Retail Leaders Summit: Changing the systems of leadership, people and strategy


As retailers prepare their holiday sale strategies and plans, the Philippine Retailers Association’s (PRA) 1st Retail Leaders Summit served as one of the major drivers in refreshing skills and retooling the next generation of leaders in the face of the post-pandemic market, which seems to be an indicator of how the retail industry is ready to rebound from the pandemic in preparation for 2023.

Several brands from small to big companies attended the two-day virtual event held last October 27-28 to learn and continue in pushing their businesses forward, spurring recovery. With its theme, “Retail Revamp: Reskilling & Retooling the Next-Gen Retail Leaders”, PRA previewed what the future of retail will look like in the coming years as we continue to get ready and capitalize on the growth and opportunity of these skills & competencies, forging new partnerships, and boost physical & online store’s success as a vital part of forming long-lasting customer relationships.

Start off the new year with a strong retail roadmap to build, capitalize and sustain the strategy and business performance

The PRA organized extensive learning sessions to help retail leaders develop their business strategies and lead the next-gen leaders to success. Retail visionaries and leading experts shared new ways to engage the new breed of leaders and advance with fresh mindsets, human-centered approaches, and breakthrough business strategies for the future of retail beyond.

The Retail Leaders Summit Day 1 Keynote Speaker is Fortune 500 Retail Executive, Author, and Inception Retail Group Chief Executive Officer, George Minakakis, who shared the foundations of the Next Generation of Retailing through rediscovering the future-proofing of brick-and-mortar stores and their vision to business longevity. In addition, he emphasized that retail organizations need to revisit the foundations that led them to their success, and get back into the roots and principles that made them successful, which is something that they can’t lose sight of.

Furthermore, Levi Strauss & Co. General Manager for Southeast Asia and Country Manager for Thailand Sameer Koul delivered his speech through its iconic brand’s values-led leadership. He believes that values are integral to be shared not only in the leadership team but in the larger employee base as well. In addition, the values integrated into the company’s global DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) strategy form a strong foundation for the core talent and cultural processes.

Thought leaders in the summit included Bain & Company New York Senior Advisor William Groves on “Industry Trends in Retail Analytics, Maya Business Head of Enterprise Sales James Melon on “PH Retailers towards the Digital Economy, Accenture Technology in the Philippines Managing Director and Retail Industry Lead Gwen Yason on “Technology Vision 2022: Retailers, meet me in the metaverse”, Epson Philippines Corporation General Manager – Marketing Division Ed Bonoan on “Sustainable Technology in the Retail Market”, and Labbrand Managing Director for Southeast Asia Jessalynn Chen on “How Brands Can Stand Out at Retail. Bonus: …and chart the path towards IPO”. They shared extensive learning sessions on real guides and scores about reskilling and retooling about the insights on retail analytics, purposeful payment ecosystem, reinventing the foundation of business and technology, greater focus on sustainable technology and winning brand transformation strategy.

New to the Agenda 2023: Uncovering secrets in Retail, People, Culture, Leadership and Technology

Since retail has finally entered the new era, retailers should stay attuned and have their ears to the ground on new insights and developments to stay ahead of the pack and grow their businesses.

Headlining the second-day keynote is HR Metrics Innovator & Distinguished Principal Research Fellow Dr. Solange Charas. Dr. Charas led the discussion on cultivating human capital and leadership capabilities by using data analytics to inform retailers’ decisions around human capital programs’ strategic plans that will irrefutably generate better Human Capital Return on Investment (HCROI). Organizations that use a data-driven and evidence-based approach to understand human capital performance and inform their decisions around people management have three (3) times greater HCROI.

A global top expert on consumer and business psychology and Founder of Zana.B Psychological Studio, Zana Busby, delivered keynote insights to a successful holistic well-being strategy. She mentioned that if you want to establish a collective culture of wellness, you have to create a holistic mental health and data-driven well-being strategy, and a people-focused one that addresses the individual needs of your employees to drive employee engagement and employee experience.

Thought leaders included Digital Advantage Corporation (SMAC) Chief Marketing Officer / Head of Sales and Marketing Jay Beltran on “CRM – a way of thinking toward creating a customer-centric culture starting with understanding customers and their needs”, People Ignite, Inc. Chief Executive Igniter JV Wong on “Customer Centricity 2023 for the Philippine Retail Industry”, Universal Robina Corporation Director of Agile Center of Excellence, Talent Management and Learning & Development Susan Tayag and Director, Sales Operations & Capability Development BCFG PH / Director, Sales Capability BCFG SEA Roger Banta on “The Nimble Giant: URC’s Agile Journey”, and Goldratt Consulting Principal Nikhil Shah on “Stabilizing and Accelerating Business Performance through Theory of Constraints (TOC) based Holistic Retail Management”. They uncovered the retail’s best topics that include executing successful CRM strategies, customers as life-long partners and friends, the win-win embracing agile leadership, forming a value chain of agile innovations and future retail operation leaders by applying theory of constraints (TOC).

The future is clearly bright for the next generation of retail leaders

Despite the macroeconomic headwinds that still exist in the Philippine economy, it looks like retailers are celebrating the holiday season with a healthy dose of promotional offerings through exclusive incentives, low prices, free shipping, limited pop-up shops for online marketplace, and holiday ‘wish lists’ to attract all shoppers and taking advantage of positive momentum in retail sales growth.

As we look forward to 2023, the PRA will introduce more quality content and panel discussions that will support the retail industry and develop the next generation of leaders with fresh retail mindsets, human-centered approaches, and people empowerment for the future of retail and beyond.

What’s next for retail?

In an effort to attract all shoppers and flexing its muscle to head into 2023, retailers need to respond. In the recent summit, it was highlighted that it’s important to have more creative and responsive tools for creating brand energy and inspire them as the market becomes bigger buying audiences – from the extremely price sensitive, online millennial shoppers and regular customers. Retailers must remain bullish that technology will be a prime catalyst to deliver the next generation of shopping experiences whether it is a hybrid experience or delivering a seamless omnichannel customer journey.

Today, the PRA is determined to help redefine the role of leadership to younger generations of retail leaders and the industry that are taking note of the growing trends and technologies that will make in-store operations faster and more user-friendly for shoppers. As such, the Philippine retail industry is seeing the high game of speed innovation, rebuilding loyalty and evidently, retail won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

The 1st Retail Leaders Summit is made possible by the following sponsors: Maya Business, Epson Philippines (Premium Partners), People Ignite (Knowledge Partner), Retailgate Technologies (Technology Partner), Great Place to Work Philippines and MAYANI PH (Program Partners) with Session Partners Accenture Technology in the Philippines and InnovationOne, MediaBlitz as its PR Partner and Media Partners The Philippine Star and The Manila Times.