The Email Experience Council (eec) has been a beacon of knowledge, comradery, professionalism and insight for digital marketers for over a decade. Our annual Email Evolution Conference has drawn together experts and fledglings alike to learn from each others’ experiences and create a vibrant community around the oldest and most venerable of all digital communication channels: email.
It has been my pleasure to serve as the Email Experience Council’s Member Advisory Committee Chair over the last two years. This year marks a major evolution in the eec’s continued journey: the acquisition of DMA and eec by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). I can say without the shadow of a doubt that this is an exciting time for both organizations as the possibilities of a combined audience and focus on data-driven email marketing brings with it untapped potential for learning, the broader dissemination of established best communication practices and ultimately a more friendly and personal inbox for the billions of people around the world that rely on email.
During my tenure as the chair of the MAC, I have seen the eec listen and embrace the resounding message permeating much more than our humble community: diversity, inclusion and equality in the workplace are not a privilege, they are a basic human right and we here at the eec agree. It was my distinct honor to be part of the closing keynote panel with my friend and colleague Len Shneyder, VP of Industry Relations at SendGrid, in April featuring the filmmakers from the forthcoming documentary Pioneers in Skirts, Ashley Maria and Lea-Ann Berst, along with Avis Yates RIvers, the CEO of Technology Concepts Group Intl. & board member of National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) to discuss both the film and their myriad of experiences in professional settings that brought them to championing the cause of equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. I encourage you to learn more or donate to Pioneers in Skirts.
If anything can be said about 2018 it is this: it is a year filled with change everywhere we look. May 25th marked the coming into force of the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) in Europe. For all intents this is the strictest privacy regime on the planet—it marks a moment in history when a collective government more than codifies the idea that privacy is a basic human right (that’s old news in Europe), but puts strict penalties, and more thorough guard rails in place to govern how consent, data storage, processing happens on behalf of people living in the EU. For companies in the United States of America these laws may seem anti-business but it’s the realization that as more of our private lives surface in the digital realm, and that surfacing brings with it new and distinct attack vectors, changes have to happen to protect our security and personal information. The eec has worked tirelessly for over a year to bring clarity and insight to marketers at home and abroad that may be affected by the GDPR to educate and assure them that this is not the end of marketing as we know it. I believe that this is an evolution of the marketplace into a more humane structure that puts people first while understanding that we live in a world fraught with dangers, both real and ephemeral and we have to take measures to safeguard against them.
The Email Experience Council has made New Orleans home base for the annual Email Evolution Conference for the last three years. In lock-step with the evolving world around us we have decided to move the conference in order to broaden our reach, change the scenery and spark new conversations while preserving what has made the conference unique: a focus on the business and community of email marketing professionals. To that end we have chosen Savannah Georgia as 2019’s venue for the annual event. Why did we chose this? Well for a number of reasons: it is a truly unique American city with a culture fabric all its own. In 1966 it was designated as one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the country. It dates back to the very earliest years of our country, 1733, similar to email which dates back to the very beginning of the internet when it was still ARPANET in 1971 and like the internet Savannah was America’s first planned city and organized in grids. Savannah is a port city, on the banks of a river with the waters of the Atlantic within sight and ear shot so perhaps we didn’t undergo a radical change from New Orleans, but it will be a markedly different place where we will host next year’s conference.
With so many changes afoot and yet to come, I get to announce that my time as the Chair of the eec’s Member Advisory Committee has come to an end. I’ve served two years in this role, and two previous years as the Vice-Chair. I’ve been a member of the eec since its earliest days and have seen the organization grow and evolve. Replacing me will be two colleagues and great friends that have likewise been dedicated to helping educate the industry across multiple organizations for many years. Len Shneyder, VP of Industry Relations at SendGrid, and Vice-Chair of the Messaging, Malware, Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG), will be taking over my role as Chair of the MAC. Stepping into the role of Vice-Chair is Matthew Vernhout, Director, Privacy and Industry Relations at 250ok. Len and Matthew both care deeply for the eec and the vast and vibrant community that has evolved around email. Their work in the industry started long before the changes and laws that define what we do today; their leadership, camaraderie and friendship have made being a part of this industry more than just a job, rather an unforgettable milestone in a long journey, one I hope everyone can experience at some point in their careers. In addition to this change at the very top of the eec’s leadership numerous changes are happening among members of the MAC giving birth to new ideas and initiatives bound to make 2019, and what remains of 2018, a remarkable year.
Although change is in the air one thing will remain certain: I’m very much looking forward to continue my work with the eec as I love and respect the organization. It’s a home for numerous other organizations and individuals I consider friends. I’m also eagerly interested to see how the new MAC will bring the eec’s message to a wider audience and finding new unique synergies with the ANA and it’s massive audience. And as the saying goes… “Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!” And with that, I bid you all, friends, colleagues, associates old, new and yet to be discovered a fond farewell (for now) and a most excellent summer.
Chief Privacy and Security Officer; Return Path
Outgoing Chair; eec Member Advisory Committee (MAC)