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From the International President

Cynthia Hirsch Ortiz, RDI

Members and Friends of the Institute,

What a year to be elected International President of the Retail Design Institute!

Our industry has faced challenges in the past, but in 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to take another look at best practices and re-evaluate ways to reach our constituents and customers. With so much uncertainty, I remain certain. Certain that we will see positive changes evolve because problem-solving is at the core of our work as designers, solutions providers, and retailers. Many of the changes already on the horizon have been accelerated by the pandemic. And so retail continues to adapt and change to what some are calling the new normal.

Your newly elected International Officers and I are working to continue the efforts of the previous International Officers and Board of Directors. Those efforts included the creation of the Diversity Inclusion & Equity Council. Soon a group of members will meet to address issues facing our fellow members, colleagues, and peers who have lost jobs and opportunities because of the pandemic.

And though we are not able to meet in person, we are more connected than ever thanks to our Chapters’ efforts to create virtual educational events, tours, and even cocktail hours now available to all members regardless of Chapter affiliation. Virtual events allow our members to attend and network with the retail community across the globe!

As we approach our 60th Anniversary in 2021, I’m reminded of the driving forces in 1961 that made this organization what it is today — a forum where members connect, learn, grow, build relationships, and inspire one another.

There’s a place for everyone in the retail design industry in the Institute, both at the local level and the International level. Reach out to your Chapter President or email me to join us in shaping the industry. Your ideas and input are valued and welcomed.

Join us as we look to lead the way in educating and connecting to create a better future in retail design.

Cynthia Hirsch, RDI International President

The Retail Design Institute recognizes the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many of our members and non-member colleagues directly through layoffs, furloughs, and corporate bankruptcies. Earlier, the Board of Directors voted to suspend membership dues for all current members and to waive membership application fees and dues for new members in any category through May 31, 2021. All members who were current (dues paid) as of March 15, 2020, have been granted a membership extension to May 31, 2021. When you visit the Institute’s website, you will notice the pop-up graphic inviting prospective members to come aboard! Please reach out through your networks and welcome our community (including lapsed members) to consider joining the Institute. If you have been laid off or furloughed at this time it will not affect your eligibility.* Please use discount code 2020free when signing up. *All prospective members will be vetted according to the Institute’s stated membership criteria.

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