RAPAPORT... Joseph M. Menzie was awarded a ''Lifetime Achievement'' award by the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) at the organization’s biennial congress in Changsha, China in May.
Menzie (pictured), who began his career at his grandfather’s company, Charles F. Winson, received the recognition for making significant contributions towards developing the global gemstone industry. Menzie served for 16 years on ICA's board of directors, including vice president and two terms as president from 2003 to 2007.
During his tenure ICA expanded its reach into emerging consumer markets such as Russia and Korea and launched initiatives in China in 2003. Working with government bodies, Menzie brought the message about gemstones into other markets including Dubai, where the ICA held its most successful congress to date in 2007.
As president, he spearheaded developments of corporate social responsibility with an emphasis on assisting children in impoverished areas where gemstone deposits occur. Such projects included installing computers at a school system in Muzo, Colombia, followed by a joint venture with the government of Governado Valaderes, Brazil to provide assistance to a home for disadvantaged children.
Menzie supported campaigns to rebuild houses for those displaced by the tsunami in Sri Lanka and led initiatives in Kenya and Tanzania providing much needed support to schools in mining areas.
Several of the social responsibility initiatives were tied to mining tours and, as a result, participation from organizations such as the Gemological Institute of America led to modification of their educational programs to reflect the hands-on experience gained through the ICA tours.
At Menzie’s recommendation members of trade, consumer press, as well as laboratories were invited to participate in these mining tours. Menzie had long been a proponent of including the consumer press in this process, creating a means to promote an allure, along with education about gemstones, to be made available to a greater audience.
Among Menzie’s other achievements is the influence the ICA website had over information provided on colored gemstones to both retailers and the consuming market. He saw this as a weak link in the chain of gemstone promotion and created multiple translations for the “Gem by Gem” section for educational endeavors.
Menzie is founder and past president of the New York Jewelers Group, a think tank of approximately 55 wholesalers, dealers and distributors covering all sectors of jewelry industry.