Guest Column | June 23, 2016

RSPA President's Note - June 2016

Ms. Kelly Funk RSPA President & CEO

By Kelly Funk, RSPA

How is it June already? Weren’t we just talking about our plans for 2016? Time is marching on, things continue to move quickly, and I’ve begun to cherish the moments of relaxation I have. One such instance was a few nights ago, when I was relaxing and watching HBO’s Real Sports. The episode I watched was fascinating: it featured a profile on the unique community that gathers around Mavericks, California, to surf Northern California’s most notorious big wave. It is said that sixty foot waves pop out of the ocean with zero warning. Surfers from around the globe wait to get the word every year or two that the wave is coming, and they drop EVERYTHING to converge on the California coast to take a ride of a lifetime. 

[If you’ve not heard of the wave or the culture surrounding it, check it out: and search for episode 228.]

As I was watching, I couldn’t help but glean a few lessons from that story of surfing that we in the POS ecosystem can borrow.

The wave/surfingYou survey the lay of the land/water…and sometimes a wave comes at you sideways and you might even fall off your board…but you get back up and find a way to navigate, even ride the next one. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Even in these past few months with “waves” like EMV implementation: you have a sense of how things would roll out, yet changes in timing, requirements, etc. have derailed many of the best laid plans. But, it’s all about resiliency: getting back up, regrouping, and finding new routes to successfully exceed your customers’ expectations.

The more aware you are of what’s out there, the better you are able to anticipate what’s coming. Even 15 years ago, only those local to Mavericks could take advantage, as they realized that very day that the wave was hitting.  Now they have a forecaster watching weather year round who can share globally when they believe the opportunity will be ripe. Those of you who joined us at INSPIRE® in San Diego, or are taking advantage of our educational resources, or who plan to join us at RetailNOW®…all of these are the tools to help you increase awareness, and will help you anticipate what’s coming for you and your customers. Let RSPA be that forecaster you consult so that you can be prepared for the next opportunity.

The more skilled you are (Kelly Slater vs Kelly Funk on the surfboard) the better chance you have to successfully make it to shore. So we’ve taken this story to heart and been inspired by the lessonsas you can see with our surfing themed issue. The summer issue is traditionally our Membership Issue, and we wanted to both highlight the tools RSPA can give you to surf the big waves of our ecosystem and celebrate some of our members who are skillfully navigating the waves of change.

But now, I need to pull my mind eastward from the sunny shores of the Pacific coast and set my sights on Grapevine, Texas, where we’ll be hosting RetailNOW 2016 from July 31 – Aug 3. We have lots of great education and networking planned that you won’t want to miss. Will it be hot? Yes, it sure will be. But isn’t RetailNOW always hot?!? If you haven’t yet registered, do so quicklyas discounted Advanced Registration pricing ends on June 30th.   Go to

Until I see you there…Hang ten.