First Friday Forum

First Friday Forum

These highly attended signature events are held on the first Friday of each month. Expert speakers cover timely and relevant topics. The forums offer motivating concepts and ideas for attendees to apply to their own businesses.

Upcoming Forums

June 6, 2014

The Upswing of Downtown

We looked at development trends in Richmond:  Who’s moving downtown and why.  

Jack Berry, Executive Director of Venture Richmond, shared insights on the growth of the downtown residential scene.  He was joined by a sample of residents who talked about their experiences, the community and the opportunities for businesses.

May 2, 2014

MASTERING MILLENNIALS: Understanding the millennial generation as employees, co-workers and customers.

Millennials are one in four workers in America.

For many retailers, this generation, those born from 1983-2001, are the largest front line, customer-facing worker. Additionally, they comprise a significant percentage of the consumer population. 

Matt Thornhill, founder of the generational think tank, the Boomer Project®, shared key insights and action steps business owners need to know about this generation.

The Boomer Project and SIR Research recently launched GenerationsMatterSM, which helps organizations better understand generational dynamics in the marketplace.

Mastering Millennials - Presentation Handout »

April 4, 2014

Better Leverage through Social Digital Channels w/ Paul Seward, Digital Strategist & VCU Brandcenter Professor, and Dean Browell, Exec. V.P and Partner of Feedback

In this two part presentation, Dean and Paul dove into how local area businesses can better leverage social digital channels to help their businesses. This talked helped us become familiar with the Richmond audience and with how to leverage social media to connect to them in a way that will potentially drive valuable results. The presentation provided hints and tips to help you make the most of your digital communication efforts. And challenged some misconceptions and provided insightful information.

February 7, 2014

"Cyber Security and Protecting Your Business " w/Jon Zayicek, VP & Senior Security Engineer at Sera-Brynn, PCI QSA Cyber Security Specialists

Jon Zayicek, a Vice President and a senior security engineer at Sera-Brynn, spoke about cyber security and ways to protect your business, not only from cyber threats, but also ensuring legal compliance.

Threats are everywhere! Don’t miss a drop of how to look out for cyber threats, download Jon’s slideshow presentation here.

January 10, 2014

Tara Dall, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc.

Tara Dall, MD, is the Chief Medical Officer for Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. Tara is frequently sought after as a national and international speaker, known for her passionate delivery of complex topics in simple terms. She has appeared on various TV, print and radio outlets, and is a keynote speaker for the American Heart Association Go Red For Women events.

September 6, 2013

w/Andy Stefanovich of New Richmond Ventures LLC.

In this first Friday Breakfast Forum of the season, we were joined by Andy Stefanovich of New Richmond Ventures LLC, recent host of TedxRVA and Chief Curator and Provocateur at Prophet.

June 7, 2013

RVA Next: How new tourism and film production are bringing a fresh look to the metropolitan region

Rita D. McClenny, President/CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, spoke at June’s Friday forum. Rita’s talk was informative and engaging. The Virginia Tourism Corporation takes on the job of marketing Virginia as both a premier travel destination and film location. Rita talked about how new tourism and film production are giving the Richmond area a fresh image. Rita also serves as Director of the Virginia Film Office, where she has been heavily involved with recruiting and expanding film production in Virginia from 1991-2012.

May 10, 2013

The Washington Redskins' New Richmond Training Camp

With Scott Shepherd, VP of Sales, Marketing & Strategic Alliances for The Washington Redskins; Larry Michael, senior VP & executive producer of media at The Washington Redskins and the “Voice of the Redskins”; Charlotte Perkins, performance management officer for Bon Secours Virginia; and Jane Ferrara, COO for economic and community development for the City of Richmond.

Topics covered:

April 5, 2013

RMA members can receive a special discount on the "Vibrant Streets™ Inaugural Learning Lab Conference" at Bethesda Row, Maryland, taking place April 29th and 30th. For more information, click here.

Retail as a Neighborhood’s Core:  Vibrant Streets™ Toolkit

Heather Arnold, director of research & analysis at StreetSense, and James McCandless, director of retail at StreetSense, joined us at April’s First Friday Forum to discuss Vibrant Streets™. Vibrant Streets offers neighborhoods the tools to create their own Vibrant Streets, regardless of population, location, ethnic makeup, income, or budget. It comes with a toolkit that can be used by retailers, businesses, merchants’ associations, government agencies, neighborhoods, and more, to help make improvements to their shopping districts and attract more customers and businesses.

March 1, 2013

Virginia Lottery's 25th Anniversary:
Economic Impact for Retailers and Community

Paula Otto, Executive Director for the Virginia Lottery, spoke at the March First Friday Forum, focusing on how the Lottery has evolved with retailers and consumers over the last 25 years. 

February 1, 2013

What the Richmond 2015 Bike Race will Mean for Tourism & Retail

Lee Kallman, Marketing and Communications Director for Richmond 2015, and Patricia Jones, Executive VP & General Manager of Kings Dominion, talked about the economic impact the 2015 UCI Road World Cycling Championships will have in the Richmond region and how the race will affect retailers.

January 11, 2013

David Nagle: "The Impact of the Presidential Election on Workplace Laws"

David Nagle, attorney at law for Jackson Lewis LLP, talked at the January First Friday Forum about upcoming workplace law implications following the 2012 Presidential Elections. He covered legislation, regulations, and agency enforcement activities. 

December 7, 2012

Distinguished Retailer of the Year and Holiday Celebration 2012
—Pat and Bobbi Heaney of Mango Salon

The Distinguished Retailer of the Year Award has been presented by Retail Merchants Association since 1966. This award is designed to honor a member of the Richmond retail business community who is a proven leader in his or her firm and who is actively involved in community endeavors without regard to personal benefit. We paid tribute to Pat and Bobbi Heaney, co-owners of Mango Salon, as the RMA’s 2012 Distinguished Retailer of the Year.

November 2, 2012

Economic Forecast Panel Breakfast:
Get Ready for What the Economic Future Holds for Your Business

How many times can we say “the more you know & understand, the better you will be prepared to face current and upcoming economic challenges?”  That’s why we gathered three highly regarded experts—to speak honestly and directly about what our shared future holds. They offered insight and helped us formulate our strategies going forward.

September 7, 2012

"2012 Health Care Reform Update"
E. Neil Trautwein, Vice President, Employee Benefits Policy Counsel
National Retail Federation

June 8, 2012

Head Men's Basketball Coach for U of R Talks About How to Create a Winning Business Team

The head men’s basketball coach for University of Richmond talked about leadership and how it applies to creating a winning team for your business.

The art of effective coaching can translate to many areas in the business world. Chris Mooney has been coaching the Richmond Spiders since May 6, 2005. He recreated a winning team from scratch, which came with the challenges of highly-talented players, varied skills sets, and strong personalities.

Mooney, known for his outstanding communication skills, was honored with the Voice of the University Award in 2010. This award is given to a faculty or staff member for being a “voice” that represents the  University of Richmond in an outstanding manner. On top of that, he was also named in Richmond Style Weekly’s Top 40 Under 40 for his community involvement.

May 4, 2012

Crime Prevention Strategies Panel:
How to Keep Your Business Safe and Secure

The panel included police/sheriff officers from Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and Richmond. Those whose job it is to prevent crime every day for both businesses and within our community, led us through the best practices of:

We updated our knowledge of how to protect our businesses, ourselves, and our community.

April 6, 2012

"Building the Brand of the Richmond Flying Squirrels"
Todd Parnell, Richmond Flying Squirrels

A week before the Richmond Flying Squirrels' opening day on April 12th, Todd “Parney” Parnell spoke to us at our April First Friday Forum. 

Parney discussed past Flying Squirrels’ game attendance, as well as the countdown to opening day and the preparations in action for the upcoming season. Parney touched on the growth of the Flying Squirrels brand, the community impact and support, as well as the tremendous success of the retail store. We also received an update and overview from a sales and marketing perspective on future promotional strategies.

March 2, 2012

"Smile & Move: A reminder to happily serve"
Sam Parker, Give More Media 

One of the biggest reasons we’re here is to make good things happen for other people.

Walk that basic mission statement through every single role and every single profession and you’ll find that it fits. Unfortunately, it’s forgotten by too many of us on too many occasions. Why?

At March’s First Friday Forum, Sam Parker introduced us to his philosophy that’s helping thousands of leaders keep their people from going through the motions in serving their customers.

February 3, 2012

"Turning Shoppers Into Buyers and Improving Shoppers' Lives"
Rich Lundvall, Landfall LLC.

In today’s retail/e-tail environment, shopping has become nearly a blood sport. Gone are the days of “If I build it they will buy.” Today’s shoppers have more channel options and more information than ever before to allow them to make “smart” buying decisions. The question facing merchants today is no longer confined to a business’s location or product array but also a deep understanding of the customer’s rational AND emotional approaches to how they shop, what they purchase and ultimately how they respond to the total experience.

At our February First Friday Forum, Rich Lundvall discussed the current retail and e-tail landscape and the psychological motivations of customers, sharing examples of how some of the world’s leading retailers are meeting this challenge.

Please note that we will offer a 4-module training session in the RMA training center beginning mid-February as a follow up to Rich’s First Friday Forum talk so that you can dig deeper and how it applies to your own business.  Details, dates and pricing will be forthcoming—for more information about the training, contact us.  The 4-module course will be split out as follows:

  1. Shopper Psychology: The rational versus emotional component of shopping.
  2. The Path to Purchase: Are we helping our shoppers or getting in the way?
  3. The Shopping Cycle:  How shoppers navigate the path to purchase.
  4. Building a Winning Promotional Strategy: Are your current efforts really resonating with your shoppers?

January 6, 2012

"The Richmond Region's Economic Development Perspective for 2012"
Gregory H. Wingfield

Guest speaker, Gregory H. Wingfield, President and CEO, Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc., discussed the significance of the “Richmond: Come and Stay” video series and how it is being used to attract businesses both national and internationally to Richmond.  In addition:

We kicked off 2012 right by getting the inside scoop on business development in the Richmond region—and continuing to build business relationships by networking.

December 2, 2011

Distinguished Retailer of the Year Award—
Donnie Caffery, Good Foods Grocery

The Distinguished Retailer of the Year Award has been presented since 1966.  It is designed to honor an RMA member who is a proven leader in his/her firm and actively involved in community endeavors without regard to personal benefit.  We paid tribute to Donnie Caffery, owner of Good Foods Grocery, as the RMA’s 2011 Distinguished Retailer of the Year.

November 11, 2011

2011 Economic Forecast Breakfast: "Caution: Economics Ahead . . ."
What You Need to Know Now for Your Business Tomorrow

The Westin was packed with over 200 business professionals who thanked our Veterans for their dedication to our country and then listened to the expert panel—Alan Gayle, Ann Battle Macheras, and R. Scott Shaheenfor a detailed overview of the economy. Ms. Macheras's presentation is available here; Mr. Shaheen's presentation is available here. (The presentation from SunTrust is not available due to compliance reasons.)

September 9, 2011

Great Leader Strategies: A Conversation with Ed Grier

Ed Grier, dean of the VCU School of Business, discussed great leader strategies learned during his 28-year career with the Walt Disney Company and journey to VCU.  Dean Grier revealed challenges faced by the corporate giant such as market pressures, cultural shifts, and takeover threats—and how great leader strategies got Disney back on track and into a position of even greater strength.  We discovered leadership truths and techniques that we can apply to our own businesses.

June 3, 2011

Prevent Workforce Drama:
What You Must Know About Workforce Essentials

Whether you have one employee or hundreds, employment law applies equally.  And as with most things, it’s the simple steps you take that could prevent future drama in your workplace. David Nagle, Jackson Lewis LLP, and Carrie Newton, SHRM member and consultant, shared their expert observations during this powerful First Friday Forum.

May 6, 2011

Are You An Age-Ready Retailer?

On January 1, 2011, the first Baby Boomer turned age 65. Every day that follows 10,000 more will reach this important milestone, creating a new world with more older people that ever before. Now is the time for companies, organizations, communities and every retailer in Richmond to get Age Ready. Matt Thornhill, founder of the Boomer Project and author of Boomer Consumer, helped us understand the demographic destiny all retailers must embrace and shared strategies and tactics to make sure we can get more of our fair share of business in the new world of older consumers. 

For more information:

April 1, 2011

SHRINKAGE: Yes. You’ve Got It
Are You Missing Merchandise, Money or Accuracy?

We heard from prominent retailers as to how they tackle the problem of internal theft, inventory shortages and bookkeeping mistakes (are they really simply human error?)  Just imagine what might go missing at:

As fast as merchandise turns over, as quickly as technology improves & changes, the devious mind seems to have no difficulty keeping up – or jumping ahead. At this important forum we learned what to do and look for in one's own business, leaving wiser and, quite possibly, more prosperous.

March 11, 2011

Let Go to Grow: Why Some Businesses
Thrive & Others Fail to Reach Their Potential

As a business grows, the skill set you will need to succeed changes dramatically. In transitioning from a micro business to small business,  you will have to let go of doing the primary work of the business and become a manager. In transitioning from a small business to a  midsize business, you will have to delegate tactical decision making and the hiring and managing of frontline workers. If the you fail to let go, you will become the constraint to growth.

Failure to successfully navigate these transitions has been the downfall of many businesses. Understanding what these hurtles are and how to overcome them can be invaluable. This forum was an interactive discussion of the skills that managers must develop in order to let go and grow their businesses.

For more information:

February 4, 2011

The 7 P’s of Retail Marketing:
How Social Media Can Integrate Your People, Process & Physical Evidence

You know all about the 4 P’s of marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. What you probably haven’t heard are the other 3: People, Process, and Physical Evidence. The business landscape is an increasingly connected, rapidly changing environment that requires innovative strategies at every step in order to be successful. Retail business leaders walked away with a solid understanding of how to leverage social media to work with these new P's of marketing.

For more information:

January 7, 2011

"Use 'Em or Lose 'Em":  Richmond's Low Cost Air Carriers

Why does the presence of low cost airlines matter?  How do low cost air fares translate to increased traffic and business for our local retailers?  Our panel of local experts—Jon E. Mathiasen, A.A.E. ( President & CEO of the Capital Region Airport Commission), Jack Berry President & CEO, Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau), and Stephanie Kirksey (Executive Vice President at the Greater Richmond Chamber)—filled us in! Stephanie Kirksey's PowerPoint presentation is available here and ways you can help the "Save Low Fares" initiative are listed below:

December 3, 2010

Distinguished Retailer of the Year—William D. Selden, C.P. Dean

William (Bill) Selden has been a consistent and dedicated supporter of the retail industry and our community.  He has served on the Board of Directors of the Retail Merchants Association since 1993, and Chair of the Board from 2008-2010.  Bill was Board Chairman for Leadership Metro Richmond, of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Richmond and of the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority, which he helped to create.  He also served on the Board of the Housing Opportunities Made Equal.  He has been recognized by various other organizations for his activism in the social and business communities.

“Bill Selden is a fantastic leader.  As Chairman of the Board, his leadership was instrumental in putting together a major campaign that created an endowment for Leadership Metro Richmond.  He has a collaborative way of bringing people together—and they enjoy working with him.”
Tina Egge, former President, Leadership Metro Richmond

“Bill Selden has been a great friend to Hospital Hospitality House since well before I became CEO in 2000.  Not only was he part of a group that adopted the House as a project many years ago, but he understands that our guests are in great need of diversion from the stresses of a medical crisis.  Bill has made sure that the House always has a functional pool table, so therapeutic and such a help to us and those we serve.   I’m happy that Retail Merchants has selected Bill for this honor.  It is well deserved!”
—Babs Jackson, President/CEO, Hospital Hospitality House

See the photo gallery >>

October 1, 2010

2010 Economic Forecast Breakfast: "Today's Economy: What You Need to Know Now for Your Business"

At this crucial time, our leading economic and retail experts—moderator Ken Gassman, and panelists Alan Gayle, Scott Krugman, and Jim Napier—tackled some of the hard questions and offered insight that will help attendees formulate their strategies going forward. We heard from our panel the most up-to-date information to help us make the most of our 4th quarter, with a hint of what to expect for the 1st quarter of 2011.

For more information:

September 10, 2010

Health Care Reform—What You Need to Know NOW

One of the nation’s leading authorities on Health Care Reform—Neil Trautwein, Vice President, Employee Benefits Policy Counsel, National Retail Federation—showed attendees how to navigate the new health reform law in the short, intermediate & longer term. Attendees explored the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 in an interactive, multi-media session; heard about the provisions that will challenge retailers most on a year-by-year basis between now & 2018; and gained insight fellow retailers’ approach to the new law

June 4, 2010

Food Retail Just Got Better

The Retail Merchants Association brought together the local community to extend a warm welcome to Martin's and to learn about the reinvention of Ukrop's Homestyle Foods. Click here to see the event flier.


May 7, 2010

Partners for Progress

Tourism & Your Business

We heard the most recent information on the state of the tourism industry in Virginia, learned about the power of the Virginia Is For Lovers brand, and gathered tips on how both can improve your bottom line—by complementing your own brand and bringing home the ‘Local” message.

Jobs & Your Business

52% of Americans now search for jobs online. Are your online recruiting efforts seeing optimal returns: high applicant quality, low cost per hire and better employees? CEO Shawn Boyer outlined the four elements of a successful hourly recruitment strategy and examined case studies that illustrate how top companies attract the right hourly candidates using email, social media, search engine optimization and other online elements.

See the photo gallery >>

April 9, 2010

Think You Are Internet Secure? THINK AGAIN

Your employees are the weakest link:

Online banking fraud:

Website security:

Steve Werby, Information Security Officer at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), shared some examples of current security breaches and some of his expertise and perspective that will help keep your information safe. Small business managers, owners, and anyone who participates on e-mail, in social media, or who oversees websites or other internet activity, heard useful security information to implement NOW. 

For more information:

March 5, 2010

Building a Brand from the Inside Out

Every business is known for something—is your brand creating the impression you want it to? Every day, as consumers, we make buying decisions based on the reputation of a company’s brand. We consider whether we trust a brand, believe in a brand, and agree with a brand. Brands make us want things, spend money, and even think a certain way. A brand generates feelings, builds emotional connections and becomes the shorthand that influences our buying behavior. And the logo is only the beginning. Lisa Moroni-Hall and Cathy McPherson from Brandevotion discussed how distinctive brands are built both behaviorally and visually, and provided essential steps to developing a memorable brand.

For more information:

February 5, 2010

Using Web Tools to Increase Your Business Presence

Our panel of experts (Mary Fender, Dana Matheny, Laura Posey, and Andrew Rountree) discussed how small businesses can take advantage of the "new media" and other web tools. Moderated by Ken Wayland.

January 8, 2010

PR for Small Business: A panel of professionals offers tips on getting the word out about your business

Our panel of experts (Aaron Kremer, Phaedra Hise, Robert Powell, Sean Ryan, and Greg Gilligan) discussed advice, hints and tactics on promoting your business with free publicity in a variety of media. Moderated by Lisa Schaffner.

December 4, 2009

Distinguished Retailer of the Year 2009—Mark Smith, Midas of Richmond

Selected from several well-respected RMA retailer nominees by a committee composed of past recipients, Mark was chosen for a variety of outstanding beliefs and deeds.  Among them:

See the photo gallery >>

October 2, 2009

Economic Forecast Breakfast 2009: "Is There an Economic Reality?"
Where You Stand and What You Need to Know for Your Business

Our panel (panel moderator Ken Gassman and panelists Alan Gayle and Ann Battle Macheras) delivered the most up-to-date information to help attendees make the most of their 4th quarter, with a hint of what to expect for the 1st quarter of 2010.  In this especially crucial time, these leading economic and retail experts tackled some of the hard questions, and offered knowledge that will help attendees formulate their strategy going forward.

September 11, 2009

"TSBL—Who’s Making It Work and How"

Maybe you have, and maybe you haven’t, signed on to the Think. Shop. Buy. Local® campaign, literally and figuratively!  But you CAN make the movement work for your business—attracting new customers & bringing back old ones, seeing your name in news stories and on the internet, being interviewed by the media, and gaining fresh appreciation for your place and contributions to your community.

June 5, 2009

"Initiating and Sustaining Change"
Gayle Turner, Managing Partner, Catch Your Limit Consulting

Leadership is defined as initiating and sustaining change, while growing new leaders.  Initiating change is no big deal.  Everybody changes something every day.  The difficulty is sustaining change.  Change unfolds in a somewhat predictable series of events.  We learned a tried and true process for: identifying desirable changes; getting buy-in from your associates; managing the operational and the behavioral aspects of change; andembracing the new behaviors.

May 1, 2009

"Beware of What Lies Down the Track!!" with Ann Estes, President, ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions—Atlantic

Previously, credit counseling was considered an option for the low to moderate income client. But as we have seen the continued increases in foreclosures, bankruptcy filings, unemployment and underemployment, today credit counseling is where most people are turning for help. This includes your employees and your customers. While the housing issues are our focus today, where does the train take us in the future and how will that impact your ability to continue growing your company? Be prepared for what lies down the track!

April 3, 2009

"Provide World-Class Service at the Local Level" with Michael Guld, Guld Resource Group

What is “world-class service?”  It is the talk of many in service industries but the reality of few. World-class service will greatly exceed service expectations on a consistent basis.  When a client is provided with world-class service, it often becomes a legendary experience that is retold to others in a form of free publicity that cannot be bought.  Michael Guld broke down the attributes of world-class service and showed by example how in most situations, it’s the customer’s buying experience that will determine your reputation more than the products or services you sell. 

March 6, 2009

"Richmond Marketplace 2009" With Brian Glass, Grubb & Ellis/Harrison & Bates, Inc.

Where does retail stand in light of the dramatic economic downturn that has taken place? Mr. Glass discussed how the amount of retail space that has been delivered in the past year will affect the Richmond region in 2009, as well as soon to be available space. More specifics were unveiled, including comments on rental rates, vacancy rates, and Landlord/Tenant relationships.

February 6, 2009


We heard from a panel of experts on how one can save money now and budget effectively going forward. We learned tips & strategies applicable to all types of businesses (with retail at the top of the list), including contacts, discounts, referrals, ideas, techniques, and actionable advice. Moderated by Rudy Garcia, Rivanna Woods Associates. Panel members included: David Stoyanoff, Wilson Stoyanoff; Lycia Rettig, Expense Reduction Analyst; Michael McDermott, Enterprise Tune-Up LLC, and Richmond S.C.O.R.E; and Linda Heath, Financial Holographix, Inc.

January 9, 2009

"Marketing Smarter in Tough Economic Times"
Tom Blue, RMA Marketing Guru

No one said it would be easy…but leave it to Tom Blue to come up with “5 Steps Every Retailer Should Take to Succeed in 2009”. His insightful (and entertaining) perspective on making the most of your marketing dollar is a theme that applies to all small to medium retail businesses—as well as the services and suppliers to those businesses.

Get your year going in the right direction! Put savvy marketing advice and networking with business leaders at the top of your 2009 “to do” list!

December 5, 2008

Distinguished Retailer of the Year and Retail Industry Achievement Awards

In December we honored...

2008 Distinguished Retailer of the Year

An outstanding member of the retail community—a proven leader in her firm and actively involved in community endeavors: LISA MCSHERRY, LEX’S OF CARYTOWN

2008 Retail Industry Achievement

A significant contributor to the retail community—a proven leader who has made significant contributions to the retail industry: WILLIAM H. BAXTER, CAE

November 14, 2008

The 19th Annual Valor Awards: Guest Speaker Paul E. Galanti Commander, US Navy (Retired)

The 19th annual Valor Awards breakfast is a way for the business community to recognize area law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency services providers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving their community. First responders in the City of Richmond and the counties of Hanover, Henrico and Chesterfield, and the Town of Ashland were presented awards for selfless acts involving personal risk beyond which should be expected while performing their duties. Area police and fire chiefs presented the awards.

October 3, 2008

Economic Forecast Breakfast 2008: "Focus on the 4th Quarter" What You Need to Know for Your Business

With Alan M. Gayle, Senior Investment Strategist, Trusco; Scott Krugman, VP, Industry Public Relations, National Retail Federation; and moderated by Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor.

Should you be belt-tightening or can you take a long, deep breath?

We heard from our panel of leading economic and retail experts the most up-to-date information regarding the 4th quarter, with a hint of what to expect for the 1st quarter of 2009. Tackling some of the hard questions, they offered knowledge that will help attendees formulate strategies going forward.

September 5, 2008

"Bring Home the Green" with John Martin, Southeastern Institute of Research, and Matt Thornhill, Boomer Project

The emerging green economy is forcing rapid and unprecedented change on business. Some retailers have committed to sustainability as an important business strategy while others are hoping it’s a passing fad. Mr. Martin and Mr. Thornhill shared insights from their brand new national research study.

June 6, 2008

"Understanding Hispanic Culture, Managing Your Hispanic Workforce, and Marketing to Hispanic Clients" with Lisa Zajur, Director & Owner, Spanish Academy & Cultural Institute

Does your organization need a Cultural Diversity workout? Do your employees relate well to Hispanic customers and co-workers? Do they connect with the growing Hispanic community? Do you have an educational system or resources in place to assist them and streamline understanding and communications? Lisa energetically and informatively gave us tools and ideas to take back to our companies.

May 2, 2008

"Higher Education and the World Outside" with Dr. Edward L. Ayers, President, University of Richmond

Don’t we remember when, as college-aged “practical idealists,” we wanted to change the world—but in concrete and immediate ways? That is how students arrive, to a higher education environment that is changing quickly, and becoming more important than ever to the United States. In responding to the changing educational landscape, it has been an interesting challenge to figure out how to connect the various parts of the university to one another, to the city of Richmond and to the world beyond.

April 4, 2008

"Strategic Planning for Change: Delivering and Managing Change in the Workplace" with Jennifer Scott, president of Touch Points Public Relations, and Joel Ratekin, president of Ratekin Consulting

New phone system. New computer system. New branding program. New website. New insurance provider. New management. Whatever the change, it affects your workplace and therefore your interaction with customers and clients. Generally, change does not come easily. Your staff and associates have opinions, ideas, and your changes should encourage creativity and collaboration. Forward-thinking managers are realizing that the best workers don¹t need 24/7 physical supervision but do need the sense of being part of the process. If handled correctly, change can energize and motivate your employees, and increase production. Customers and clients entering your establishment can also be affected by the climate of your space and mood of your workers.

March 7, 2008

"The Richmond Marketplace: March 2008 to March 2009" with Brian Glass, Grubb & Ellis/Harrison & Bates, Inc.

Where does Richmond stand in retail growth compared to U.S. retail growth? Mr. Glass discussed how the amount of retail space now and soon-to-be available space, will impact the marketplace over the next year. More specifics were unveiled, including comments on rental rates in some of the more dynamic parts of the market.

February 1, 2008

"Employment Law in 2008"

Attorney David E. Nagle, Jackson Lewis LLP, returned to give us a rundown on some of the hot issues in labor and employment law as we begin2008, including: anticipated legislative actions, revision ofthe Family and Medical Leave Act, efforts to radically amendlaws regarding union organizing, and new rulings fromadministrative agencies on such diverse topics ascoordination of retiree medical plans with Medicare, Social Security "no-match" letters,the new I-9 forms, and the EEOC's new guidance on employee tests and selection procedures.

January 4, 2008

"How to Market in a Time When People Ignore Marketing"

Tom Blue, a marketing innovator and frequent speaker on the subjects of online and traditional marketing, presented 3 powerful yet little-known marketing principles that will help your marketing message to be heard by the people you most need to reach.

December 7, 2007

Distinguished Retailer of the Year Award and
Retail Industry Achievement Award

A very unique First Friday Forum was held at the Byrd Theatre, with special guests and entertainment, networking, a Carytown-flavored breakfast buffet—and recognition of our 2007 Award winners.

September 7, 2007

"Risk Taking for Entrepreneurs"

Libby Brown, co-founder of This End Up Furniture Co. and Fowl Cay Resort, takes a fearless look back at the risks and rewards of jumping into the deep end. Her recently published book, MAKING WAVES, is the frank and funny recollections of a seriously successful serial entrepreneur.

June 1, 2007

"Ten Ways to Protect Your Business"

Whether you missed it or are interested in seeing it again, you can click below to check out Rick Wildes's presentation at the June 1, 2007 First Friday Forum.

May 4, 2007

"The Economic Impact of Fort Lee's Expansion: BRAC—Base Realignment & Closure"

Whether you missed it or are interested in seeing it again, you can click below to check out Colonel Gwen Bingham's presentation at the May 4, 2007 First Friday Forum.

Premium Redskins Tickets

If you are interested in premium Redskins tickets as a result of the May 4th, 2007 First Friday Forum, call 301-276-6800 or click here for more information—and be sure to mention that you heard about it from the Retail Merchants Association!

March 2, 2007

"Marketing to Hispanics: A Nuts and Bolts Approach"

Whether you missed it or are interested in seeing it again, you can click below to check out Daniel Durazo's presentation at the March 2nd, 2007 First Friday Forum.

February 2, 2007

"Retail Market Year End Review and 2007 Retail Real Estate Outlook"

The GVA Advantis presenters of the February 2007 First Friday Forum "Retail Market Year End Review and 2007 Retail Real Estate Outlook" offer their presentation for your review.

January 5, 2007

"Business Continuity and Crisis Management"

Whether you missed it or are interested in seeing it again, you can click below to check out Continuity First's presentation at the January 5th, 2007 First Friday Forum.

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