AJS-U SPEAKERS  

Tiffany-Bayley

Tiffany Bayley

Founder and CEO, THRIVE Consulting
Tiffany has over three decades of experience in retail sales, marketing and coaching, she has become a sought-after speaker in our industry and others. You can often find her featured in industry publications like, JCK Magazine and Southern Jewelry News. Last year she completed her first book, THRIVE with Facebook Live! that quickly became an industry sensation. Tiffany has since founded a consulting company where she connects with retailers to elevate their virtual presence. When she’s not busy designing jewelry in one of her retail locations, speaking, coaching or writing, it’s probably a Wednesday, when she hosts her own virtual shopping show that is streamed weekly to Facebook, Instagram and YouTube called Shop with Tiffany LIVE! with thousands of followers.
Ryan Blumenthal - Clientbook

Ryan Blumenthal

Vice President of Sales and Business Development, Clientbook
Ryan Blumenthal is Vice President of Sales and Business Development for Clientbook, the leading mobile clienteling app built for retail. Ryan has an extensive career in the retail industry and is also the owner of Corinne Jewelers. With more than 15 years as a sales leader in the retail space, he is a widely sought-after industry speaker and thought leader on topics including clienteling, retail growth and strategy, retail staff enablement, and customer retention.
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Cindy Chandler

Director of Education, Atlanta Jewelry Show
Cindy has an extensive background in buying, sales, retail management, gemology, and jewelry design, Cindy Chandler knows the worlds of fine jewelry and retail inside out. After earning her Graduate Gemologist diploma from the Gemological Institute of America, she became an instructor at GIA. Cindy then worked as group manager, regional training manager, and human resource management roles at Macy’s. That experience sparked a lifelong passion for mentoring and educating retail jewelers. This led her to the American Gem Society, where she served as Deputy Executive Director and added association management to her skill set. As Associate Show Director for the SMART Jewelry Show/SmartWork Media, Cindy continued to empower retailers with her knowledge, experience, and love of the business. Currently, Cindy is working on projects that benefit from her knowledge in retail and association management, sales, gemology, marketing, public relations, and customer service. Contact her if you have a project or job that would benefit from her experience and creativity.
Terry Chandler

Terry Chandler

President and CEO, Diamond Council of America
Terry’s forty-year retail jewelry career began as a trainee for what was then a small family-owned chain of four jewelry stores Michelson Jewelers. He was a store manager, supervisor, Senior Vice President, and partner, in the chain that grew to twelve stores. Terry has been involved in every aspect of the retail jewelry industry including training, operations, development, management and, now, distance education and association management.

He accepted the full-time role of President/CEO of the Diamond Council in February of 2001. During his tenure, the Diamond Council has grown from seventy members representing approximately twelve hundred stores to one of the industry’s leading education and training resources, now with over 300 members representing over four thousand retail jewelry stores in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

In 2017 Terry, along with the DCA Board of Directors and the Board of Jewelers of America, completed a three-year effort that would lead to DCA becoming an affiliate of Jewelers of America and relocating the DCA offices to New York City.

Terry is a 1994 inductee into Alpha Beta Kappa, the National Honor Society of the Diamond Council of America. Terry received the American Gem Societies prestigious Triple Zero Award in 2018 and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the 24 Karat Club of Southern California in 2019.
Anish Desai

Anish Desai

President and CEO, Star Gems
Anish Desai, the President, and CEO of Stargems Inc, known as America’s leading custom design house, is also the talent and innovation behind multiple technology platforms that enhance businesses and have created major digital transformations within the jewelry industry. With a passion for and expertise in the industry, he has focused on developing one-of-a-kind technology solutions to help benefit small businesses.

Anish has brought digital transformation to the industry when it comes to improving the way retailers interact with their customers on a daily basis via TextMeChat; a two-way messaging platform that allows seamless communication, boosts online reviews, and assists in conducting business transactions with the built-in ability to process payments instantly via the PayByText and SellByText features and helping automate Facebook live selling events.

As an IT leader with the goal of assisting retailers in enhancing their overall web presence and growing their businesses online, his highly skilled team also has successfully built and continues to manage hundreds of retailers’ websites. Star Gems’ goal is to provide the resources necessary to make it easy for small businesses to create an impressive digital footprint.

To reach Anish send an email to sales@stargems.com and don’t forget to check out www.stargems.com online.
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Kathryn Pearce

Owner/Designer, Veleska Jewelers
Kathryn Pearce is the owner and jewelry designer at Veleska Jewelry. She helps clients create and find unique pieces of jewelry to celebrate their special occasions. Kathryn also works with clients who are excited to take their old or inherited jewelry and create something new and fabulous. She enjoys combining old-world techniques with modern technology. She creates the jewelry of their dreams.
Prout Headshot 2015

George Prout

President independent Division, Craft Lab Grown Diamonds
For the past thirty years, George has served as Senior Manager at some of the largest Jewelry Suppliers in America. His affiliations with Town & Country, GDM, and Ashi during the 80’s, 90’s, and the first decade of this century came during periods where each respective company became the largest supplier of diamond jewelry to Independents. During the past 13 years as Chief Marketing Officer at Gems One Corporation, George has brought a unique consumer-centric perspective, in which trend analysis and consumer buying patterns have become central elements in creating one of the largest Omnichannel marketing platforms in the jewelry industry. In his capacity as a columnist for Southern Jewelry News, George has written over 60 articles on how fundamental marketing concepts can be applied in the jewelry retailing environment. He has also served as a Keynote speaker at state jewelry conventions throughout America, and has lectured extensively on retail store management techniques at the Edge Retail Academy. George is currently writing a book on the Neurophysiology of Advertising, and actively pursues offshore sailing and fly fishing as hobbies (when his life as a workaholic allows him to do so).

Kevin Saw

Finance manager, Picup Media
Kevin Saw is the finance manager of PicUp Media. A fully qualified accountant, Kevin combines his business acumen with jewelry photography to bring a unique and valuable insight for jewelers.
Louis Scholz Headshot

Louis Scholz

Louis has been in the jewelry industry for almost 40 years, with his primary focus being on antique and period jewelry and cufflink manufacturing. He is a member of the American Gem Society (AGS), the Manufacturing Jewelers (MJSA) the Diamond Council of America (DCA), and the 24K Club, Southeastern Guild. His company, Brixton & Gill, was the first British manufacturing firm admitted to the American Gemological Society.

Before starting his own wholesale antique jewelry company, Louis worked as a jewelry repair person, as an assayer in a gold refinery, and as a partner in an antique store in Baltimore, Maryland. In the mid-1980s, Louis discovered his true penchant—the search, acquisition, and conservation of antique and period jewelry.
smestad

Don Smestad

Sales Representative for Imperial Pearl, Box Brokers, and Vimco
Don is a sales representative for Imperial Pearl, Box Brokers, and Vimco. He has been in the jewelry industry for 44 years. Over this time, he has created strong relationships with his clients. This has enabled Don to develop strategies to engage consumers with in-store experiences and events. Mr. Smestad has been a sales representative for: Bassali Allison-Kauffman MK Diamonds and Jewelry Gordon Brothers Stuckey Benchmark Belle Etoile
M Tratner Headshot

Matthew Tratner

General Manager and Vice President, Sarine Technologies North America
Matthew Tratner’s almost two decades of experience in the jewelry industry spans manufacturing, e-commerce, project development, retail sales, publishing, and marketing. He has been heading Sarine’s North American subsidiary since January 2022. Tratner’s past positions include Director, Global Business Development at GIA, Director of Membership & Sales for Jewelers of America, and Publisher of National Jeweler. Tratner started his career at a family jewelry manufacturer on New York City’s 47th street where he split his days between the office and the road selling to retail jewelers. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Empire State College and an Accredited Jewelry Professional Diploma (AJP) from GIA.
Holly Wesche - at desk C 2019

Holly Wesche

Holly is the third generation of a jewelry family and is the owner of Wesche Jewelers in Melbourne, FL. She has been very active in the jewelry industry and her local community for over 30 years. Wesche Jewelers was founded in 1977 by Holly’s parents, Jim and June Wesche. Holly began working at Wesche Jewelers in 1986 and bought the business from her mother in 2002 after her father passed away.
Sara Yood

Sara Yood

Sara Yood, Senior Counsel at the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), is an attorney admitted in the state of New York with extensive experience in intellectual property law. Sara’s responsibilities at JVC include anti-money laundering compliance, FTC Jewelry Guides compliance, trademark litigation, copyright, advertising monitoring, creating legal compliance tools and publications, and advanced legal strategy. She has developed additional expertise in U.S. and international laws concerning the importation and exportation of animal materials used in jewelry and has authored multiple JVC publications illustrating the laws surrounding the jewelry industry. Yood came to JVC from a fellowship at the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School, where she received her law degree. She is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. Yood also serves as the Treasurer and on the board of the Women’s Jewelry Association and is a member of the Fashion Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association.