• Karen Estrada

A conversation with Tracey Carswell, Founder and Board President of WJA Miami Chapter.

Updated: Jun 27, 2019


I've been a member of the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) for about a year now and have

experienced firsthand the kind of commitment and work they are doing for the jewelry industry.

From education to networking, WJA is an example of how an organization should carry its

duties.


I sat down with Tracey Carswell, Founder and Board President of the WJA Miami Chapter to

discuss the role of the Women’s Jewelry Association in helping women in the jewelry and

watch industries with education and career advancement. We talked for hours, not just about

the organization, but about the role of women in the industry and the future. We are excited

to be partnering with WJA Miami on an upcoming event in July.


Karen: So let's start from the very beginning, when was the WJA founded and why it

was created?


Tracey: The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) was created in 1983 in a time when women

were receiving unfair treatment within the jewelry industry and wished they had the mentorship

and networking of other women. The whole intention of WJA was to support, educate and

empower women in the jewelry and watch industry, so they would have a seat at the table and

have their voices heard.


Tracey Carswell (third from left) alongside members of the WJA Miami Chapter


Karen: Is WJA only available for women? I get this question a lot.


Tracey: WJA is open to both women and men, and the goal is to provide opportunities for all

of our members to build relationships within the community so they can grow professionally.

The mission of the organization 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” and it takes everyone's participation to make that

happen.


Karen: What kind of resources does WJA offer to its members?


Tracey: WJA offers a lot to its members. This year, the organization is once again offering a

free year of membership for students taking courses in a jewelry-related program. Members

can apply for grants and scholarships for business and education. WJA is very much about

giving members access to resources in this industry, including their mentorship program.

Any member can go into the roster of mentors and find someone who is in that area that is

important for them, whether it is retail, marketing, gemology, business, etc. and request

mentorship. We also have an active online community, WJA Connect, where members can

connect with members across the globe. There are also networking and educational

opportunities where members can meet others in their community and get involved in their local

chapter. Members have these resources to help them build relationships, get trained and

developed by mentors, and grow their leadership. All of this and more is included in the

membership.



Karen: that is remarkable, I've also heard you offer grants to non-members, is

that true?


Tracey: Yes it is, WJA offers grants and scholarships throughout the year, and some of those are open for non-members. All of the specifics can be found at

www.womensjewelryassociation.com/grantscholarships. Business grants and scholarships,

as well as additional opportunities for women in the industry to further their personal growth,

development and education are available. It’s a great resource in the industry to help them

grow.


Karen: That's one of the things that really impressed me about WJA, the involvement in

the community goes beyond what most organizations provide, and that is the reason

why Artco Group wants to support WJA as much as possible. How are things moving

with the July event at our facilities?


Tracey: We are excited to be partnering with Artco Group to bring together WJA Miami with

the team at Artco this July to expand what we are offering to our Miami community!


Karen: Sounds great, what can we expect from the WJA July Meeting?


Tracey: The intention of the event is networking as well as providing educational value. We will

have a speaker to discuss important topics within the industry. Our speakers generally cover a

range of topics from financing, gemstones, business development, and more; going over

different points that are relevant and of interest to people in the jewelry industry.


Karen: We're so looking forward to this meeting - and it's been a great pleasure talking

to you Tracey. finally, where can people get more information about WJA.


Tracey: Thank you Karen, it’s been great speaking with you, too. They can visit us at

www.womensjewelryassociation.com or email us at miamichapter@womensjewelryassociation.com.

We look forward to connecting!



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