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From the International President

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

The year is off to a terrific start!

Cynthia Hirsch Ortiz, RDI

We are proud to share the news that our St. Louis Chapter is re-branding as the Heartland Chapter to better include the area it represents -- Missouri, Kansas, Southwest Illinois, and Arkansas. President Jessie Sanders and the Heartland Board recently announced the Chapter's first in-person event will be a tour and happy hour at City Foundry in St. Louis, on March 9.

Meanwhile, our Chicago | Great Lakes Chapter recently announced a partnership with designs4dignity, a non-profit founded on the belief that every individual should have access to environments that support the wellness of the human spirit. This group works to transform spaces -- offices, conference rooms, mental health facilities, and housing -- for a number of non-profits in the greater Chicago area with volunteer design help and product donations. If you want to learn more, please contact Chicago | Great Lakes Chapter President Maria Albulescu.

More news -- I had the pleasure of presenting new New York City retail to members of POPAI France along with many amazing professionals from across the globe. Institute members are always in-demand speakers, so join me in offering congrats to Laura Davis-Taylor, RDI, Atlanta | Southeast Chapter, who will be speaking at the Retail Innovation this May in Chicago.

As always, look for our bi-weekly email listing events across the Institute! Don’t forget, as a member you can attend ANY Chapter event globally. Expand your reach and meet like-minded individuals who share the same passions as you.

I'm often asked what are some reasons for joining the Institute. People also want to know how to get involved and make the most of membership. Here's our take:

If you're ready to take your professional development to the next level, then look no further than your local Chapter. Running for office, or volunteering to serve on a Chapter committee has benefits including:

  • Developing and refining your leadership and communications skills (through events, content).

  • Elevating you and your company’s standing within the industry.

  • Sharing your knowledge and skills in support of our local and international organization.

  • Creating lasting connections with people across the retail design industry.

If you have ideas on ways to increase member value, please feel free to email your thoughts to

As always, I look forward to your feedback and continued support of the Institute!

Cynthia Hirsch Ortiz, RDI International President Retail Design Institute

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