WR Board of Directors gather for annual summer meeting

Aug 20, 2020
Written by Renée Sunde, President & CEO

Late in July, the WR Board of Directors met for its annual summer meeting. As with a majority of associations, this year’s meeting was conducted virtually over a two-day stretch. 2020 has been an incredible year thus far. Not short of challenges and opportunity, retailers across Washington State have responded to meet the changing needs of our customers while we serve on the front lines of our communities.

Who would have guessed the last week of legislative session that we would be pivoting so quickly in response to a global pandemic? As we began to understand the magnitude of what we were dealing with, we also realized that Washington State was the epicenter of the virus outbreak.

As we did the COVID-19 pivot, there were three primary goals. The first was to prioritize the health and safety of my 15-member staff to ensure that we could quickly move to remote work in response to the Governor’s Stay Home Stay Healthy order. Our team did an amazing job and we were able to keep healthy and safe without witnessing any major blips in production. Supporting the safety of our members was equally a priority as nearly half of our members were deemed essential workers and challenged to keep both their employees and customers safe while navigating new health directives.

The second priority has been to maintain the financial stability of the association during a time when it has been unclear how long the orders would remain in effect. Thanks to our members and their commitment, we will be ending our fiscal year August 31, 2020 on strong financial footing.

Lastly, supporting government officials and advocating effectively for our members whether essential or non-essential was a top priority. Washington Retail was successful in getting a seat at the table as decisions were made to re-open the industry. Helping to drive the conversation and responding in “real time” has been critical to the success of the association and our members.

Running one of the nation’s larger retail associations during a time of industry transformation and global pandemic is not for the faint of heart. Our esteemed and engaged Board of Directors is committed to tackling the challenging issues facing our industry to make Washington a place where owning and operating a business is valued and approximately 400,000 retail jobs are supported. The hardship of the past year has not made it easy for many, but Washington Retail is committed to working tirelessly on behalf of our members to impact the future of our industry.

A special thanks to the 2019-2020 WR Board of Directors for your exceptional leadership.