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CHICAGO — The Network of Executive Women (NEW) has named Sarah Alter as its new president and CEO. She took up the role starting June 5 and will be based at the NEW headquarters in downtown Chicago.
"When we started our search, we defined the CEO we needed to transform NEW and the industry we serve," explained NEW Vice Chair Lisa Walsh, of Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo Inc., who headed the board's CEO search committee. "Sarah fits the bill, and then some."
Walsh added that NEW is at a pivot point and Alter will guide the organization as it expands its services and becomes a more powerful voice for gender equality and workplace transformation in its industry.
"She has strategic vision, proven experience in the retail, services and technology markets, financial acumen and global experience. Most important, she is savvy about leading people and has a very inclusive and engaging style," Walsh said.
"Given my passion for its mission, I cannot think of a more important job than growing NEW," stated Alter. "Working with our 10,000 members, 20 regions and more than 100 partner companies, we can help even more women and diverse leaders advance."
Alter has wide experience in the retail and financial industries and most recently served as chief marketing officer at Chicago-based General Growth Properties, where she developed and executed business and consumer marketing strategies for 200 shopping mall properties and their top retailers.
Other previous roles include vice president of Riverwoods, Ill.-based Discover Financial Services, where Alter led the product strategy for all credit card features, benefits and services, boosting revenue and earning the organization a J.D. Power award for its digital experience. She was also vice president for digital sales and marketing at Palatine, Ill.-based Quill.com, where she increased digital sales from 9 percent to 65 percent of revenue.
Alter has also served on multiple nonprofit boards and is an accomplished fundraiser. As an organizer of Chicago's annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Gala, she has helped raise millions of dollars to find a cure for type 1 diabetes. Alter is also a mentor to high school students and participates in the Beyond Sports Foundation for gifted athletes.
The Network of Executive Women is the retail and consumer products industry's largest women's leadership organization.