Meet our Team
President & Founder
JBL was founded by Julie Newman in 2008. Prior to creating Jewel Branding & Licensing, Julie worked for Creative Brands Group where she developed new business for well known brands including Thomas Kinkade, Rachael Hale, LIFE Magazine, Kitson and Heidi Klum. Julie’s career in licensing has spanned 3 continents building licensed programs in Europe, Asia and North America in categories from apparel to stationery to home decor. Julie has also been a featured speaker at LIMA events discussing Art Branding and Licensing.
Vice President & Partner
Prior to joining Jewel Branding & Licensing as Vice President, Ilana has enjoyed an impressive career in licensing. Starting at The Beanstalk Group in New York, she developed brand licensing programs for McDonalds, Stride Rite, Little Tikes, Jim Beam and The Andy Warhol Foundation. In 2002, Ilana worked on the retail side as a Marketing Specialist with The Home Depot where she managed licensing out projects. In 2004, Ilana joined Nancy Bailey & Associates, where she was a Senior Account Executive responsible for developing and managing brand extension licensing programs for clients including Procter & Gamble, Del Monte, Crayola and Frito-Lay. In 2010, Nancy Bailey & Associates merged with Beanstalk and Ilana became Director of Brand Management at Beanstalk for brands including Coppertone, Nesquik, Frigidaire, Bigelow Tea and Travelocity.com. Ilana graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Retail and Business Development Guru
Utilizing thirty plus years of marketing experience, Greg Wyman, initiated the B. Smith with Style retail brand. As Executive Vice President of Marketing at Keeco in San Francisco, he facilitated a relationship between B. Smith and Bed Bath & Beyond to market products under the license, “B. Smith with Style”.
In 2001, Wyman joined B. Smith Enterprises as the VP of Licensing and signed multiple licensees to produce home products for the B. Smith with Style brand including bedding, bath, serveware, etc. Under Greg’s management, the brand has grown into a multi-million retail dollar business.
In 2004 Wyman launched The Wyman Group LLC, a full service licensing and branding company. In 2013, The Wyman Group launched Poetic Wanderlust Designed by Tracy Porter and joined forces with Jewel Branding & Licensing to manage and develop the brand. In addition to the above, Wyman developed several multi-million dollar private brands including Vintage Home at Walmart, Heirloom Lace at Target, and New Traditions at Sears, among others.
VP of Licensing
Beth Hooker, joined us from Elvis Presley Enterprises where for the past 20 years she was responsible for growing the Elvis Presley brand into multiple categories worldwide including apparel/accessories, gifts, novelties, games and housewares. Beth has also worked on collaborations with major brands including NASCAR, NHRA, Hello Kitty, Paul Frank, and Mars Retail Group (M&M’s).
Director of Brand & Retail Development
Samira joined Jewel with more than 10 years of licensing and brand building experience working with renowned celebrity, fashion and design agencies, CMG and Trunk Archive. At Trunk Archive, Samira spearheaded the licensing programs for prestigious photographers, artists, and lifestyle brands including British Vogue, Herb Ritts, and Katie Rodgers. Prior to that, Samira worked as the Director of Licensing at CMG Worldwide, where she managed and strategically grew profitability for iconic celebrities and corporate brands such as Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and I [heart] New York. Her licensing expertise spans across many different categories comprising fashion, paper, home, gift, electronics, publishing, and promotional uses. Clients include Macy’s, Zara, Dolce & Gabbana, Disney, Mont Blanc, Papyrus, Taschen, and others. Samira obtained her MBA at IU’s Kelley School of Business and BA in Marketing at the University of Indianapolis.
Director of Business Development & Creative
Prior to her work with Jewel, Meredith managed production for runway designer Angel Sanchez, where she delivered seasonal collections and developed red-carpet gowns for celebrity clients, including Eva Longoria, Sandra Bullock, and Taylor Swift. In 2009, she joined the Bravado Merchandising Group as lead product developer for the Harley-Davidson brand, and more recently spearheaded a licensing program for world-renowned cultural institution, The New York Botanical Garden, where partners have included Oscar de la Renta, Frontgate, and Erwin Pearl.
Meredith holds degrees in English Literature from Brown University and Fashion Studies from the Parsons School of Design. A results-driven believer in best-in-class product, she is passionate about brand-building, strategic partnerships, and consumer engagement.
Meredith’s work has appeared in Vogue, InStyle, Town & Country, The New York Times, WWD, and on the cover of People Magazine.
Director of Finance
Prior to joining Jewel Branding, Leslie founded a consulting firm focused on assisting companies expand into new markets, formulate strategy, and enhance operations, finance and accounting capabilities. Leslie’s major projects include: developing operational and financial processes for a growing soccer franchise and three restaurants; conducting new business development for Resource Insurance Consultants; and establishing a product and marketing strategy for a dental analytics company.
Leslie was previously Assistant Vice President at Moody’s Investors Services in the Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities division. Leslie graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor of Business Administration.
Katie Sklenar began working as the Marketing Manager in the summer of 2013. Although she graduated with a degree in Psychology from Georgia College and State University, Katie has always dreamed of having a job within a creative field. Growing up, she fostered a passion for art and design through crafts and calligraphy and continues to pursue her artistic journey. With her keen eye for design and organizational powers, Katie has excelled at juggling office management with social media monitoring and public relations.
After earning a degree in Art Education from the University of Georgia, Brandy began her career as an independent graphic designer and marketing consultant working for clients across the country. Brandy has since helped to start and run several creatively focused companies incorporating her gifts for art and design. She joined Jewel in 2015 and has been instrumental in spearheading all of Jewel’s creative needs including the development of brand materials, marketing collateral and a wide range of presentations for Jewel and our clients. Brandy continues to follow her passion and is often found spending her free hours crafting, organizing, and designing.