Rebecca Fitting Resigns as NAIBA President; Hannah Oliver Depp Is New President
Following the sale of her interest in Greenlight Bookstores, Brooklyn, N.Y., to co-founder Jessica Stockton-Bagnulo, Rebecca Fitting has resigned as president of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association and from the board. The new president of NAIBA is Hannah Oliver Depp, formerly NAIBA's vice-president and owner of Loyalty Bookstores, Washington, D.C., and Silver Spring, Md.
In other board changes, Erin Matthews, The Last Word Bookstore, Glenwood, Md., who has been treasurer, is becoming vice-president; board member Michael Triebwasser, Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C., is becoming treasurer. Amanda Zirn Hudson, Bethany Beach Books, Bethany Beach, Del., continues as secretary, and Bill Reilly, the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y., continues as past president.
|Hannah Oliver Depp|
In an announcement to members of the changes, Depp said in part, "I'm saddened to not work with Rebecca Fitting as board president, but I am honored to be part of her intentional transition to what is next for her and her family and excited to become your board president as the culmination of a long held goal on my part.
"I attended my first NAIBA conference in 2012. A lot has changed since then in the industry; including and especially the fact that I am no longer sure of walking into a room of 200+ people and being only 1 of maybe 2-4 people of color present, thankfully. Because of conversations with other booksellers at that conference I decided I would be on the NAIBA board and one day its president. I wanted to stay committed to this industry as long as it was committed to its own growth and I felt a shift coming in our industry and wanted to be a part of our future. In this last incredibly tough year, working with Rebecca Fitting as our president has strengthened my deep respect for her and my resolve to be open to change and continue to push for growth in our industry from within NAIBA itself.
"Becoming the NAIBA president is an honor because being a NAIBA bookseller is essential to my bookstore, my understanding of our industry, and it puts me in company with some of the best independent booksellers in the world. What is next for us will not necessarily be easy, but it is necessary. I cannot wait to dig in and get to work with more transparency. We will continue increasing our educational tools for booksellers and to push for sustainable business models for our stores and for our employees. We will advocate to publishers and partners for a functional future and share tools developed over the years to advocate for yourself at a local level for rent and taxes that make your business viable. This pandemic has shown the inequities in their harshest reality, but also that they were made and therefore are solvable. Let's solve them together and keep what is great about independent bookselling, our connections to the words and our community, growing into the next generation. I know that at every NAIBA conference or meet-up a bookseller finds the compatriots that will form their career trajectory for years to come and will work to make sure that continues."
Fitting said she was resigning "with mixed emotions," adding in part, "NAIBA has been an incredible community and resource for Greenlight Bookstore and for me personally. When I agreed to become a board member, I took it seriously and saw it as an opportunity to give back, and it has been a rewarding experience. I am not someone who tends to walk away from my commitments, but truly, none of us could have predicted the past few years and the havoc they'd wreak on us as small business owners, and on those of us who are parents. Life is taking me in unexpected directions as a result.
"But with change comes opportunity, and I'm very excited that my exit opens the door for Hannah Oliver Depp to step into the position of NAIBA board president. Hannah's vision, drive, creativity, and energy, along with Eileen [Dengler]'s capable leadership as our executive director, and a strong board, NAIBA is poised to carry our region forward."