(CARLSBAD, Calif.) - GIA (Gemological Institute of America) hosted its annual GIA Career Fair & Open House on Friday, Oct. 21 at its Carlsbad world headquarters, with more than 600 people in attendance. Now in its 20th year, Career Fair is recognized as the gem and jewelry industry’s preeminent recruiting event.The one-day gathering brought together recruiters, career coaches, speakers, job seekers and the general public, and began with “Job Success in Today’s Market,” a panel presentation that kicked off with a state of the industry address by Donna Baker, GIA president and CEO.
“Challenges do exist in the global economy, but the gem and jewelry industry has done well and the demand for luxury items remains strong,” said Baker. “From brick-and-mortar to Internet-based businesses, opportunities abound: they are there for the taking for trained professionals who keep up with the trends and changing dynamics of our industry and remain relevant through continuing education.”
The “Job Success in Today’s Market” panel speakers ranged from up-and-coming executives to seasoned industry professionals, including Mary Todd-McGinnis, vice president of sales for Ben Bridge Jeweler; Au-Co Mai, president and CEO of Emitations.com; Richard Drucker, president of Gemworld International; and Sara Beth Brown, sales associate for Breitling Boutique.
Attendees also gained expert insight from jewelry design luminaries Erica Courtney, Alishan Halebian and Katey Brunini during“From Design to Finish.” The panel discussion, moderated by Peggy Jo Donahue, covered everything from the use of subcontractors and manufacturers, to pricing strategies and the pros and cons of CAD/CAM software. A third panel, “Creative Careers,” brought to light the wide range of opportunities available within the industry. Panelists included Douglas Hucker, Amy Helein, Steven A. Mindel and Chris George with Mark Smelzer as moderator.
Job seekers were busy at the event, with 28 recruiters on site looking to fill a variety of positions – from marketing, design and management, to inventory control, customer service, estate jewelry buying and retail. Leo Hamel, founder and CEO of Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers®, which operates one retail and seven wholesale locations throughout San Diego County, participated as a recruiter with Maggie Scheuer, chief operating officer of the company.
“This is our fourth consecutive year at Career Fair, and each time we find the ‘diamond in the rough’ that we’re looking for – which is typically a recent GIA graduate with a knowledge of stones and a passion for jewelry,” said Hamel. “We want employees who are ready to share our vision for success and eager to learn what it takes to become a valuable part of our team.”
The open house portion of Career Fair enabled the public to tour the GIA campus and view the wide array of museum displays. One of the exhibits included a diamond brooch, two petite silver mesh clutches and two pocket watches all recovered from a safety deposit box following 9/11.
GIA Career Fair began in 1991 and was co-founded by Kathryn Kimmel, vice president and chief marketing officer at GIA. Since then, the Institute has also held the event in Las Vegas, Mumbai and New York.
For more information please visit www.gia.edu.