Circles of Change: Conversations with Dr. Zara Larsen
on Change Leadership and Career Fulfillment
April 22, 2009
“Brilliance in the Eye of the Beholder”
Guest: Roger Dery
1. I was a pipe-fitter in the building trades, yet being in my mid-20’s could see how those more senior were often physically impaired. I trusted a mentor to lead me to a wild step to learn the gemstone trade – a defining moment that now 20 years later I realize was inspiration. I had no prior knowledge or even interest in gems.
2. The acknowledgement of others – family and friends – and a second successful Christmas season finally gave me the courage to let go of my pipe-fitter license and step forward to a global career and truly loving what I do.
3. Through the 1980 and 90’s Spectral Gems was a “stone house” with five employees. I found my way in the industry by teaching and codifying the learnings, creating standards and templates to send to others as good will.
4. In August, 2001, after returning from a six week faceting course with a master, I realized my inventory of 1,700 stones wasn’t where I wanted it to be. Over four months bridging the 9/11 tragedy I came to a new vision with a sense of urgency.
5. Cutting gemstones is a solitary process and I regenerate myself, going beyond figuring out the science of it, to letting the art come forward sometimes in the middle of cutting a stone – quite a departure in my life.
6. Over eight years, we hosted 800 promotions amassing vast experience with consumers. Not until we finally tried an idea suggested five years prior – a “Gem Roundtable” where customers experience a wide variety of gemstones in a collaborative environment – did we go beyond understanding the words, to believing in our hearts. We are no longer store centric.
7. Travel to remote parts of the world gives me a perspective of immense gratitude on all that we have in the US. I operate in a cooperative way, bringing other gem cutters with me and brokers and dealers so reciprocate with new contacts.
8. I believe if you have a special gift, that you must share it with others. There is great value in letting others experience an error and figure out how to resolve.
9. Not often in life does what you have done change something in someone else’s life – to raise the bar for them. The gemstone industry has allowed me to do this, and thus it is hard not to talk about this passion in my life. It inspires ME to share what I know.