The Washington, D.C.-based Out of Home Advertising Association of America announces the pending retirement of Nancy Fletcher, who has led the association for nearly three decades. She will step down at the end of 2019.
Fletcher will be honored in May at the industry’s annual conference in Las Vegas, says Sean Reilly, CEO of Lamar Advertising Company and OAAA’s chairman of the board.
An attorney, Fletcher began working for Naegele Outdoor Advertising in Minneapolis in 1978. She was Naegele’s president and general manager in the Twin Cities and general counsel to the holding company for Naegele’s national billboard operations. She began her career as a young lobbyist at the Minnesota state legislature. She serves on the board of the Ad Council, and among decades of community service, has been active in the leadership of the Washington National Cathedral and the National Cathedral School for Girls.
The organization says Fletcher has been a role model and mentor to women. Throughout her tenure as CEO, women held top positions at the trade association. In 2018, her family endowed an annual scholarship at the Foundation for Outdoor Advertising Research and Education (FOARE) to support future women leaders.
“I love this industry and its people,” says Fletcher. “I am forever grateful for mentors like Bob Naegele Jr., who first hired me 40 years ago, and for the support and friendship of OAAA members who have shared a passion for this wonderful industry.”
Fletcher has led OAAA since 1991, when the industry won a major battle in Congress. The Senate rejected anti-billboard legislation 60-39. Former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) describes her as, “smart, persuasive, and tough.”
During her tenure, the U.S. out of home (OOH) advertising industry tripled revenues, underwent an unprecedented digital transformation, won in Congress, and transformed its image with advertisers and the public. Fletcher helped guide the successful rollout of digital billboards, the growth of OOH formats beyond billboards, and the synergistic connection between OOH advertising and online, mobile, and social media. While other traditional media have contracted, OOH advertising has grown, posting gains in each of the last 34 consecutive quarters.
Known as “O-triple-A” (Outdoor Advertising Association of America), the group recently changed its name to Out of Home Advertising Association of America, evolving to lead the growing variety of printed and digital ad formats located outside the home.
In the last decade, Fletcher guided and expanded industry partnerships to help law enforcement and emergency managers communicate with the public. The FBI says 57 fugitives have been apprehended as a direct result of billboard publicity. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has transmitted more than 2,000 AMBER Alerts to digital OOH formats to help locate missing children. And, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has worked with OAAA to post many emergency OOH messages.
Under Fletcher’s leadership, OAAA showcased classic American art (“Art Everywhere”) and helped save endangered species (National Geographic’s “Photo Ark”), among many effective public service efforts. OAAA also launched sophisticated campaigns using OOH media assets to promote the growing industry, such as “Feel the Real” in 2015 and “Get Out of Home” in 2018.
In 2016, Fletcher received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the international out-of-home media group FEPE (Fédération de La Publicité Extérieur).
“Over the last 28 years, my father, brother, and I have all served on the OAAA Board of directors with Nancy at the helm. My dad always said, ‘Listen to Nancy.’ That was good advice for me, and the entire industry,” says Reilly. “Nancy has brought honor and distinction to our trade association and steered the industry through decades of innovation and growth.”
According to the organization, Fletcher’s tenure was one of the longest of any national trade associations.
A search for her successor is now under way.