FDFA announces “new strategic direction” with appointment of advocacy firm and executive director

Headshot Barbara2The Frontier Duty Free Association (FDFA) Board of Directors has appointed Barbara Barrett to serve as the association’s new executive director. She replaces Laurie Karson, who left the role last September after 12 years at the helm of the industry association.

Barrett brings over 20 years of high level public affairs expertise to FDFA. She has held senior leadership and executive roles for global automotive company Jaguar Land Rover, and has worked as the Canadian communications lead with corporate leadership in the UK and the United States. Among other activities, Barrett implemented and developed communications programs to leverage global sponsorship programs with Formula One Racing, Invictus Games, the Canadian Cancer Society and First Nations groups.

Along with appointing a new executive director, FDFA has also appointed advocacy firm Impact Public Affairs to represent the interests of the FDFA members in Ottawa and across Canada.

The appointment comes after an extensive review process, says the FDFA in its official announcement.

“The Board of Directors listened to our membership. The clear message was to re-evaluate our representation and develop a coordinated government relations strategy to ensure our member’s needs are met and to take the association to a new and higher level,” stated Abe Taqtaq, FDFA President.  “This move is aimed at ensuring we proactively create the regulatory environment for our member’s long term success and growth.”

Impact Public Affairs brings a 20-year reputation of building advocacy campaigns for trade associations with a specialty in the retail and small business sector.  Impact is also known for building a partnership with association leadership to support member retention and recruitment with winning advocacy efforts.  Impact is the only advocacy firm to win the Canadian Society of Association Executive’s award for business excellence to national associations.

“The Board is equally excited to bring Barbara Barrett on board to quarterback FDFA efforts.  Barbara and our team will be imbedded in Ottawa with Impact so that they can provide members with a full range of lobbying, communications, media and social media support,” summarized Taqtaq.

“The Frontier Duty Free Association has a great history of fostering a highly competitive Canadian Land Border Duty Free Industry that is vibrant, creative, progressive and best-in-class among land border and airport duty free retailers around the world.  We will build on this history and make sure we have a world class industry representative moving forward,” said Barrett.

FDFA’s active membership includes 26 Canadian Land Border Duty Free Shops, and Associate Members consists of Canadian Airport and U.S. Land Border Duty Free Shops.  FDFA promotes the development of Canada’s land border duty free industry as a voice, advocate and business resource for members by acting as liaison between members and the Federal Government’s Duty Free Shop Program (Canada Border Services Agency) and advocating on behalf of members with all levels of government.