My experience at the 33rd annual WJA Award for Excellence
Date: August 9, 2017
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So I did not win in the Merchandising and Product Development category at the 33rd annual WJA Award of Excellent Gala on July 24th.  It was my very first nomination and I can genuinely say that it was an incredible honor JUST to be nominated.  Here’s why…
My very first AFE experience was 10 years ago in 2007, when my Divisional Merchandise Manager at Macy’s was nominated for an award (interestingly enough, in the Merchandising Category).  It was also the year when I first discovered WJA.  Since then I’ve only attended one other gala where I was not volunteering.  This annual event which takes place at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers is an amazing way to mingle with some of the top professionals in our industry (it also helps that the view is incredible and I live for every opportunity where I have to put on a gown).
It doesn’t matter if you’re attending as a guest, or volunteering like myself…you are guaranteed to make new connections AND re-connect with old colleagues and friends.  Over the years, you would usually find me assisting at the silent auction table, checking you in, or spreading the WJA mission.
So, it was an honor to attend as a guest, and not as a volunteer for the first time in a decade.  What was even more incredible for me was that the nomination came just a year after I started FACEts.  The last 13 months has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding moments in my professional career.  I’ve learned so much about myself and I know that this is only the beginning.  If you own your own business then you can understand the struggles (and the rewards) of being self-employed.  This is a marathon, not a race. I love this business, but most of all, I love all of the relationships that are created out of our shared passion for jewelry.
Sure I did not win, but to me, it’s not about winning.  It’s more about progress.  It’s knowing that you are doing better, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year.  I also know that there is always next year, and the year after, and so on and so forth…  I sure hope to be nominated again in 2018 so that perhaps I can exercise my speech.  Speaking of my speech, these are the people that I wanted to thank:

“…I immigrated to the US when I was 11 yrs old from Hong Kong. So I want to first thank my parents for instilling in me a strong work ethic and teaching me how to overcome adversity.  When I told my mom that I’m going to study Merchandising at the Fashion Institute of Technology, she thought I was going to sew in a factory for the rest of my life!  Mom, sorry I did not become a lawyer or a doctor but I hope you are still proud of me!

To my husband, Dave Palmer, who’s at home with our 4 and 2 year old sons.  Thank you for providing the inspiration for me to start my own company and for always believing in me and supporting me. You are a better dad than I am a mom and you’re my teammate for life. You and the boys are the people that I want to make the most proud of me.”

Thank goodness for my seamstress!

With friend and fellow nominee, Anna Samsonova

The beautiful Jaime Polk, my long time industry friend and mentor.

What a night!

With WJA President and former VP of Marketing of Rio Tinto, Brandee Dallow