GUEST COLUMN: Lucy Reece-Raybould on CMJ networking groups for 12 year olds

Lucy Rees-Raybould, executive director of operations, The Company of Master Jewellers

Guest column by membership services manager for the Company of Master Jewellers, Lucy Reece-Raybould.

At the CMJ we are doing something pretty revolutionary. While we are already well known for our excellent networking events, we’re opening up a new chapter of meet and greets not for our suppliers and members, but for their kids.

In a trade dominated by family businesses, the children of our members and suppliers are key to the future of our industry and we must do everything we can to make sure they want to follow in their parents’ footsteps. We have two groups – the Rising Stars, which is targeted at kids aged 12 to 18, and The Millennials, which is a group for adults already working in the industry who are under the age of 35.

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At each of the CMJ’s trade events, we will be hosting special lunches at which the children of our members and suppliers can meet each other and form friendships and a support network that will help them in the future when they decide to join the family business,

In the case of the Millennials, it will help them to establish their own contacts outside of mum and dad’s network, and gain confidence by stepping out of those big shadows and being free to share ideas without being shot down by a parent.

There will also be seminars at these events for The Rising Stars that will introduce them to all aspects of the industry. Just because mum is good at standing at the front of house, doesn’t mean this will appeal to the kids. We need them to know that there are many ways to be involved in the industry, and if they don’t want to be on the shop floor they can become a superstar accountant or a goldsmith – they don’t need to leave the industry to find variety.

We’ve had 20 kids sign up to our Rising Star group and our Millennials project looks set to be a hot ticket. The most important thing about these groups is to make them fun, and we’re looking at all sorts of things like Instagram pages run by the group members. We’re also looking for parental involvement and support too – we’ve definitely not gone into the crèche business!

The column first appeared in the January 2016 issue of Professional Jeweller. Read the rest of the issue here.

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