- 1,200+ volunteering hours
- Increased chapter revenue by over 1000%
- 400%+ new contacts added
- 40+ conference calls
- 20 highly-curated and relevant events planned in Colorado
- 3 industry news mentions/ publications
- 6 sponsorship acquisitions
- Building a jewelry community 1 designer/ jeweler professional at a time
A few stats since I was elected as the President of Women’s Jewelry Association of Colorado 2 years ago.
At that time, we had just moved to Denver from NYC. When I was asked to take on the role as president, my oldest son was only 2 years old, my second son was still nursing, and my husband and I just bought our first home together. I started a new job with a Colorado designer and had just learned how to drive (because who needs a car in NYC)? My family and I basically did all of the most stressful things in life within a year’s time. Taking on yet another new venue seemed daunting and downright foolish. Unbeknownst to me, volunteering for a non-profit organization turned out to be one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs I’ve ever done.
Stats and achievements aside, in the last 2 years since becoming the president I have 1.) started my own consulting company and 2.) had another baby. Needless to say, it has been pretty insane around here. Truth is, I often spent more hours and effort with WJA in a given day than I did running my own business. It was another full-time job that requires my undivided attention except it didn’t “pay”. It paid in a different type of currency…friendship, comradery, and a piece of mind. For me, knowing that a handful of women can come together to build a community and to empower and help each other (no matter how big or small the cause is) truly warmed my heart.
I took over the position in 2016 with less than $250 in the bank account. As a non-profit, each respective chapter had to raise their own money through fundraising and sponsorships on a local level on top of planning their own events AND acquiring new members/ maintain existing members. Not an easy task and a full-time job just on its own! Within 3 months time, I increased our chapter’s revenue by 10 times through our 2016 Jewelry Night Out event by partnering with a local clothing store, acquiring donations from Colorado designers, and beating our membership goal. I was also able to fill 6 board positions within the first 3 months of becoming the president.
Sadly, after our 2016 Jewelry Night Out event, the entire board dissolved. Since this is a volunteering role, the hardest part was to maintain the roles on your board and to keep everyone accountable. One by one, I would get an email (and even a text) with board members resigning due to job/ life changes, etc… There were instances where I simply did not even get a response after these women have committed to their position just a few months prior. Quite disheartening but how do you make someone accountable with a job that does not pay? How do you motivate them? Answer is, you CAN’T.
They have to want it, be self-motivated, and be willing to commit for a greater cause. I wanted to quit after the first year. I didn’t have much of a jewelry network when we moved out West let alone finding another set of board members to volunteer for the organization. There were weeks and months where there was no one standing beside me and attendance at events were laughable. It was difficult to not take it personally yet little by little, momentum started to build. Two members stepped up and together we saved the chapter in the fall of 2017. A very special thank you to Teresa Pureber and Hilary Stein who helped re-build the Colorado chapter.
Fast forward to 2 years later, it gives me great pride to pass the torch on to Teresa and to have a full board of women to continue on the mission by empowering the jewelry community through mentorship and education.