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Featured Speakers

Dr. Brad Shuck

Dr. Brad Shuck

Brad Shuck is an internationally recognized thought-leader in the areas of employee engagement, leadership, and employee health and wellbeing. His evidenced-based, story-driven, and visually inspiring presentations detail how leaders at all levels can build positive and inspiring places of work that drive performance, increase employee wellbeing, and influence peak motivation.

Participants have called his talks “tremendous”, “moving”, and “motivating.” “Brad's presentation and material were fabulous. He presents in a way that makes you want to go back to your workplace and empower your employees.”

Shuck has worked with leaders in virtually every industry throughout the public and private sectors across four continents. His insights are widely applied in both the world’s largest Fortune 500 and Fortune 50 companies, as well as small and medium-sized organizations seeking to grow and empower employees. 

Learn more about Dr. Shuck

RPI Blog Posts:
EVP explores the optimal way to recognize employee
Don’t Get Skunked: The Health Risks of a Dysfunctional Workplace

Dr. Charles Scherbaum

Dr. Charles Scherbaum

Dr. Charles Scherbaum received his B.S. in psychology from the University of Washington and his Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology from Ohio University. He is currently an associate professor of psychology at Baruch College and on the doctoral faculty at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Dr. Scherbaum’s research focuses on issues of diversity and equal opportunity in the context of employee selection, measuring individual differences, and assessing employee attitudes. Recent research has focused on sources of construct-irrelevant variance on standardized cognitive tests, non-cognitive predictors of job performance, detecting lying and dishonest responding, attitudes toward stigmatized employees, alternative validation strategies, attitude measurement, linking employee attitudes to organizational outcomes, employee survey methods, and employee selection. This research draws heavily on recent advances in analytical and methodological techniques.

Watch Dr. Scherbaum's invitation to the conference 

Jake Herway, Gallup

Jake Herway

Jake Herway is a Subject Matter Expert at Gallup. His primary area of expertise is leadership and workplace excellence, linking employee behavior to successful strategy execution and sustainable change. He consults with and coaches executives to develop solutions to drive measurable business results by integrating customer insights into company culture and talent management and development strategies.

Prior to joining Gallup, Jake served as an international credit portfolio officer with a major global bank. In addition to his banking responsibilities, he led the integration process for his team during a major bank merger.

>> Check out Jakes article on Four Steps to Creating Engagement Every Day

Dr. Rhonda A. Scott, PhD, RN, NE-BC, NEA-BC, COO

Rhonda A. Scott, PhD

Grady Health
Executive Vice President / Chief Operating Officer

Rhonda A. Scott, Grady’s chief operating officer, is often credited for eliminating nurse contract labor, improving nursing, patient and physician satisfaction and enhancing nurse recruitment and retention.

When she joined Grady in 2004, Rhonda had 20 years of nursing experience at some of the finest healthcare institutions in the U.S., including the University of Chicago Medical Center, University of Alabama Medical Center, Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hospital and Saint Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta.

Tonda Ferguson, CRP, Senior Advisor Communications, Southwest Airlines

Tonda Ferguson

Tonda works for Southwest Airlines—a company known for putting Employees first. She began her Southwest career 36 years ago when the company had approximately 3,000 Employees, and she has seen the Southwest team grow to more than 60,000+ Employees. Tonda started the Employee Communications Department 34 years ago, and the Southwest Employees have been her focus ever since. During the course of her career, Tonda developed multiple recognition and incentive programs, led the administration of the companywide Employee Engagement Survey, and led the team that developed the enterprise recognition platform and the recognition points system. Today, she serves as a Senior Advisor in the Communications Department.  She continues to provide strategic direction for many of the company’s enterprise recognition and incentive programs that support the purpose, vision, and values of Southwest Airlines. She also assists in drafting executive communications. Tonda has served on the Board of Directors of the Dallas Ronald McDonald House, and is a graduate of Leadership Texas. She received her Certified Recognition Professional (CRP) designation in 2011, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Recognition Professionals International.

Charisse Evans, Delta Air Lines

Charisse Evans

Delta Air Lines
Vice President – Customer Experience Integration

Charisse Evans is Vice President - Customer Experience Integration. In this role, she is responsible for leading Delta's strategy and efforts to create a consistently great experience for our customers and creating raving fans.

Prior to this role, Charisse was Vice President - Reservation Sales and Customer Care for Delta. In this position, she was responsible for 10 customer engagement centers in four countries, with approximately 5,200 employees who handle an average of 32 million calls and 3 million social media contacts per year and generated approximately $2.6 billion in annual sold revenue.

Charisse began her Delta career in March 1985 as temporary-part-time reservations sales agent. Before joining Reservation Sales, she was Vice President - Airport Customer Service, International Operations, responsible for 113 airport operations across 64 countries. She held various other positions with increasing areas of responsibility throughout the corporation where her responsibilities have included corporate facilitation, leadership and new-hire development, contract management, employee engagement and recognition, and airport, lounge and In-Flight operations. Under her direction Delta's signature Passenger Service Agent (also known as the Red Coat) role was re-launched and the Peer Support Program, a confidential peer-to-peer assistance program was developed.

An alumna of North Texas State University, she is active in her community supporting causes such as Breast Cancer Awareness and homelessness.

Cori Champagne, MIT

Cori Champagne

Recognition Program Administrator

Cori Champagne 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 Best Overall Recognition Program Award from Recognition Professionals International. As the Program Administrator, Cori serves as the point-person for the 24 RR Key Contacts that administer the program across MIT, promoting best practices, initiating changes, and providing oversight. The Recognition Program Administrator also oversees and implements every aspect of the MIT Excellence Awards + Collier Medal program, from nomination outreach, to planning and managing the annual ceremony. 

Iryna Leonova, University of Calgary

Iryna Leonova

Iryna Leonova holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in genetics and cytology and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University in Ukraine. Iryna spent over 12 years in teaching and research before shifting her career to the HR field in 2014.
Iryna joined the University of Calgary’s recognition team in January 2016; a year later, she was certified as a recognition professional by RPI. Iryna is passionate about utilizing scientific methods in HR work to identify reliable metrics, measure progress, and predict future trends. She is proud to be involved with the University of Calgary’s Recognition program that was awarded the 2018 RPI’s Best Overall Practice Award.


John O’Brien

Vice President, Employee Performance Group

As Vice President of BI WORLDWIDE’s Employee Performance Group, John O’Brien’s primary focus is to develop employee engagement strategies and solutions that change the behaviors of employees to align with our customers’ business objectives.

An expert in Employee Recognition Strategy, he educates HR professionals around the world on how to best engage their employees through employee engagement strategies, solutions and best practices.
John works closely with customers, leading account design strategy to drive engagement in customer program audiences, and achieve measurable results.

O’Brien joined BIW in 1984 following graduation from St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud Minn. where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Psychology and Communications.

Gary Beckstrand, O.C. Tanner

Gary Beckstrand

O.C. Tanner
Vice President

Gary Beckstrand is a Vice President of O.C. Tanner, a $500+ million global recognition and workplace culture company. He is also the author of Appreciate: Celebrating People, Inspiring Greatness.  

With nearly 30 years of research, business development, and leadership experience, Gary has seen what works (and what doesn’t) in top companies around the world. His expertise has been sought by numerous Fortune 100 companies, and been featured frequently on inc.com, entrepreneur.com, and Forbes.  

Gary has spoken to tens of thousands of business leaders at conferences and companies all over the world. Prior to joining O.C. Tanner, Gary held leadership positions at Frito-Lay, Kellogg’s, and Franklin-Covey.  

Gary has a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Barbara Ruddy, CRP, STARS - Staff Training & Recognition Services

Barbara Ruddy

Barbara brings to RPI more than 20 years of experience in the field of employee recognition. As a long time employee with the State of Arizona, Department of Economic Security, an organization of almost 10,000 employees, Barbara was responsible for the design, implementation and on-going management of an employee recognition system that has served as a model for many other organizations. In these roles, Barbara helped others realize that recognition isn't just a nice thing to do; it’s a smart business strategy for success.

As an active supporter of RPI since 1998, Barbara chairs the “Pamela Sabin Recognition Champion Award Program” committee. In addition to being a CRP and RF facilitator, Barbara is a member of the RPI Community Action Team striving to strengthen the engagement of current members and build membership to share best practices in the field of employee recognition for all organizations, large and small. 

One of Barbara’s favorite quotes is from Maya Angelou: I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Sometimes all it takes is a genuine smile!

R. Scott Russell, CRP, Director of Client Success, C.A. Short Company

R. Scott Russell

Scott is a 20-year veteran of event management and recognition from his days as a concert promoter in Southern California to his most recent 12-year stint in Operations (Employee Experience) with Verizon Wireless. Scott is currently the Director of Client Success for the C.A. Short Company based in North Carolina. He works day in and day out to promote the value of recognition and engagement to his staff, his clients, and others.

Scott writes an ongoing web series on Random Acts of Engagement and is an accomplished public speaker. As a music lover and musician himself, Scott has worked over the years with many artists and you may even catch him singing a song or two at our annual RPI conference. He was instrumental in managing the recent overhaul of the CRP curriculum and is excited to see it brought to the masses with the launch of the online curriculum in 2017. Scott is an Executive RPI Board member and chairs the RPI Community Action Team.

Scott loves this motto and swears he lives by it: If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success.

Vicki Hargrove, Ph.D, CRP, Hargrove Business Consulting

Vicki Hargrove

Dr. Vicki Hargrove formed Hargrove Business Consulting in 2011 after retiring from Cargill, Inc., with 28 years experience. She works with businesses across the globe in the area of recognition, performance management, leadership effectiveness, innovation, change, and employee engagement. While at Cargill, she was responsible for writing the RPI Best Practices' application that resulted in an Overall Best Practice Award in 2008. She worked to improve the visibility of recognition across 60+ businesses and 150,000 employees through incorporating recognition behaviors into the performance management process, leading two corporate-wide recognition events for 1,000 participants, building a recognition website and developing a recognition guide to ensure common language and understanding. 

Vicki has been involved with RPI for over 10 years. She is a contributor to the revision of all RPI courses both for instructor-led and online delivery and serves on the Learning Action Team. She was recognized for her service to RPI and the recognition industry with the Harkins-Howell Excellence in Education Award in 2016.

Vicki is a graduate of Murray State University with her B.S. and M.A. degrees and The Ohio State University with her Ph.D. degree. She authored Make Someone Smile and The Smile Experience which focus on developing appreciation skills to make others feel good and acknowledge their contributions.

This favorite quote of Vicki's shows how expressing appreciation to others can lead to a better, happier world: It is said a butterfly can flap its wings in the United States and cause a change in the air that results in a hurricane halfway across the globe. Your acts of kindness and appreciation may inspire others to act likewise which may in turn inspire others, accelerating a ripple effect of ever spreading happiness. These actions create an amazing impact by making the world happier one person at a time.

Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, Barbara Glanz Communications, Inc.

Barbara Glanz

A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states.  Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of thirteen books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™.Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change, and she guarantees that her audience members will leave with at least 6-8 immediately applicable, no-cost action ideas.  She lives and breathes her personal motto, “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™She can be reached at bglanz@barbaraglanz.com or www.barbaraglanz.com.

Jason Thomson, CRP, Jigsaw

Jason Thomson

For more than two decades and a thousand projects, speechwriter, storyteller and Creative Director Jason Thomson has been hired to passionately move employees and organizations to realize their potential through communication and recognition.

The world’s smartest organizations turn to Jason’s innovative approach to organizational change, as a way to improve employee performance and results.

As a professional thinker, copywriter and speaker, Jason has fueled the trajectory of the world’s most important brands, including Intel, RBC Royal Bank, Nissan, Entertainment One and McCain Foods. His powerful perspective on what it takes to imagine, develop and sell an idea transforms audiences, leaving them forever prepared to think faster, better and brighter.

Jeffrey Fina, HALO Recognition

Jeffrey Fina

As Chief Customer Officer, Jeffrey Fina oversees HALO Recognition's Customer Experience, Marketing, Product Development, and Business Development teams and has been critical in helping the company maintain high growth and client retention rates. Jeffrey was instrumental in HALO Branded Solutions’ acquisition of Michael C. Fina and led the former company’s transition into what is now HALO Recognition. Since then he has overseen the development of products and solutions that have made it the leading one-source provider of employee recognition programs, incentive strategies, and branded promotions. Jeffrey's commitment to excellent client care sets the bar for our customer service promise and drives HALO Recognition's partnerships with some of the most complex and highest-performing companies in the world.

Vincent Greco, Penn State Health

Vincent Greco

Vincent Greco is a Senior Rewards Consultant at Penn State Health, a globally recognized Health System located in Hershey, PA. With over 14,000 employees, Penn State Health is noted as the only Level 1 Adult and Pediatric trauma center in Pennsylvania. With nearly 20 years of rewards and employee engagement experience, Vincent has developed and deployed successful and sustainable rewards and recognition programs across multiple industries and Fortune 500 companies such as The Hershey Company and global industry leaders such as TE Connectivity. Most recently, Vincent and his team implemented the “Paws Up!” employee recognition program at Penn State Health with Halo Recognition. Since the Fall of 2018 launch, Penn State Health has seen a transformation in how employees embrace recognition in a healthcare environment, from the operating room floor to the executive offices.

Brian Dodds, CRP, WorkStride

Brian Dodds

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.

Paul Hebert, Vice President Individual Performance Strategy, Certified Engagement Practitioner (CEP), Creative Group, Inc

Paul Hebert

Paul Hebert is the Vice President of Individual Performance Strategy at Creative Group, Inc. and a writer, speaker and consultant. Paul is widely considered an expert on motivation and incentives focused on influencing behaviors that drive business results through employees, channel partners and consumers.

He has worked on channel and employee engagement programs for Michelin, Chrysler Service and Parts, Toyota Financial Services, AT&T,

Goodyear and a variety of other Fortune 1000 companies.

Paul is also a member of the United States Technical Advisory Group (TAG) 260, Working Group 5 – Employee Experience and Working Group 9 – Employee Engagement within the ISO 10018 group: “People Competency and Involvement” for International Organization for Standardization. This group is creating a strategic approach to engagement and employee/candidate experience that aligns engagement activities across the organization in a way that is rarely applied today.

Using proven motivational theory, behavioral economics and social psychology he has driven extraordinary company performance for his clients. Other highlights include:

  • Being interviewed by the BBC on executive motivation and pay
  • Three interviews with the USA TODAY as an expert in incentives and channel travel programs
  • 12 year contributing writer on the Fistful of Talent blog
  • Writer and founding member of the editorial advisory board at the HRExaminer website
  • Contributing author of “Enterprise Engagement: The Textbook: A Roadmap to Achieving Organizational Results Through People”
  • Contributing author of 3 books on social media “The Age of Conversation 1, 2, and 3”

Digital Footprint:
Personal Blog : http://wphebert.com
Creative Group, Inc. Blog: https://www.creativegroupinc.com/blog/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulhebert/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/incentintel
HRExaminer: https://www.hrexaminer.com/
Fistful of Talent Blog: http://fistfuloftalent.com/author/paulhebert

Andrea Mathews, Manager Executive Office, Southwest Airlines

Andrea Mathews

Andrea Mathews has been part of the Southwest Airlines Family since 1999. She currently serves as Manager Executive Office where she oversees the Internal Customer Care (ICC) Team and supports the Office of the CEO with various communication needs. She is driven by her passion for Customer Service—for both internal and external Customers. The Internal Customer Care Team is responsible for recognizing life events for the 60,000+ Employees of Southwest Airlines. From celebrating with a new parent or newlywed to grieving with a bereaved family member, the ICC Team acknowledges each event on behalf of the CEO, Gary Kelly, with appropriate cards and/or gifts. This group is a core component of the Southwest Airlines Culture.

Roy Saunderson, Chief Learning Officer, Rideau Recognition Solutions

Roy Saunderson

Roy Saunderson is the Chief Learning Officer and a recognition strategist at Rideau Recognition Solutions. He’s the author of the recently released book Practicing Recognition: How to give meaningful recognition to people every day as well as his previous book Giving the Real Recognition Way. Roy is a regular contributor to Training Magazine and Incentive Magazine, and was chosen as one of the 25 most influential people in the incentive industry for 2017. Roy consults and educates leaders and staff in companies, governments, and associations around the world, on recognition practices, strategy, and programs in the workplace.