Newly-elected directors step into association leadership

Dec 6, 2019
Written by Renée Sunde, President & CEO

Each year the association holds its Annual Meeting of Directors in late fall. This year the event was held in Tacoma where our 17-member board convened to provide leadership and oversight on behalf of association members. I am pleased to announce three members were elected and will step into their new posts effective February 2020.

Approved for three-year terms are:

  • Blake Garfield, Chief Operating Officer of Bedrooms & More in Seattle
  • Alesha Shemwell, Director of Retail for Kemper Development in Bellevue
  • Karin Holt, Government Affairs for Best Buy headquartered in Richfield, Minnesota

The board also renewed three-year terms for three current board members including:

  • Deborah Herron of Walmart
  • Rob Jensen of Lantern Press
  • Amy Rhodes of 7-Eleven

Each of these board members maintains and enhances the leadership and credibility of the body that sets strategy and direction for Washington Retail.

As General Manager, Garfield has transformed Bedrooms & More from a small family business of 11 employees to a vertically integrated home store, mattress manufacturer and bedding distributor supporting more than 40 families. He oversees product development, marketing, importing, training and community outreach.

Shemwell heads the management team that oversees retail and restaurant tenant relations at The Bellevue Collection of stores. She currently serves as Western Division Innovative Chair for the International Council of Shopping Centers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership and a Certificate in Commercial Real Estate, both from the University of Washington.

Holt is Best Buy’s Manager of Government Affairs. She manages 22 states on behalf of Best Buy’s state and local government affairs team. She serves on the boards of several state retail associations across the country. Her background includes serving as a general counsel and in public affairs and communications at Coca-Cola.