Press Release

GIA Names Director of Institute Relations

New position to oversee alumni and GemKids programs

CARLSBAD, Calif. – April 18, 2019 – GIA has appointed Shahdeh Ammadi to the newly-created position of director of institute relations. Formerly director of alumni relations and annual giving at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) in New York, Ammadi will oversee the Institute’s global alumni program, the GemKids program for young, aspiring gemologists as well as guest services at GIA’s Carlsbad headquarters.
“The more than 130,000 active GIA alumni in 65 chapters around the world are important ambassadors for our Institute and help to fulfill our mission to ensure the public trust in gems and jewelry,” said GIA President and CEO Susan Jacques. “Shahdeh brings unique experience and expertise that will help us enhance, re-envision and implement programs, resources and infrastructure to support life-long learning and success for our wonderful and dedicated GIA graduates.”
“I am very excited to bring my experience to GIA and its incredible alumni,” said Ammadi. “I look forward to working with the volunteer alumni leaders to help them meet the needs and interests of their chapter members, and to advance GIA’s consumer protection mission.”
Based in Carlsbad, California and reporting to Vice President of Education and Chief Academic Officer Duncan Pay, Ammadi will also oversee GIA’s GemKids program, which introduces minerals, gems and gemology to children ages 9 to 12. GIA offers this engaging gemology learning experience at the Institute’s Carlsbad headquarters – where nearly 5,000 students take part each year – and in other locations, including Botswana and South Africa. She will also lead the guest services team, which hosted 5,000 additional visitors at the Carlsbad headquarters for tours of the Institute in 2018.
Ammadi began her career at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C., where she restarted their alumni relations program. At Columbia, she established an alumni mentorship program and, through a combination of data analysis, global events and outreach, dramatically increased GSAPP’s brand recognition. She received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California San Diego and an executive Master of Science degree in strategic communication from Columbia. She holds a certificate in jewelry making and design from Corcoran College.
Visit for more information about the GIA alumni program. 

About GIA

An independent nonprofit organization, GIA (Gemological Institute of America), established in 1931, is recognized as the world’s foremost authority in gemology. GIA invented the famous 4Cs of Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight and, in 1953, created the International Diamond Grading System™ which is recognized around the world as the standard for diamond quality.
Through research, education, gemological laboratory services and instrument development, the Institute is dedicated to ensuring the public trust in gems and jewelry by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science and professionalism.