Helene Fortunoff at the first American jewelers trade trip to Israel

March is Women's History Month, and for me it has an extra layer of meaning: it's the month my mother, Helene Fortunoff, was born, and who could think of a more powerful icon for Women and History?

In our family company women were already equals since my grandmother Clara worked alongside her husband Max from the beginning in 1922. When Helene joined the Family business, she and her husband Alan started a new line: jewelry.

Helene was a strong, confident woman, who broke glass ceilings in the fine jewelry industry. Before she burst upon the scene, men typically chose the jewelry (which, ironically, women would be wearing), and were often selling the jewelry.

Helene Fortunoff

But Helene had a different vision. She quickly brought on an all-woman selling staff and plenty of women in management as well as in our buying office and quality control division.

She went on to chair the Women's Jewelry Association, which today has thousands of members across the globe, all continuing her crusade to make women more confident, more educated, more equipped to run businesses rather than just work for them.

Thanks to my mother, women are now in the C-suites of many of the most well known jewelry companies, from manufacturers to retailers. But there is still plenty of work to be done. That's why my family and I continue to support women in the jewelry world, with a WJA Retail scholarship in her name.

I hope you will join me, my sister Ruth, and our family, in celebrating Women's History Month, and paying a fond tribute to Helene Fortunoff, too.