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Update from RIA Executive Director

Published on | Terry Schalow | News & Updates

Lessons Learned from a Hall of Fame Coach
Picture of Coach
Picture of coach

For those of us in the running industry who competed in cross country and track -or in any sport- at the high school or college level, many will agree that their coaches left an indelible mark on their lives. My college track coach, Billy Maxwell, was one of those guys. In his NCAA Hall of Fame career Billy worked with hundreds of athletes, and I am one of those who owes him a debt of gratitude for his guidance, not just in the sport, but in life. Sadly, Billy passed away on October 8th, and in his honor I’d like to highlight two key aspects of his coaching philosophy that are analogous to the RIA’s mission as a trade organization.

First, Billy never failed to communicate ‘The Plan’ for the season. He would regularly gather the team together and step meticulously through the training schedule–week by week–to ensure that we knew exactly how he intended to prepare us for success in competition. Second, Billy cared about his athletes. It didn’t matter if a particular athlete was Olympic caliber, or a walk-on; Billy let each and every kid on the team know that he was there to help them grow. 

In that vein, it's important for the RIA to share with our members exactly what our plan is, and how we intend to support our members. That idea goes deeper than simply promoting our initiatives and member benefits. It’s important for our members to understand the WHY behind everything we do, starting with the key pillars of our strategic plan, and how we intend to support those pillars. In addition, our members need to have a sense that the RIA understands their needs, regardless of whether their store or brand is a ‘big hitter’ or a start-up making their way through the challenges of a very competitive channel.  

In the coming weeks, the RIA will be sharing our strategic planning with our members, both for clarity and for feedback. We’ll discuss how our initiatives, like the Product Data Collaborative, our new jobs board, and the 2024 RIA Summit, all fit within ‘The Plan’.  We’ll also cover how we intend to support our members from two points of view: the RIA’s role when it comes to advocacy, and our goals for member support, particularly from the standpoint of new and growing businesses.  

Over the years, I’ve repeated many times that membership in the RIA doesn’t instantly create a path for the world to our members’ doors. What RIA membership does provide however, is a sense of connection, collaboration, dialogue, and tools to support our businesses.

We appreciate your support as we continuously work toward those goals, and we look forward to telling you about it. I think Billy Maxwell would approve. 

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