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Ellen Davis
Ellen Davis

Ellen Davis

SVP, Research and Strategic Initiatives and Executive Director, NRF Foundation

Ellen Davis is senior vice president of research and strategic initiatives at the National Retail Federation and the executive director of the NRF Foundation.  

A well-respected retail thought leader, Davis has over a decade of experience in strategic communications, research, talent acquisition and development, and organizational change management. She is widely credited with coining the phrase “Cyber Monday,” now considered the official kickoff of the online holiday shopping season, and has appeared on dozens of broadcast news programs including “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” CNBC's “Squawk Box” and “Good Morning America.”

In her role as executive director of the NRF Foundation, Davis oversees a team charged with shaping retail’s future through awareness building, training and education, and scholarship programs. Within the first year in this role, Davis restructured the Foundation to create better alignment with NRF’s strategic plan and programs; in less than three years, she and her team launched the annual NRF Foundation Gala, which raised almost $1.2 million in its inaugural year; awarded over $1 million in student scholarships; tripled university membership; added Student Programs to signature NRF events; and formed the Talent Acquisition Group, a network of more than 60 talent acquisition executives from the nation’s most well-known retailers.

As senior vice president of research and strategic initiatives, Davis leads the Retail Research and Analysis Center, created in the spring of 2015, which serves as the hub for economic, legislative and regulatory policy, consumer and industry research. The Center will bring together all existing research within NRF and expand upon the wide range of issue areas and trends already studied.

Davis joined NRF in 2002 as manager of media relations and rose quickly through the organization on the Communications and Public Affairs team before assuming her current roles.

She holds a B.A. in communications from Millikin University, and will receive her Executive MBA from Georgetown University in the spring of 2016. 

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