Retail Design Institute International Board

retail design image
retail design image

2018 - 2020 Term

Meet the Retail Design Institute Exectutive Board.

ray ehscheid retail design institute

Ray Ehscheid, RDI

International President

Ray Ehscheid is principal, director of client services, retail and financial sectors for the New York office of IA- Interior Architects. He has more than 25 years of senior-level, client-side experience across both the retail and financial service sectors. Prior to joining IA, Ehscheid was senior vice president, design services for Bank of America, beginning in 2005 to lead store design and merchandising for Bank of America’s Financial Center and ATM network. In 2014 he was tapped to spearhead Workplace Design Strategy, including the bank’s refocus on High Performance Workspace (AKA Space Modernization). Ehscheid’s career includes leadership roles in both design and merchandising with global luxury and fashion retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Reebok. His span of influence is noted in work across wholesale, retail, franchise and tradeshow exhibit design.


Ehscheid is a recognized thought leader on the subjects of retail and financial services design, and has been featured in a range of national and international publications. He has delivered keynote addresses on retail and financial topics at tradeshows like GlobalShop and IFMA, retail industry events such as the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show, bank and finance events like BAI, RBR and EFMA and panel discussions on relevant topics at additional shows like NeoCon and EuroShop. Ehscheid continues to jury peer design competitions. In addition to the Institute’s annual design competition, Ehscheid had lent his time and talents to IIDA and the World Interiors News (WIN) Awards. He has also been a guest lecturer at FIT, the Parsons School and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum.


He is a member the editorial advisory boards of both Contract and design:retail magazine which voted him one of its “Top 10 Retail Design Influencers.” Ehscheid has previously served as advisor to SHOP!, and is member emeritus to the board of PAVE, the Planning and Visual Education Partnership.

Sharon Lessard, RDI

International Vice President

Sharon’s 25 year career in the retail industry has been as both the brand client and now the design firm service provider to brand clients.  Because of this integrated experience, and always focusing on the customer experience, she brings a unique perspective and understanding of business-driven design.  Key relationships and programs included in her career: LBrands, Best Buy, SUPERVALU, Carter’s Oshkosh, 365 by Whole Foods Market, Vera Bradley, ZARA, SunTrust, PNC, Samsung, ATT, Bridgestone, Sarah Cannon, NCR, and Cox Automotive.

Sharon has been a Professional member of the Retail Design Institute since 2008.  She became President of the Minneapolis | St. Paul Chapter in 2009, serving as President for three years and Chairman for one before taking a year off while establishing her own business, Share, LLC.  For the last two years, Sharon has served as Secretary of the Atlanta Chapter since relocating to assume her current role as Studio Director for the Brand and Retail Design studio at Gensler.

Ryan Cavanaugh Retail Deisgn Professional

Ryan Cavanaugh, AIA, RDI

International Treasurer

Ryan Cavanaugh is past president of the Atlanta | Southeast Chapter, and is a design manager in Gensler’s Atlanta office. For the past two years, he helped lead the Atlanta | Southeast Chapter elected officers and board to successfully expand the number of members and our yearly events. He also worked with leaders in Charlotte to help them establish a City Center. “I am honored to serve as International Treasurer and promise to spend our member’s dues money on the services, events or programs that deliver value and move our association forward. I will work with the International Executive Board to create a vision for the future through the Institute’s 20/20” Strategic Plan.”

Claudia Cerchiara, RDI

International Chairman

Claudia Cerchiara is Retail Client Leader at BHDP Architecture, Cincinnati. With more than 20 years of retail experience in planning and merchandising for domestic and international department store clients, Cerchiara earned a degree in architecture from Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, in her native Argentina.  She joined the Institute in 2008 and became involved in the Ohio Chapter the following year as secretary. In 2012, she was elected vice president, but stepped into the president’s role when the chapter’s elected president departed. Cerchiara was next elected Ohio Chapter president in 2014 and reelected for the 2016-18 term, before being elected International President.
Her fluency in Spanish (and English) has been helpful in staying connected with the Institute’s Chapters in Brazil and Spain.

Jill Dearing Beckman Retail Design

Jill Dearing Beckmann, RDI

International Secretary

Jill Dearing Beckmann is founder and ceo of Dearing & Company, St. Louis. Her  extensive and deep retail background included leading teams in retail design, merchandising, brand management, consumer insights and analytics, marketing, advertising, construction, facilities and asset management. Prior to founding Dearing & Company, she was vice president of marketing and advertising at Save-A-Lot Food Stores, serving with the retailer for 15 years in various roles. My passion for the Institute is rooted in my love of our Chapters and the individuals who are retail design. Internationally, it is important we provide support and resources to renew the health and vitality to our existing Chapters, it is important we continue to build brand awareness, understanding and affinity for the Institute, and it is important we nurture new retail-focused businesses, new ideas and initiatives and new educational courses, clubs, City Centers or Chapters – all in the interest of an Institute that serves future generations of retailers and their vendor partners. Jessie graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of

Andrew McQuilkin, FRDI


A career that spans almost 30 years, starting at Walker Group/CNI 1983-86, freelancing with Patrick McQuilkin 1986, Fitzpatrick Design Group 1987-98 and Gensler 1998-2001. In 2001 Andrew McQuilkin came to Cincinnati from New York to take a lead creative position at FRCH in the department store/large format studio planning and design teams. He is now retail market leader for BHDP Architecture, providing an international perspective, vision and a hands-on capability.

Using his experience and knowledge, McQuilkin incorporates a thorough understanding of strategic concepting, planning, merchandising, design, client management, project management and construction documentation. As  a past International Chairman and together with the International Board, they have successfully engaged a focused effort on the three key areas: bringing value to our membership, being the industry authority and providing professional development. The foundation they have reestablished is strong and will become the springboard for moving the Institute forward.

McQuilkin believes that everyone who is elected has the responsibility to advance the mission of the Retail Design Institute and its members. The International Board including Chapter Directors, need to continue to grow and foster a spirit of collaboration, dedication and accountability.

You may qualify for up to one year's complimentary membership!* In support of retail professionals everywhere

Due to the novel coronavirus/Covid-19, the Retail Design Institute has waived membership fees and dues through May 31, 2021 for new members. Stay informed, stay connected and receive all the benefits of Retail Design Institute membership through May 31, 2021. Please use discount code 2020free when signing up. *All prospective members will be vetted according to the Institute's stated membership criteria.