry; we need dynamic, fresh thinking in this industry. I am confident that all of you will bring that to this industry and I welcome that.”
Wendy Brandes, owner and president of Wendy Brandes Jewelry, closed the panel with the importance of flexibility. “It’s very important to have a plan, a vision for your life, but it’s more important to be able to change your plans,” she said. “Change comes to this industry whether you like it or not. Change comes to your life and opportunities come up - sometimes you like them, sometimes you are looking for them and sometimes they are something dropped into a casual conversation.”
Following the panel, job seekers had the opportunity to connect with recruiters and receive career advice during one-on-one coaching sessions with industry veterans.
Founded in 1991 in Santa Monica, California, GIA’s Jewelry Career Fair is the jewelry industry’s most significant career event. GIA has connected thousands of future employees with companies at more than 65 events in California, India, Las Vegas, London and New York.
The success of GIA’s Jewelry Career Fair over the past 27 years is due to the generous mentorship of career coaches, the expertise of panelists and participation of recruiters. For more details, visit gia.edu/career-fair. Follow @GIANews #JewelryJobs for updates.