Dear AJA Members and Prospective Members,       

             As the new President of the Arkansas Jewelers Association, I am honored, excited, humbled, and extremely enthusiastic about this opportunity.  Most of all, I am confident that these next couple of years will be the best ever for the AJA, not because of my new role, but because of all of you. 

            Since 1940, the AJA has set the standard for professionalism and ethics in the jewelry trade.  The educational programs have been magnificent and the members have shared in fun and exciting events.  The Arkansas Jewelers Association has evolved into a professional organization, comprised of many fine people.  We are fortunate to know one another, and to be united in our mission.         

          We are jewelers.  We are really one family.  Certainly, we have our own individual goals, and sometimes we might compete for a sale, but as a family, we share in our passion for this industry.  Every family has its issues, and AJA is certainly no exception.  I am aware of some conflicts that have existed over the years between members.  It is natural.  I have a brother, and we’ve certainly had our share of sibling rivalry.  But in the end, we are still brothers.                                                                                                                                                                           

         For those of you who are existing members, thank you.  For those of you who are considering membership, I highly recommend it.  You will be glad you did, and you will benefit tremendously, in ways you might not have expected.  And for those who used to participate, but have stopped, for whatever reason, I would like to personally invite you back.  We are going to be bigger and better than ever before.  “And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends.  And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:10)

             For those of you who know me well, you know that my ultimate source for wisdom is the word of God.  To me, His words are not only inspiring, they are very clear in telling us how to behave.  If someone has wronged you in the past, now is the time to let it go.  This is a time of restoration.  

             As a united body, the AJA has the ability to be a powerful influence on how people perceive jewelers in Arkansas.  This is a challenging industry that we have chosen.  But it is also fun and rewarding.  The joy we can bring to our customers is heartwarming.  Everything we sell becomes a memory.  Our products and services are important parts of life-changing events for people.  We can and we should work together to keep this distinction intact, and to maintain the highest level of trustworthiness. 

              The Arkansas Jewelers Association is perfect for all jewelers to be a part of something bigger.  We have some lofty goals this year, and we will achieve them.  Our website will become much more user-friendly, jam packed with information and resources to help each and every member be the best that we can be.  With the help of our new social media coordinator, our online presence will grow.  As members, you will be featured and recognized for your accomplishments.  Next year's convention will be fun and informative, with educational seminars, speakers and a great time for networking and sharing ideas.  As always, the Carat Awards will showcase the best of the best, and it will be judged fairly, with one vote per store.  To highlight the event, I am committed to getting a powerful, dynamic world-class guest speaker. 

                In closing, I want to be very transparent about something.  Given my role as store manager for Sissy’s Log Cabin, there could easily be the perception of a conflict of interest.  Let me assure you that is not the case.  Again, this is not a competition.  When one of us succeeds, we all benefit.  I love my job.  I love Sissy’s.  But I love God even more.  I believe in always doing what is right, even if it doesn’t benefit me personally.  My biggest satisfaction comes from knowing that I have had a role in helping someone.  My cell number is 501-520-8217.  Call me any time.  I would love to get to know you all.  I am passionate about everything I do, and I assure you that I will put everything I have into making the Arkansas Jewelers Association the best that it can be.

Thank you,

Michel Gutman
AJA President