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1 Apr, 2004 By: Response Contributor Response

Nominating Committee Chairs Break Down ERA's Board Nomination Process

ERA: What additional steps can be taken to ensure that diversity and "new blood" is included in the slate of candidates?

Hane: I do not look for "new blood" or "old blood" - I look for the "best blood." Diversity starts from within the membership, and the more candidates we have, the greater the likelihood of achieving diversification. I hope that all members remember that diversity is key in our business.

Petry: It is very difficult to issue mandates that require "new blood," as it is most important that the appropriate skill sets are involved when selecting board candidates. There is a tremendous opportunity in 2005, because unless the board decides to reduce the number of seats available, 10 positions will become vacant. Therefore, I urge members [who] have the slightest interest, now's the time to hit the ground running.

Froehlig: I, for one, think there is something to be said about having "old blood" still involved in leadership. Change for change's sake isn't always the best thing, and experienced and knowledgeable leaders are of great benefit to the organization. However, the current three-year cycle is a great system to ensure that new blood gets in, learns from the more seasoned professionals and then leadership shifts.

ERA: How would you better communicate to the membership the importance of volunteering, beyond personal E-mail and ERA's newsletter, to engage the membership more in this process?

Hane: The membership has to look at this as one of the most important decisions of their lives and actively engage themselves within the organization's activities. With all the challenges most businesses face, from regulatory hurdles to globalization, if ERA thrives then we all benefit. Thusly, in many ways, their business depends on the future of this association.

Petry: I think, fundamentally, this process has to be about one-on-one relationships. The board needs to start asking individuals to serve, while explaining the process to them directly. It is also up to ERA staff and other leadership to engage the membership and develop personal relationships. Truthfully, sometimes all you need to do is ask.

Froehlig: Personal outreach is probably the best way to get the message out to the membership. Whether it is phone calls from the board, staff or key committee chairs, an individualized message is what would get more individuals involved and interested in the process.

ERA: What primary issues should the board concentrate on during the 2004-2005 fiscal year?

Hane: One of the main objectives of this year's nomination criteria is diversity to ensure representation of all direct retailing, including television, radio and the Internet. We need to increase membership in all aspects of our business because electronic retailing is worldwide and thriving in more than 100 countries. It is vital that ERA reflect this global scope.

Petry: First and foremost, the entire industry needs to recognize that we are at a flash point - we must self-regulate or the federal government will do it for us. The problem arises because the lowest denominator of direct response advertisers receive gross overplay and media scrutiny that wreaks havoc on the whole industry's credibility. That's why ERA's self-regulation initiative is so important to me. I truly believe that if we as an industry don't recognize this need and embrace it, we will not continue to exist as we do today.

Froehlig: ERA's government relations efforts are vitally important for the upcoming year. However, ERA should also concentrate on getting its message out to members and nonmembers alike on benefits and why companies should be a part of the organization. ERA is an association formed by members to serve members and more needs to be communicated on current initiatives.

ERA: Why do you believe you were chosen as chair of the Nominating Committee and what do you feel was your legacy?

Hane: I was voted as chair because members know me as someone who is transparent, fair and committed to promoting the interests of our members. I am hopeful that my legacy will be to have assembled, together with my committee, one of the best boards ever elected, a board that is composed of individuals known for their professionalism, diversity and for their commitment to both the industry and ERA.

Petry: I was chosen because I am fairly outspoken and willing to volunteer, and also because I would bring due process to the table. As far as a legacy, I am very proud that last year we received more votes from the membership than ever before for ERA's slate of candidates. We came up with a great selection of nominees who were extremely diverse and reflected a wide spectrum of the entire membership demographic.

Froehlig: I was chosen because my colleagues felt I would be truthful, fair and objective. It's as simple as that.

ERA welcomes your comments and questions regarding membership, benefits and services. If you would like more information on the ERA or how to get involved in the nominating process, please call (703) 841-1751 or visit ERA's Web site at

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