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From the International President

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

Renewal in the Air

Cynthia Hirsch Ortiz, RDI

We often think of Spring as a time of renewal when sprouts, shoots and buds emerge as signs of growth. Well, for the majority of our current Institute membership, Spring signals another type of renewal. Beginning the first of May, hundreds of members will receive – via email – a request to rejoin the Institute for the 2022-2023 membership year. Yes, renewal is in the air.

We know members are still navigating the pandemic and that's why we’re looking forward to having each and every one of you back for the coming year for the many opportunities that only membership can offer.

Allow me to reshare – in the voice of several members – their reasons for joining the Institute and why they are renewing. The comments are part of a testimonial campaign begun last year.

Amy Meadows, Allied Visual Merchandising member from the Chicago | Great Lakes Chapter, and founder of Windows Matter, explains, “Membership in the Institute provides value. There's access to leaders and innovators; online panel discussions and webinar track responses and solutions; trends and problem-solving actions are often applicable to the Main Street communities, historic business districts, and independents with whom I work." Amy’s career includes time with Marshall Field's and today she helps independent retailers as a consultant and students of design as an educator at Columbia College. She has been a member of the Institute since 2017.

"Last, and by no means least," Amy says, "membership provides valuable resources for my work teaching Visual Merchandising and Space Planning in the Fashion Studies Department. The 'Store of the Year' presentation is always a hit, allowing us to travel -- virtually -- and experience a wide array of retail design successes. An inspiration, year after year!”

Thanks, Amy, for the solid endorsement.

Meanwhile, Adam Jones, Allied RDI, a retail operations vet, who joined the Institute’s Southern California Chapter in 2014, reports: “I found tremendous value in the automatic vetting of partners to connect and willing to cross-promote each other, vital for our success.” Adam went on to explain that the Institute attracts the best and brightest in the design industry who encourage and believe in supporting each other.

Well said Adam! We also thank Adam for his volunteer efforts at both the Chapter and International level where he serves as Southern California's Chapter Secretary and helps to lead the International Communications Team.

I was also intrigued by comments made by Nina Ricciardi, RDI. She joined the New York Chapter in 2020 during the pandemic and has since renewed. Today she’s vice president and senior program manager, retail design at Citi.

“I was first introduced to the Retail Design Institute through being a judge for the annual design competition. I was impressed by the quality of entries and the high level of engagement displayed by the panel of judges as each entry was carefully reviewed, making for an unforgettable and valuable experience," Nina explains. "During the year of Covid, the Institute through all of its virtual events became my lifeline to the retail industry, keeping me engaged, and connected to the design community through a wonderful series of events. I attended every event offered in 2020 and 2021. I loved the fact that as a member you are able to join any event hosted by any chapter. I highly recommend a professional membership in the Institute; it is great for continued design education as well as providing wonderful networking opportunities with peers.”

Nina, we appreciate you!

And there you have it – three members who have shared their personal and professional motivations for joining and renewing. If you agree with Amy, Adam, and Nina’s “reasons to believe” in the Institute, thank you, and welcome to another year filled with opportunities for career and individual development.

We continue to look for members who want to give back to our industry. If you are passionate about retail, design, and the Institute, please reach out to me to find out how you can be a part of your Institute's renewal and growth.

Cynthia Hirsch Ortiz, RDI International President Retail Design Institute

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