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Why Facebook, Sur La Table and Abercrombie & Fitch love serving on the Board

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For the past five years I have had the pleasure of working directly with dozens of members of the Board, many of whom represent some of the finest minds in digital retail. This past year we were proud to elect a number of new Board members representing companies including Saks Incorporated, Facebook and Abercrombie & Fitch (among others) to guide our community engagement efforts, members-only research, and best-in-class events.

As a community that prides itself in all things “by the community, for the community” we are excited for another election season here at With just a few days left to nominate candidates to join our prestigious Board, our team reached out to a few of our current Board members with one question: What is the best part about serving on the Board? Here’s what a few had to say, rivaling some of the memorable quotes we received during nominations last year:

Driving what’s nextMichael Burgess, President, Saks Direct, Saks Incorporated: "It is great being on the Board of Digital retailing is such an exciting space and it is rewarding to contribute to the industry’s direction, our members and the team. I really enjoy working with my colleagues on the board. It is a terrific group of successful, interesting, supportive people."

Nicolas Franchet, Head of eCommerce Global Vertical Marketing, Facebook: "I joined the Board in 2012 and am humbled by the quality of my peers and the interactions we have during and outside of our meetings. This is a shortlist of the best minds in eCommerce, dedicated to growing our industry and helping our members across all the dimensions of their businesses. I also particularly love that each time we meet, we invite prior Board members to join us for dinner and participate in the conversation. It means that your involvement with the organization extends much beyond the time you serve on the Board."

Industry RelationshipsBrad Brown, SVP, eCommerce and Direct Sales, Recreational Equipment, Inc.: "Lets face it: at many times ours are lonely jobs. Serving on the Board with a group of industry peers who collectively are trying to tackle the same challenges fills this void. Additionally, being able to help shape the work of the organization is both challenging and rewarding. Last, Board peers and the team are simply a great group of people, and that comes with its own rewards."

Kevin Ertell, VP, eCommerce, Sur La Table, Inc.: "The best part of serving on the Board is the opportunity to really impact our industry by increasing the effectiveness of for our members. It’s also pretty great to regularly hobnob with some of greatest minds in digital retail."

Lisa Gavales, Formerly - EVP and CMO, EXPRESS: "By far the best part of serving on the board is the chance to have meaningful conversations with leaders in the digital world, to collaboratively chart what's next in the space. The passion and desire of this team to make a difference and help the industry is remarkable. Being a part of it keeps you in touch with what's going on, and in contact with people who are leading the industry. And yes, it's also fun!"

Giving BackBilly May, Vice President eCommerce and Customer Marketing, Abercrombie & Fitch Co.: "Managing a business and leading a team is tall order for any executive in today's dynamic digital marketplace. Helping lead an entire industry is an even taller (but equally gratifying) opportunity. As a life-long retailer, I can think of no greater opportunity to give back than to participate directly in the community, and, if elected, to serve on the Board of Directors. As a member of the Board, you will shape an industry agenda, influence critical issues, and drive thought leadership. Also, you will be afforded the chance to work with like-minded, smart, driven individuals who share a passion for digital retail. While it requires work and commitment, I guarantee you will get so much more out of the experience than what you put into it."

Sucharita Mulpuru, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research: "One of the biggest opportunities the board provides is the opportunity to have a voice that influences the most influential community in the digital retail world--that voice can be to impact issues that are discussed, how topics are framed and who gets heard. Everything that does matters to online retailers and board members are an important part of shaping the agenda."

The answers were humbling, and we hope it inspires a few more retail all-stars to nominate yourselves (or one of your industry colleagues) to lead the community for years to come. Make sure to submit your nomination by April 16 to be part of this group of industry pioneers.