Blue Star Families Welcomes Verve Mobile CEO and craigslist Founder to Board

Nada Stirratt and Craig Newmark accept positions on nonprofit board

WASHINGTON, DC – July 14, 2015 – Blue Star Families (BSF), the largest and fastest growing military family engagement organization in the nation, announced today that Nada Stirratt, CEO of Verve Mobile, and Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist, were appointed to the organization’s board of directors.

Stirratt and Newmark join a board team of 15 members, with diverse backgrounds in strategic planning and government relations, emerging technology, military support services, and philanthropy and nonprofit management. Sheila Casey, chief operating officer for The Hill, serves as chairman.

Blue Star Families serves in 1.5 million military family members annually through its programs and resources with 47 chapters at home and overseas. With strong ties into all branches of service, the nonprofit is nationally recognized for leading innovative programs and special initiatives that address the challenges faced by military families; including its Annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey. The largest of its kind, the Survey provides concrete data and information about prominent aspects of the military lifestyle, and used by the White House, Congress, the DOD, and state and local officials to help with key decisions made on behalf of service men and women and their families.

“As we continue to amplify our mission to strengthen military families and connect America to the military, we are thrilled to add these two remarkable leaders to our board,” said Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO. “Both Nada and Craig have been longtime supporters of Blue Star Families. Nada has already been instrumental in helping us elevate our data-driven outreach to new members. And as a major advocate for military families and veterans, Craig is championing our cause by helping us effectively utilize advanced technology and social media. We’re so pleased they are sharing their expertise and support to our growing organization.”

Recently named CEO of Verve Mobile, a leader in location-based mobile marketing, Nada Stirratt is known for evangelizing new forms of media to provide value to consumers and the marketers who want to reach them. In her role as a BSF board member, she plans to translate best practices for location-based messaging into a stronger community connection for Blue Star Families and its members. “I am passionate about the work that Kathy and Blue Star Families are doing to build a deeper community with greater economic opportunities for Americans who have made significant sacrifices for our freedom,” said Stirratt. “I believe there is more the corporate world can do to provide jobs, training, funding and other incentives to assist veterans and military families.”

Founder of craigslist and craigconnects, Craig Newmark has a focused passion for the military community and helping nonprofits creatively connect with their constituencies and build involvement as well as fundraising capacity. “Military families also serve our country, they’re a big deal, and Blue Star Families supports them in the ways that matter. I’m honored to serve on the Board of Directors and offer outreach and support for this worthwhile military family nonprofit network”, said Newmark.

About Nada Stirratt
Recently named CEO of Verve Mobile, Nada Stirratt has a proven track record transforming and scaling businesses across the data-driven marketing landscape. Prior to her appointment in April 2015, Stirratt was chief revenue officer at Acxiom; responsible for the company’s global client-facing initiatives.

Prior to Acxiom, Nada served as chief revenue officer of Myspace, culminating in its sale to Specific Media. Before NewsCorp, Nada served as executive vice president of Digital Advertising at Viacom, where she oversaw advertising sales, strategy, and operations for the MTV Networks properties.

Nada joined MTV Networks from nearly a decade at AOL; first serving as senior vice president at Moviefone, culminating in its sales to AOL in 1999, and then in the same capacity at Advertising.com, which was sold to AOL in 2004.

About Craig Newmark

A self-described nerd, Web pioneer, speaker, philanthropist, and advocate of technology for the public good, Craig Newmark was named “Nerd-in-Residence” by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Innovation in recognition of his volunteer work with the department to enhance services to veterans.

He is the founder of craigslist, the almost completely free online classified advertising site that has seen more than 5 billion ads posted. While no longer part of management, Newmark continues to work with craigslist as a customer service representative in what he calls a “lightweight” capacity.

Today, Newmark’s primary focus is craigconnects, which he launched in March 2011. The mission of craigconnects in the short term is to promote and enhance the use of technology and social media to benefit philanthropy and public service. He uses the craigconnects platform to support effective organizations working for veterans and military families, open government, public diplomacy, journalistic ethics and accountability, consumer protection, election protection, and voter registration.

In addition to Blue Star Families, Newmark serves on boards for the Poynter Foundation, the Center for Public Integrity, Sunlight Foundation, Consumers Union/Consumer Reports, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He also serves on the Board of Overseers of the Columbia Journalism Review and on advisory boards of nearly 20 other nonprofits.

Newmark communicates regularly through his craigconnects blog as well as Huffington Post, Facebook, LinkedIn, Medium, and Twitter. He travels the country speaking about issues, appearing on behalf of organizations he supports, and delivering his craigconnects message to audiences nationwide.

About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families (BSF) is a national, nonprofit network by and for military families from all ranks and services, including active duty, National Guard and reserves. Blue Star Families strengthens military families and connects America to the military through a robust array of morale, empowerment, education and employment programs. Founded by military spouses in 2009, the organization has engaged tens of thousands of volunteers and served more than 1.5 million military family members annually, including wounded and transitioning service members and their loved ones. Free BSF worldwide membership includes military spouses, children, parents, and friends, as well as service members, veterans and civilians. For more information, please visit bluestarfam.org.

Verve’s Bernard Brings Mantra Of ‘Drive The Visit’ To Role Of CMO

June 19, 2015 — GeoMarketing —During Verve Mobile incoming-CMO Julie Bernard’s five years at Macy’s, she helped craft the department store chain’s strategies around driving consumer loyalty and other “data-driven” programs.

As she prepares to officially begin her new job at Verve next week, Bernard plans to take all the questions and concerns she had on the marketer side and show how a company rooted in mobile marketing can use geo-targeting and data to develop a full “omnichannel” strategy.

“At Macy’s, among other things, I was responsible for testing and learning initiatives intended to further extract value from customers’ data and see how it could be applied, not only against traditional marketing use cases and direct marketing, but for insights against the entire enterprise of the business,” said Bernard, who, before Macy’s made her mark during her 14 years at Saks Fifth Avenue. “Whether it’s merchandising or pricing or omnichannel shopping experiences online, in-store, or on mobile, it’s all about driving loyal customer behavior and how to measure against all of that. That’s what I plan to bring to my post at Verve.”

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Verve Mobile Names Retail Marketing Vet Julie Bernard CMO

June 17, 2015 — GeoMarketing — Less than two months after Verve Mobile CEO Nada Stirratt emphasized the need to find a CMO that could help sharpen the company’s identity in the omnichannel marketplace, department store marketing vet Julie Bernard has been tapped for that role.

Bernard brings about two decades of experience in shaping retail marketing through her most previous post as SVP for customer strategy, data science, and loyalty at Macy’s. She’s been recognized for setting the unit that connected sales efforts to interactive loyalty programs.

“Data is a competitive advantage and Verve’s wealth of proprietary intelligence allows us to break through in the category,” said Bernard in a statement. “Verve’s momentum and market leadership is incredibly impressive, and I am excited to dig in with the talented team and continue to build entirely new experiences and benefits for our brands and retailers.”

Before Macy’s, Bernard made her mark over her 14-year tenure at Saks Fifth Avenue. She held a variety of executive posts at Saks, ultimately rising to the role of SVP for retail systems and vendor relations. That last job charged Bernard with developing ways to enhance the “customer experience” through the use of data technology across merchandising, marketing, and store management.

“With the majority of commerce happening at physical stores, we sought a marketing expert with a proven track record in the retail space to help our customers better engage with theirs, ” Stirratt said in a statement. “Julie is an exceptional, award-winning, executive to bring this expertise to Verve. From her experience scaling customer strategies via advanced behavioral analytics and attribution to her strong operational leadership, I couldn’t be more proud to have her join the Verve executive team.”

Verve Mobile Hires Retail Marketing Executive Julie Bernard as Chief Marketing Officer

Former Macy’s SVP of customer strategy to orchestrate marketing functions as Verve scales in-store retail product expansion

NEW YORK, NY – June 17, 2015Verve Mobile, the leading location-based mobile marketing platform, today announced the appointment of Julie Bernard as the company’s new chief marketing officer. Bernard, who brings over two decades of retail marketing experience, will direct the company’s corporate, product, sales marketing and communications efforts.

Following Verve’s acquisition of beacon and mobile wallet campaign platform Fosbury, Bernard’s appointment reflects the company’s commitment to transforming the retail market through the use of location-driven mobile marketing. She will be based in the company’s New York headquarters, reporting to chief executive officer, Nada Stirratt.

“With the majority of commerce happening at physical stores, we sought a marketing expert with a proven track record in the retail space to help our customers better engage with theirs, “said Verve Mobile CEO, Nada Stirratt. “Julie is an exceptional, award-winning, executive to bring this expertise to Verve. From her experience scaling customer strategies via advanced behavioral analytics and attribution to her strong operational leadership, I couldn’t be more proud to have her join the Verve executive team.”

Most recently, Bernard was senior vice president of customer strategy, data science and loyalty at Macy’s, a role in which she helped Macy’s deliver exciting and nationally recognized omnichannel marketing campaigns. Specifically, she was credited with building a best-in-class team that successfully executed inventive initiatives that drove sales and delivered customer relevance, including award-winning highly personalized communications and Macy’s first-of-a-kind coalition loyalty program.

Bernard began her career at Saks Fifth Avenue, where she enjoyed fourteen years in various executive positions throughout the organization, rising to senior vice president of retail systems and vendor relations. In that role, she improved business management, enhanced customer experience and increased profit margins by implementing appropriately unique technology solutions in merchandising, marketing and stores.

“Data is a competitive advantage and Verve’s wealth of proprietary intelligence allows us to break through in the category,” said Bernard. “Verve’s momentum and market leadership is incredibly impressive, and I am excited to dig in with the talented team and continue to build entirely new experiences and benefits for our brands and retailers.”

Bernard is a graduate of Hamilton College, graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government. She serves as vice chair of the board of directors for the Direct Marketing Association and participates in a variety of industry forums as a keynote speaker.

Verve Mobile Acquisition of Startup Fosbury Signals More Beacon Buys to Come

June 10, 2015 — AdAge Verve Mobile, a firm focused on location-based advertising, acquired beacon-centric campaign management technology Fosbury for an undisclosed sum. It’s a small deal, but Verve Mobile’s move portends an inevitable consolidation within the sprawling beacon space.

Verve delivers hundreds of millions of mobile ad impressions each day, typically messages enticing consumers to click to receive a discount or deal of some kind. The Fosbury buy will help Verve act on location data for message targeting more rapidly and allow that targeting to be based on more granular information. It also gives Verve a tech platform to add mobile wallet payment functionality to their ads.

“We would like to add that to every one of our creative units,” said Tom Kenney, president and founder of Verve Mobile, regarding Verve’s mobile wallet capability. “This enables us to do that.”

Beacon technology has been adopted by retailers, eateries and other businesses large and small around the globe, forming a complex web of third-party technologies and partnerships among retailers, shopping centers and mobile tracking and ad firms. This recent acquisition is bound to be among the first of many in the cluttered beacon space.

The deal marks the first major initiative at Verve of Nada Stirratt, who joined Verve as CEO in April following a three-year stint at marketing data services giant Acxiom.

Fosbury’s technology works with more than 10 different beacon hardware systems such as Mobiquity, Gimbal and Roximity, and that’s key for Verve. Think of that universal beacon SDK (software developer kit) as similar to a universal television remote, though in this case rather than helping one TV remote talk to a television, DVD player, or other accessories, Fosbury’s technology will serve as a way for Verve to communicate with multiple beacon platforms through a singular system.

“This helps us bring a solution to the table that’s ready,” said Mr. Kenney. “We now have the ability to go to Mobiquity [for instance] and say, ‘Let’s go.'”

Fosbury’s consolidated technology will streamline Verve’s connections to beacon platforms, and allow it to act on ad campaign opportunities for brand and retail clients more rapidly because the necessary connections to the beacon hardware found in stores and shopping malls have already been made. It also brings a much larger pool of consumers who already have opted in to shopping and store brand apps that feature those individual SDKs, essentially letting Verve target far more pre-opted-in shoppers based on beacon data.

Verve also expects the universality of Fosbury’s platform to help it target messages better to consumers in stores, based on more refined location data than it’s been able to access before. For example, it could now aim ads based on the fact someone is in a particular store department. “This allows us to pick that back up in the store and continue the messaging,” said Mr. Kenney. “It brings us closer to a closed-loop offering in stores.”

Fosbury’s home base was in the Netherlands, though the company came on the scene in the U.S. through its participation in the TechStars startup accelerator program in Austin. The four principals and creators of the technology at Fosbury are not part of the acquisition.

Verve and Fosbury have worked together for around six months previous to the acquisition, according to Mr. Kenney, who said some of the firm’s execs will serve as consultants after Fosbury is folded into Verve.

“It’s a small deal,” said Mr. Kenney of the acquisition, noting that the fact that the startup’s principals are based in The Netherlands led to Verve’s decision to buy the technology only rather than keep it intact with its creators. However, he said he expects many more beacon tech acquisitions to come. “There’s definitely going to be a significant rollup.”