Jewelers of America names John Henne as new Chairman


Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, has elected John Henne, President of Henne Jewelers in Pittsburgh, PA, as Board Chairman. He succeeds Ryan Berg, Market President of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry. Henne was elected on July 24, 2017 at Jewelers of America’s Board meeting that also welcomed new Directors.


“John Henne is a natural leader,” says JA President & CEO David J. Bonaparte. “His contributions to the Board have been invaluable. Under John’s leadership, I know that Jewelers of America is poised to grow, better serve our members in this ever-changing retail environment, and enhance our consumer outreach to benefit the jewelry industry as a whole.”


­Henne Jewelers was established in 1887 by Rudolf Joseph Henne, John Henne’s great grandfather. John Henne has managed the family business since 1998, overseeing all aspects of the operation including diamond procurement, accounting, sales and marketing. Under John’s leadership, Henne Jewelers has grown and received numerous local business and retail jewelry awards including the Pittsburgh Business Ethics award from the University of Pittsburgh’s David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership. Henne Jewelers was also named one of the Best Places to Work by the Pittsburgh Business Times. Henne is a past president of the Shadyside Chamber of Commerce and previously served on the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Christian Outreach, Imani Christian Academy, and the Grove City College Alumni Council. In addition to his role as Board Chairman of Jewelers of America, Henne also currently serves on the Fox Chapel Young Life.


“It is a pleasure to serve as the Board Chairman of Jewelers of America,” says Henne. “JA continues to fight vigorously for retail jewelers in every aspect of their businesses. I look forward to working with the staff and Board of Directors to find the opportunities and solutions to the key issues that affect our businesses.”


As Chairman, Henne will lead an Executive Committee of the following elected officers: Chair Elect – Holly Wesche, Wesche Jewelers; Vice Chair – Cathy Tivol, Tivol, Inc.; Vice Chair – Marc Bridge, Ben Bridge Jeweler; Treasurer – Robert F. Moeller II, R.F. Moeller Jeweler; Secretary – Coleman Clark, B.C. Clark Jewelers. Mercedes Abramo of Cartier and Karen Goracke of Borsheims Fine Jewelry were re-elected for a three-year term.


The following directors will begin terms on the board:


Peter Engel is President of Fred Meyer Jewelers, based in Portland, OR.  Founded in 1973, Fred Meyer Jewelers is the nation’s second largest fine jewelry company with 310 stores in 30 states. Engel also serves on the Board of Directors for Jewelers for Children (JFC), Diamond Council of America (DCA) and the Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF).


Elise Greenberg is the CEO of Greenberg’s Jewelers in Sioux City, IA. Greenberg’s Jewelers was founded in 1900, and has grown to become an eight store chain located in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Greenberg serves as a current board member and past president of the Leading Jewelers Guild.  She is active in her local community and serves on multiple boards and committees.


Chuck Kuba is President and owner of Iowa Diamond in Des Moines. Kuba is an expert in high-demographic marketing with over 45 years of experience, 24 of them in the diamond and jewelry industries. Kuba serves on the Board of Directors of the Diamond Council of America (DCA) and Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO); he is also a past president of the Des Moines Area Religious Council and is a former president of the Iowa Jewelers Association.


Steve Padis has over 40 years in the jewelry business and currently owns and operates Padis Jewelry, which has multiple locations in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Padis founded the company in 1974 and he and his wife Judy have grown the business from a wholesale supplier and manufacturer to the premiere engagement ring destination in the Bay Area.  In addition to his role on the Jewelers of America board, Steve also serves on the Forevermark Leadership Council.


Steve Velasquez is the CEO of Bailey Banks & Biddle in Austin, TX, and has over 24 years of experience in the jewelry industry. He is active in his community and serves on several boards, including American Exchange Time, Allen M/Madison Jewelers and the Diamond Council of America. Velasquez has also rejoined the board of Jewelers for Children supporting charities that provide help to children in need including St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, CASA, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Make a Wish.


In addition to Ryan Berg, outgoing directors include: Larry Pelzel, Neiman Marcus; and Michael Pollak, Hyde Park Jewelers.


For the complete list of JA’s 2017-2018 Board of Directors, visit