Annual CEO Event Brings Rich Discussion Among Retail Leaders

RILA recently convened the industry’s top executives for our Retail CEO Forum. This annual event provides a forum for retail leaders to reflect on key topics driving the industry today, including COVID-19, racial justice, diversity, digital transformation, and more. Below are highlights from this two-day event.


Like many conferences this year, the Retail CEO Forum was reimagined as a virtual experience. RILA President Brian Dodge kicked off the event from our offices in Washington, giving attendees a warm, socially distant welcome to our program.

Digital Transformation, the Future of Work, and Leading Through Challenging Times

In our first executive leadership session, Ulta Beauty CEO and RILA Chairperson Mary Dillon led a discussion with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella about how businesses can respond, recover, and reimagine their work in the face of rapid, sweeping changes. Nadella shared his unique perspective on how retailers can accelerate their transformation, keep up with changing customer expectations, and prepare for the future of work.

Leading Through Change

Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass sat down with RILA President Brian Dodge to talk about how the pandemic impacted the retail industry and how she and her leadership team navigated the past year. Gass offered her perspective on leadership and how she balanced Kohl’s’ short-term goals with its long-term growth strategy.

Retail’s Digital Future

In a conversation with Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillon, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg shared her insight into the consumer behavior shifts that promise to last well into the future and how retailers can leverage digital tools to stay nimble and scale to meet customer needs.

The D&I Imperative

Target CEO Brian Cornell was joined by Cid Wilson, President & CEO of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) and Accenture Chief Leadership & Human Resources Officer Ellyn Shook to talk about Target’s ambitious diversity and inclusion strategy. They dove deep into how infuses D&I throughout the entire organization and the importance of their partnership with HACR as they work toward a more diverse and equitable workplace.

Leading with Purpose

Best Buy CEO Corie Barry offered insights into how the company adapted its operating model to meet the needs of the pandemic and changing consumer habits. She shared how her mission to lead with purpose permeates throughout the business and how she balances revenue goals with social responsibilities.  

Public Private Partnerships, Civil Unrest, ORC, and Beyond

RILA’s Senior Executive Vice President, Retail Operations and Innovation Lisa LaBruno led a timely discussion with FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich on the importance of public private partnerships, particularly in the context of the challenges of 2020. Bowdich shared his perspective on the role of the FBI in helping retailers combat the complex issue of organized retail crime and what he sees as the biggest risks ahead for the industry.

Thank you to our 2021 sponsors

We want to thank our service providers and industry partners, who are a crucial component of the education and learning that takes place at the Retail CEO Forum. 

Did you miss this opportunity?

We’ll be hosting another gathering of retail CEO’s this July in Washington, DC. The Retail CEO Policy Summit will allow leaders to convene in-person with their peers and policymakers on Capitol Hill to discuss the industry’s policy priorities. This event is a great opportunity to showcase the power of retail and demonstrate how policies that support retail, also support communities, jobs, and families in communities large and small across the US. Register here.

Retail CEO Forum 2022

  • Jan 30 - Feb 1, 2022
  • Naples, FL

The Retail CEO Forum is the once-yearly, invitation-only event for CEOs from the most recognized retail brands in the industry.

Go to Event
  • Asset Protection
  • Legal Affairs & Compliance
  • Technology & Innovation
  • Public Policy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainability & Environment
  • Workforce
  • CEO Forum
  • Retail CEO Forum

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