The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) has announced its Hall of Fame honorees for the associations’ annual Awards for Excellence gala to be held on Monday, July 25, 2011 at Pier 60 at the Chelsea Piers in New York City:
Hall of Fame: Varda Shine, Diamond Trading Company International (DTCI)
Ben Kaiser: Matt Stuller, Stuller, Inc.
Corporate Awards: Helzberg Diamonds
Varda Shine, Managing Director of DTCI, will receive WJA’s 2011 Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. Shine impressively moved up the ranks throughout her 22 years working in various aspects of the De Beers Group of companies, before being appointed as Managing Director in 2006. She is a pioneer in the industry and an inspiration to women both within and outside the jewelry industry.
“I’m humbled, yet delighted, to receive this award from the Women’s Jewelry Association,” said Ms. Shine about accepting this prestigious award. “Having spent over 25 years in the diamond industry, I have first-hand experience of how tough it can be for women to succeed in business generally, let alone in one that used to be as old fashioned and male dominated as the diamond business. Happily, I believe we are now seeing more opportunities opening up for women in the diamond world and I am proud that De Beers has recognized and embraced the value that women can add in this industry, as evidenced by the fact that two of the six major businesses in the De Beers family now have women as Chief Executives. We still have a long way to go, but I am hugely honored to be recognized by my female peers in the jewelry industry and am proud to be keeping such esteemed company.”
Matt Stuller, Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Global Strategist of Stuller, Inc., will receive the WJA Ben Kaiser Award. Mr. Stuller built Stuller, Inc. from the ground up to become an ultra-modern manufacturing facility that produces 340,000 jewelry-related products.
The Lafayette, Louisiana-based company and its subsidiaries employ 2,000 people on three continents and is a De Beers Diamond Trading Company sightholder. Matt’s determination, vision and commitment to excellence has guided not only his businesses, but is demonstrated on the many boards on which he serves and gives back his time.
Helzberg Diamond’s continued commitment to the advancement of women in the jewelry industry made it an ideal candidate for WJA’s Corporate Award for Excellence. Helzberg Diamonds®, a retail and online jewelry store focused on customer service, was founded in 1915 and has over 230 stores nationwide. Helzberg Diamonds is based in North Kansas City, Mo., and is part of the Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. family of companies.
“On behalf of Helzberg Diamonds, I am pleased to accept the Women’s Jewelry Association’s Corporate Award for Excellence,” noted Beryl Raff, chairman and CEO of Helzberg Diamonds since 2004. “Helzberg Diamonds has a rich history of leadership in the jewelry industry and our commitment to the professional development and advancement of female associates is no exception. The entire team at Helzberg is honored to receive this recognition.”
“We are extremely proud to have the opportunity to award these three deserving recipients,” said Kendra Bridel Weinman, President of the Women’s Jewelry Association, “These individuals and their organizations perfectly embody our mission as an organization - to empower women to reach their greatest potential.”
At the July 25 event, WJA also will present Awards for Excellence in retail, design, manufacturing/supplier, sales, marketing and communications, editorial/reporting/publishing, and special services.
Established in 1984, the WJA Annual Awards for Excellence dinner is one of the most well attended and highly anticipated events in the jewelry industry each year. The 2011 event is chaired by Michelle Peranteau of Platinum Guild International.