Retailers talk leading practices, trends for DEI

Annual retail diversity, equity & inclusion leaders meeting

On October 25-26, RILA’s DEI Leaders Council (DEILC) Meeting held an in-person meeting, co-located with RILA’s Retail Law Conference in Atlanta, GA. DEILC members participated in an opportunity to benchmark and identify collaboration opportunities, to shape the rapidly evolving DEI landscape. The committee meeting covered a wide range of topics, including leading practices in DEI + asset protection collaboration, ongoing retail implications of the affirmative action SCOTUS ruling, as well as open benchmarking and next steps.

The following are some agenda highlights:

Leading Practices in DEI + Asset Protection Collaboration
This session began with a summary of RILA’s DEI and Asset Protection community collaboration over the past few years, including issuing two member benchmarking surveys on mitigating bias in AP, as well as developing a tactics for minimizing unconscious bias in retail stores resource. RILA’s Vice President of Asset Protection, Khris Hamlin, then provided his unique viewpoint on how he has seen the areas intersect, given his background as an AP lead at several retail companies. He provided examples of leading practices and also spoke about AP leaders’ role supporting communities more broadly, via the RILA-NDAA Vibrant Communities Initiative. The session concluded with open peer discussion.

Ongoing Retail Implications of SFFA v. harvard SCOTUS Ruling
Sarah Wake, Farnaz Thompson, and Amy Turk, Partners from McGuireWoods, then joined to provide an overview of this summer’s SCOTUS ruling concerning affirmative action. The team began by summarizing the ruling itself, its impact on the retail landscape, and broader implications for its effect on DEI hiring, policies, and programs. This enabled an interactive discussion on actionable steps DEI and legal leads can collaborate around, to support compliant programs and avoid mischaracterizations.

open benchmarking and next steps
The meeting concluded with open benchmarking, as attendees discussed other key areas their companies are focused on as well as topics they would like to discuss leading into 2024. Shortly after, members received a curated set of related resources from RILA and the speakers, to inform their next steps. 

Our co-location with the RILA RLAW event the afternoon of the 25th through the 26th also enabled DEI leads to interact with legal teams and law firms, for discussion of topics including the litigation environment, navigating AI, advertising issues, navigating corporate crisis and more.

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For more information on DEI-related topics and RILA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leaders Council, contact Erin Hiatt, Vice President, CSR at or Moni Adeyi, Manager, CSR & Supply Chain at
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