An exciting day of Connecting, Learning, and Celebrating!

The Inaugural 2023 CJA Industry Summit held at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on Monday October 23rd was a HUGE success!  Thank you to everyone who attended and made this day extremely special!

See you in 2024!

2023 CJA Industry Summit

CJA Membership Coordinator, Alanna Campbell, recaps the entire event in two parts. 

Part 1: The Day

WOW!!! It is safe to say that the CJA Industry Summit was a resounding success thanks to everyone who attended and all the dedicated individuals who helped bring the event to life!

Over one hundred incredible people joined me and the rest of the CJA Board of Directors, Consultants, and Office Staff on Monday October 23, 2023 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver for an incredible day of connecting, learning, and celebrating.

2024 Canadian Jewellers Association Board of Directors

2024 Canadian Jewellers Association Board of Directors | Back Row: Mark Devereaux, Shant Purutoglu, Kevin Vantyghem, Justin Opert | Front Row: Tom Hart, Angela Betteridge, Gail Golberg, Chau Lui, Marco Pasteris | Missing: Heather Davis, Eric Senftleben

CJA Chair Report 2023 Annual General Meeting

Angela Betteridge, CJA Chair, addresses CJA members during the AGM.

The CJA Industry Summit kicked off with the 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Special Meeting of Members. Angela Betteridge, CJA Chair, led the AGM, noting the Association’s numerous accomplishments for the 2023 year.

The 2024 Board of Directors were welcomed including two new Directors, Justin Opert and Eric Senftleben. Each Board member brings a unique perspective, skill set, and passion which will ensure the CJA is well equipped to keep the positive momentum going. I am looking forward to working with this incredible group of dedicated volunteers.

The highlight of the AGM was most certainly Angela’s keen ability to make quick work of an otherwise daunting task, presenting the 51 Special Resolutions (SRs) for CJA Members to vote on. In case you missed it, these SRs pertained to proposed updates to the classes of membership. The proposed updates reflect the evolving jewellery and watch industry and will ensure that the classes are relevant today and in the future. Congratulations Angela, your humor and brevity ensured that everyone stayed awake throughout!

Lindsay Gagnon, Abe Sherman, Angela Betteridge, CJA Industry Summit

Abe Sherman (C), Buyers Intelligence Group (BIG), was the first of four Keynote Speakers at the CJA Industry Summit. Pictured here along with his associate Lindsay Gagnon (L) and CJA Chair, Angela Betteridge (R).

Once the formalities were out of the way, I was able to welcome our four Keynote Speakers for the complimentary Education Sessions. Abe Sherman of Buyers Intelligence Group (BIG) was up first. Abe’s presentation “The Turnover Myth (We had it all wrong)” gave the audience insights into what turnover is really all about. Abe offered a deep dive into the analysis of turnover and provided steps for both retailers and suppliers to improve their turnover immediately. If you missed it, you can access Abe’s presentation HERE and Showcase Spreadsheet HERE. If that’s not enough, HERE is BIG’s excellent 3-minute re-merchandising video!

Kelly Ross, Jewellers Vigilance Canada

CJA Industry Summit Keynote Speaker Kelly Ross of Jewellers Vigilance Canada.

Kelly Ross of Jewellers Vigilance Canada was our second Keynote Speaker. Kelly brings a unique and extremely valuable perspective to the industry with his experience in policing and in-depth knowledge including training as a gemologist and rough diamond grader. Kelly fascinated the audience with an overview of how the police work together with the public and what these partnerships mean for the jewellery industry. One thing I found very interesting was how jewellery can aid in solving crimes. Kelly provided remarkable examples of how ingenious detective work enabled jewellers and other victims to be reunited with their jewellery that had been recovered from robberies.

Craig Patterson, CJA Industry Summit

CJA Industry Summit Keynote Speaker Craig Patterson of Retail Insider Media Ltd.

Our third Keynote Speaker, Craig Patterson of Retail Insider Media Ltd. gave an overview of the current state of the Canadian Retail Industry. With so much changing, Craig’s insights were valuable in preparing for what to expect next in retail. Craig’s overview provided a look into what big brands are doing to woo their customers. All very helpful for jewellery and watch retailers competing for every dollar in the marketplace alongside electronics, fashion, and beauty.

CJA Industry Summit Keynote Speaker Ivette Stephanopoulos of De Beers Group.

CJA Industry Summit Keynote Speaker Ivette Stephanopoulos of De Beers Group.

Ivette Stephanopoulos of De Beers Group rounded out the CJA Industry Summit Education Sessions as the final Keynote Speaker. Ivette excited the audience as she outlined De Beers Institute of Diamonds’ “Origin” suite and how advanced technology is being used to connect clients with the unique story behind their diamond. De Beers is “Building Forever” by creating a positive, lasting, and sustainable ‘impact.’‘

Retail Industry Panel

Retail Industry Panel | Panelists L to R: Charles Mitton, Mitton’s Jewellers; Tom Hart, Charm Diamond Centres; Marco Pasteris, Birks Group Ltd; Chau Lui, Paris Jewellers; Marco Miserendino, Bijouterie Italienne | Moderator: Craig Patterson Retail Insider Media Ltd.

Representing both independent retailers and retail chains, the Retail Industry Panel was well equipped with perspectives and experiences that resonated with attendees. A variety of topics were covered from staffing woes, foreign visitor tax rebates, to LGDs, and mall hours. Even the audience got involved asking questions and sharing comments to further the conversation. The panelists did an exceptional job sharing what has worked and what hasn’t, leaving attendees with valuable ideas about how the chains manage their issues and how it can relate to their own business.

CJA Industry Summit

CJA Member Vanig Jelilian (L) of Lorne Park Jewellers, travelled from Ontario to attend the CJA Industry Summit where he connected with fellow CJA and Armenian Jewellers Association members, Ivette Stephanopoulos (C) and Shant Purutoglu (R).

Attendees left with minds full of knowledge and hands full with a toolkit courtesy of Striliant Diamond Corp.

And with that, the daytime events concluded, and guests were ushered to Cocktail Hour!

Striliant Diamond Corp Sponsor of the 2023 CJA Industry Summit
Guests enjoying at the 2023 CJA Industry Summit

Thank you CJA Industry Summit Sponsors

Part 2: The Evening

As darkness fell on the beautiful city of Vancouver, the CJA Cocktail Hour Sponsored by De Beers Institute of Diamonds at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver was getting into full swing!

Making my way through the Vancouver Island Room, it was a vision of smiles and good cheer, something that truly warmed my heart. You couldn’t help but feel the positive energy, which was indeed infectious.

One of the major benefits of events like the CJA Industry Summit is getting to meet people face to face. To those members that I have spoken to over the phone or via email, it is wonderful to now put a face to a name and to the new members and friends that I met, I look forward to supporting you going forward!

2023 CJA Awards Dinner

Over 100 guests attended the CJA Industry Summit at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on October 23, 2023.

Guests were seated for the CJA Awards Dinner and were greeted by yet another gift at their place setting, a notebook courtesy of sponsor, De Beers Institute of Diamonds.

Good news, I had done a decent job MCing during the day, so much so that I was invited back to the mic for the remainder of the evening. Thank you all for laughing at my jokes and making my job as MC a breeze! All jokes aside, it was an honour for me to assist in announcing the 2023 CJA Award Winners!

The first award of the evening was the CJA Volunteer of the Year Award presented to Justin Opert, Sorbet Sapphire. Justin has served on the CJA Membership and Member Benefits Committee since 2021 and has continually put forth tremendous efforts and incredible insights that have made a positive impact on the Association. Congratulations Justin!

Justin Opert 2023 CJA Volunteer of the Year Award

CJA Chair Angela Betteridge presents winner Justin Opert with the 2023 CJA Volunteer of the Year Award at the CJA Awards Dinner.

The second award of the evening was the Canadian Retailer of the Year Award presented to Mitton’s Jewellers of Ridgetown, ON. Mitton’s Jewellers is proud to be one of the oldest family-owned jewellery stores in Canada. Opened in 1897, Mitton’s Jewellers is now operated by husband and wife, Craig and Rosemary, and their son Charlie and his wife Karla. Five generations have kept this beloved store operating for over 125 years, all sharing the tools, the work bench, and the legacy which is Mitton’s Jewellers. Congratulations Mitton’s Jewellers!

Mitton's Jewellers 2023 Canadian Retailer of the Year Award Winner

CJA Chair Angela Betteridge presents Charlie Mitton of Mitton’s Jewellers with the 2023 Canadian Retailer of at the Year Award the CJA Awards Dinner.

The third award of the evening, the Canadian Supplier of the Year Award, was presented to Courtney Gold Company of Vancouver, B.C. Established in 1987, Courtney Gold Company is a leading importer of fine quality international jewellery, serving dealers throughout Canada. Travelling the world and hand selecting their jewellery, Courtney Gold Company presents clients with the very best quality and exciting new styles. At home, Courtney Gold Company supports a variety of charities with their philanthropic endeavors. Congratulations Courtney Gold Company!

Courtney Gold 2023 Canadian Supplier of the Year

CJA Chair Angela Betteridge presents Dave Lee of Courtney Gold Company with the 2023 Canadian Supplier of the Year Award at the CJA Awards Dinner.

Ivette Stephanopoulos and Shrenik Haji at the CJA Industry Summit

Ivette Stephanopoulos, De Beers Group and Shrenik Haji, Rare Brilliance Inc.

Guests at the 2023 CJA Cocktail Hour

L to R: Marco Miserendino, Bijouterie Italienne; Kelly Ross, Jewellers Vigilance Canada; Justin Opert, Sorbet Sapphire; and Pierre Akkelian, Canadian Gem.

The 2023 Erol Paylan Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Adom Knadjian, retired, B & S Canada Inc., a well-known and highly respected figure in the Canadian jewellery industry.

Angela Betteridge, CJA Chair, was honoured to present Adom with a specially selected Inuit carving in recognition of this prestigious award.

Angela Betteridge presents Adom Knadjian with the Erol Paylan Lifetime Achievement Award

In her speech, Angela noted “this Inukshuk is a stone monument in the image of a human. No one piece of this Inukshuk is any more or less important than the other. Its strength lies in its unity. It symbolizes co-operation, balance, and unselfishness. Adom, these are all attributes you possess, in addition to reflecting your high ethical standards”.

Listening to Angela describe Adom’s story, from his arrival in Canada and the success story that followed, was inspiring. It is clear through the many awards listed and the various organizations he supported, Adom has devoted his career to our beloved industry and for this we are all grateful!

Adom Knadjian 2023 Erol Paylan Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

CJA Chair Angela Betteridge presents Adom Knadjian, retired, B & S Canada Inc. with the 2023 Erol Paylan Lifetime Achievement Award at the CJA Awards Dinner.

In a beautifully crafted acceptance speech, Adom addressed the captivated audience noting “I dedicate this prestigious award to everyone in the Canadian jewellery industry, a community which brings together friendships, expertise and passion for the betterment and advancement of the jewellery trade both in good and in challenging times”. Adom goes on to mention “it is more than just the scintillating diamonds, vibrant gems and beautiful jewels; it is about enduring business relationships and genuine friendships that were nurtured with so many wonderful people at all levels of the industry, across Canada and overseas. [ . . .] The CJA has not only been an immense resource and forum for me, but also for thousands of others since its establishment in 1918. [ . . .] I cannot possibly put a value on the friendship and fellowship cherished from 43 years of my CJA Membership.” Congratulations Adom!

Mel Moss and Adom Knadjian raise a glass at the CJA Awards Dinner

Mel Moss, Regal Imports Ltd, and Adom Knadjian, 2023 Erol Paylan Lifetime Achievement Award winner, say “Cheers” and raise a glass at the CJA Industry Summit.

Walking around the room after my duties were done, I was overjoyed as I spoke with guests who remarked on the event and who were too, thrilled by the jubilant atmosphere.

I would like to send a heartfelt thank you to the dozens of people who dedicated their time and efforts to the inaugural CJA Industry Summit! To everyone who joined us as an attendee, we appreciate your time and continued support. We would also appreciate your feedback. We are always looking for ways to improve and support our members in ever-evolving times.

The thing that makes our industry so special, which Adom highlighted in his speech, is the sense of community and the enduring friendships. Having had a few days to rest and reflect after such a lively event, I continue to be in awe of the spirit of our industry and I feel truly honoured to serve CJA Members in my role as CJA Membership Coordinator. Needless to say, the post-event excitement has not worn off and will continue to fuel CJA initiatives throughout 2024!

2024 CJA Industry Summit . . . DETAILS COMING SOON!

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