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Letter From the CEO: A Look Back as We Look Forward

The new year is a perfect time to look back and reflect. It’s a chance to applaud our highlights and achievements, and look to the future to identify change and opportunities for growth. I want to do both; share a few of last year’s milestones and preview what you can expect from the American Gem Society (AGS) this year.

First, a look back.

I recently read a Harvard Business Review article, “To See the Way Forward, Look Back,” by Ranjay Gulati. The article proposes the need to revisit an organization’s founding ideals to sharpen its purpose and values. Gulati outlines how history can be strategic and motivational and, if harnessed correctly, can drive future-oriented action. I certainly believe this is true for AGS. Last year, we did just that. We revisited our founding ideals, ambitions, and values, and, in doing so, the path forward became clear.

To become the best version of AGS, we needed to form a deeper collaboration with our sibling organization, GIA (Gemological Institute of America). Because of our shared history and mission, it is our most important organizational relationship, and we look forward to maximizing that potential.

I am grateful that the leadership teams of GIA and AGS made our unique relationship a priority. We created opportunities for both organizations to focus on impacting change, innovation, and the future. To help AGS in that pursuit, GIA created an endowment to fund new initiatives and deliver value to members. The strong relationship with GIA helps align our efforts and allows us to better harness the AGS and GIA synergies.

The time spent reflecting on our past allowed us to prioritize our efforts and resources. The path forward led us to the decision to close AGS Laboratories and transition our intellectual property and the talented members of our AGS Laboratories research team to GIA. GIA is best positioned to utilize and grow the many contributions AGS Laboratories made to diamond grading.

Katherine Bodoh and Susan Jacques
One of my favorite photos from the past year with Susan Jacques, President and CEO of GIA.

Most importantly, GIA does so under our shared mission of consumer protection. I encourage AGS members to learn more about the AGS Ideal® Report by GIA. The work they do and the value they bring to the industry are unmatched. After working closely with the GIA team, I have a greater appreciation and respect for what they do for the industry and, in turn, consumers.

I am also incredibly proud of the AGS team’s initiatives and efforts to retain members, enhance engagement, and recruit and onboard new members to the AGS community. This includes a successful Conclave, recertification exam, and much more. I am so grateful to work with this mission-focused and hard-working team.

What is ahead in 2023?

It is time to focus on our future while embracing our past. The AGS International Board of Directors will launch a new strategic plan at Conclave. The Board held a strategic planning session in October, and in collaboration with the AGS team, we are working to define goals, set objectives, and create a roadmap for 2023–2026.

As AGS continues to evolve to support the changing needs of the jewelry industry, you will see new initiatives this year from the Young Titleholders Committee, the Education Committee, and the Business Transition Task Force. I am so excited by the new ideas and enthusiasm of all our committees and volunteer leaders. If you would like to become more involved, I encourage you to connect with a committee or task force by attending their meeting during the upcoming Conclave, May 1–3, 2023, in Louisville, KY. We hope to see you there!

On behalf of the AGS team, thank you for your membership, continued feedback, and engagement.

With appreciation,

Katherine Bodoh - Signature

Katherine Bodoh, RJ
CEO, American Gem Society