- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Direct Marketing Association of Washington knew it was time for a change.

The trade group was about to turn 50 and its members were looking for new ways to attract customers already bombarded by advertising messages. Its leadership, meanwhile, was looking for a new executive director to recruit new members and reach out to other associations.

Barbara Armentrout, a 20-year member of DMAW and former board member of the group, was picked for the challenge.

“She’s perfectly suited to it,” said DMAW board member Geoffrey Peters. “She’s been in the direct marketing business for almost 20 years, she knows a lot of people in the industry and she knows to pick up the phone and call people.”

Mrs. Armentrout’s appointment was approved by DMAW ‘s board of directors without objection, said Mr. Peters, who is also president of Creative Direct Response Inc., a fundraising agency in Crofton, Md.

As the only paid staff member in the association, Mrs. Armentrout’s responsibilities will include planning educational seminars, networking with other trade associations, increasing membership and managing the association’s finances.

“I have been doing this job for many years as a volunteer,” she said. “It’s always been part of what I do.”

In addition to hiring Mrs. Armentrout, the association recently hired Marketing General Inc. to help the organization restructure itself while handling day-to-day operations. DMAW has moved to MGI’s headquarters in Alexandria.

Mrs. Armentrout has goals of her own. She hopes to give the organization’s finances a boost by increasing its 1,500-person membership 25 percent by the end of the year.

“I can’t just ask members for money,” Mrs. Armentrout said. “I need to earn it from them.”

That won’t be difficult for her, Mr. Peters said.

He was impressed by Mrs. Armentrout’s negotiations with sponsors for DMAW’s first superconference, planned for July 2006, which will be attended by both regional and national associations. A new conference can be a hard sell, he said.

“She worked very hard on it in the middle of taking a new job and moving the office to successfully conclude the negotiation,” Mr. Peters said.

Mrs. Armentrout’s experience includes seven years as director of marketing for Housing and Development Reporter, a biweekly newsletter, and marketing positions at the Bureau of National Affairs, a business and government affairs publisher in the District.

Outside of work, Mrs. Armentrout likes to read, golf and garden — “though my neighbors wouldn’t know it,” she said. She lives with her husband, Michael, in Alexandria.

—Jen Haberkorn

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