Retailing leaders are defining and redefining the industry as they navigate the strong economic waves battering their company ships.

“The economy is tough, but strong leaders with vision reveal specific characteristics,” said Dr. David M. Szymanski, director of the Center for Retailing Studies, as he opened the 20th Annual Retailing Summit in Dallas. “They demonstrate unique foresight, a student’s desire for learning, inspiring thought, strategic intelligence, a proactive mindset, and an ideal-point focus.”

Executives from Pike Place Fish (Seattle), Neiman Marcus, CarMax, Wal-Mart, Origins and other successful businesses bore out his comments. Keynoters John Yokoyama, owner of Pike Place Fish, and partner Jim Bergquist, founder of BizFutures Consulting, pulled some 500 attendees out of their seats to toss huge dead fish down the aisles.

Participants experienced the leadership model at Pike Place Fish first hand: management by inspiration. Every employee assumes ownership and becomes a leader. “Leaders,” said Yokoyama, “have the capacity to create new realities for themselves and other people.”

For more detailed summaries of these and other Retailing Summit presentations, visit www.crstamu.org.