The Washington Retail Association 20-member Board of Directors met this past week at the beautiful Suncadia Lodge in Cle-Elum, Washington. The association’s board, led by President & CEO Renée Sunde, and chaired by Kent Wilson, Target, is comprised of a strategic mix of Washington-based retailers and multi-state retailers who represent hundreds of thousands of employees in all regions of the state.
In addition to important association business– leaders representing retail storefronts in all 49 legislative districts met to discuss two primary goals.
As we set the stage for Washington’s future, a focus on creating the necessary long-term political infrastructure that will support a free enterprise marketplace, maintain fiscal responsibility, and support personal accountability is a critical place to start.
We also recognize that setting the stage for Washington Retail Association’s future means retailers may be better positioned than other business interests to highlight policies that are strongly aligned with the current political majority. These include positions on sustainability, community engagement, employee education, and reskilling opportunities through our diverse and inclusive workforce.
These goals helped to set the stage for two days of dynamic speakers and focused strategic planning. Sally Poliak, Co-Quarter back of Project 42, and Executive Director Kaitlyn Virtertun of League of Our Own shared the many “capacities” established over the past years to help build a durable infrastructure for Washington’s future. Newly elected state representative April Connors (D-8) from the Tri-cities is an excellent example of League of Our Own’s success in electing moderate, consensus-building, pro-business candidates.
Senator Mark Mullet, (D-5-Issaquah) gubernatorial candidate in the race for Washington State Governor, spoke about his commitment to pragmatic leadership and reasonable, balanced governance necessary to accomplish things in Olympia. The newly elected deputy Republican House leader, Representative Mike Steele (D-12 Chelan) spoke about a similar commitment to bring together both parties to work towards common sense solutions. Both leaders spoke about their commitment to making Washington State a welcoming environment for citizens and businesses alike.
A facilitated work session focused on preparing for WR’s future was facilitated by Doug Mah of Mah & Associates. The outcomes included discussing how WR will sustain successes while developing top priorities to meet the many identified challenges. The role of WR’s Board of Directors has never been more important and timelier – as we meet both challenges and opportunities ahead.