Amanda Fergusson has been appointed chief executive of the UK GCA and will take over the role when Sharon Little, the association’s current ceo officially leaves on December 1.
It was announced last month that Sharon resigned after 20 years of heading up the GCA in order to fulfill her dream of exploring the world. (https://www.pgbuzz.net/gcas-ceo-sharon-little-resigns-to-go-travelling)
Amanda is “delighted” to take on the role from Sharon, bringing with her a wealth of experience gained from her many years working in the industry, notably with Caroline Gardner, Hallmark and Andrew Brownsword. Amanda was also an active GCA Council member when she was sales director of Caroline Gardner.
“Sharon’s popularity and achievements on behalf of the GCA membership makes her a very tough act to follow, but Amanda’s experience, personality and passion for the greeting card sector make her a perfect fit to take up the challenge and lead the trade association into the future,” commented Jakki Brown, joint general secretary of the GCA.
Amanda’s affinity for the greeting card sector showed itself at an early age as she spent five years working in The Card Shop, Hythe, Kent (owned by Andrew Brownsword’s mother) for four or five years while at school and during her holidays from Kingston Poly.
Having graduated, and after a year travelling she set up her own business, sourcing a range of products from Europe and distributing them to mainly London retailers. “I gave up the business largely because I didn’t have the help and networking opportunities offered by an association such as the GCA it would have made a huge difference to me,” acknowledges Amanda.
She then joined card publishing company, The Andrew Brownsword Collection in 1989, taking over the management of the national accounts from Andrew himself, at the time when the business was just starting to expand rapidly.
Recalling those heady days of the company’s and industry’s burgeoning growth, Amanda recalled: “I worked collaboratively with a wide range of publishers when Claire Castle at WHS asked Peter Beecroft [now with Allsorted] and I to set up the first brokerage trial in the industry [Andrew Brownsword and Camden Graphics planned 50% of WHS card departments each at that time].”
In 1997 Amanda moved to Hallmark, heading up its marketing and communications for five years. She then joined Caroline Gardner as its sales director for 11 years, during a period of exciting growth, relinquishing her role a couple of years ago to be more on hand for her four children as they completed their schooling.
Since leaving Caroline Gardener Amanda has been helping business in affiliated sectors to develop strategy and marketing plans as well as mentoring senior managers, and also volunteering in the public sector, but she admits that she has “missed the card trade!”
Commenting on her new role as GCA ceo Amanda said: “I am so delighted to be back in our wonderful industry, and have the opportunity to represent and promote card sending, and lead the GCA into the next 100 years”.
Although not officially taking up her post until December 1, Amanda is to attend the GCA AGM and Conference tomorrow (October17) that takes place at Knebworth House.
Top: Amanda Fergusson is to take over as ceo of the GCA from December 1.