Hampton Roads’ Retail Alliance appoints new CEO
Jenny Crittenden was SVP for trade association
Jenny Crittenden is the new president and CEO of the Retail Alliance, making her the second woman to be president and CEO of the Hampton Roads nonprofit trade association in its 120-year history.
The Norfolk-based alliance’s board of directors appointed Crittenden, formerly the organization’s senior vice president, on Feb. 16. Crittenden succeeds Ray Mattes, who announced his retirement in October 2022.
“I am so thankful to Ray for his leadership and outstanding job of growing a very healthy organization and look forward to executing on the opportunity it presents,” Crittenden said in a statement. “Retailers are an integral part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and are at the core of our neighborhoods and communities.”
Former Gov. Ralph Northam appointed Crittenden to represent small brick-and-mortar retail on the Governor’s COVID-19 Business Task Force, which he created in April 2020 to help develop business reopening guidelines for the pandemic.
Before joining Retail Alliance’s leadership team in 2022, Crittenden served the alliance in several capacities, including serving on its Retail Alliance Foundation Board, its board of directors and executive committee. For the past three years, she has taught a marketing and customer service module for the Retail Alliance Foundation’s certificate in retail operations class.
“Prior to being asked if she would consider interviewing for the CEO position at Retail Alliance, Jenny was a dedicated member of the board, exhibiting a passion for the success of member retailers. During the interview process it became unanimously clear that she would be the right choice to lead the organization into this new era,” Retail Alliance Chairman Bob Gurnee said in a statement.
Prior to joining Retail Alliance, Crittenden led the nonprofit Main Street Preservation Trust in Gloucester for 16 years. In 2021, the trust won one of Main Street America’s Main Street Forward Awards for running an e-commerce platform for downtown businesses and for its recovery and resilience efforts.
Crittenden has also served as executive director for the Cook Foundation, which supports the arts in Gloucester, and was the Gloucester Arts Festival’s marketing and sponsorship chairs.
Founded in 1903, the Retail Alliance promotes and assists small businesses in Hampton Roads through education, advocacy and member benefits.