Jewelers of America Supports Retailers at Their First National Convention

Standing alongside independent retailers, the Jewelers of America National Convention gathers industry pros to discuss government moves affecting stores.

Charlie Cook

Jewelers of America (JA) is breaking ground with its first National Convention. A trade association dedicated to serving the fine jewelry marketplace, JA is at the forefront of conversations related to responsible business standards. Advocating for independent jewelers, JA’s upcoming program will delve deeply into what is happening in Washington D.C. By bringing leading experts into the room, Jewelers of America is creating a transparent conversation, preparing retailers for happenings on the Hill that could affect their businesses. From July 28-29th, jewelry professionals from around the country will gather at the International Barclay Hotel to focus on steering retail businesses towards growth, while maintaining the ethical standards of membership.

The Jewelers of America National Convention focuses not only on timeliness, but on forecasting and preparing for a multitude of potential retail futures. Accordingly, Charlie Cook, Editor and Publisher of The Cook Political Report, will keynote Sunday’s lunch with “Election Outlook 2020.” In the presentation, Cook will highlight how the next presidential election is shaping up, and what a win from either side could mean for the retail marketplace. Cook says, “Politics and policy effects businesses. I’ll be previewing the 2020 presidential race from an objective, non-partisan perspective and will be discussing what factors may be most important in a general election.”

Jason Straczewski

“Policy & Retail: Why What Happens in D.C. Matters” is a breakout session presenting a high-level overview of taxes and tariffs. With so many rapid changes and trade agreements, it is essential for retailers to consider all possible outcomes, including what questions they may need to be asking their vendors. Jason Straczewski, Vice President of Government Relations and Political Affairs at the National Retail Federation (NRF), has partnered with the National Convention to educate store owners about governmental affairs, helping them develop small and large business strategies to support their growth. Hosting an informational overview of NRF’s policies, Straczewsk will cover what could affect the marketplace in the near future. Anticipating change, the session will prep retailers with information to help construct new business strategies for weathering any storm.

David Bonaparte

Advocating for independent jewelers, David Bonaparte, President and CEO of Jewelers of America, says, “JA fights for the needs of all of our members – large and small. The National Convention’s goal is to bring independent jewelers from across the country together so they can be well-informed about every aspect of their business, ensuring the legacy of family businesses continues to thrive. Their fight is our fight.”


Michael Vaknin

Monday’s keynote, “Economic Outlook: Key Investment Themes,” will consider geopolitics and trade. Presented by Michael Vakin, Chief Markets Economist for J.P. Morgan Private Bank, the discussion will guide retailers on investments to watch, and on how they might be able to incorporate them to help finance, or complement, their business. An expert in global, macroeconomic, and market research, Vakin will share insight on potential short and long-term impacts in consumer spending, as well as detail the overall mood and current health of the industry.

Pamela Fierst-Walsh

Direct from Washington D.C., “Responsible Sourcing in the Jewelry Supply Chain: The Kimberley Process & Beyond,” will be presented by Pamela Fierst-Walsh, Senior Advisor on Conflict Minerals and U.S. Representative to the Kimberley Process, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Independent retailers will get the inside scoop on the Kimberly Process, as well as on where the certification currently stands. As consumers demand more and more transparency, Jewelers of America supports speakers that help independent retailers knowledgably answer tough questions in their stores.

The Jewelers of America National Convention is open to all jewelry professionals, with special pricing for JA members. To learn more about the Jewelers of America National Convention or to register to attend, visit

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