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Photo from Philippines Retailers Association (PRA)

Treasuring Evelyn B. Salire’s legacy — be Alive, Ablaze & Active

Her 29-year leadership transformed the Philippines Retailers Association into a modern, responsive retail powerhouse.

Retailing today calls for leaders to be far-sighted, nimble, adaptable and resourceful — and, most important, be customer-centric in executing whatever strategies they mapped out to woo consumers, old and new, into shopping with them.

As with many other industries, the retail trade has been greatly disrupted by digital technologies. Traditional retailers have embraced omni-channel retailing, turning themselves into ‘bricks and clicks’ stores. The new Millennials and Gen Zs are becoming more and more demanding; thus, seamless retailing is no more an option, but a matter of survival.

Many retailers’ associations in the Asia-Pacific region, facing the new challenges, realised that they had to be adaptable and active; and one of the most responsive associations is none other than the Philippines Retailers Association (PRA). It is a triple As retail fraternity — Alive, Ablaze & Active.

And it is so because of the woman who patiently nurtured the PRA for 29 years: Secretary General Evelyn B. Salire.

Although she passed away on 16 November 2023, her vision and mission to ensure PRA members continue to move forward is ablaze. Described by Bobby Claudio, the President of the association,  as the “Treasure of PRA”, and by many members and her staff as the “Light” that helped retailers, big and small, to navigate the ever-changing retail landscape.

Under her tenure, Evelyn built up the annual National Retail Conference & Expo (NRCE) into a must-attend event … and her staff recently helped to carry out the second edition of the inspiring Retail Leaders’ Summit.

Over the 28 years I came to know Evelyn, she struck me as a selfless professional with a zeal to lend a helping hand anytime, anywhere. Collaborate and co-create knowledge was her credo. Her willingness to assist and share retail intelligence and co-operation extended beyond the shores of the Philippines. Until her return to God, she was the Interim Executive Director of FAPRA, the Federation of Asia Pacific Retailers Associations.

On a personal level, I will always remember Evelyn rendering me sterling support when in 2015 I decided as the publisher of Retail Asia to hold my B2B magazine’s annual Retail Asia-Pacific Top 500 Awards Ceremony & Gala Dinner at the Solaire Resort & Casino in Manila. Evelyn arranged the night’s entertainment highlighting Filipino cultures. Indeed, the gala dinner was a memorable, joyous event celebrating the achievements of top retailers from 14 Asian countries, ranked jointly by Euromonitor International and Retail Asia.

One of the judges for the Retail Asia Top 500 Awards that year was Dr Lynda Wee, CEO of Bootstrap Pte Ltd as well as the Associate Professor (Adjunct) Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University Singapore.

Remembering Evelyn, Dr Lynda shared, “As a firm believer in regional partnership, I reached out to Evelyn to work with retailers in the Philippines. Despite the distance, Evelyn was always energetic, highly responsive, and passionate about people, partnership and retail.

“Through her, PRA retailers achieved much together especially in recognising their members’ exemplary retail performances at the NRCE, year after year.

“I will certainly miss this lady and am deeply appreciative of the foundation that she has built for her retailers. Let's keep her spirit in our hearts and celebrate Evelyn’s life for what she has done.”

Yes, the best way to celebrate her life is to continue her 3As legacy — ensuring PRA will always be Alive, Ablaze & Active!

 

Andrew Yeo

Former Editor/Publisher, Retail Asia

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