Meet Our Team

Karen

Karen Giberson, President & CEO

As President and CEO of the Accessories Council, Karen is the leading voice for the industry. She creates and oversees production of educational events, mentoring programs, the industry newsletter, networking events, charitable efforts and fundraising galas. She advocates for policy, has testified in front of congress, local governments and works tirelessly to positively impact the accessories industry. Karen is an EMMY award winner and completed her Wharton GMP in December 2020. In her free time, she can be found running Spartan Races and spending time with her husband Nick, family and friends.

Cindy Chen Derkacz,

Cindy joins the Accessories Council after an impactful career in the accessories, jewelry, and footwear segments. She has experience in both the retail and wholesale side of the industry and has worked with large companies and small start-ups. Her resume includes stints in the TV shopping business (QVC, Shop NBC, and Shop LC) and with brick-and-mortar retailers (Walmart and Macy’s). Cindy has spent time in merchandising, product development, sourcing, and sales — always with a focus on the end consumer. She has been active in mentoring with her alma mater Purdue and Two-Ten’s WIFI organization. Cindy can often be found in the kitchen cooking for friends and family. She lives in Austin, TX with her husband Jay, son Matthew and their cat Philly and dog Kimmie.

Cindy

Sophia

Sophia Strawser, Editor of Ac Magazine and Social Media Manager

Sophia joined the Accessories Council in May of 2021 and came on full time this January. Her background is in both editorial and creative. She has written for several magazines around NYC and worked for a handful of fashion brands in social media and copywriting. She received undergraduate degrees from Hofstra University in Screenwriting and Performance before graduating with a Masters from Rutgers University. She was selected as an artist in resident at Chateau Orquevaux where she spent a month living in France writing two screenplays. She also had the pleasure of being an actress in two seasons of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Sophia loves coffee, traveling, and covering everything she eats in hot sauce.

Mike Cifaretto, Event/Sales Coordinator

Mike joined the team in February, 2024. Originally from Verona, New Jersey, now based in Jersey City. Mike graduated from Susquehanna University in 2020 with a degree in Sociology while actively participating in baseball and football. With a passion for sales, He's honed his skills over the past few years, consistently exceeding targets and contributing to organizational success. Mike is an avid fan of the New York Yankees and enjoys attending games whenever he can. Music also plays a significant role in his life.

Jazmin Ayala-Ayala, Event/Membership Coordinator

Jazmin joined Accessories Council late February 2024. She had graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in English. Her background in wine sales, events, and customer service has helped her better understand the needs of those around her, while also allowing her to explore her creativity. In her spare time, Jazmin loves reading, movies, and music. She values the importance of storytelling as well as the power it has in creating a strong and united community.

Felsy Jawahar, Bookkeeping