Last week WR President/CEO Renée Sunde, Vice President of Operations, Rose Gundersen, and myself attended the annual Council of State Retail Associations Conference held in Annapolis, Maryland. Last year’s conference was canceled due to the pandemic.
Thirty-two state retail associations from around the country, national association partners, and dozens of member company representatives exchanged ideas and information at this busy national meeting. WR President and CEO Renée Sunde and Vice President of Operations, Rose Gundersen, were privileged to serve on a justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) panel. They shared how WR has been advancing our JEDI program with our members, board, and employees during their presentation.
Other panels focused on various topics, including organized retail theft, consumer data privacy, product packaging related to environmental regulations, labor and employment, and pharmacy issues. Matt Shay, National Retail Federation President, delivered the conference’s keynote address. In his comments, he focused on retail’s response to the challenges the pandemic has created and how our industry must adapt to change as we continue serving our customers going forward.
During an open session, the retail associations attending were able to share their experiences with recent issues and trends to help alert and prepare fellow state associations for what may come their way in the months ahead. Retail association staff members had the opportunity to share tips and tricks on successfully navigating the common and often complex issues the industry is grappling with, such as data privacy regulation.
Overall, I felt the conference was very productive and provided our association’s team with insights and information to serve our members better. We look forward to attending next year’s conference, scheduled to take place in Minneapolis.