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WJA Announces Member Grant Awards for 2014

Jun 27, 2014 1:57 PM   By WJA
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Press Release: The Women's Jewelry Association (WJA) announced that it has awarded $13,000 in member grants to women around the country in 2014. Member grants are awarded to female, professional-level, WJA members in good standing, in increments of $500 to be used toward professional growth.

Funds for WJA member grants are raised by the national organization, as well as by WJA chapters around the country. All applications are reviewed by the WJA member grant committee, which is chaired by Fran Pennella, WJA co-vice president of membership development. The committee also includes jewelry industry representatives nationwide. All qualified applicants are then placed into a random drawing conducted by the committee.

The 2014 Grant Winners are listed by the WJA Chapter that submitted their names:

Colorado: Kellie Lemmel

Los Angeles: Tam Nguyen

Metro New York: Elizabeth Houseknecht, Retno Hadiatmodjo, Nancy Ross, Richelle Wilson, Geeta Kalsaria, and Maryann Scandiffio

Midwest: Nancy Hudson, Susan Crady, Kelly Jacobson, and Anne VanderMeulen

New England: Marilyn Salvatore and Martha Seely

Northern California: Lisa Baird, Yoshiko Daigen, Christine Dhein, Gina Fiorentino

Ohio/Kentucky: Pamela Theodotou

San Diego: Irene Wtsman

Southwest: Beth Schmitz

Twin Cities: Dorothy Sherburne, Jeana Lidfors, Margie Mersky, Grace Plaster, and Mary Kay Mohs

"Professional women in the jewelry industry often need funds to explore their chosen fields more fully," said Andrea Hansen, the president of WJA. "Our member grants contribute towards that exploration, often taking our members to higher levels of business success."

To raise funds for next year's member grants and scholarships, WJA is hosting its annual awards for excellence gala, on Monday, July 28, 2014, at Pier 60 on the Chelsea Piers in New York City.

At the annual gala, WJA will present three honorees with awards: Ruth Batson, the executive director and CEO of the American Gem Society and AGS Laboratories, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award; David J. Bonaparte, the president and CEO of Jewelers of America, will receive the Ben Kaiser Lifetime Achievement Award; and Richline Group will receive the Corporate Award.

In addition, WJA will bestow awards for excellence in categories including design; manufacturer/dealer/supplier; retail with 15 doors or more and those with fewer than 15 doors; non-traditional retail; sales; marketing and communication; editorial media; special services; and watches. For the first time, the nominees for these awards will only discover if they won on the evening of the gala.

The WJA awards for excellence gala has been a part of the industry's social calendar since 1984. At its gala, WJA brings together industry leaders to honor the best, and for a social evening that raises funds for scholarships and grants. In 2013, upon its 30th anniversary, WJA awarded $46,000 in scholarships and grants, a new record for the association. A silent auction and raffle will again be mounted in 2014 to raise additional funds for these important causes.

To purchase sponsorships or tickets for the gala visit:

About the Women's Jewelry Association
WJA's mission is to help women in the jewelry and watch industries advance and develop professionally through networking, education, leadership development, and the provision of member services. For more information, visit

Rapaport News is not responsible for, and does not endorse, the content of any third-party press release. This is not a Rapaport Press Release. It has been provided as additional information for our clients.

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Tags: education, funding, grants, Jewelry, wja, womens jewelry association
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