During the recent conference of the Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO) held in Cleveland, OH, Owner and Chairman Jeff Roberts introduced a significant change to the organization’s leadership. Stephen Barnes has been appointed as the new President of IJO.
Roberts expressed his meticulous search for the right candidate, stating, “For several years I have met with, interviewed and talked with several candidates for this position I wanted to fill, but no one possessed the qualities I was seeking – until recently.” He further elaborated on Barnes’s qualifications, emphasizing his experience in running a profitable retail jewelry store and his expertise in succession and transition planning. Roberts is confident that Barnes will steer IJO towards greater success and strength.
Warm Reception from IJO Members
The announcement was overwhelmingly positive, with over 1,000 members present at the conference giving Barnes a standing ovation. The news also garnered significant attention and congratulations on various social media platforms.
Barnes, expressing his gratitude, said, “I’m so very fortunate to have had IJO as part of my life for nearly 25 years. I owe a great deal of gratitude to all of you in this organization for pouring into me over these years. Through every step of my journey I can see how it has prepared me for such a time as this. And I humbly thank Jeff for this opportunity.”
Industry Leaders Congratulate Barnes
David Brown, Owner/President of Edge Retail Academy, praised Barnes’s dedication and integrity, stating, “Well deserved Stephen. Your time with the Edge Retail Academy, your amazing work ethic, faultless integrity and honesty, commitment to your goals, industry knowledge and your powerful desire to make a positive difference to this wonderful industry and your wonderful people skills, make you the perfect person for this exciting new opportunity.”
Ross Cockerham, Punchmark CEO, recalled his early interactions with Barnes, emphasizing Barnes’s faith and vision. He mentioned, “Huge congratulations to Stephen Barnes, the new president of IJO! In 2009, Stephen became one of our very first clients by purchasing a jewelry website before we had ever built one. This took an incredible amount of faith, and this same level of faith will prove to be an enormous strength that will surely make him an exceptional president and help this organization to continue being so great.”
On a more personal note, Barnes’s son, Preston Barnes, expressed his pride and joy for his father’s achievements.
Barnes’s Vision for IJO
Stephen Barnes outlined his vision and goals for IJO, emphasizing the organization’s commitment to unity and the betterment of its members. He highlighted plans to revamp educational programs, expand IJO teams, and improve technological resources, among other initiatives. Barnes concluded, “IJO is a family that cares about each other, and I’m grateful for this opportunity to help make IJO even stronger for each and every member.”