When I took the helm as President of the Iowa Jewelers Association last year at the annual convention, I knew the year would be one of transition and change. We have made many strides to bring the organization into the 21st century and have embraced that ever growing need.

Our first step was bringing in Suzanne Hull as Executive Director and saying goodbye to A&N Convention Services. Suzanne brought in a new energy for the job and has really helped us push for change. We have a new website up and running (www.iajewelers.org). The website is so much better than our previous veritable landing page. Anyone can now sign up for membership or advertising sponsorships online. We have also transitioned the quarterly newsletter from paper to an email. This effort will save the organization over $400 per year on printing and mailing.

The board has also dramatically changed. We now have job descriptions for all members of our board of directors. This was an area where we just rode on the coat tails of Nancy, Cindy, and Lynda with A&N Convention Services. They took care of almost everything and there was no real understanding of what each board member was in charge of. By defining our roles, we can more efficiently tackle the tasks that come up throughout the year.

That brings us to our 2018 Annual Conference which will be held at the Holiday Inn Des Moines DTWN – Mercy Area on June 22nd and 23rd. The weekend will start Friday the 22nd with golf at Bright Grandview Golf Course in Des Moines, IA. After golf we will stay on site (non-golfers are invited!) to socialize, give away door prizes and have the awards ceremony. This is a great event to network with vendors and friends. If you are terrible at golf, you can be my partner and we will be terrible together.

Starting after lunch on Saturday afternoon we will begin our educational seminars. This year’s selection of speakers will be excellent. Our seminars will start with Jim Casey from Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC). Jim will be doing a presentation on effective communication. This would cover a range of areas from listening, dialogue, eye contact, and how to push people’s thinking toward what you are trying to communicate or sell.

Slav Galkin, from ALTR created diamonds, will be speaking on the current market and what to expect from lab created diamonds. ALTR is the only company in the world that grows, cuts, and manufactures lab created diamonds into finished jewelry. He is a tremendous wealth of knowledge on the subject.

Finally, we will hear from Paul Kinghorn from the University of Northern Iowa. Paul will be discussing exit planning and why it is so important to begin planning now, no matter your age.

We will conclude our conference on Saturday evening with our President’s Social, Traveler’s Display area, and Annual Banquet where we will be announcing the winners of the Design Competition.

We look forward to seeing everyone’s smiling faces on June 22nd and 23rd in Des Moines. It has been our solid foundation of support that has kept us a viable and relevant organization for 112 years. Please continue to show your support for this wonderful organization so we can be here for many more.


Will Doland, el Presidente 😉