New DMA exec unites political, consumer affairs

Steven K. Berry joins the Direct Marketing Association next month as executive vice president for government and consumer affairs, taking a leadership role in the DMA and its Washington operations.

Mr. Berry will unite government affairs – run by Jerry Cerasale, senior vice president of government affairs – and consumer affairs, run by Pat Kachura, senior vice president of ethics and consumer affairs.

“I think that by bringing those two [organizations] together so that our advocacy position is really integrated and that we are also listening to the voice of the consumer as we develop our advocacy position is very important,” DMA president/CEO John A. Greco Jr. said.

In August, the DMA announced a consolidation of its operating structure, establishing two executive vice president positions reporting to Mr. Greco. Ramesh Lakshmi-Ratan, executive vice president and chief operating officer, is the other one.

Mr. Cerasale and Ms. Kachura used to report directly to Mr. Greco. Now both will report to Mr. Berry, “so this way he can really integrate our positions on the consumer affairs side – ethics, self-regulation, practices – with those positions we are really advocating for in the government affairs arena, both the federal and the state level,” Mr. Greco said.

Mr. Cerasale can move away from handling all government issues such as postal, privacy and data security, and focus on postal issues such as implementing postal reform and dealing with the next rate case.

“This will allow Steve to – over time – take on some of the other government affairs responsibility outside of postal,” Mr. Greco said.

Mr. Berry brings nearly 30 years of experience in the public and private sectors. Most recently he served as president of Steven K. Berry LLC and consultant to The Livingston Group, where he provided strategic counsel and government relations representation to clients in telecom and technology policy as well as on international trade and development issues.

Before starting his own firm, Mr. Berry served as senior vice president for government relations for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and senior vice president of government affairs for the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association.

Mr. Berry began his government career as an associate counsel on the House Agriculture Committee. He served in many positions including Republican counsel for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, Department of State.

While serving as chief of staff to the House International Relations Committee, he also served as associate counsel to the Iran-Contra Committee – The Committee to Investigate the Covert Arms Transfer to Iran.

“I wanted someone with a very broad background who truly understood all of the channels of communication that we as marketers have available to us and will have available to us in the future and how they emerge,” Mr. Greco said. “[Secondly,] I needed someone who had the proven ability to work in a very bipartisan way. The issues we face are bipartisan issues, and they will require gaining some consensus no matter which party is in control. And I needed a good communicator, who is able to articulate to members what we are doing for them and listen to them in terms of what they need so we can continue to constantly evolve our advocacy plan.”

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