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RPI 2020 Experience Conference - Agenda

2020 RPI Experience Conference logo

Conference is Cancelled

CRP sessions can be taken online and we will be offering some of the sessions below as webinars and a Virtual Conference this fall.


Monday, May 18, 2020

9:00 am – 5:30 pm

CRP I – Structuring Recognition Systems for Success
Barbara Ruddy, CRP, Arizona Department of Economic Security

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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

9:00 am – 10:15 am Keynote and Conference Launch

How to drive success in a high performing environment leveraging all aspects of incentive, recognition and employee engagement programs.

Leigh Lachman, Verizon

Leigh Lachman

Speaker Bio: Leigh Lachman - As the Employee Experience leader for the VCG - Customer Service organization, Leigh knows that in order to win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace. With nearly 20 years of various positions within Verizon, she's become obsessed with creating new ways to educate, engage and motivate employees.

In Leigh’s current role, she leads the following creative teams:

  • Strategy: Build campaigns and comprehensive communication and engagement plans designed to educate and prepare the front line teams to deliver industry-leading experiences to our customers.
  • Content: Write meaningful copy for day-to-day communications including daily newsletters, executive communications, digital signage, etc.
  • Technology: Design, maintain and enhance employee tools and leverage new technology in ways that allow us to better serve our customers.
  • Multimedia: Create visually rich and effective graphics and videos to support incentives, recognition, executive messages and marketing campaigns.
  • Customer Ready: Produce innovative learning experiences that educate, motivate and engage learners across a range of delivery methods.

Leigh started her career as a Retail Sales Representative in our Wireless locations and then spent time as a trainer in New York Metro. She then moved to the National Operations team where she managed executive events and was on the core team that opened the first Wireless Destination Store in the Mall of America in November of 2013. In December of 2013, Leigh moved to Wireline where she had the opportunity to build a culture and communications team from the ground up.

Leigh 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, she believes we end up exactly where we belong.

10:15 am – 11:15 am Keynote

Fireside Chat with Chris Baron

Chris Baron, Achieve Institute with R. Scott Russell, CRP, CEP

Chris Baron

Session Description: R Scott Russell hosts a “fireside” chat with the COO of the Achieve Institute and author of the Amazon new release best seller, The Fearless Leader. Chris will highlight what makes a “fearless leader” and how management accountability is paramount to engagement. Enjoy this interactive session in which Q & A from the audience will be encouraged.

Bio: Chris Baron is currently the Chief Operating Officer at The Achieve Institute.  For nearly two decades, The Achieve Institute has helped individuals, teams and Fortune 100 organizations maximize their performance. The Achieve Institute is comprised of highly specialized certified performance experts and support professionals that deliver the tried and true methods of The Achieve System. 

Chris is the author of the Amazon new release best seller, The Fearless Leader: A Sensible Guide to Practicing Authentic Leadership.  She is also a speaker, mentor, inspirational leader, and a personal growth catalyst. She began her career at a Fortune 50 company as an account executive in 1993, ultimately rising to senior leadership positions over the next 24 years before retiring in 2017. In one of her positions, she was president of the Midwest Area, where she led full responsibility for $18 billion P&L with over 14,000 employees spanning 15 states. She also managed the distribution strategy including 500 company-owned retail stores and 2,000 indirect locations. Under her leadership, the Midwest Region was the leader in market share growth in one of the most competitive wireless markets in the nation.

In her capacity as senior vice president of National Operations, she oversaw retail sales operations and the design for more than 1,900 national company-owned retail stores. As senior vice president of the Global Supply Chain, she led end-to-end supply chain management including $35 billion in sourcing and procurement activities. She oversaw the company’s sustainability initiative including reducing the companies carbon footprint. In her last assignment, Chris led national customer service operations including managing a team of over 18,000 employees in 22 call centers and all partner relationships. 

She is the recipient of dozens of leadership awards including Verizon’s Chairman’s Award (2009). She was recognized by New Jersey Business Magazine as one of New Jersey’s “40 Under Forty” and “Best 50 Women in Business,” in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

Scott Russell

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.”

1:15 pm – 2:15 pm Breakout Session

Insights are the Currency of the Knowledge Economy

Chris Dornfeld, Maritz

As the economy continues to transform, so does every aspect of our work experience, in fact by 2030 as much as 80% of the workforce will have jobs that do not exist today. Chris shares his perspective on insights, what they are and why insights are the currency that will shape the knowledge economy and every employee's experience.

Chris Dornfeld

Speaker Bio: Chris Dornfeld - Entrepreneur, Designer and Executive dedicated to improving the quality of the human experience by proving the value of investing in people. For 20+ years, Chris has applied his talents in strategy, technology and design to build collaborative teams and to solve complex problems as he works towards his mission to improve the human experience. Chris currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Maritz Motivation, responsible for leading a talented team designing, building and delivering the services and technology that helps companies around the world make the most of their most valuable asset - their people. With a background spanning several start-up companies, global corporations, higher education and government as the CIO for the City of St. Louis- Chris has a unique vantage point on engagement, culture, technology and our changing work experience. Chris frequently contributes to industry publications and speaks around the country on the employee experience, people analytics and building entrepreneurial organizations. Chris is an advocate of the Arts and STEM, serving as a director on the Arts and Education Council and is the co-founder of the Center for Science, a national collaborative network of science center partners and National Geographic. Chris is actively involved in the entrepreneurial community in St. Louis and is responsible for developing programs that have helped hundreds of entrepreneurs and start-up companies

1:15 pm – 2:15 pm Breakout Session

Recognition and Incentives - Let's Compare

Peter Cannon, Ticket Jones; Panelist: R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP, CA Short; Paul Hebert, Creative Group; David Gould, CRWorldwide

An interactive panel discussion, moderated by Peter Cannon, about recognition and incentives. Is recognition an incentive? Is an incentive recognition? The answer: Maybe and maybe. Too often the terms recognition and incentive are conflated. Consequently, the design, and ultimately the success of the program suffers. Knowing how incentives and recognition programs differ is critical to creating successful solutions that drive performance. Even professionals in the industry seem to have wildly different perspectives.

Peter Cannon

Peter Cannon - Peter Cannon has twenty years of experience as an Industry Supplies. He is a Past President of the IESP (IMA Think Tank) and a Current Board Member of IMA.

Scott Russell

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.”

Peter Cannon

David Gould - David Gould graduated with an honorary degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Westminster, London, England. In 1993 he joined a near start-up company in the UK, MicroWarehouse, one of the first I.T. catalogue retailers, as Corporate Account Manager where he focussed on selling Apple hardware and Mac 3rd party products and accessories primarily to publishing and media sectors. He was then promoted to the role of Corporate Sales Manager for MacWarehouse before moving into the role of MacWarehouse Business Manager in 1996. MacWarehouse quickly became the largest Apple and Mac related products reseller in the UK and as MicroWarehouse acquired more companies a restructure saw David promoted into the role of Product Merchandising Director for the MicroWarehouse Group of brands in the UK.

In 2002, David joined the Dixons Stores Group plc as Trading Director for PC World Business which later developed into the role of Commercial Director for the wider group, DSGi Business, following the acquisitions of MicroWarehouse and Equanet. David then moved onto BT plc as Commercial Director, responsible for and BT Business Direct. In 2010 he joined Insight (Nasdaq. NSIT) as Managing Director, responsible for their German operations which included the Country Business and the EMEA Shared Services based in Munich. After three and a half years, which included the acquisition and integration of inmac GmbH into Insight Germany and moving the entire business onto a new ERP platform David handed over the reins to a native German business leader and decided to look for new opportunities which would both leverage his leadership experience and allow a move into a new industry sector.

In 2014, David joined CR Worldwide. As CEO, he is responsible for developing and growing the business to support new and existing clients. Since David moved to the Incentive marketing industry, he has been an active member of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA). In February 2018, he was appointed to the Board of Incentive and Engagement Solution Providers (IESP), an IMA Strategic Industry Group (SIG). In July, he was appointed Vice President, IESP and separately, studied and qualified for the Incentive Professional (IP) designation. David has a passion for the outdoor life especially skiing, travel, technology and quality family time.

1:15 pm – 2:15 pm Breakout Session

How Did We Get Employee Motivation so Horribly Wrong?

Paul Herr, Author of Primal Management, Speaker

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.

Paul Herr

Speaker Bio: Paul Herr - Researchers at the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) and Maritz discovered Paul Herr's book, Primal Management, and his five-drive model of employee motivation six years ago. They noticed that Paul's 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, Paul has: written a research report on behavioral science for the IRF, spoken at an Enterprise Engagement Alliance (EEA) event in Chicago, and marketed his 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.

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm Breakout Session

Shaking it up: Trying out a grassroots approach to grow team-based recognition

Felicia Granger, Vancouver Coastal Health

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.

Felicia Granger

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.

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm Breakout Session

Safegagement: How to Increase Overall Engagement by Recognizing Safe Behaviors

Jeff Ross, CPA, CRP & Brent Lee, CRP, CA Short, Christopher Volmer, MMHR, MSA, PHR, SHRM-CP, SSBBP, Sysco Corporation

You can increase overall engagement in your organization by recognizing and/or incentivizing safe behaviors. Learn the core principles of the Safegagement methodology and how to apply in your environment. If your current recognition/incentive program has no safety component then you are missing out on a great opportunity to connect to employees in a new and meaningful way. For over 50 years, CA Short has led the way in safety recognition and we are going to share some secrets with YOU!

Jeff Ross

Speaker Bio: Jeff Ross is the current CEO/CFO of CA Short Company, an industry leader in recognition and engagement services for over 80 years. Jeff holds a CRP and CPA designation and he will bring his industry insight and safety knowledge to this premier session. He is a seasoned presenter, having spoken on this topic all over North America in the last several years.

Brent Lee

Brent Lee - With nearly 10 years of experience in the Safety & Employee Recognition Industry, Brent Lee, National Account Manager, is well versed in developing and implementing employee recognition programs that get results. Brent attended NC State University, with a BS in Business Management & Finance, and has recently earned his Certified Recognition Professional (CRP) accreditation from Recognition Professionals International.

Christopher Volmer

Christopher Volmer is an Executive HR professional that possesses over sixteen years of human resource management experience, ten being in payroll, benefits and compensation. He also has fifteen years of human relations’ experience with ten years specializing in contract negotiations, audit and regulatory compliance, talent acquisition/recruitment, contract writing, training and development, and workplace mediation.

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm Breakout Session

A Culture of Inspiration: Western Union's Global Journey

John O'Brien, BI WORLDWIDE & Mark Bocianski, Western Union

This session leverages RPI's best practice standards to drive Western Union's culture of recognition across the world with their 12,000 employees. It integrates the power of moments, from attracting associates to the company, to on-boarding, everyday recognition, achievement day & referrals. WU includes peer-to-peer, manager discretionary, on-the-spot recognition and social recognition as well as celebration days to inspire employees. We will share results and the impact on the organization.

John O'Brien

Speaker Bio: John O'Brien - 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.

Mark Bocianski

Speaker Bio: Mark Bocianski is currently the VP, Global Head of Talent & Learning at Western Union. Mark leads the overall talent and learning strategy including talent acquisition, leadership development, succession planning, performance management, employee engagement, onboarding, manager and corporate learning. Prior to joining Western Union Mark was the Senior Vice President of Global Talent Enablement at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. During his tenure there he developed and executed HPE's global talent strategy, encompassing executive talent acquisition; talent enablement; succession planning and performance management; employee engagement; and leadership, manager, and professional development. Prior to joining HP in February of 2012, Mark was the VP, Global Head of Talent Development at Aon Hewitt, a leading provider of human resources consulting and outsourcing services. He was focused on driving all learning, performance, and succession management; leadership and management development; talent review; and employee engagement. Over his 17-year tenure with the company, Mark held numerous roles including leading HR technology, implementing HR outsourcing solutions, managing outsourcing operations, and maintaining P&L responsibility for a book of BPO clients.

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm Roundtable Discussions

Structured - 7 Best Practices

*Consultation sessions for your recognition program provided by RPI thought leaders

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

8:15 – 9:15 am Breakfast and Keynote

Creating Moments that Matter

Derek Hubbard, Southwest Airlines

How do you know if you’ve found a great story, and how do you tell it? These two questions have become more prevalent with the rise in social media, and are difficult for brand storytellers to answer. It is almost impossible to know which stories will resonate with a given audience, yet more than ever, audiences crave compelling stories. Many people can tell a good story, but very few a great one. Great storytelling is all about creating and capturing moments that matter. This session will explore the ever-evolving landscape of storytelling, while inspiring recognition professionals to create and capture moments that matter to their people internally and externally.

Derek K. Hubbard

Speaker Bio: Derek K. Hubbard serves as a member of the Public Relations Team and spokesperson for Southwest Airlines. In his role, Derek manages the Company’s social media channels, curates and creates social content, handles media relations, and provides social counsel during crises. He also serves as an advisory board member for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). Previously, Derek worked as a television producer in Dallas and also in financial communications in London. Derek holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Corporate Communications & Public Affairs from Southern Methodist University (SMU), and also studied at Regent’s University London.

Derek was recognized in 2017 by PR News as a 30 and Under Rising PR Star. He also has written for and/or been quoted in Entrepreneur,, The Washington Post, and various publications. Derek also contributed on FOX Radio on the effectiveness of Super Bowl commercials. Through his work with the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series, Derek interviewed public figures including Michael J. Fox, Tina Brown, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Katie Couric, Walter Isaacson and more.

When not hosting a Facebook live stream for Southwest or traveling, Derek’s binge-watching his favorite TV shows or jamming one of his Spotify playlists. Find him @derekkhubbard if you want to talk TV, music, social, or the time he appeared on Carpool Karaoke.

9:30 am – 10:30 am Breakout Session

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

Kevin Yip, Blueboard

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.

Kevin Yip

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.

9:30 am – 10:30 am Breakout Session

Next Generation Engagement, Recognition & Incentives

Tina Weede, CRP, Peerless Performance; Barbara Nindos, CRP, Peerless Performance

Next Generation Engagement, Recognition & Incentives Key Value Drivers

Tina Weede-Harkins

Speaker Bios: Tina Weede - Tina's passion and purpose, the reason she get up in the morning, are People. By gaining a better understanding of Why people do what they do and how they do it, she has been able to help companies reconnect with their employees, enhance relationships with their customers and drive greater profits. Years ago, she saw a need to shift from providing Incentive, Rewards and Recognition fulfillment services to providing insight, strategies and solutions tied to purpose and trust. Tina became heavily involved in research initiatives and studies, trying to learn as much as possible about the workplace of the future, the generational mix, the brain sciences and how emotions drive everything that we do. She knows today that by gaining a better understanding of How people feel and What people think we can have a positive impact on communities, relationships and profitability...This is Why she loves what she does. Tina has been a leader in the Engagement, Recognition and Incentive space for more than 30 years. She currently is the President and CEO of Peerless Performance and a Strategic Alliance Partner with C.A. Short Company. She currently serves as the Vice President of Research and Content for The Site Foundation Board of Trustees. Tina is also a Past President for Recognition Professionals International (RPI).

Barbara Nindos

Barbara Nindos - Barbara is Chief Development Officer at Peerless Performance and is CRP certified and a member of the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence. At Peerless Performance their Trust with Purpose approach has been the driving force for Barbara. She has been engrained in creating effective incentive programs that are no longer about occasional travel, rewards or compensation. But are now about achieving specific performance and results-focused benchmarks and then driving those outcomes to shift employee behaviors with the goal of building long- term relationships within the brand and sustainable revenue growth.

And because enhancing the quality of people’s lives is also at the heart of Peerless Performance...A portion of the proceeds from the company go to two non-profit organizations, Megan’s Smile and Confetti Celebrations which she has been affiliated with for over 17 years.

9:30 am – 10:30 am Breakout Session

Staying Focused on Recognition Through Ups and Downs

Lisa Massiello, CRP, Wells Fargo & Missy Desai, InComm Incentives

Focus will be on the importance of a strategic relationship with your client/supplier and discussing best practices. Every company deals with change and challenges; a relationship can ensure you both remain focused on the goal. It is essential to realize the strength that a relationship has on ideation, program design, implementation, change management and leadership buy-in. Any company, large or small, whether a provider or practitioner, will be able to leverage these best practices.

Lisa Massiello

Speaker Bio: Lisa Massiello is the Design & Governance Manager on Wells Fargo's Enterprise Recognition team and works in Charlotte, NC. Lisa has worked for Wells Fargo for over 21 years and has spent 20 years focused on team member recognition and engagement. The Wells Fargo Enterprise Recognition team supports almost 300,000 global team members. Lisa has been an active member of RPI since 2000 and is a CRP graduate, former RPI board member including past-president.

Missy Desai

Missy Desai has helped build strong relationships with enterprise Employee Recognition clients for over 10 years. At InComm InCentives, she is responsible for client optimization through strategic planning, implementation execution, instilling recognition best practices and client retention. Missy has been instrumental in retaining and maintaining client partnerships through InComm’s acquisition of Hallmark Business Connections. She works closely with marketing and product teams on go-to-market strategies and on carrying out new technology, products and services.

10:45 am – 11:45 am Breakout Session

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

Corinne Selk, CRP, WorkHuman

Traditional incentives such as annual bonuses are no longer enough to keep employees engaged and inspired. To develop a high-performance culture, organizations need a year-round rewards strategy that will help create long-term emotional connections with their employees. This session will highlight the importance of carving out an employee recognition budget from your total rewards pie and developing a strategy that aligns your organization's objectives to its work culture and business goals.

Corianne Selk

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.

10:45 am – 11:45 am Breakout Session

Rewards, Recognition and Incentives: The Strategic Role They Play in Driving Performance

Danielle Tuck, Halo Recognition

Corianne Selk

Recognition, Rewards and Incentive are emerging as strategic programs increasingly integrated with performance management. This session will explore the expansion of initiatives and the trends and challenges companies are or must address as recognition programs continue moving into the operational mainstream.

Speaker Bio: Danielle Tuck has delighted recognition clients worldwide as a Director of Business Development for HALO Recognition over the last 20 years, coordinating and managing best-practice B2B incentive, reward, and recognition programs of all shapes and sizes. Based in the Chicago area, she has developed solutions for nearly all enterprise levels and a myriad of performance goals, giving her formidable expertise on building, growing, and maintaining successful recognition cultures. Danielle’s caring and measured approach to keeping workplaces connected and engaged is legendary in the field, and she brings her best to RPI in this presentation on recognition’s increasing role in HR performance management.

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Joint Motivation Experience and RPI Luncheon

Beyond Me - Motivating Yourself to Higher Performance

Melinda Doolittle

Melinda will share stories from her multi-faceted career and book, Beyond Me. From her humble beginnings to her amazing stint on American Idol, Melinda is a seasoned story teller.

Melinda Doolittle

Speaker Bio: Melinda Doolittle is a soul–stirring songstress, American Idol Season 6 Finalist, author, and speaker. She is a flawless vocalist with irresistible artistry and effortless style compelling her audiences to keep listening. Tone deaf as a child, Melinda’s choir teacher would plead with her not to sing, but just silently move her mouth. Undaunted, her love of singing drove her to enter a talent show in the seventh grade where she stunned the audience with her miraculously spot on vocals and beautiful voice. She never looked back! Melinda graduated with a Bachelors in Music from Belmont University in Nashville, TN. She became a highly sought after background vocalist singing for musical icons including Michael McDonald, Aretha Franklin, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Aaron Neville and Jonny Lang. Doolittle became a household name during season six of American Idol in 2007. She came in third in the voting, first with Simon Cowell calling her his “personal favorite” and quickly became the sweetheart of American Idol winning over the hearts of all with her stunning powerhouse vocals and her personal charm.

Melinda brings her keynote, “Beyond Me” based on her book of the same title. Through stories taught from her mother to experiences in her musical journey, Melinda looks to be motivating and inspiring in this special moment…with some live entertainment thrown in for fun!

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Motivation Experience Keynote

See details at

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Keynote

Five Trends Shaping the Employee Experience

Theresa Harkins-Schulz, CRP, Inspirus, LLC

The Employee Experience in today's workplace is continually transforming. This session will introduce five trends that are influencing the Employee Experience in 2020. You'll learn about how diversity and inclusion programs are evolving, the importance of recognizing five generations in the workforce and how work/life balance is being redefined.

Theresa Harkins-Schulz

Speaker Bio: Theresa Harkins-Schulz - As Senior Vice President of Customer Experience for Inspirus, Theresa uses her deep experience to create long-lasting impact and success. She's an influential pioneer who has led award-winning Fortune 500 recognition organizations and was one of the chief drivers behind the certification of recognition professionals. Theresa is a dynamic business leader and a well-known expert in recognition.

3:15 - 7:30 pm Motivation Experience Sessions

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

8:30 am – 5:30 pm

CRP II – Creating a Recognition Culture

Barbara Ruddy, CRP, Arizona Department of Economic Security

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