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The inconsistencies surrounding Amanda Hunter's resignation has left some in the industry puzzled
The inconsistencies surrounding Amanda Hunter's resignation has left some in the industry puzzled

Confusion over JAA executive director’s position

The industry confusion over Amanda Hunter’s position at, and involvement with, the Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA) continues.

On 8 May, the JAA board announced that Hunter had resigned from her position as executive director.

The JAA’s media release stated: “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.”

Hunter’s decision to resign came one week after Showcase Jewellers confirmed it would no longer “exclusively support” the new JAA Jewellery Tradeshow at Sydney’s Moore Park and would, instead throw its support behind the 2017 Sydney International Jewellery Fair (IJF) run by Expertise Events.

On 1 May – just a few days after Showcase’s announcement – JAA president Selwyn Brandt issued an industry statement advising that the JAA trade fair was relocating from Moore Park to Darling Harbour because it was “the best location to host the inaugural industry run trade event”.

The 8 May announcement of Hunter’s resignation also read: “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.”

Somewhat ironically, it went on to advise that the JAA Jewellery Tradeshow had been cancelled; only one week after announcing it would move location.

Ongoing employment

Further, the same statement added, “The board is currently in discussions with Amanda with the view to retaining her expertise in other roles within the JAA.”

The issue became more confusing because on 6 June – one month after resigning – Hunter issued a 1,500-word personal statement about her time at the JAA. Titled ‘Parting words from Amanda Hunter’, the email implied she had already left the JAA by stating that the decision to resign came "quite suddenly".

“I have had an immensely rewarding career in event management and I have run hundreds of events with a myriad of awards and accolades that I won’t take your time by listing. I feel content that I have nothing left to prove in this field,” she wrote.

Although no official announcement was made regarding her continued work at the JAA, Hunter’s LinkedIn profile states that she was subsequently appointed as JAA ‘Project Manager’ in July.

At the time of publication (5 September), Hunter's Linkedin profile still records her as holding the JAA executive director’s position, despite resigning in May, and also despite the fact that the profile has since been updated to list her JAA project manager position ending in August.

Regardless of the confusion and various mixed messages, JAA marketing and membership manager Emma Ward confirmed that Hunter formally left the JAA in all capacities on 11 August.

Turbulent times
Amanda Hunter, former JAA executive director
Amanda Hunter, former JAA executive director

Hunter joined the JAA in June 2014, explaining that she hoped to apply the knowledge she had gained on specific projects to the jewellery industry, including increasing association membership and sponsorship.

“Growing the JAA whilst helping the members also grow their businesses is very appealing and fits well with my past coaching and sales management experience,” Hunter said at the time.

Two months into the role she told Jeweller: “Growth and relevant project delivery will be achieved through careful strategic planning, strong financial management, reaching out for input and taking the time to get out and meet the industry.”

The JAA has undergone a turbulent period since announcing in May 2016 that it would create and run its own jewellery trade fair by ending its 25-year relationship with Expertise Events and walking away from a minimum $100,000 annual sponsorship deal.

The decision immediately created industry division and in that time, three board members have resigned, the association has lost other sponsorship income and members, including Nationwide Jewellers - Australia's largest buying group - while many suppliers, including high-profile members, have quit en masse.

Hunter’s 6 June 'parting words' statement divulged that the JAA was facing a “large loss” which would “eat into retained earnings” and the JAA has since announced it currently faces cashflow problems so it is unclear if, or when, a replacement in the executive director’s position will be made.

The JAA also recently closed its (stand-alone) York Street Sydney office and relocated to a shared, serviced office complex.

In an email confirming Hunter’s final departure, Ward provided the following statement from the JAA board: “The Board thanks Amanda Hunter for her valuable service and leadership of the JAA. We wish her all the best in her future endeavours and we are grateful for her many accomplishments. Amanda’s hard-work and dedication to the jewellery industry saw the implementation of several important initiatives in addition to a revived strategy the association will benefit from now and into the future.”


More reading:
Amanda Hunter resigns; 2017 JAA Jewellery Tradeshow cancelled
Buying groups call for unity: urge industry to support one jewellery fair
Another JAA board member resigns
Showcase pledges support for Expertise Events jewellery fair
Nationwide, Leading Edge make 2017 jewellery fair decision
Sydney jewellery fair organiser hits back at JAA
More industry division over two jewellery fairs
JAA appoints new executive director


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