On Monday, Professional Jeweller reported that this year’s Executive Development Forum (EDF) will take place on 8 June 2016.
The NAJ has named the speakers as Anna Blackburn, chief executive of Beaverbrooks; Steve Bennett, chief executive of the Genuine Gemstone Company; Adrian de Courcey, of transport operator company Travel de Courcey, and Jesper Neilsen, who this year launches Amazing Jewelry following 14 years being a key player in the global jewellery industry.
Click through our gallery below to find out more about each speaker.
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Steve Bennett, Genuine Gemstone Company: The Genuine Gemstone Company is one of the largest jewellery retailers in the UK, employing over 500 members of staff. In 2012 it won the Fast Track 100 Award as the fastest growing privately held company, and in 2013 Steve Bennett won the EY UK Turnaround Entrepreneur of the Year. Having left school with minimal qualifications, Bennett completed a computer training course before working in a number of office based computer roles. After losing his job, Steve decided to go it alone and set up his own company selling computers and software. He later went on to establish jungle.com which he sold for £37 million at the height of the dotcom boom. Several more successful ventures in ecommerce, retail and entertainment followed before he set up Gems TV in 2004 and The Genuine Gemstone Company in 2007. Jesper Neilsen, Amazing Jewellery: Over the past 14 years Jesper Nielsen has been a key player in the global jewellery business. Since 2003, the Nielsen Family has been responsible for the creation of major jewellery brands, opened up more than 40 markets on 5 continents, generated billions of dollars in revenue and left significant footprints in the industry. In 2004 Nielsen’s KasiGroup was appointed exclusive distributor for Pandora Jewelry in Central Western Europe and in 2010 the Nielsen Family and Pandora Jewellery established the European distribution company Pandora CWE to carry the brand forward in CWE markets. In 2013 Jesper Nielsen launched Endless Jewelry, which is forecast to become the fastest growing jewellery brand in history. Following the rapid growth of the colourful concept of leather wrap bracelets with charms, Jesper Nielsen was mentioned as one of the industry’s top 50 influencers on JCK Magazine’s ‘2015 Power List’ for his work with Pandora and the creation of Endless Jewelry. In 2016 Jesper Nielsen and the Nielsen Family will launch new concept, Amazing Jewelry. Adrian de Courcey, Travel de Courcey: Adrian started his career as a strategy consultant and worked in North America, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and China. After returning to the UK in 2011, Adrian joined the family business, Travel de Courcey. In recent years the business has grown strongly through contract wins and high levels of organic passenger growth. Between 2011- 2015 the business grew annual revenues from £5m to £17m and the company was the first in the UK to use fast-charging electric vehicles as profiled on BBC news. In 2015, the company was named, for the second consecutive year, one of the 'Top 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain' in a survey by the London Stock Exchange, Lloyds Bank and the British Growth Fund. Anna Blackburn, Beaverbrooks: Anna joined Beaverbrooks as a graduate trainee in 1998. Fifteen years later she was appointed CEO, achieving two firsts for the 97 year-old family business: the first female CEO and the first non-family CEO. Beaverbrooks has been named in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work for 2016, for the 13th consecutive time. “We’re delighted that this year we achieved our highest ever response to the Best Companies engagement survey,” says Blackburn, “so we’ll be able to really identify what’s important to our people, which in turn will make Beaverbrooks an even better place to work where our people are inspired to be the best they can be.”