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Retail Design Institute Canada Unveils Dynamic New Leadership

Paving the Future of Retail Design Innovation

Retail Design Institute Canada chapter is delighted to introduce its newly elected officers and board of directors for the upcoming two-year term, effective November 1, 2023. Mardi Najafi, RDI, has been reelected and will continue to serve on the board until 2025. Joining Mardi are Tracy Ho, Natalie Rowe, and Christopher Henderson, who will support the board as officers.

“I feel very privileged to take on this role for the second consecutive year at such an exciting time for our profession — As the world of retail remains as an ever-evolving landscape of innovation, sustainability, and personalized experiences, our chapter will continue to monitor and morph with these changes in thoughtful and innovative ways which will benefit all our members for years to come,” said Mardi Najafi

After carefully considering numerous qualified applicants, the executive board unanimously approved the new board of directors. “I’m honored to welcome our new board of directors as we implement our new strategic plan, it is especially important that our events cater to the changing needs of the Canadian retail landscape. I would also like to thank Diane Spiridoulias, Michael Nussbacher, Karen Hamor Kritzer, Palak Jaura, Sahar Kalili, and Johnny Demetriadis for their contributions in the past two years.”


Meet the RDI Canada Officers and Directors:

Mardi Najafi, RDI

Mardi Najafi, RDI, President

Vice President, Retail Strategy and Design at Figure3

Award-winning, multidisciplinary designer Mardi Najafi has been immersed in the world of design for over 25 years. From Paris to New York and Toronto, his experience bringing branded retail environments to life spans both small businesses and Fortune 500 brands such as Coca-Cola Canada, Adidas, Virgin Mobile, Penguin Shop, and Versace. With a passion for creating unique, immersive moments with unexpected details, Mardi continues to transform the retail experience as Vice President, Retail Strategy and Design at Figure3. An accomplished speaker, educator, and panelist, he enjoys sharing his knowledge and is actively committed to industry innovation and mentorship through his volunteer work with various professional design advisory committees and higher education institutions. Mardi is currently the President of Retail Design Institute Canada.

Tracy Ho, RDI

Tracy Ho, RDI, Vice President

Director of Retail and Brand at SDI Design

Tracy Ho, an award-winning and accredited interior designer, boasts over 15 years of expertise gained at Canada's top design and architecture studios. With a unique blend of business and sociology, Tracy has curated a diverse portfolio spanning Olympic stadiums, universities, hotels, law firms, workplaces, and retail spaces. A skillful storyteller, she transforms spaces into compelling brand narratives, blending an investigative approach to consumer behavior with an unwavering commitment to innovation. Tracy's vision extends beyond individual projects; she aspires to elevate the retail industry through collaboration, promoting innovative, thoughtful, and meaningful design. A sought-after panelist and guest speaker at educational institutions, Tracy is a lifelong learner dedicated to continuous growth and the thriving design community as both a mentor and mentee.

Natalie Rowe, Educator RDI

Natalie Rowe, Educator RDI, Secretary

Interior Design Professor at Fanshawe College

Natalie Rowe is an interior designer with a Bachelor of Interior Design from Toronto Metropolitan University, School of Interior Design, and a Master of Interior Design from the University of Manitoba. Natalie is a Professor in the Bachelor of Interior Design (Honours) program at Fanshawe College in London, ON. She is passionate about the future of retail design, and is an advocate for supporting the next generation of retail designers in Canada.

Christopher Henderson, Trade RDI

Christopher Henderson, Trade RDI, Treasurer

VP, Sales & Business Development at Visual Elements

Performance-driven, senior sales executive Christopher Henderson has over 30 years of experience working with retailers, brand managers, creative agencies, and architectural firms. His experience includes bringing some of the world’s most prestigious brands to life in spaces that capture the imagination.

Jeff Hardy, RDI

Jeff Hardy, RDI, Chairperson / Past President

Retail and Media Environments Lead at BDP North America and Principal at BDP Quadrangle

From early fascination to a distinguished career, Jeff Hardy found his passion in architecture and design. Graduating in 1985 with dual diplomas in Architectural Technology and Building Development Technology, he spent 13 years working on diverse projects before joining BDP Quadrangle in 1999. Rising through the ranks to become a principal in 2012, Jeff co-leads the media environments team, specializing in film and TV production studios and data centers. Simultaneously, he heads the firm’s retail architecture team, overseeing projects for brands like Sephora, Lululemon, Starbucks, and more. His commercial property expertise includes the award-winning BMW Toronto showroom and dealerships for Porsche, Audi, and Volkswagen. As a member of the Association of Architectural Technologists of Ontario and President of the Toronto Chapter of the Retail Design Institute, Jeff represents and excels in the retail design industry.

Jackie Glazer, Trade RDI

Jackie Glazer, Trade RDI, Membership Chair

Vice President Partnerships at Omnify

Jackie started her career in finance and accounting having earned a CA designation after completing her undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia. Her experience in business, as a finance and operational leader, gave her broad experience in business operations, financial restructuring, strategic planning, analysis, and business decision support to C-level teams. As an accomplished executive with a proven track record of success spanning over two decades, Jackie brings a wealth of experience across diverse industries, including manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, and retail. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated exceptional leadership, a customer-oriented approach, and a strategic mindset, successfully navigating complex environments.

Mieke Lewis, Allied RDI

Mieke Lewis, Allied RDI, Events Chair

Account Manager at Impact XM

Mieke Lewis, an accomplished professional with a robust background in events management, seamlessly transitioned from a successful stint as a project manager in retail fabrication to her current role as an account manager. She excels as the crucial liaison between clients and internal teams, driving success in the dynamic field of experiential marketing.

Glen Brewer, Trade RDI

Glen Brewer, Trade RDI, Sponsorship Co-Chair

President and Managing Partner at Midgley Tecnica

Glen Brewer is President and Managing Partner at Midgley Tecnica, a distributor in the porcelain tile and stone sector.

Recipient of Interior Designers of Canada’s "Legacy Award for Distinguished Service,” IDC’s most prestigious award, Glen is a Board Member at the company Executive level, as well as various other industry boards including the Interior Designers of Canada (Foundation), Retail Design Institute, and Professional Advisory Council at Sheridan College.

Anthony Ricciuti, RDI

Anthony Ricciuti, RDI, Sponsorship Co-Chair

Executive Vice President at NORR

When it comes to retail and restaurant design, Anthony Ricciuti stands out as a visionary and accomplished leader. With a 25-year career at NORR, he has overseen 40 million square feet of Retail development, specializing in pharmacy, grocery, and banking segments. As a licensed architect in both Canada and the US, Anthony is internationally recognized for creating successful retail environments for brands like CVS, RH, and Amazon. As Executive Vice President of Retail and a Board member, he prioritizes achieving clients' visions with speed, precision, and care. Anthony excels in embracing consumer trends, technological advances, and business imperatives to inspire success in every project.

Sarah Marcus, Allied RDI

Sarah Marcus, Allied RDI, Marketing & Communications Chair

Marketing and Communications Manager at Figure3

Sarah Marcus brings over 20 years of marketing experience with a diverse career that spans agency and client-side roles at renowned companies like Rogers Media, Disney, and Figure3. In 2018, Sarah made a strategic move into retail, co-founding eco+amour - a pioneering beauty product refillery in Toronto. This innovative concept aimed to disrupt retail and brand norms within the category, and support a more sustainable approach. Currently serving as the Marketing and Communications Manager at Figure3, Sarah utilizes emerging technologies and a passion for storytelling to spearhead impactful design campaigns.

Nickeisha Lewis, RDI

Nickeisha Lewis, RDI, Social Media & PR Chair

Design Manager at Rogers Communications

Nickeisha Lewis, a dynamic retail designer, launched her journey with a Bachelor's Degree in Interior Design from Toronto Metropolitan University in 2010. Her career ignited during an internship at Cadillac Fairview, a premier retail landlord, where she discovered her passion for retail design. Currently a Design Manager at Rogers Communications for 5 years, Nickeisha brings rich experience from roles at Indigo Books & Music, TELUS Mobility, and Ivanhoé Cambridge. Fueled by her love for crafting captivating retail spaces, she transforms ideas into reality with a keen eye for aesthetics and a strong foundation in interior design, aiming to make a lasting impact in the retail world.

Paul Backewich, RDI

Paul Backewich, RDI, Eastern Canada Co-Chair

In his illustrious career, Paul Backewich has consistently transformed the ordinary into the extraordinary, collaborating with experts in architecture, design, business, and technology. With diverse experience, he has led the design of commercial offices such as Motorola's Canadian headquarters and State Farm Insurance. Paul played a pivotal role in the early design of Downtown Markham and spearheaded major retail mall redevelopments, including Shops at Don Mills and Promenade. Notable institutional projects include the New Science Complex at the University of Guelph and the Children's Aid Society headquarters in Toronto. As a fervent advocate for architectural hand drawing, Paul seamlessly blends artistic flair with a profound understanding of intricate building systems.

Diane Archibald, RDI

Diane Archibald, RDI, Eastern Canada Co-Chair

VP Store Planning, Design & Facilities at Reitmans (Canada) Ltd.

Diane Archibald stands as a proven leader in design strategy, demonstrating excellence in transformative change management and forging emotional connections between brands and evolving consumer expectations. Her journey from Visual Specialist to accomplished Interior Designer and Retail Design Executive reflects an unwavering passion and dedication to her craft. Currently serving as VP of Store Planning, Design & Facilities Mgmt. for a prominent women's retailer, Diane continues to champion creativity and innovation in retail environments. She inspires her teams to consistently deliver outstanding results within the dynamic retail industry.

Paola Marques, RDI

Paola Marques, RDI, Eastern Canada Co-Chair

Head of North America at Benoy

With over 30 years of experience, Paola Marques is a visionary in commercial design, renowned for her transformative work on shopping centers and award-winning redevelopment projects. Specializing in concept stores for global retail giants, she excels in translating market research into innovative designs that elevate their commercial landmarks. From the iconic Rolling Stones No. 9 Carnaby in London to Canada Goose stores across North America and Asia, and Toys “R” Us & Babies “R” Us across the USA, Paola's portfolio showcases her ability to holistically enhance customer experiences and drive growth. As Head of North America at Benoy, she strategically leads the creative expansion, bringing her expertise to reshape the continent's retail landscape.

Bess Liscio, RDI

Bess Liscio, RDI, Advisor

Senior Associate Director at Benoy

With 30+ years of retail experience spanning North America and Europe, Bess Liscio enhances brand projects with her sharp, strategic mind. Known for driving visual strategy and creative direction at Eaton’s, Canada’s legendary department store chain, as well as prestigious design firms in both US and Canada, she brings depth and diversity to her work. Bess' impressive portfolio includes projects for Universal Music Group, Aéropostale, C&A, Barbie, Hamley’s, and more. Her holistic, consumer-centric approach, acute eye for detail, and contagious energy make her a unique asset. Bess is a board member on the VMSD Editorial Advisory Board and a returning speaker at global retail conferences including the Retail Innovation’s GlobalShop tradeshow in Chicago and the International Retail Design Conference (IRDC) in Toronto.

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