\r\n\r\nWhat is your history in the jewellery industry?\r\n\r\nYou may not know, but I started on the shop floor as a Saturday girl and worked up to store manager with the support of a wonderful employer. From this rather lucky start and introduction to the jewellery industry, I studied hard to gain my FGA and DGA qualifications to become the youngest registered valuer for the NAG.\r\n\r\nI began my own independent jewellery and watch valuation business in Staffordshire after 18 years, working with prestigious companies in the UK, including Plants the Jewellers and heading the jewellery department for Fellows Auctioneers.\u00a0\u00a0\r\n\r\nEarlier this year, I moved my private practice from Staffordshire to London. As a member of the London Diamond Bourse in the heart of the world-famous jewellery quarter in Hatton Garden, I can meet private clients in a secure environment. I'm privileged to work with many major trade jewellery retailers such as The House of Garrard's in London, Wongs in Liverpool, and Mallory's in Bath.\r\n\r\nI have a wealth of private high-net-worth clients who continue to surprise me with stunning jewellery collections that can really take your breath away! I'm also a member of the Academy of Experts and experienced in preparing Expert Witness Reports for civil and criminal cases for both the Prosecution and Defense to aid successful legal cases.\u00a0\u00a0\r\n\r\nWhat are your most notable achievements?\r\n\r\nMy latest appointment of being awarded the prestigious title of chair of the National Association of Jewellers is my favourite accolade to date! However, something much closer to my heart is seeing the students I have supported succeed in their qualifications and career endeavours. I believe what you can give back to others through your own expertise and experience is the best thing you can achieve in life.\r\n\r\nWhat will be your responsibilities as chair of the NAJ?\r\n\r\nMy role as chair will be to help lead the Association\u2019s National committee, leaning on the support and experience of the other board members, including my good friend Gary Wroe who departed the role of chair earlier this month.\r\n\r\nI will work closely with the NAJ\u2019s senior management team, led by principal officer Ben Massey, as we help drive the association through this new and exciting strategy phase. Throughout my time working with the NAJ, the relationship between the National Committee and the wider management team has been crucial and built on open collaboration, which I hope to continue under my stewardship.\r\n\r\nBeyond that, my roles are much like any other chairperson, with responsibilities of presiding over AGMs and attending and introducing social functions such as the recent NAJ Summit.\r\n\r\nWhat do you hope to achieve in your new role, and what will be different under your leadership?\r\n\r\nI want to maintain and improve our position as the most relevant, important and valuable association in our fantastic industry. A big part of this will be down to implementing our new strategy, which everyone, from the National Committee to our membership, will play a role in directing.\r\n\r\nI've been directly involved with the NAJ for eight years. During that time, I've seen many changes within the association and throughout the membership. As an industry, we've experienced Brexit, a pandemic and global unrest, all events that continue to profoundly affect our businesses and way of life. It might not sound glamorous or exciting, but this is the time for steady leadership. We have our 'north star' in the form of our strategy of professional excellence, and I hope to be an important part of steering the association's course in delivering this vision.\r\n\r\nI also have a personal goal to promote all levels of the jewellery trade, not just the managers and business owners. Having previously chaired the NAJ's Education Committee and my first-hand experience working within the jewellery industry, I understand the importance of training, education and mentorship for both the individual and trade.\u00a0\r\n\r\nWhy has the NAJ created a new strategy?\r\n\r\nThe world is changing, and so is our membership. To provide meaningful guidance to members and the wider industry, the association needed to move with the times. The NAJ has always supported its members - I believe this was particularly evident to the membership during the early days of the pandemic - but we understand it is equally important to lead members, to help them grow professionally, commercially and responsibly.\r\n\r\nWhat does this strategy entail?\r\n\r\nOur strategy aims to 'shape professional excellence for jewellery businesses and their people.' This means we're not only looking at how we can strengthen the member offer but also how to inform more individuals of, and give access to, all the relevant and practical guidance and information.\r\n\r\nThe NAJ is evolving from simply a trade association to a body that connects with and supports people wherever they are on their jewellery journey.\r\n\r\nOur framework grows from our three core pillars - compliance, profit and responsibility. These pillars are not just for individual members and their people but for the association itself. We are now determined to progress professionally and sustainably within the team, to make the membership experience be the best it can be and for the organisation to continue to grow commercially. We want to represent all members appropriately and provide genuine value-for-money via a competitive range of benefits and services.\u00a0\r\n\r\nWhat is \u2018professional excellence\u2019 and why is this important for the jewellery industry?\r\n\r\nProfessional excellence is what every business and individual should strive to achieve. For the NAJ, this is built around our aforementioned pillars of compliance, profit and responsibility. What this means in simplest terms is making sure member businesses comply with legal and regulatory requirements, enhance the association's benefits, services and resources to help members be successful and profitable, and, finally, help members adopt responsible and sustainable practices.\r\n\r\nProfessional excellence is not just important to the jewellery industry; it is critical to its growth and survival.\u00a0\u00a0\r\n\r\nWhat is next for the NAJ?\r\n\r\nBeyond implementing the new strategy, the next 12 months promise to be an exciting period for the NAJ. The NAJ Summit will return next summer after a successful second outing this year. We have received glowing feedback across every sector of membership that attended the Summit in 2022. We will continue to tweak and refine the offering to make it the best jewellery event it can be.\r\n\r\nSeveral exciting developments are in the works for the NAJ website, which will help businesses get the most out of their membership. Next year, Ben Massey transitions to become the association's new CEO. He has demonstrated great leadership over the past two years and has the full support of the National Committee and wider NAJ team as he embarks on this new and vital role.\u00a0\r\n\r\nFinally, the whole team is thrilled to be back seeing and visiting members in-person again. There is no better way of understanding the needs and challenges of our membership than meeting face-to-face in their businesses.