Immediate Release - February 24, 2017
WJA Announces 2017 Awards for Excellence
Hall of Fame Honorees

Gala also returns to Pier 60 on New York's Chelsea Piers for July 24 event
Poughkeepsie, NY - The Women's Jewelry Association (WJA) has announced its Hall of Fame honorees for the association's annual Awards for Excellence gala, to be held Monday, July 24, 2017. The gala will also return to Pier 60 on the Chelsea Piers in New York City.

Cecilia Gardner, president, CEO, and general counsel of Jewelers Vigilance Committee, will receive the WJA Lifetime Achievement Award; Michael Pollak, CEO of Hyde Park Jewelers, will receive the Ben Kaiser Award; and Day's Jewelers will receive the Corporate Award.

Lifetime Achievement honoree Cecilia Gardner has served the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) for nearly two decades. Her leadership of the not-for-profit trade association helped put JVC at the forefront of some of the most complex issues related to compliance and ethics in the jewelry industry. Gardner served as general counsel to the World Diamond Council from 2000-2015, an industry group that worked with governments and non-governmental organizations to craft the Kimberley Process and System of Warranties. She also became general counsel for the United States Kimberley Process Authority (USKPA), to implement the provisions of the Kimberley Process. During her tenure, Gardner also led the JVC in efforts concerning the underkarating of precious metals, the disclosure of diamond and gemstone treatments, the standards used by appraisers, the enactment of anti-money laundering programs; and a comprehensive review of the FTC Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries. She also served on many industry boards.

With over 40 years in retail management, developing seven luxury jewelry and watch stores, Ben Kaiser Award recipient Michael Pollak has focused most of his resources on a combination of business strategy and vision, philanthropy, and the omni-channel future of a disrupted retail marketplace. Pollak also founded Diamonds in the Rough, raising nearly $2.5 million to support the efforts of youth-based non-profits and local charities. He was named a National Jeweler Retailer Hall of Fame award winner in 2008, and an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 1999. He has served on the boards of Diamond Empowerment Fund, Jewelers of America, Natural Color Diamond Association, and is a former president of Luxury Jewelers Resource Group.

Corporate Award honoree Day's Jewelers is a family-owned jewelry chain with seven jewelry stores throughout Maine and New Hampshire. The company has been in business for over 100 years, and since 1988, has been owned by Jim, Kathy and Jeff Corey, with David Harris serving as president. Known for its core set of values, Day's Jewelers is a standout in the jewelry industry for its integrity, transparency, and responsible business practices and is a certified member of Responsible Jewellery Council. The company has received several honors including: the 2016 "Retailer of the Year" by the Retail Association of Maine, America's Best Jewelers recognition by National Jeweler, and the 2009 WJA Awards for Excellence Retailer of the Year.

At its annual gala, WJA also will present Awards for Excellence in retail, design, manufacturing, sales, marketing and communications and editorial categories.

"It is my utmost pleasure to be a part of honoring such a distinguished group of individuals during the 2017 Awards for Excellence," says Brandee Dallow, WJA President. "Returning to Chelsea Piers with this trio of award winners is most certainly going to make for a fabulous evening."

At its gala, WJA brings together industry leaders for a social evening that raises money for scholarships and grants for deserving women entering or working in our industry. A Silent Auction will again be mounted to raise additional funds for these important causes. Tickets and sponsorships will go on sale later this year.
Cecilia Gardner
Cecilia Gardner
Michael Pollack
Michael Pollak
The executive team at Day_s Jewelers_ Jim Corey_ David Harris_ Kathy Corey_ and Jeff Corey.
The executive team at Day's Jewelers (L-R): Jim Corey, David Harris, Kathy Corey, and Jeff Corey.
About the Women's Jewelry Association
WJA's mission is to help women in the jewelry and watch industries advance and develop professionally through networking, education, leadership development, and the provision of member services. For more information, visit
Lauren Thompson
WJA Public Relations Chair
(646) 658-5817

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