WR board charts 2024 strategy, welcomes new leadership

Dec 14, 2023
Written by Robert B. Haase, Director of Communications

WR board members, pictured from left: Andy Ryder, Alesha Shemwell, Blake Garfield, Arta Baharmast, Jerry Irwin, Kent Wilson, Renée Sunde, Krista Beck, Eric Douglas, Brenda Snyder, Lowell Gordon, and Sean Brownlee.


The Washington Retail Association (WR) Board of Directors and President and Chief Executive Officer Renée Sunde convened for the final meeting of the year on Monday at Lincoln Square in Bellevue, Washington. The day-long meeting was an opportunity for the board to review the achievements of the past year and establish strategic goals and legislative priorities for 2024.

The board leadership engaged in discussions on critical issues with several legislators, including Representatives Drew Stokesbary (D31), Larry Springer (D45), and Senator Joe Nguyen (D34).

Additionally, Sara Nelson, the incumbent city at-large Councilmember from Seattle, joined the meeting to share her priority focus areas, particularly addressing public safety and homelessness. Sara will essentially be working with a new slate of council members.

The WR board, comprised of 20 members, is a diverse group representing significant retail players across Washington state. Looking ahead to 2024, the WR Board will be chaired by Alesha Shemwell, the Director of Retail at Bellevue Collection/Kemper Development Company. Alesha is stepping into the role of Chair as current Chair, Kent Wilson, Head of State & Local Government Affairs at Target, steps down from the position.

Opio Dupree, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs at Macy’s, will assume the role of Vice-Chair.

The meeting also served as a moment to honor retiring board member Lowell Gordon for his 14-year contribution to the board of directors. During Lowell’s tenure on the board, he was involved in several organizational milestones, including the WR building remodel, the CEO leadership transition in 2017, and the association rebrand project in 2018.


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