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DMA’s Post-Woolley Future

April 29, 2014 By Heather Fletcher
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“In the fast-paced environment of direct marketing in 2014 and beyond, the best role for a trade association is to protect our self-regulation status—which is a privilege, not a right,” says Thomas J. Benton, interim CEO/COO of DMA. “That means guiding the industry in protecting consumers and the responsible use of data, helping consumers get the right offers and services in the right channels to power their digital lifestyles, and ensuring that every marketer has the training, tools and benchmarks to be effective, ethical marketers.”

When asked Friday why Linda A. Woolley is no longer president and CEO of the Direct Marketing Association, organization officials said simply that Woolley decided to resign. They wanted to talk about the future, with Benton as interim CEO/COO and Jane Berzan as interim president.

Contacted about her resignation, which DMA announced late Thursday, Woolley also looked to the future: "[I] have some ideas about [my] next gig—possibly on Big Data or in [the] email space. So stay tuned."

In the meantime, Benton and Berzan have goals for their interim positions.

“DMA will continue to innovate on programs to improve member value and protect our self-regulated industry status,” says Berzan. “As DMA approaches its 100th year, we have an extraordinary and exciting opportunity and responsibility to anticipate 'What’s next?' for the industry and the association. It’s one that we embrace, take seriously, and will commit leadership and resources to steward wisely.”

Stephanie Miller, VP of member relations, talks about DMA's future as it approaches Fiscal Year 2015 planning.

"The great thing is that Tom and Jane are already here, already know some of our members’ challenges and are ready to listen," she says. "Both are committed, member-driven executives, and their appointment is reflective of the continuing importance we place on providing outstanding member service and excellent programming. For example, Tom brings amazing operational and industry experience, and Jane has strong association leadership, so there is a very good combination here."

With DMA since August 2008, Woolley had been EVP, Washington Operations before becoming interim president and CEO, then the permanent head of the association. Her successors­­­ are also moving up from within DMA:

  • Benton came to the association in August 2012 and serves as COO/CFO at DMA and CFO at Marketing EDGE, the college-oriented education arm of DMA—formerly named the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation (DMEF). Most notably on his DMA biography, Benton was SVP of marketing analysis at America Online, where, "During his tenure, paying membership at AOL grew tenfold—from [$3] million to nearly [$30] million."
  • Berzan joined DMA in January 2014 as SVP of programs, marketing and events, a role in which she's been working "to reposition DMA's Annual Conference and Exhibition to better reflect the needs and interests of modern, data-driven marketers, and to increase exhibit sales," according to her association bio. That role is similar to the one she held until 2007, as the SVP for the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) "where, for 12 years, she led the continuous innovation of the NACS Show—a top 50 trade show in North America," the bio reads.

The search for a permanent replacement for Woolley is on hold at the moment, DMA officials say, to "focus on managing this transition effectively."


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