(LAS VEGAS) - Maybe it’s a sign that the jewelry industry is feeling more positive about the economy; or maybe it was the top-caliber line-up of speakers and programs. Whatever the reason, the American Gem Society (AGS) is pleased to report that the 2011 Conclave saw a 10% increase in attendance, and one thing is certain - the event drew record praise from the membership.Daniel Pink, the author of “Drive”, was the opening speaker, and left members with a challenge: come up with one sentence to describe your purpose - a challenge echoed by featured speaker, Patricia Fripp, in her marketing and sales workshop. “Blue Zones” author, Dan Buettner, in a departure from the usual topics discussed at business events, riveted the audience with his travel stories from around the world where he explored pockets of society that enjoy centenarian longevity - and the lessons we can all learn from his findings. Tony Hsieh, Zappos.com’s CEO, discussed how he fine-tuned the focus of Zappos over the years until he had narrowed the corporate philosophy to one single purpose for employees and toward customers: delivering happiness. Baseball legend, Jim Abbott, inspired the audience with his motivational story of overcoming adversity. Janine Driver, a body language expert, taught participants that gestures and postures can have an impact on how others perceive us and gave insights into how to exude confidence and trust. Finally, Jake Greene, author and communications consultant, helped bridge the communication gap between an older generation of computer users and a new generation of mobile device-savvy workers.
Beyond the speakers, highlights included a presentation from Ian Smillie, the Chairman of the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI). Smillie described the mission of DDI and encouraged retailers to take part in the new Friends of DDI program. Another highlight: GIA offered up more than eight hours of hands-on classes that helped not only increase the members’ gemological education, but offered tools to increase business.
One of Conclave’s most memorable and touching moments came when Cathy Calhoun, President of the AGS Board of Directors, surprised both the audience and longtime jeweler and Certified Gemologist Appraiser (CGA) Cos Altobelli with the announcement that the Society was naming its library in honor of him. Altobelli has spent countless hours educating and mentoring future CGAs.
As previously reported by the American Gem Society, longtime member Ronnie Cox, Certified Gemologist, was awarded the coveted Shipley Award, the highest honor the Society bestows on members.
“All week long, our phones have been ringing and we’ve been getting e-mails and texts from members telling us that this Conclave stood out from all the others,” said Ruth Batson, Executive Director and CEO of the American Gem Society. “It was a combination of several factors converging: the location, San Francisco, the historic Westin St. Francis hotel with its rich history, and of course the programs and speakers. More so, I think the AGS membership came with an open mind, were ready for a great learning experience, and they walked away inspired. I want to thank everyone who came and participated, including our board members and sponsors. We could not have given our members this level of quality programs without their efforts. I truly believe this was the best Conclave yet!”
Next year’s Conclave takes the Society and its members to Miami, Florida April 25 - 28.
The American Gem Society, founded in 1934 by Robert M. Shipley, is a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to proven ethics, knowledge, and consumer protection within the jewelry industry. AGS is a professional organization awarding credentials for its members, who are held to the highest ethical and professional standards in the industry and must pass annual recertification examinations to maintain their titles. Less than five percent of jewelers in the country have met the exacting requirements necessary for membership.
For more information regarding the American Gem Society, please call 866-805-6500 or visit www.AmericanGemSociety.org.