Join Us for the 2017 Annual RPI Conference!
Kimberly Abel-Lanier is the Vice President and General Manager, CultureNext for Maritz Motivation Solutions. In this role, she is responsible for leading the strategy and development of the company’s employee recognition solution, CultureNext. Kimberly is passionate about helping companies create a culture of engagement and purpose. She believes in making the world a better place to work. Kimberly has over 20 years of experience in employee engagement strategies and has worked with many Fortune 500 global brands to improve their cultures. She is a founding member of Recognition Professionals International. Currently she serves on the Recognition Council for IMA, participates on the Board of Directors for the Incentive Federation and is a judge for the Global Employee Engagement Awards.
Paula Ambrozic serves as the Director of Strategic Accounts at Inspirus, a Sodexo Company, where she manages client partnerships across the Southeast. Over the past 15 years, Paula’s work experience has included management roles in Customer Relations, Corporate Compliance, Event Management & Strategic Partnerships with both clients and vendors. Paula has worked across multiple categories of rewards and recognition including Customer Loyalty and Employee Engagement. Across these categories, Paula focuses on creating outcome based solutions for her partners. Paula holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
Charlotte Blank is Chief Behavioral Officer of Maritz. She leads the company’s practice of behavioral science and innovation, through expert applications of social psychology and behavioral economics. In this effort, Charlotte is striving to forge the connection between academic theory and applied business practice, elevating the use of field research to better make sense of human behavior in the evolving marketplace.
Charlotte has led programs in neuromarketing, social media, and global branding during her ten years in the media and automotive industries, in which she worked in Innovation for Turner Broadcasting, and various marketing roles for General Motors. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. Charlotte’s passion is exploring the truths about human nature and discovering what “makes us tick.”
Mark Collie is a singer, songwriter, artist, actor, filmmaker, entertainer, poet… The titles all apply, but none alone defines him. Mark has been writing and performing music since he was a child in rural Tennessee. He came to Nashville and enjoyed a string of successful albums in the ‘90’s. Legendary Producer Tony Brown effectively harnessed Collie’s raw, populist, rockabilly sound and superbly crafted songs. The resulting albums, music videos and live performances in turn earned Collie critical and popular success as a recording artist, writer, video performer and as a live performer. His high-energy live act drew comparisons to greats like Johnny Cash and Bruce Springsteen. His clever, superbly crafted songs made even the most jaded veteran songwriting legends stand up and take notice. For most American Country artists, this would have been enough. For Mark though, it was only the beginning. Mark’s creative output drew Hollywood’s attention and soon he was appearing in a series of roles in television programs, independent films, and big budget features. In the John Travolta vehicle, The Punisher, Mark envelops the role of Harry Heck, a guitar-strumming assassin. This powerful performance, and the subsequent song, In Time, that Mark wrote for and performed in the film, introduced Mark to a world-wide audience of rabid fans. Mark appeared on Season 4 of the hit ABC show Nashville, as Frankie Gray. Mark is currently promoting the release of his documentary film “The Mountain”, which chronicles his 15-year journey to share stories and song to inmates inside the walls of Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary. The accompanying live album “Alive At Brushy Mountain” is available now on Amazon for pre-orders with a release date of October 14, 2016.
Erika’s passion is helping organizations create more inspiring and successful work environments—where people know how they can make a difference and are engaged in performing great work. For over 20 years she has consulted with some of the largest, most complex organizations in the world, carefully crafting plans to accelerate their results. Growing up, Erika heard the advice from her father that “you can only learn so much from books,” which inspired her to study and work across the globe including living in Kenya, Australia and Mexico. She continues to be guided by this philosophy in how she infuses research and practical experience into her work. When not engaged with work and clients or sitting on an airplane, you can find Erika spending time with her two children, practicing Kung Fu, or doing Vinyasa Yoga.
With 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 incentives and rewards, Brian’s goal is to help create the unique solution that is the true representation of your company and drives employee motivation towards corporate objectives. Brian has been involved with and attended RPI conference and events for over a decade. Brian previously served as the President for Recognition Professionals International. Brian is a Certified Recognition Professional, CRP facilitator and winner of the Harkins-Howell Education Award in 2012. Brian is a graduate of Texas Tech University with degrees in Psychology and Classical Literature.
Lucinda (Cindy) Donnelly has vast experience in leading business turnaround, performance improvement and organizational transformation initiatives at prominent organizations. Cindy is an avid volunteer and serves as an advisor to “Take the Lead” Leadership Program for young women, a consultant to HBKU University in Qatar on HR Strategy and Design and a consultant to KUSTAR University in Dubai and Abu Dhabi on Human Resource Strategy and Operations.
Michelle Figurski is a talented and accomplished Corporate Human Resources Leader with extensive background in directing Human Resources operations. She is the Director of HR Benefits and Administration at Pilot Thomas Logistics and has a proven ability to implement effective policies and procedures, enhance productivity, and increase efficiency. Michelle’s experience spans Benefits and Compensation design including implementation of various Benefits initiatives, FMLA, performance evaluations, salary reviews, incentive plans, HRIS systems and project management.
As Chief Customer Officer of Michael C. Fina Recognition, Jeffrey is responsible for all customer-facing departments at Michael C. Fina and is dedicated to providing a one-of-a-kind experience for all of our partners. He oversees the Customer Experience, Marketing, Product Development, and Business Development teams, ensuring that interactions with Michael C. Fina are efficient and easy. Under Jeffrey’s leadership, Michael C. Fina has developed innovative recognition solutions and strategies to help both prospective and existing customers celebrate the success of their employees and sustains those relationships over the long term.
Ashlee has attended RPI conferences since 2011, and CRP certified since 2014. She has over 25 years’ experience in Customer Service including 21 years in a call center environment supporting up to 5000 employees in various management and operations roles. During her 14 years with Verizon Wireless, Ashlee has been responsible for both customer and employee experience, focusing on customer loyalty, continuity marketing, communications, events, incentive and recognition programs. She is currently the Manager of Employee Experience for Customer Service South Field Operations, supporting incentive programs and event management for multiple call center locations and virtual home based agents.
As a former manager of Walt Disney World's Cast Communications and Cast Recognition departments, Dee Hansford understands the leader's perspective. As an internal coach, consultant and facilitator, she led the design and implementation of Walt Disney World's first global recognition program, Partners in Excellence. The task involved coaching over 6,000 leaders in recognition/communication skills. Participation in the program increased 76% in one year while cast satisfaction ratings of local day-to-day recognition increased 15%. Shortly after forming Dee Hansford Consulting, Dee was hired to help California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) create a recognition-based culture to support their strategic business objectives. CalPERS' employee and customer satisfaction scores have risen dramatically, productivity and teamwork have been enhanced and CalPERS is considered a "destination" employer, receiving the Recognition Professional International’s Best Program Award for 2002. California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) employed Dee as a consultant to design their recognition infrastructure, which received the RPI “Best Overall Program” Award in 2012. Dee openly shares her recognition know-how by contributing to the continued evolution of CRP and Recognition Fundamentals (RF) curriculum. She is a founding RPI board member and co-chairs the Learning Action Team.
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 BS and MA degrees and The Ohio State University with her PhD 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.
Dee Holliday, also known as DJ Butta hails from Illinois. Raised in a musically influenced home listening to everything from Soul, R&B, Funk to Jazz, Rock and Pop…Dee developed a love for music early. She began DJing 5 years ago making mixes as a hobby but over time has developed a growing following of lovers of House and EDM which has morphed into a professional career. DJ Butta’s listeners come from around the globe including Africa, Europe and Asia. Although she specializes in house music, Dee likes to explore various types of genres. For her, it is about taking listeners on a journey and playing tracks that get them in a groove and eventually dancing! Dee currently lives in Atlanta and you can catch her spinning live at one of the many House/EDM clubs in Atlanta.
Lori Irvin, CRP, is C.A. Short Company’s Enterprise Sales Consultant. Lori has worked for C.A. Short Company for over 17 years, and has completed her Certified Recognition Professional accreditation through Recognition Professionals International. Lori has worked with some of the nation’s largest organizations to build proactive, behavior based employee recognition and engagement programs.
Mike Kelleher (CRP) is the Division Director of Honoring Performance at Terryberry Company. He has worked in the recognition industry for over 11 years, starting with BI Worldwide and then leading Kelleher Enterprises for 10 years. Recently Kelleher Enterprises has merged with Terryberry Company and now operates as a division of Terryberry focused on programs that honor performance. Mike Kelleher has sat on the Hinda Incentives advisory council and been an active member in RPI for the last 4 years. While leading Kelleher Enterprises, Mike oversaw Honor Club programs for many well-known organizations. Clients include General Motors, La-Z-Boy, Volkswagen, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Toyota, Con-way Freight (now XPO) and more.
Coach Cheri’ is an expert Communication, Teambuilding & DiSC Specialist who empowers men and women around the globe with tools for changing perspective, developing partnerships and finding solutions; achieving results through expanded vision; embracing themselves and others; and creating more love, light and laughter in their lives. Cheri’ shares a healing process that empowers others to choose to see “the other side” and the gifts that it offers, and embrace the healing that is within the pain. Known for bubbling over with joy and excitement, Cheri’ splashes love into the lives of everyone she encounters.
Ryan Maddux, Business Initiatives Consultant with Enterprise Talent (HR) at Wells Fargo, focuses on enhancing team member engagement through professional development, coaching, recognition, and wellness programming. Passionate about diversity and inclusion, team member recognition, and innovation, Ryan brings over 20 years of industry experience from work with non-profit, government, and Fortune 100 companies in the areas of Human Resources (HR), leadership coaching, marketing, and technology. Ryan works with business leaders and HR professionals to develop effective team member experience programming, directly aligned with core retention and talent management strategies. Ryan completed his MA in Organizational Leadership from Augsburg College and also holds an MA degree from Humboldt State University. He completed the Work-Life Certified Professional® (WLCP®) certification through WorldatWork®. Ryan is a member of RPI and sits on the Learning Action Team.
Catherine M. “Camie” Miller leads the teams responsible for driving employee engagement, recognition and financial wellness. In this capacity she leads the Reward and Recognition & Employee Banking programs for Key’s Community Bank. Camie has created strategies and built programs that deliver strong financial results and closely align with Key’s corporate strategies. Under her leadership, the current recognition program was designed and implemented and has driven excellent customer service and employee engagement through multiple service performance awards. Camie has helped build awareness and a strong culture of recognition by continuously identifying creative new solutions for engaging participants and delivering consistent, tailored, integrated communications. Her team’s responsibilities span a variety of strategic initiatives outside of rewards — including Financial Wellness, Employee Banking, Communications, and Leadership event planning & execution. She works with both internal and external partners to provide cohesive, comprehensive programming and events. Collectively, all efforts align with corporate objectives and priorities of the Community Bank. In 1996 Camie joined Key Private Bank and has held various positions in both the Private Bank and Consumer Business Segments. Before joining Key, she spent 8 years at Heidrick & Struggles, an international executive recruiting organization headquartered in Chicago, IL. Camie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Hillsdale College and a Master of Business Administration from Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University.
Rachel Niebeling is an SME dedicated to engaging employees. She works with a range of company cultures from some of America’s biggest Fortune 500 companies to emerging brand leaders around the globe. Rachel holds certification as an Employee Engagement Specialist and as a Certified Recognition Professional. She partners with clients to build successful employee engagement programs. Her passion for engagement enables her to create a culture of appreciation both at E Group, a leading engagement agency in D.C., and for her clients.
Ira Ozer, CRP, CPIM, is the founder and President of Engagement Partners, an engagement assessment, consulting and independent solution representative for specialized recognition, incentive, technology and innovation solution providers. Ira has 30 years of recognition and incentive industry experience, as an executive with Sony and agencies including BI Worldwide, USMotivation and Meridian Enterprises.
Gail Rawlinson has been working as an HR Advisor in Recognition Services for the past 10 years with Alberta Health Services (AHS) and became a Certified Recognition Professional in 2015. Gail is one of two team members that administer recognition programs for 105,000 employees, 8,800 medical staff and 22,000 volunteers. Gail is currently developing a new recognition strategy which will help to create an environment where contributions are acknowledged, recognized and celebrated so the AHS workforce feel they are valued and can see how their work aligns with the vision, mission, values and goals of AHS.
Dondra Ritzenthaler joined award-winning modern luxury cruise line Celebrity Cruises in September 2003, becoming the brand’s first Vice President of Sales. After three years of success and celebrated accomplishments, Ritzenthaler was promoted to her current role as Senior Vice President of Sales (SVP) for the brand, where she continues to thrive and win awards. As SVP of Sales, Trade Support and Service, Ritzenthaler leads the sales organization in North America (NA), and leads trade support and service for NA, UK and Ireland, and Asia-Pacific region. In all, she is responsible for a global team of more than 600 dedicated, highly-skilled employees. In North America, Ritzenthaler oversees all marketing sales directors and managers, strategic marketing managers, inside sales representatives, national and corporate account managers in the field, and support staff at corporate headquarters in Miami. Plus, national accounts, trade support and service -- which includes reservations, group sales and customer service, as well as the line's consumer outreach division, onboard cruise sales and internal sales support. A seasoned travel industry executive, Ritzenthaler joined Celebrity following nearly two decades in the business, primarily in sales and marketing management with American Airlines. Prior to joining the modern luxury brand, she was Regional Sales Director of passenger sales for the airline’s Midwest region.
Jeff Ross is a certified public accountant. He joined the C. A. Short Company as its controller in June 1993 and was promoted to Chief Financial Officer in November 1996. In January 2010, he was promoted to President and Chief Financial Officer. Jeff is a Certified Recognition Professional as designated by Recognition Professionals International. Jeff was employed as an accountant by Hausser + Taylor, a large public accounting and consulting firm from September 1989, until June 1993. Jeff serves on the Board of Directors of 2XSalt Ministries, Charlotte, NC and is a member of North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants, The Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He graduated from The Ohio State University with Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts Degrees in 1989.
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, 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.
Roy is Chief Learning Officer at Rideau’s Vistance Institute (formerly Recognition Management Institute), the company’s recognition consulting, education and thought leadership division. He has been a subject matter expert in helping companies get recognition right for the past 20 years. He serves on RPI’s Education Committee and has been a judge on the Best Practices Awards Committee for the past 10 years. Roy is the author of Giving the Real Recognition Way and is a popular columnist in Incentive Magazine and Training Magazine.
Rebecca has been attending RPI conferences since 2006, and CRP certified since 2008. During her 17 years with Verizon Wireless, she has been in various roles of employee engagement. From her early days as Call Center Incentives coordinator, to Center Consultant, responsible for the incentives programs for 800 employees, to a South Field consultant, developing and implementing recognition programs for nearly 5000 employees, she has used the skills she learned during her CRP certification. Most recently, Rebecca started a new role as a Manager of national Customer Service special events and recognition programs for Verizon Wireless.
Industry veterans have described Traci Snowe as having the “it factor” born out of the American melting pot. Like the late great Michael Jackson, SNOWE was born in Indiana and was raised singing, dancing and acting on stage. She also had formative experiences traveling the country and internationally - including childhood years growing up on the Navajo reservation, school years in predominantly African-American neighborhoods and cross-cultural adventures in Germany, SE Asia and Africa. Built from these multi-cultural elements, with a belief that we can be anything, do anything, change any negative into a positive, leave a legacy of love and achieve greatness - SNOWE embodies authentic LUV, and keeps you coming back for more.
Donna St. Louis is the Service Award Administrator at The Boeing Company, the world’s largest aerospace company with over 160,000 employees worldwide. She has worked at Boeing for the past 15 years and has been involved in recognition for the past 6 years. Donna is currently serving as a RPI Board Member and holds certification as a Certified Recognition Professional (CRP). She is dedicated to increasing employee engagement and building a culture of appreciation at Boeing.
Rhonda Sunnarborg, a Senior Business Analyst at MotivAction, has more than 25 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies to change the behavior of employees, salespeople, and channel partners. She is the author of MotivAction’s Employee Recognition Guide and A Culture of Recognition: Building a System to Celebrate Great Performance, a 50-page how-to guide published in 2000. Rhonda has served on the national board for Recognition Professionals International and holds a B.A. in Communications/Business from St. Catherine University, St. Paul, Minnesota, and a Master’s Degree from the University of Dallas.
Monica Van Slate began working for Southwest Airlines in 1989 in Customer Relations. She moved from there to the Executive Office as a writer for the CEO and other officers, where she also was involved in specific writing/presentation projects related to Southwest Airlines Culture and Communications. Many years later, Monica joined the Labor and Employee Relations group before joining Employee Engagement and Travel, where she has worked for the past 5 years. She has been involved in administering the Kick Tail program for Southwest since 2011 and has participated in its evolution into an all-encompassing recognition/incentive program for Southwest. Monica earned her CRP credentials at the RPI Conference in 2016.
Rodd Wagner is the New York Times bestselling author of the book Widgets: The 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees As If They're Real People. A contributor to Forbes, he is one of the foremost authorities on employee engagement and collaboration. Wagner's books, speeches, and thought leadership focus on how human nature affects business strategy.
Wendi Walker-Schmidt serves as Director of Engagement Solutions-Learning for Inspirus in Ft. Worth, Texas. For over 20 years she has been responsible for all stages of the learning and development cycle including design, delivery, and evaluation. As a key leader, she develops strategic learning and development programs, while managing day-to-day training activities for client organizations. Wendi conceptualizes creative learning and execution solutions and leads projects through to successful completion. In previous roles, she has led successful learning and organizational development programs that include leadership development, engagement performance interventions, psychometric evaluations, professional enrichment, and executive and management coaching. Wendi has two Bachelor’s degrees from Houston Baptist University, a Master’s degree from Texas Christian University and holds certifications in instructional system design, mediation and is a certified facilitator. She is on the TCU Alumni Board (Learning Committee) and the Talent Management Human Capital Executive Research Board, and also holds a position as a CLO Learning Elite judge. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family.
Juliana Weyand, a T-Mobile Employee Recognition Program Manager, has 11 years of experience in event planning, onsite supervision, and program management in industry-leading companies. She has a distinct passion around recognition and the power it has to promote employee engagement. She currently manages the service anniversary programs at T-Mobile at an enterprise-level and continually seeks program enhancement opportunities. Juliana graduated with Cum Laude Honors from the University of Washington Business School with a Bachelor in Business Administration and holds a CompTIA Project+ Certification.