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2016 Annual Conference


Conference Home | Register Today | Registration Rates | Agenda | Speakers | Hotel & Travel | Silent Auction

IACETEach conference breakout and keynote address is approved for .1 CEUs as approved by IACET. Recognition Professionals International (RPI) has been approved as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), 8405 Greensboro Drive, Suite 800, McLean, VA 22102.

January 9-13, 2016
Mandalay Bay Hotel
3950 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89119

In conjunction with the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI)
Mandalay Bay Hotel
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Recognition Professionals International (RPI) and Promotional Products Association International (PPAI, have once again formed a strategic alliance, co-locating the RPI Annual Conference with PPAI at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, January 9-13, 2016.

Recognition Professionals International (RPI) is the leading resource for global strategic workforce recognition. RPI is the only professional association that engages both practitioners and resource providers to provide holistic value to the global recognition industry. RPI is at the forefront of workforce recognition through its focus on recognition innovations and education as a systematic method for improvements in the workplace.

Download the onsite program here and the schedule at a glance here.

Why Workplace Recognition Matters
by Jason Thomson

Thanking employees and showing appreciation for their efforts shouldn't be something we have to teach -- but we do. That is why so many HR professionals will be attending the 2016 Recognition Professional International (RPI) Annual Summit. Held in Las Vegas on January 9-13, the much anticipated event will open with Keynote Speaker, Dr. Paul White, co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace and close with entertainment by American Idol Top 3 Melinda Doolittle with many valuable workshops and training sessions in-between.


It has been brought to RPI’s attention that a third-party housing company has made contact with some RPI members and annual sponsors trying to get them to book their 2016 RPI Conference hotel rooms through their service and at what they claim to be a “better rate.”

While these companies may have secured blocks of rooms at various hotels including Mandalay Bay, they are not the official housing provider for the RPI Conference. Experient Inc is RPI’s only official housing provider. Unofficial vendors cannot provide the same benefits and protection Experient offers. RPI only guarantees hotel room rates and availability during conference dates for reservations made through Experient, the official housing company of RPI Conference and The PPAI Expo.

Hotel reservations made outside of the official RPI Conference hotel block may put you at risk. In the past we have received reports of individuals who encountered challenges with reservations made with unofficial vendors upon checking into the hotel. Reservations did not exist and/or the unofficial vendor went out of business after taking the reservations and deposits, leaving individuals stranded without hotel rooms and lost deposits.

Please be cautious and certain if you decide to book with an unofficial vendor. We strongly encourage you to verify their credentials before doing business with them, and then independently confirm that your reservation(s) have in fact been made and will be honored by the hotel.

Questions, email Experient or call them at 800-967-8852

Official RPI/PPAI Expo Hotel Reservation Information

Please Note:

RPI conference attendees are given access to view the PPAI brand show floor with their event registration:

In order to have access to the Expo show floor, you must qualify for the PPAI member/distributor qualifications:

Saturday, January 9, 2016

8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Building a Recognition Blueprint (formerly CRP II)
Dee Hansford, CRP, Dee Hansford Consulting

3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Monday, January 11, 2016

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.

9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Breakout Sessions

       Where to Start? Making Assessments Matter – through Tried-and-True Tools
       Rita Maehling, CRP, HLT, Inc.
       *Real World Recognition Track Sponsored by RPI

       Driving Strategic Change through Recognition and Rewards
       Mercedes Escala, IBM

       Recognition Basics: Ideas to Make a Good
       Recognition Moment...GREAT!

       Amy Hurley, LSW, CRP, & Caitlin Hill, CRP, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

       People Create Your Competitive Advantage: Why Does Motivation
       Make the Difference?

       Mark McCowan & Trevor Barkway, Synchro Marketing Australia

11:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

1:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

       You Want to Do What? Making Negotiations Matter —
       7 Elements of Negotiations

       Vicki Hargrove, CRP, Hargrove Business Consulting
       *Real World Recognition Track Sponsored by RPI

       Designing for Results: A Culture of Wellness — Creating Better Lives
       for Your People and Better Business Results for Your Organization

       Amy Kramer, CRP, Maritz Motivation Solutions & Jeff Croy, Yo-Fi Wellness, Inc.

       The Ultimate Recognition Grudge Match... Executive Perceptions
       vs. Employees' Experiences

       Rhonda Sunnarborg

       The Behavioral Economics of Incentives
       Scott Jeffrey, Monmouth University

2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

       Listen Up! Not Recognizing Your Employees’ Needs
       Could Be Hurting Your Business

       Donna Levin,

       Coming Alive: Creating an Engaged Workforce
       Ruth Ross, R Squared Resources

       How to Pitch an Idea
       Jason Thomson, CRP, Creative Mercenary

       Service Awards: A Cornerstone for Employee Recognition
       Jeffrey Fina, Michael C. Fina & Christina Papoulias, Marriott International

4:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

How to Make Your Culture Come Alive
Ginger Hardage, Senior Vice President Culture & Communications for Southwest Airlines Co.

5:15 p.m & After

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Great Work: How to Make a Difference People Love”
David Sturt, EVP, O.C. Tanner Company, Author of New York Times bestseller Great Work: How to Make a Difference People Love

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

       It's Time to Celebrate! Best Practices for an Amazing Event
       R. Scott Russell, CRP, Kathy Stark, CRP, & Barbara Ruddy, CRP, STARS
       *Real World Recognition Track Sponsored by RPI

       Five Lifehacks to Change Your Culture by Friday
       Brian Dodds, CRP, CorporateRewards

       Making a Difference with Recognition of Life Events
       Nan Barry & Amy Marhoefer, Southwest Airlines

       Banking on Success: How Mountain America Credit Union Made Implementing
       a Recognition Platform Look Easy
       Theresa Harkins, RPI Past President, CRP, CCP, SPHR, Inspirus,
       Gary Sanford, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, AVP Compensation and Benefits, Employee Experience and
       Engagement Team, Mountain America Credit Union and Kelli Johnson, Client Success Strategist,
       Inspirus, LLC

2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

       “How Much Will This Cost?” Making Budgets Matter —
        7 Principles for Successful Budgeting of Recognition and Reward Programs

       Roy Saunderson, CRP, Rideau’s Recognition Management Institute
       *Real World Recognition Track Sponsored by RPI

       Change Management & Recognition
       Chris Winkelspecht, Maritz Motivation Solutions

       Does Motivation Drive Business Success?
       Suzanne Schell, CRP, ROI Institute Canada

       The Importance of Making Recognition Part of Your
        Corporate Meeting Plans

       John Mangini, CRP, Rymax Marketing Services/Brainstorm Logistics

4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.