Annual Leadership Meeting Sets Stage for Successful FY17
Rite Aid’s Annual Leadership Meeting has become a critical launching point at the beginning of each fiscal year, and this year’s gathering of more than 1,000 company leaders in Philadelphia, Pa., was no different.
This year’s theme, Living The Rite Aid Experience, was a strong focus for all of the keynote speakers as they emphasized the importance of consistently delivering an outstanding experience for Rite Aid associates and customers.
Chairman and CEO John Standley said Rite Aid has a tremendous opportunity to improve the lives of many more customers and patients through the expected merger with Walgreens Boots Alliance. He said the pending merger will allow the Rite Aid team to become part of the first global, pharmacy-led health and wellbeing enterprise. “Through this partnership, we will be joining a business that is uniquely positioned to reach one-third of the world’s population,” Standley said.
The WBA-Rite Aid merger is expected to be completed in the second half of calendar year 2016, with Rite Aid expected to initially operate under its existing brand name. To make the most of this opportunity, company leaders emphasized the importance of continuing to deliver strong business results.
Ken Martindale, CEO of Rite Aid stores and president of Rite Aid Corporation, said Rite Aid is in a strong position to continue growing its business by focusing on its four key strategic components:
Rite Aid Health Services: To develop highly personalized, convenient and affordable healthcare options, including those that maximize the coordination of care.
Front End Transformation: To establish meaningful differentiation with a combination of products, services and experiences not commonly found at other retailers.
Seamlessly Connected Experience: To develop an eco-system that allows customers to shop and interact with Rite Aid in an integrated manner across all channels.
The Rite Aid Experience: To create a consistently outstanding associate and customer experience that truly differentiates Rite Aid from other retailers.
Martindale told company leaders that creating and delivering The Rite Aid Experience is an “all-important step” in building a brand experience that customers rave about. “We believe The Rite Aid Experience is the component that will take us over the top,” Martindale said. “For any company, successfully delivering against one or two of these components would be good. But when we deliver against all four of them, that’s when the magic will happen.”
To support The Rite Aid Experience, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Dedra Castle reinforced the attributes that make a great leader – such as being an effective communicator, ensuring actions are consistent with words and recognizing associates for a job well done. “Care and recognition are two leadership characteristics that you have in your tool box that are 100 percent free and can truly set us apart from the competition,” Castle said.
Executive Vice President of Marketing David Abelman and Tony Montini, executive vice president of merchandising and distribution, discussed the importance of understanding customer needs as the company continues its front-end transformation and efforts to create a seamlessly connected experience. “Our mantra in merchandising is to always be consumer centric,” Montini said. “We try to identify the needs and wants of the consumer and work backwards from there.”
Executive Vice President of Pharmacy Jocelyn Konrad and Bryan Everett, executive vice president of store operations, joined each other onstage to reinforce how front-end and pharmacy associates must operate as a unified team at each store to deliver a consistently outstanding experience.
During their individual presentations, Konrad encouraged associates to deliver personalized care while Everett stressed the importance of recognizing each other for a job well done.
The much-anticipated launch of The Rite Aid Experience then took center stage as field leaders completed face-to-face group training on Day 2 and presenters highlighted the company’s plans to engage associates in “Living The Rite Aid Experience” each and every day to create a consistently outstanding experience.
On Day 3, Everett set the stage for the store operations team by unveiling the FY17 Playbook, which focuses on Team, Business and Excellence and incorporates key concepts of the company’s top focus: The Rite Aid Experience.
“We started with Team because this is where it always has to start,” Everett told company leaders. “Without our team as the foundation, I think we would all agree that we can’t achieve any of our business results.”
He concluded by emphasizing the balance between developing a team and delivering strong business results, which is an important concept for bringing The Rite Aid Experience to life. “The two are not mutually exclusive,” he said. “If we stay focused on our team and our business, there is absolutely no limit to what we can accomplish.”