It is with regret that the JAA Board must advise members that Amanda Hunter has submitted a request to step down from her current role as Executive Director.
In her time as Executive Director Amanda has worked with the genuine desire to further the interests of the Australian jewellery industry. Her tireless work ethic and dedication to improving the role and functions of the JAA exceeded any obligation that may have been imposed upon her by her employment contract.
The unfortunate reality is that Amanda has been subjected to relentless and unsubstantiated personal attacks on her professional capacity that have impacted on her health. The JAA Board therefore finds itself in a position where it must protect the welfare of its employees by accepting her resignation from the Executive Director role. The Board is currently in discussions with Amanda with the view to retaining her expertise in other roles within the JAA.
Whilst specifically employed as Executive Director of the JAA Amanda also has had considerable experience with event management, providing the JAA with a rare opportunity to consider the future of how the jewellery trade fair would be run in Australia. The need to consider this issue stemmed from concerns expressed by industry members over a considerable time about certain elements of the current trade fair .
Accordingly, the Board began to consider the possibility of an industry owned and run Tradeshow for the benefit of the Australian jewellery industry. The Board’s objective was to put the major decisions such as exhibitor blend, exhibiting costs and the focus on Australian product, back in to the hands of the industry. It was clear there was an opportunity to build revenue from the event that would then provide for the services that the industry expects the JAA to deliver now and in to the future.
It was never the JAA’s intention to do anything but unite the industry and the Tradeshow was launched based on direct feedback and strong support voiced from a large list of suppliers including the Showcase buying group. The clear objective was to protect the Association from the unsustainable and vulnerable position it was in. There could be no doubt that allowing the JAA to be financially reliant on individuals or organisations outside of this industry, who’s primary objective was to make personal profit, would not be in the best interests of JAA members. Unlike these individuals and organisations, the JAA is a not for profit organisation charged with reinvesting all funds for the benefit of its members.
Despite considerable initial support for an industry run Tradeshow certain important industry members have now expressed some concern about the feasibility of two Sydney based trade fairs. This concern in understandable given the current difficult trading conditions and the fact that other recent trade fairs have not been well supported. It should be noted it was the intention of the Board that these two fairs were essentially different in nature.
The JAA trade show was intended to be held in Darling Harbour in close proximity and on the same date as the Expertise Events fair and focussed on providing an alternative venue for those exhibitors that did not wish to contract with Expertise Events and also on promoting the interests of sections of the industry that required the assistance and nurturing that would underpin the industry in the future. This included the Young Jewellers Group as well as smaller manufacturers and wholesalers that may not have been able to afford presenting their products at other fairs. The JAA Tradeshow would also have the specific focus of supporting Australian companies as opposed to overseas companies seeking to enter this market.
Given that the JAA is an association for its members it is essential for the Board to always have regard to the opinion of those members. For this reason the Board has taken into account the wishes of the industry and must announce that it will not be running a Tradeshow this year but will defer the event until such time that the industry sees fit. The JAA will of course refund the deposits paid to it by all those that had sought to be part of a JAA run event in 2017. This is a very recent decision and has been made after a current Jewellery World article indicating that the Tradeshow would be proceeding. The Board apologises for any confusion resulting from the conflicting information but the Jewellery World article could not be withdrawn prior to this announcement due to publishing timelines.
The JAA is continuing with its strong JAA Jewellery Awards program that has received over 150 expressions of interest from individuals planning to enter already. This will continue to be a highly popular, exciting program that celebrates the talented jewellery designers, manufacturer, students, and apprentices that abound in our vibrant industry. The JAA remains committed to its members and the health of its staff and will always be focused on how we can continue to serve this great industry that we are all part of. The JAA Board