WOMMA is Growing Up

Andy Sernovitz, the first CEO of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), is moving on. He informed members Monday that he will give up his role at the organization at the end of March to pursue consulting, writing, speaking, and teaching opportunities, as well as spend some time with his growing family. “Seems like ages ago, I fielded the first call from Andy re: a plan to put structure on what back then was an idea on a piece of paper,” Pete Blackshaw, CMO of Nielsen BuzzMetrics and WOMMA co-founder, told ClickZ. “We’ve built a great organization, and Andy deserves a world of credit for getting WOMMA where it is today. He’s a real fighter, and that’s what we needed in the first phase of building a great association.”

WOMMA will continue to be led by Susan Tibbitts, executive director, who joined the WOMMA staff more than a year ago, as well as a recently expanded staff of eight. The group elected a board of directors in May.

Those two factors make Sernovitz comfortable in his decision, he wrote in his farewell letter. “Experience confirms a lesson that my dad taught me about starting a business: The most important service a true entrepreneur can provide to his company is to get the hell out of the way when the startup days are over.”

Sernovitz said will remain an active member of the organization.

Sernovitz led the organization in several efforts to set ethical guidelines for word of mouth marketing, which some family groups felt did not go far enough; and to defend WOM from overzealous legislators.

“I didn’t always agree with Andy on all issues, but he got the job done. We’ve built a great organization, and Andy deserves a world of credit for getting WOMMA where it is today. He’s a real fighter, and that’s what we needed in the first phase of building a great association,” Blackshaw said. “Importantly, he hasn’t been afraid to address the difficult, sometimes acrimonious and always thankless issues like word-of-mouth ethics. Marketing needs more leaders who are willing to swim upstream on the issues that truly put consumers in the center of the equation.”

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