Taking a chance on a new career path and new department, alumna Martha (Webber) Weaver '90 began a successful and adventurous career in the gift card industry.
After graduating from Carroll in 1990 with a major in communication and a minor in English, Martha took on a wide array of roles such as working at a bed and breakfast, working in the divorce mediation field, and event planning for a Minneapolis country club. However, after eight years working as the catering director and looking for something to accommodate her family life more, Martha decided to apply to Target in their gift card department. It was a new department for the store and a new role for Martha that began a career long journey of networking and growing.
"I stepped into that role and I haven’t left since. It has been that incredible growth wise and adoption and just a really fun product to work with,” she said.
During her six years at Target in Minnesota, Martha worked with her team to launch all sorts of new ideas and products such as being the first company to move away from the standard credit card shape. Creating new innovative gift cards like race cars and rubber duckies, she grew as a professional within the gift card industry by creating a gift card giving as a normal option for shoppers.
Launching her gift card career at Target has since allowed her to network and learn an abundance of knowledge on gift cards. Recognizing that there was no laid out example or courses to learn about the gift card industry, Martha began working with many companies in order to gain that experience.
Following her time at Target, Martha created a whole network of friends throughout the industry that she did not want to leave. Moving through multiple gift card company roles, she expanded her skills and knowledge of gift cards. In 2014 she also joined the Gift Card Network, an organization based out of Vancouver, Washington that is aimed to be a source of education and networking in the gift card industry.
Martha said, “I came on board as the director of the Gift Card Network and helped build that up creating actual gift card university sessions where people could come learn all the ins and outs of the industry. Now I was the one people were coming to to get in touch with people.”
Throughout her career, Martha has enjoyed creating a large network of friends and knowledge on the many different aspects that go into making gift cards.
Today, she works as the Vice President of Merchant Partnerships with Raise, a gift card marketplace for people to sell their unwanted or unused gift cards since 2016. Taking her knowledge and experience with gift cards, she has been able to work with Raise’s team to build up their reputation and security measures, in addition to adding hundreds of Retail Partners to ensure Raise always had gift cards available for every brand its customers are seeking. Martha shared that being a part of a startup has been rewarding in seeing it evolve and continue to grow as a platform.
In looking at current trends for this holiday season, Martha noted that gift cards remain number one on people's wish lists, citing data gathered by the National Retail Federation.
"The gift card had been shifting to digital slowly, but we’ve seen a huge spike, upward of about 70% in the last 6 months have been digitally delivered rather than physically,” she said.
Taking into account the high trend in digital gift cards and anticipating a steady trend in people using dining delivery services, she expects the use of digital cards to continue growing as people continue social distancing.
In reflecting on skills she’s gained at Carroll that she has been able to apply throughout her life, Martha shared, “Learning how to live and work with a diverse community taught me the importance of mastering listening skills, having empathy for different perspectives and finding common ground.”
Martha's tips: How to get the most out of unused gift cards
As we approach the holiday season, we teamed up with Martha (Webber) Weaver '90 to bring you a guide on gift cards. Martha is the VP of Merchant Partnerships for a gift card company called Raise. With many years of experience in the gift card industry, Martha shared some advice on what to do with unwanted gift cards.
Got a gift card you won’t use or don’t want to waste?
Sell it! You can sell your gift card on a number of platforms that are marketplaces which allows you to list an unwanted gift card for others to buy. Other options include re-gifting it or donating it to charitable organizations.
Most important thing to keep in mind when selling gift cards online
Make sure it is a safe site, and it has guarantees in place. Things to keep in mind when searching for a safe site are: Security in place to fight fraud, at least a one-year guarantee, and site reviews from users to assess the site's security.
Advice for selling gift cards
Just follow along with the process that is laid out for you on the website. Take the recommendations made, and in the end if it doesn’t sell you can take it off the listing. As long as no one has bought your listed gift card, you can always take it off if you change your mind.