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From the International President

Updated: Jul 27

Follow the Leaders

Cynthia Hirsch Ortiz, RDI

It's nearly summer and I've been doing some serious thinking about coming days. Chapters have been holding in-person events and meetings with members and prospective members turning out in force. (Check out the website calendar to learn about upcoming gatherings.) We also know member's employers are returning to the office, some with hybrid schedules. If the virtual office is future and workers continue to work remotely, there are some obvious questions looming.

Without day-to-day personal contact, do we run the risk of tamping down teamwork? Will collaboration among colleagues become a thing of the past? What about developing the next generation of company leadership? If you are looking to engage the current and future workforce, then you are right to be a bit worried.

But it’s your future – and the Institute’s too -- that leads me to issue this challenge: Can you find your company’s future leaders?

Who are the persons with drive and ambition hoping to make it up the ladder? Do these individuals with potential need a chance to develop the decision-making, budgeting, planning, and execution skills that make for a good leader? If you’re a creative lead or a studio head, prospecting today might help your plan for tomorrow.

Here’s where the Institute plays a less-obvious role in helping anyone jump start leadership skills. This year the Institute holds elections at the Chapter and International level for the 2022-2024 term. Serving as an officer builds confidence and a wealth of other transferable skills. Officers as well as board members learn to listen, build consensus and develop the resources needed to successfully run their Chapter, a small business unit for certain. That’s real-life experience.

We are the creative problem-solver professionals focused on the retail design industry. Let’s exercise that creativity to nurture current and prospective members who could benefit from such an opportunity to serve.

Perhaps you are a person ready for the next level.

Perhaps you’ll choose to run for office knowing that a volunteer experience -- directly tied to your professional development – could positively impact your company standing. And just maybe there’s a person who ‘sits’ next to you and together, you’ll work to support each other as future Institute leaders.

Here’s hoping so and I welcome the chance to personally discuss opportunities with you!

Cynthia Hirsch Ortiz, RDI International President Retail Design Institute

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