RPI 2020 Virtual Conference
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 Export to Your Calendar 9/16/2020 to 9/17/2020
When: Wednesday-Thursday, September 16-17, 2020
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM Eastern
Where: Online

Online registration is available until: 9/16/2020
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Join Us for RPI’s Two Day Virtual Conference
September 16-17

Discover the latest recognition research and insights from thought leaders and experts in employee engagement, culture and employee/customer experience.


Members/Business Partners
$99 for both days OR
$59 per day

Non-Members, Subscribers and Basic Members
$179 for both days OR
$109 per day

Looking to have 10 or more of your team members attend? Email info@recognition.org for team discount information.

Tremendous Value, No Travel 

The RPI Virtual Conference on September 16-17 features two days filled with thought leaders/experts, online networking with other attendees, and access to recorded virtual conference content for 6 months after September 17.


Day 1 – September 16

  • Leigh Lachman, Verizon
  • Kevin Yip, Blueboard
  • Corinne Selk, CRP, Workhuman
  • Paul Herr, Paul Herr Consulting Inc. & Scott Russell, CRP, CEP, C.A. Short

Day 2 – September 17

  • Cori Champagne, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Kristy Celis, MHA, PHR, SHRM-CP, Cone Health; Debra Garcia, Microsoft; Amy Hurley, LSW, CRP, Ohio State University; Caitlin Hamm, Ohio State University
  • Felicia Granger, Vancouver Coastal Health

Virtual Conference Sponsors

ca short



R Scott Russell Angry Wine

Want to Sponsor? (Click here)

Virtual Conference Agenda

Day 1: Wednesday, September 16, 2020

10:00 am - 11:00 am – Welcome & Keynote

How to Drive Success in a High Performing Environment Leveraging All Aspects of Incentive, Recognition and Employee Engagement Programs.  

Leigh Lachman, Verizon

Session Details
Leigh Lachman, Verizon

Leigh Lachman is the Director of Culture and Communications from Verizon’s Consumer Customer Service Group.  As an employee experience leader, she's obsessed with creating new ways to engage, inspire, and motivate employees. Join Leigh as she talks about how winning in the workplace ultimately leads to winning in the marketplace and why we must take risks, try new things.  The world is evolving and we must evolve along with it.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Strategies for a more engaged workforce
  2. Recognizing behaviors that align with business priorities
  3. Inspiring exceptional performance

Speaker Bio: Leigh Lachman is obsessed with creating new ways to engage, inspire, and motivate employees. With over 20 years working various positions within Verizon, she leads creative teams across strategy, content, technology, multimedia, and customer ready engagement programs.  Leigh started her career as a Retail Sales Representative and understands the need to engage employees from the frontline to the boardroom.  She was in nursing school when she started her career with Verizon and is often heard saying that although we may not end up where we thought we would, we end up exactly where we belong.


11:10 am - 12:00 pm

Survive or Thrive: A Lesson from Elephants and Rats for Developing Organizational Empathy

Kevin Yip, Blueboard

Session Details

Join Kevin Yip, Co-Founder and COO at Blueboard, for a discussion around developing organizational empathy – and the ability to welcome and support your employees in their current state, providing them the runway to truly thrive at work. We'll outline the concept of organizational empathy (what it is, why it matters), with a focus on people-centric values, the foundation for building empathy.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the 5 pillar framework for organizational empathy
  2. Learn about innovative programs to promote organizational empathy
  3. Workshop around current company values to support employee experience and promote company culture
Kevin Yip, Blueboard

Speaker Bio: Kevin Yip is a passionate HR Tech entrepreneur focused on helping companies worldwide celebrate and recognize their top talent in a more meaningful way. As Co-founder and COO of Blueboard, a San Francisco-based employee rewards and recognition company, Kevin partners with HR innovators to build exciting employee recognition programs that drive real impact, positively improving employee engagement, wellbeing, motivation and retention rates. Beyond his role as COO, Kevin leads our business development and growth strategy. Kevin is a seasoned professional speaker, having presented on HR thought-leadership topics at NCHRA's HR TechXpo, and NCHRA's HR West Conference, From Day One SF & Boston, Responsive Conference, and Culture First as well as a suite of meet-up panels and webinars. Prior to building Blueboard in 2014, Kevin served as a top analyst at Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), consulting with Fortune 1000 clients like Levi Strauss & Co., Prologis, and Bechtel Corporation. Kevin graduated with honors, holding a BS in Managerial Economics from University of California, Davis.

12:10 pm - 1:00 pm

Same Investment, Higher Returns: Re-architecting Your Total Rewards Budget to Drive Employee Connection

Corinne Selk, CRP, Workhuman

Session Details

In a matter of weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has radically transformed our work and personal lives. Traditional incentives such as annual bonuses are no longer enough to keep employees inspired. To boost engagement, organizations need a year-round rewards strategy that will help create long-term emotional connections with their employees. This session will highlight the impact of gratitude in these times of uncertainty, and the ROI of carving out an employee recognition budget from your total rewards pie.

Learning Objectives

  1. Why companies should reward people more frequently throughout the year and the key factors to keep in mind for crafting a recognition and rewards program that can help boost morale and deepen connections, while maximizing ROI.
  2. How crowdsourced pay has the power to help build a strong employer brand, boost employee happiness, and drive employee performance.
  3. How to find the budget for a program that rewards employees for their performance throughout the year and how to overcome internal obstacles around new approaches to slicing up the total rewards pie.
Corinne Selk, CRP, WorkHuman

Speaker Bio: Corinne Selk has been working with Workhuman as a solutions consultant for three years. A recognition solution expert and advisor, she passionately conceptualizes, communicates, and demonstrates how Strategic Recognition and making work more 'human' can drive a company's business performance and key people metrics. Corinne combines her 20 years of business and HR experience to assist companies with delivering recognition solutions that create positive employee experiences, increased engagement and retention, and stronger cultures.

1:10 pm- 2:00 pm

How Did We Get Employee Motivation so Horribly Wrong?

Paul Herr, Paul Herr Consulting Inc., Speaker; R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP, C.A. Short, Interviewer

Session Details

How did we arrive at a world where: 1) only 30% of employees care about their work, 2) half of us will suffer from a mental illness, and 3) crime and drug abuse are rampant? Much of the blame can be placed at the feet of a small group of engineers who cobbled together a concept called "scientific management" 100 years ago. The speaker will expose "scientific" management for what it is; a demeaning, un-scientific, inefficient system that fails to tap into the power and energy of the human spirit.

Learning Objectives

  1. Explain a fundamental flaw in the capitalist system; a complete misunderstanding of human motivation.
  2. Provide a greater appreciation for the elegant motivational "engine" and hums or sputters inside all organizations.
  3. Explain how to bring out the best in people by activating the motivational "cylinders" described in the Harvard 4-drive model.
Paul Herr

Speaker Bio: Paul Herr - Researchers at the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) and Maritz discovered my book, Primal Management, and my five-drive model of employee motivation six years ago. They noticed that my approach was very similar to the popular 4-drive model developed by the Harvard Professors, Nitin Nohria, the current dean of the Harvard Business School, and Paul Lawrence, and organizational behavior pioneer. Since then, I have: written a research report on behavioral science for the IRF, spoken at an Enterprise Engagement Alliance (EEA) event in Chicago, and marketed my Horsepower System™ employee-engagement software to prominent companies in the incentive, reward and recognition industry. It is the only human-performance software based on the Harvard 4-drive model.

R Scott Russell

Speaker Bio: R Scott Russell - Scott has more than 15 years of experience in Rewards & Recognition. He is a Certified Recognition Professional (since 2006), as designated by Recognition Professionals International and has served as an officer on their Board of Directors since 2012. He is the current President of RPI. Scott began his career in Rewards & Recognition as the Corporate Sales Manager for RedEnvelope, where he focused on Holiday Gift Giving for employees & loyalty programs. Scott brings his passion for engagement and unique style to his daily life with C.A. Short Company. When Scott isn’t busy recognizing, motivating and inspiring others, he can be found riding his horse, songwriting or traveling the globe, where he encounters other cultures and studies their engagement practices. He lives by his always positive motto, “If at first you don’t succeed…Redefine success.”

Day 2: Thursday, September 17, 2020

10:00 am - 11:00 am - Welcome & Panel Discussion 

Welcome & Intro to Best Practices and 2020 Best Practice Awards

Panelists: Cori Champagne, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Kristy Celis, MHA, PHR, SHRM-CP, Cone Health; Debra Garcia, Microsoft; Amy Hurley, LSW, CRP, Ohio State University; Caitlin Hamm, Ohio State University

Session Details

RPI’s 7 Best Practice Standards®️ are based on knowledge gained from academic literature, professional conferences, and shared experiences in developing successful recognition programs. Join recent Best Practice recipients from four organizations as they share insights into their recognition programs and suggestions for submitting a successful nomination. The RPI Best Practice award is divided into 7 Standards. In this energetic and informative discussion, presenters will share their strategies for building award-worthy recognition programs.

Learning Objectives

  • Raise awareness of the RPI Best Practice Awards and increase the understanding of the process.
  • Increase attendee awareness of ways to build a recognition strategy.
  • Illustrate ways that data analytics can reinforce program goals and create new outcomes.
  • Discover ways to evaluate program success and initiate changes.
Cori Champagne

Panelist Bio: Cori Champagne, Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the Recognition Program Administrator for MIT’s employee Recognition program. Started in 2001 as a way to recognize staff contributions, the program has become a model for other higher education institutions and for-profit companies. MIT's program is the 2016 recipient of RPI’s Best Overall Recognition Program Award, and Cori is the 2019 recipient of the Harkins Educational Award.

In addition to her role at MIT, Cori is an active creative professional.  She is an adjunct instructor at Boston Architectural College, teaching in the School of Architecture, and regularly exhibits her own art work in shows around the US.

Cori Champagne

Panelist Bio: Kristy Celis, MHA, PHR, SHRM-CP, Cone Health is the Assistant Director of Employee Partnership & Shared Services for Cone Health. Her primary areas of accountability include employee relations, centralized HR services and rewards and recognition. She led the implementation of a new system-wide rewards and recognition program called CHeeRS, which stands for Cone Health Employee Recognition System. She also introduced the organization to her personal recognition philosophy encouraging leaders to Recognize, Appreciate and Acknowledge their team members, or “RAA!” as she likes to say in keeping with the CHeeRS theme. She has worked in healthcare Human Resources since 2006, and is most passionate about partnering with employees and leaders to better the work environment. She is an advocate for helping employees feel valued and believes a thank you goes a long way. Kristy is a graduate of the University of Utah and received a Master of Health Administration from Weber State University.

Cori Champagne

Panelist Bio:  Debra Garcia, Microsoft is responsible for Rewards & Recognition quarterly Champion and annual Top Sub/Top Team award programs. These programs reward and recognize more than 49,000 worldwide employees.
Debra has been at Microsoft for 29 years with roles in the Sales Marketing & Services Group, Finance, Pacific Northwest Sales District, Enterprise Partner Group, Customer Services & Support, and Field Operations. She is currently in the Marketing & Consumer Business organization.
Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in Finance from ENMU (Eastern New Mexico University).  Debra lives in Carnation, Washington with her husband.  She has two children and two granddaughters.

Amy J Hurley

Panelist Bio: Amy J Hurley, LSW, CRP, The Ohio State University is the Program Director for Faculty and Staff Recognition at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio.  Amy has been a dedicated recognition professional for over 15 years, and served on the Board of RPI since 2011, most recently as President in 2019. Identifying better ways to provide effective recognition for her organization is always top of mind, and talking about tools and resources that have been well received is always something she enjoys sharing. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has just been awarded the prestigious 2020 Best Practice Overall Winner.

Caitlin Hamm

Panelist Bio: Caitlin Hamm, The Ohio State University is the Program Manager for Faculty and Staff Recognition at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. Caitlin has been with the recognition department for over 10 years, and was awarded the Pamela Sabin Recognition Champion Award in 2018. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has just been awarded the prestigious 2020 Best Practice Overall Winner.


11:10 am - 12:00 pm 

Shaking it up: Trying Out a Grassroots Approach to Grow Team-based Recognition

Felicia Granger, Vancouver Coastal Health

Session Details

Trying out a brand new, non-corporate approach to enhancing recognition is scary, and it shouldn't be! Hear about how a grassroots approach for team-based recognition generated energy, excitement and permission to grow a culture of learning and innovation. This presentation will outline how adopting a grassroots approach through a "Give Thanks" challenge enabled teams to implement their own practices to show and grow appreciation. Session will share innovative ideas, ROI and key learnings.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe how team-based innovation was unlocked through a grassroots pilot recognition challenge.
  2. Discuss evaluation framework for team-led recognition initiatives.
  3. Identify ways to bring more grassroots innovation to your recognition strategy.
Felicia Granger, Vancouver Coastal Health

Speaker Bio: Felicia Granger is the Manager of Program Development for Recognition & Change in People + Culture at Vancouver Coastal Health in Vancouver, Canada. Felicia Granger helps organizations enhance strategy, transformation and recognition through innovative approaches to engagement, marketing, and program design. With over 15 years of experience ranging from healthcare, technology and graphic communications, Felicia brings a passion for switching things up, learning fast, and connecting with people through caring and humour. She enjoys cycling, travel and good coffee.


12:10 - 1:00 pm  

I See You: Appreciating Diversity

Tommy Lee Hayes Brown and Max Brown, Institute for Enterprise Excellence

Session Details

Recent national events require more conversations. Warning: This isn't your corporate diversity training session of years gone by. Tommy Lee Hayes Brown and Max Brown, brothers from another mother (note: we're good friends who happen to share a very cool last name) are going to dive in to discuss their respective life perspectives on race and diversity. We're just two perspectives and we don't attempt to stereotype or represent all perspectives here, but we hope that these discussions will give others courage to engage and get to know one another better. In order to make things better, we all have to be part of the change. Let us begin with better conversations!

Learning Objectives

  1. Appreciate: Gain a new perspective as we share our experiences.
  2. Apply: Practice new ways to engage in conversations on hard topics.
  3. Act: Learn ways you can engage and be part of the change we all aspire to see!
Tommy Lee Hayes Brown

Speaker Bios: Tommy Lee Hayes Brown - Tommy Lee is a 20-year marketing and sales veteran who uses strategic talent management to get organizational results. He is a diversity, employee engagement, and community thought leader with a friendly networking style that has led to a wide variety of friends and professional associates. He is an effective communicator with the ability to translate mission, vision and values into a compelling story that motivates internal staff, current customers and prospective clients. 

Max Brown

Max Brown - Max is a managing partner at the Institute for Enterprise Excellence (IEX). As a speaker, leadership coach and trusted partner, Max works with dozens of global organizations to create scalable, sustainable and meaningful results. Previously, as the Director of Education at the Shingo Institute, Max designed the foundational courses and certified the first fifty global licensed affiliates.

1:10 pm - 2:00 pm

The New Reality for Incentive Programs

Robert Ward, Accor Hotels; Susan Hall, CRP, Gateway First Bank; Brian Dodds, CRP, Workstride; Ashlee Green, CRP, Verizon

Session Details

Details Coming soon

Learning Objectives

  1. How to you evolve incentive programs during challenging times
  2. How to manage your incentive budget during economic downturn
  3. How to make incentives meaningful in a virtual workforce
Susan Hall

Speaker Bio: Susan Hall - Susan has over twenty -five years’ experience in the field of recognition and engagement. Susan is the first person in Oklahoma to obtain her CRP designation. She has used her knowledge in her field developing and managing recognition and engagement programs with the world’s largest satellite entertainment company DIRECTV world-wide, to building recognition programs while her former founder and CEO became Governor of Oklahoma. Today, Susan is the Director of Corporate Events and Community Outreach for Gateway First Bank. In her role with Gateway, Susan develops corporate giving, recognition and engagement programs, manages corporate events and volunteerism. Susan holds a degree in early child hood and has received many accolades for her contributions to the community engagement field.

Susan is a culture champion who’s motivated by employee results. Susan is a mentor, community volunteer, mom, inspired leader and a savvy strategist. Susan enjoys telling a good story and a colossal white chocolate mocha cup of coffee!

Brian Dodds

Speaker Bio: Brian Dodds, CRP - Over 15 years of experience helping clients to determine best in class solutions by taking into account company history, current culture, desired culture, executive and employee input as well as the most current practices in the world of human behavior. My goal is to help create the unique solution that is the true representation of your company and drives employee motivation towards corporate objectives.

At WorkStride, we enable the world's most dynamic companies to harness a shared purpose through a proven, people-driven software platform.

Our recognition, rewards, and incentives software solution makes it easy to highlight good deeds, compensate great work, and share authentic stories that reinforce a common direction. Designed around two-way engagement, WorkStride seamlessly integrates with your brand, systems, and culture to create a fun, familiar place where employees and management are on the same page and the same path--communicating, celebrating, and competing at their best.

The WorkStride platform integrates a variety of programs and initiatives, including peer and manager recognition, channel sales incentives, direct sales incentives, wellness, safety, milestones, and training.

Ashlee Green

Speaker Bio: Ashlee Green, CRP is currently a Customer Relationship Marketing Manager with Verizon. In her role, Ashlee partners with the Customer Service organization supporting over 30,000 employees to drive the use of unique marketing capabilities. During her 15 years with Verizon, Ashlee has held various management and operational roles within the Customer Service organization that support both the customer and employee experience. Ashlee has also been a member of RPI since 2011, CPR certified in 2014 and joined the Board of Directors in 2018.

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