Carlsbad Career Fair and
Open House



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Come spend the afternoon at GIA's Career Fair, and be prepared to leave inspired and empowered. You'll have the opportunity to meet with recruiters from more than 30 gem and jewelry companies like Leo Hamel, Ben Bridge, Mark Schneider, Sterling Jewelers, and Zales. Listen to industry VIPs share their insights on the trade and participate in a career coaching session. Learn about GIA course offerings, explore the campus, view museum exhibits, visit the world's largest gemological library, and much more. The few hours you invest can translate into a future full of opportunities. Free for all job seekers and guests.

Day at a Glance - October 11, 2019

Registration
8:00 a.m. – 8:30 am
Entrance

Welcome
8:30 a.m. – 8:40 am
Ocean Lawn Tent

Job Success in Today's Market – Panel Discussion
8:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Ocean Lawn Tent

Recruiting
10:00 a.m. – 1:30 pm
Rosy Blue Student Commons – First Floor

Creative Careers – Panel Discussion
10:30 a.m. –12:00 p.m.
S. Tasaki Student Lecture & Graduation Hall – Second Floor

Career Coaching
11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Ocean Lawn Tent
(appointment taking 8:00 – 8:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.)

Classroom Demonstrations
11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Career Fair Concludes
1:30 p.m.
 


Welcome

Jennifer Wilson
Senior Vice President and General Counsel, GIA

Karen Basta
Vice President, The Jewelers 24 Karat Club of Southern California


Job Success in Today’s Market

Hear what leading industry executives have to say about what it takes to succeed in today’s market. Learn how industry trends are creating job opportunities. Gain insight and guidance about the skills and expertise employers want when they’re looking to hire.

Moderator

Jennifer Wilson
Senior Vice President and General Counsel, GIA

 

Panelists

Douglas K. Hucker
Chief Executive Officer, American Gem Trade Association (AGTA)

Cathy Calhoun
Owner, Calhoun Jewelers

Mitchell Binder
President, King Baby

Meghan Simmons
Director of Operations, Omi Privé


Creative Careers

The gem and jewelry industry is filled with creative careers, and industry professionals give glimpses into some of the more interesting ones. You’ll also learn how the power of creativity enlivens any endeavor – from jewelry design to reinventing yourself, from starting a business to making a dream career, and more.

Moderator

Mark Smelzer
Publisher, JCK magazine and JCKonline.com
 

Panelists

Jenny Luker
President, Platinum Guild International USA

Baba Blumkin
President and Co-Founder, Luxe Jewelry and Loan

Wade Clar, Jr.
Director of Brand Development, Julez Bryant

Alexandra Hart
Designer/Goldsmith, Alexandra Hart

Tiffany Stevens
CEO & General Counsel, Jewelers Vigilance Committee

 


2019 Career Fair Speakers

 

Karen Basta
Vice President, The Jewelers 24 Karat Club of Southern California

Karen Basta is Vice President of Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry, a 15-year-old retail business. With more than 30 years of industry experience, designing has become a highly utilized skill when helping clients with their ideas, concepts and vision to develop personal, custom designs. Both counter sketching skills and formal, to-scale renderings are important techniques used in assisting with sales and customer service.

Karen began in a family jewelry business in both manufacturing and design. Later meeting her husband, Ricardo Basta, who is also a manufacturer and jewelry designer for E. Eichberg Jewelers. Together they collaborate on award-winning designs for industry and retail clients.

Baba Blumkin
President and Co-Founder, Luxe Jewelry and Loan

Baba Blumkin comes from a long line of jewelry and pawn professionals. After graduating from La Jolla High School, he completed his Graduate Gemologist diploma at GIA, which launched him into the jewelry and pawn industry. He then moved to Los Angeles where he worked and apprenticed under his cousin Alan Friedman, the “King of Pinks” (diamonds), in Beverly Hills. After years in the jewelry business, he met Jordan Tabach-Bank of Beverly Loan Company and transitioned to the exclusive high-end pawn/loan business.

Pairing the skills he acquired in the jewelry and loan industries, he continued his career at the International Gem Tower in New York City. After years of hard work and a great degree of success, Baba moved his family back to San Diego. Together with his twin brother, he opened Luxe Jewelry and Loan in their old and beloved neighborhood of Pacific Beach.

Mitchell Binder
President, King Baby

In the 1970’s, when Mitchell Binder was a teenager he moved from Jackson, Mississippi to Los Angeles. It was when music reflected a spirit of idealism and new found freedoms. Musical artists like Hendrix, Joplin and The Dead ruled the airwaves. As Mitchell puts it “it was the ‘Summer of Love’ and my mind was officially blown.”

At 15, Mitchell became a jeweler’s apprentice and shortly thereafter began designing on his own. With his trademark charismatic personality, he soon made the right contacts and quickly became the ‘go to jeweler’ for Hollywood.

Officially launching King Baby in 2000, Mitchell has continued to raise the bar when it comes to design and hand crafted quality. In addition to being sold at jewelry & department stores worldwide, King Baby has its own flagship store locations in Santa Monica, Nashville, Caesars Palace Las Vegas, and in over 20 flagship stores in China. We continue to handcraft our pieces in the USA and have become one of the few companies to export USA goods to China.

 

Cathy Calhoun
Owner, Calhoun Jewelers

Cathy Calhoun first developed a fascination with jewelry when she began working in a friend’s jewelry store. This experience prompted her to complete the GIA Graduate Gemologist diploma in addition to becoming an AGS Certified Gemologist Appraiser.

Cathy’s entrepreneurial abilities has taken her in many directions. She has owned and operated an esteemed retail jewelry store in Pennsylvania for over twenty years and has founded other businesses, including commercial real estate firms, restaurants and a salon. In addition to being on the board of several industry organizations, she has also served as president of the American Gem Society, was awarded Pennsylvania Jeweler of the Year and in 2019 was inducted into the Retail Jeweler Hall of Fame. Cathy has been featured as a jewelry expert on programs such as the Antiques Road Show, Good Morning America, World News Tonight, Travel Channel, CNN Money and HGTV’s “If Walls Could Talk.”
 

Wade Clar, Jr.
Director of Brand Development, Julez Bryant

Wade is the Director of Brand Development/COO for Julez Bryant, a San Diego-based couture jewelry designer. In this role, Wade channels his passion for jewelry and rapport with retailers, suppliers and industry leaders to create value for the brand. Wade oversees sales, brand development, merchandising, marketing and training.

In prior roles, Wade worked with couture designers at the wholesale level, in high jewelry sales/DSA with Chopard at Neiman Marcus, and in direct response television. Wade was the first graduate of the Gemological Institute of America's BBA program, also completed the JBM program at GIA and received his associates degree from St. John Fisher College in 2004. Wade is a member of the event board of the WJA San Diego chapter, on the national WJA one-on-one mentor program, and has had his jewelry photography featured in three books. Wade enjoys beach town living in Oceanside, California.

Alexandra Hart.
Designer/Goldsmith, Alexandra Hart

Alexandra Hart is known for her sophisticated and artful couture jewelry and metal sculpture. With both Bachelors and Masters degrees in Art and Metalsmithing, with fashion experience designing for Karl Lagerfeld and Givenchy jewelry, and with fine jewelry design and goldsmithing with Barbara Heinrich Studio, she has achieved a synergy among artistic inspiration, high design and skillful craftsmanship. The work is about celebrating beauty found in natural forms, made of natural materials, championing a sustainable natural world.

Launching her business in 1995, Alexandra Hart began marketing her socially responsible company to retailers through premier American Craft Council tradeshows and The Buyers Market of American Craft. She established herself as a creative jewelry artist with leading craft and art galleries across the US. Since winning the 2009 Centurion Emerging Designer Award, having been selected by the World Gold Council’s 2009 campaign, she has shifted her marketing to focus more on fine jewelry market, bringing her sustainable vision to the luxury market, while maintaining the competitive small studio jeweler’s quality, creativity and pricing. At the same time, she continues to create Wearable-Art-Sculpture pieces and in 2017 was given a solo show at Sparks Gallery: Symbiosis, about our intimate personal relationship to jewelry and the broader environment.

Douglas K. Hucker
Chief Executive Officer,  American Gem Trade Association (AGTA)

Douglas Hucker is a leading figure in the international jewelry industry, particularly in the colored stone sector. He is a GIA Graduate Gemologist and an AGS Certified Gemologist who combines dynamic public speaking ability with an in-depth knowledge of estate and antique jewelry, colored gemstones and diamonds. He has served on the board of directors of a number of trade organizations, including the American Gem Society, the Jewelers Education Foundation, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, the United States Jewelry Council, the Diamond Council of America Advisory Board, the Jewelry Industry Leadership Forum, the CIBJO (World Jewelry Confederation) Presidents Council, and the JCK Advisory Board.

Doug is also the recipient of numerous industry awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jewelers 24 Karat Club of Southern California, as well as the Sallie Morton Award, the Triple Zero Award and the Robert M. Shipley award, all bestowed by the American Gem Society. Doug helps retail jewelers expand their business through comprehensive training, establishing efficient in-house training methods, and by improving promotional and marketing techniques.

 

Jenny Luker
President, Platinum Guild International USA

Jenny Luker has nearly twenty-five years of experience working with jewelry designers, manufacturers and retailers. In her current role, Luker is responsible for the strategic development of the platinum jewelry industry in the US. She leads her team in creating marketing and trade programs to promote awareness and to educate consumers in the jewelry industry.

Additionally, Luker is the president of the Women’s Jewelry Association, an executive board member of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, a board member of Jewelers for Children and a member of the 24 Karat Club of New York. She holds a BA from the University of Oklahoma and an MA from California State University, Fullerton, both in Sociology.

 

Meghan Simmons
Director of Operations, Omi Privé

Meghan Simmons has had a lifelong passion for gems and jewelry. After earning her Finance and Marketing degree from New York University, she began her tenure at Christie’s Auction House in New York as an appraisal assistant. Meghan went on to manage the appraisals team within the Estates, Appraisals and Valuations department and later joined Christie’s Client Strategy/Business Development group.

Eager to extend her knowledge of fine jewelry and gemstones, Meghan went on to study at GIA, receiving her Graduate Gemologist diploma. She then brought her passion and expertise to Los Angeles-based Omi Gems and Omi Privé as their Manager of Fine Jewelry. She currently serves as their Director of Operations where she oversees customer relations and the internal workings of the Omi Gems department. Meghan is committed to the education and growth of the jewelry industry and is a member of the Los Angeles chapter of the Women’s Jewelry Association and the GIA Alumni Association.

Mark Smelzer
Publisher, JCK magazine and JCKonline.com

Mark Smelzer has been publisher of JCK since 2004, and in 2017, launched the Mark Smelzer, LLC Consultancy.

As publisher, Mark oversees the business side of the industry’s oldest trade publication. JCK and JCKonline are the leading source for industry news, jewelry trends, product sourcing and retailing tips.

As a consultant, Mark worked to raise funds for the Jewelers of America’s upcoming jewelry industry advertising campaign. Mark secured funds from prestigious organizations including GIA, Jewelers Mutual Insurance, Chow Tai Fook/Hearts on Fire, Forevermark, The JCK Industry Fund, and Synchrony Financial. Mark also consulted on the launch and first fundraising round of the online jewelry marketplace, Gem + Jewel.

Mark received his undergraduate degree in political science from UCLA, and an MBA from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. He, his husband Eric, and their son Nolen reside in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Tiffany Stevens
CEO and General Counsel, Jewelers Vigilance Committee

Tiffany Stevens is the President, CEO & General Counsel of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, a 103 year old NYC based organization serving the Jewelry trade on all manner of legal and compliance issues. She currently serves on the Boards of the United State Kimberly Process Authority, the United States Jewelry Council and CIBJO.

She began her career as an attorney Paul Hastings LLP in Los Angeles, later moving to in-house legal & leadership roles in the private and public sectors, which a focus on health, the arts and the environment. Tiffany is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and NYU School of Law and member of the California Bar Association. She resides in New York City.

Jennifer Wilson
Senior Vice President and General Counsel, GIA

As GIA’s general counsel and a senior vice president, Jennifer Wilson manages legal matters and provides oversight to the Institute’s human resources department. She also oversees student services for all GIA schools. Her key responsibility is to protect GIA’s reputation and ensure integrity across the company. She applies her business acumen, higher education experience and legal expertise to assisting members of GIA’s executive team, Board of Governors and other departments. Ms. Wilson earned her Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate degrees from the University of San Diego, graduating magna cum laude and cum laude, respectively.