Provides a professional space to network and learn
(NEW YORK) - The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) has introduced a members-only online platform called Connect, and in the sixth months since its debut, nearly half of its members have created accounts, posted, asked questions, and interacted with fellow members. This level of activity is more than double what forums such as these typically see in a short time period, according to Higher Logic, the site’s developer.
WJA’s Connect is intended to be an online complement to the association’s traditional mission of helping women advance and develop professionally through networking, education, and leadership development. Many members who don’t live close to a WJA chapter - or aren’t able to make live events - will still get a chance to collaborate, share knowledge, and have meaningful conversations.
“WJA strives to create a seamless experience for our membership. When our members visit Connect, they know they’ll find a professional atmosphere, akin to our live networking and educational events,” says WJA Executive Director Jennifer Markas. “That’s due to WJA’s mission, plus active management by our Community Manager Evelyn Stetzer of The Smithee Group.”
Members who use Connect will find discussion groups, including All Members, Industry Insights, and Design Corner, plus several specialized forums for leaders in WJA’s 20-plus chapters. Each member has the opportunity to create a profile detailing her or his professional accomplishments and talents. There’s also a member directory based on the member profiles. Members can also post photos and learn about live events and webinars.
“The conversations on Connect are of a higher quality than you might see in public forums,” observes WJA Membership Coordinator Rachel Jurisz. “Visitors are looking for crowd-sourced guidance on everything from design and website management, to financial and operations insights for their businesses. Because of the depth and breadth of experience among our members, advice is soon shared.”
Connect Community Manager Stetzer also points out that discussions covering universal questions remain live on the site for newer members to find and access later. “This gives Connect a long-term value and preserves the wisdom of the crowd.”
Beyond education, Connect also provides a space for far-flung members of the jewelry industry to meet others who might be beneficial to their businesses. “The networking aspect of this kind of online community is the number one need that our participants identify,” says Stetzer.
Future plans for Connect include starting more chapter forums, encouraging even higher participation and engagement in the community, and monitoring members’ needs so that new topics can be proposed.
Connect is accessible to all WJA members at https://wjaconnect.womensjewelryassociation.com/home