NRF names head of research division

WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation has named Ellen Davis SVP and executive director of the NRF Foundation, the education and research arm of NRF.

In this role, Davis will be tasked with restructuring the NRF Foundation to more closely align with NRF’s strategic plan, taking the organization’s multimillion-dollar Retail Means Jobs campaign to the next level by emphasizing retail’s contributions to the economy and the diverse career opportunities available within the industry. She will also oversee a team managing NRF research projects, professional retail certification and training programs, initiatives to develop the next generation of retail leaders, and university partnerships. Additionally, Davis will continue to serve as a chief spokesperson for NRF on retail industry trends.

“With her deep understanding of retail and consumer trends, her love of our industry, and her strategic communications background, Ellen is the perfect candidate to re-imagine the possibilities for our Foundation, bringing it more in line with the larger objectives of our organization,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “The decision to create a new vision for the NRF Foundation follows a year of significant financial investments by NRF to increase the power of our government relations and communications activities. Combined, these three priorities will ultimately provide NRF with a more robust, comprehensive platform to advocate on behalf of retailers.”

Davis joined NRF in 2002 as manager of media relations, continuing in positions of greater responsibility until being named VP in 2008. During her tenure, she has led the team responsible for NRF consumer research and industry trends as well as NRF communication vehicles, including social media, NRF SmartBrief, and Retail’s BIG Blog. She has been one of NRF’s most visible spokespeople, appearing regularly on broadcast programs including National Public Radio, CNN and CNBC, and in influential print publications. Most recently, she played a key role in the implementation of NRF's heralded Retail Means Jobs campaign, a strategic initiative that highlights the retail industry's role in job creation and innovation.

Davis also is credited with coining the phrase “Cyber Monday,” which now is considered by the media, consumers and retailers as the official kickoff of the online holiday shopping season.

Davis graduated with a degree in communication from Millikin University in Decatur, Ill.