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Erika Bassett named new BSD executive director

By Lisa Brody

Erika Bassett, who has been the Birmingham Shopping District's (BSD) marketing and public relations specialist for the last four years, has been promoted to executive director of the BSD, effective Monday, April 29.

Bassett was one of four finalists for the position. Interviews of the finalists were conducted by members of various BSD committees after vetting by the city of Birmingham's human resources department, with the BSD's executive board announcing the final decision at their monthly meeting on Thursday, May 2. The actual hiring of the BSD director falls to the city manager.

Bassett, a Birmingham resident, began with the BSD as the marketing and public relations specialist in October 2020, developing and managing BSD communications and marketing strategy, campaigns, working to budget and create new programs, extensive media coverage, and increased awareness and traffic to downtown businesses and events, manage the website and social media. She has also worked with BSD businesses and retailers as well as property owners, city department heads, staff and stakeholders and stepped in as deputy director of the BSD. She has also been the owner and vice president of Bassett Properties since 2007, worked as a global marketing and communications manager, and worked in marketing and advertising strategy at Campbell-Ewald Advertising.

The executive director position had been vacant since early February after what is being termed a “separation of employment” for Cristina Sheppard-Decius, who had held the position since she was approved by the BSD board on September 1 of 2022. City officials and BSD governing board members have not offered reasons for the separation, although unconfirmed reports suggest that there were conflicts with Sheppard-Decius and both city and BSD officials.

Assistant city manager Melissa Fairbairn was named as interim executive director while the search was underway for an executive director replacement.

The BSD is funded through a special assessment on all commercial, non-residential property in areas of downtown and other business districts of Birmingham. The executive director works with merchants, business owners, retailers, landlords and commercial real estate brokers.


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