IRF Trustee Bios

 

Trustee BIO

 

SANDRA DANIEL is President and CEO of FIRE Light Group, a full-service engagement solutions company based in Madison, Wisconsin. She is also President of Wisconsin Meetings & Events, a locally based DMC. Earlier in her career, Sandra was a General Ledger Manager at Bank of America, Director of Marketing Services for CUNA Mutual Insurance Group and Chief Marketing Officer for another Wisconsin-based incentive marketing company. Sandra has also been a speaker and instructor at numerous conferences and forums during her career. She is the current IRF Board Chair and has served as a volunteer with the IRF for almost a decade. She believes that the work of the IRF is instrumental in making a solid business case for the value of incentives, recognition and rewards and ultimately engagement of key stakeholders. In addition to various industry certifications, Sandra holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, summa cum laude from the University of Wisconsin with a focus in marketing and finance.


 


DAHLTON BENNINGTON, CMP, CMM Sr. Planner, A+ Meetings and Incentives, Director of Meeting Services for Randstad, a $22 billion global provider of HR and staffing services. 

As a tenured meeting and incentive professional, Dahlton leads a number of Fortune 500 companies' meetings and incentive programs for A Plus Meetings and Incentives. Dahlton provides strategic input on themes, communications, marketing and overall program agendas. Additionally, Dahlton manages sourcing, evaluating and negotiating with all required partners including hotel, venue, activities, entertainment and décor.Currently Secretary and Executive Board Member of the Incentive Research Foundation, Dahlton focuses on succession planning, education, and continues to be an advocate for the incentive industry.  Additional industry involvement includes: Commissioner for Association of Destination Management Executives’ Accredited Destination Management Company (ADMC) Commission and former Vice President of Education & Advocacy for Society of Incentive Travel Executives Florida (SITE Florida).  Dahlton is often featured in Prevue Magazine as a travel writer featuring destination highlights for meeting and incentive planners. 

 

JANET TRAPHAGEN has been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years. Today as Executive Vice President, Sales she is leading the overall corporate sales strategy and is a member of the Executive Committee at Creative Group, Inc. She joined Creative Group in 1996 in an operations role as Account Manager. In 1999, she transitioned into sales as an Account Executive and in 2004 was promoted to Vice President/Account Executive. During her tenure as an Account Executive, she was recognized as “AE of the Year” in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 and served on the company’s Management Committee and Sales Management Team.  Janet has served on the Starwood Advisory Council and is a frequent contributor on industry panel discussions with Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and Marriott Hotels. She is also a member of the Sales Management Summit, a board for senior sales executives and NAPW (National Association of Professional and Executive Women).  

 

MIKE MAY, CMP, IP is President and owner of Spear One, a full-service performance improvement company based in Dallas, Texas.  Spear One helps enterprise clients drive performance improvement and channel engagement through group incentive travel, recognition and incentive programs, event planning, and engagement campaigns - with creativity, flexibility, and a commitment to results.  Under Mike’s leadership, Spear One has quadrupled in size, added many Fortune 1000 clients, and broadened its expertise.  Mike is also a member of the Performance Improvement Council of IMA and regular presenter at The Motivation Show and IMA webinars.

 

 

MARK ALT, Senior Vice President and Director of Sales for Maritz Motivational Solutions. Mark Alt brings diverse experience to lead a team of sales professionals representing results-based loyalty and motivation solutions. His experience in both the motivation and learning divisions of Maritz enables Mark to guide the Maritz team in designing innovative programs for clients that deliver higher levels of loyalty and sales performance through the sales channel, employees and customers. Mark’s sales career has encompassed both direct and channel sales. While at Oracle he was involved in leading sales teams to focus on government, defense systems, utilities, and engineering solutions.  He is an advisor for Global Channel programs for manufacturers and distributors in the technology market.  He was a member of the US Chamber of Commerce-Telecommunications and Ecommerce committee.  Currently resides as the Board of Directors on Action for Autism. Mark is also a mentor to the SixThirty organization. He enjoys working with and motivating individuals so they can achieve greater potential. Mark received a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Southern Illinois University. He is married with three boys, three girls and two dogs. In his spare time, he loves to golf.

 

EUGENE DE VILLIERS, Managing Director The Extra Mile Company

MICHAEL FREEDMAN, International Director of Group Sales for AmStar DMC. Michael Freedman leads the Amstar DMC Meetings & Incentives team in 5 countries (Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Hawaii & Costa Rica) as Director of International Sales.  Michael has been living in Mexico for over 20 years working in the hospitality industry.  Having hosted 3 IRF invitationals, 2 consecutive years with Amstar, Michael brings his passion of delivering top notch programs to the incentive industry.  

BRETT HATCH is Sr. Director, Corporate Gifts/Special Markets at Maui Jim Sunglasses. Since starting the corporate division in 2000, Maui Jim has become known as The World's Most Memorable Gift Experience in the Incentive industry. With over 20 years' experience in the Incentive and Promotional Product industry, Brett has global responsibility managing business strategy, partnerships, and marketing of the Maui Jim brand with a focus on gift cards, merchandise, and the incentive travel markets. He has served on the board for IMA(Incentive Marketing Association) 2007-2011, past member of the Motivation Show/ITME advisory board, and was chosen to participate in the 7th Annual "Incentive Magazine" Industry Roundtable. Brett is actively involved with the Annual Invitational  event for the IRF.

 

 

BICH-LIEN KALDAHL is currently a Chicago based Meeting, Incentive & Group Sales Manager at United Airlines – a position she has held for the past 16 years combined with Continental & United Airlines. In this role, Ms. Kaldahl seeks out and facilitates corporate, group, incentive and meeting travel. She works closely with many tourism offices and Convention Visitor Bureaus to help increase meeting and group business worldwide.  Prior to this, Ms. Kaldahl held positions of increasing responsibility in the Continental Sales organization in Baltimore, Washington DC and Chicago. Ms. Kaldahl is very involved with the hospitality industry and was the SITE Chicago Chapter President in 2007 and 2008 and SITE Leadership Council in 2007. She is a member of MPI, PCMA, FICP and SITE. 

 

As VP of Industry Relations, JIM KELLEY is focused on bringing the services, solutions and consultative approach of PRG to those organizations whose events require best in class multidisciplinary audio, video, lighting, production, staging, content capture/webcasting, digital signage, presentation management, ars and video production solutions across the U.S., Canada and other global destinations.  Jim is also a member of: PCMA—Chair-Education Conference; IAEE—Previous Board Member, Current Member of the Senior Executive Education Committee; CEIR-National Trustee: PCMA Capital Chapter-Director of Education.

 



Soma Kim draws on two decades of hospitality sales experience at some of the most renowned players at the luxury end of the industry. As Account Director, Incentive Sales at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, she is focused on direct sales efforts in the Incentive Market, building solid relationships, increasing market share and generating revenues for the still-expanding luxury brand. Prior to joining Four Seasons, she spent just over two years as Director of Global Sales with Morgans Hotel Group, transforming a struggling operation by revamping global sales strategy, implementing effective promotional strategies, and boosting the company’s image both internally and externally. Born in Cambodia and raised outside of Chicago, Kim was drawn to hospitality through a personal love of travel and discovered her passion for the sales side of the industry while pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Administration/Management from Eastern Illinois University. A strong believer in the power of Incentive Market, Kim was named 2015 Outstanding Partner of the Year by the performance improvement company MotivAction. She will serve on the board of the Incentive Research Foundation, the leading organization funding research studies and developing products serving the global incentive industry, for 2016-2018.

 

RODNEY MORROW, Director of Sales for Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa in Henderson, Nevada (Las Vegas area). Rodney has over 20 years of experience in luxury hotels in North Carolina, Atlanta, Northern California and Las Vegas. Prior to joining Green Valley Ranch, Rodney has worked for Ritz-Carlton and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. His current role includes managing a team of Hotel Sales Managers while continuing to maintain and develop relationships in the marketplace. His greatest fulfillment at work comes from mentoring and developing entry level Hospitality Sales people.  Rodney and his wife Emily have lived in Las Vegas since 2007. He enjoys golfing and is a life-long Duke Blue Devils fan. Rodney has been a participant in the IRF Invitational since 2007.

 

MIKE RYAN is Senior Vice President, Marketing and Client Strategy, Madison Performance Group. For close to two decades, Mike has helped many of the world’s leading brands and executives define employee recognition and sales incentive program strategies that minimize costs, deliver a higher level of motivational impact to participants, increase planning flexibility for stakeholders, and offer the financial controls and projected returns that sponsors demand. A recognized voice within the industry, Mike has been quoted and published in numerous media outlets and is a frequent speaker at industry events. Mike is also the president of The Performance Improvement Council (PIC) and a board member of The Incentive Marketing Association (IMA). Mike holds an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University and is Secretary/Treasurer of the IRF Board of Trustees.

SCOTT SIEWERT has more than 25 years of experience in performance marketing. His experience and skills have translated into successful programs including five-star incentive travel and points programs, innovative employee recognition programs, and meetings and events. He has contributed to the design, sales and account management of a combined total of 15 consecutive years’ worth of SITE and IMA award winning incentive programs. Scott’s hallmark is developing incentive rules and structures that successfully “Move the Middle” performers. To illustrate this commitment, he has completed the course on ROI Analysis by The ROI Institute and is a Certified ROI Professional. He is also a Certified Recognition Profession. Scott is passionate about the incentive travel business. He has been to 92 countries on 6 continents photographing each and every adventure. He has a Master of Business Administration from Emory University with a Finance concentration. He also serves as a Board Member on the Recognition Council of the IMA. 

PATRICK SMITH is a hotel sales executive with over 25 years of hospitality industry experience.  Patrick speaks, blogs, and travels extensively in his current role leading the group sales teams and efforts in North America for The Leading Hotels of the World (LHW).The Leading Hotels of the World is the oldest (founded in 1928) and largest (430+ properties) luxury hotel brand in the world. Patrick has grown the group sales business for LHW by upwards of 30% in total volume since joining the brand four years ago by changing LHW’s sales focus towards targeted efforts and with unique positioning to the market. In his spare time Patrick is an insufferable music snob and bon vivant who also enjoys the three months of boating in Chicago, writing checks to repair his vintage BMW, carpentry, long yoga sessions, cooking at home, and seeking out authentic and local experiences.

 

RODGER STOTZ is Chief Research Officer of the IRF.  A speaker, author and business consultant to major corporations, Rodger Stotz is the Chief Research Officer with the Incentive Research Foundation, following a three decade career in the Incentive Industry. He is a member of the board of the Enterprise Engagement Alliance. Rodger’s passion is helping individuals and organizations grow and achieve their goals by applying his expertise in the integration of marketing science and human performance technology. Rodger has highlighted his expertise in numerous articles on incentives, recognition, and program design and assessment. Works by Rodger include the chapter on Recognition for the Handbook of Executive Compensation (2001), co-author of Principles of Results Based Incentive Program Design (2004), co-author of the chapter on Non-monetary Awards for The Compensation Handbook (2008), and two white papers: Human Performance, and The Fundamentals of Motivation. Rodger is a highly sought speaker at all major incentive industry events.

 

Melissa Van Dyke

MELISSA VAN DYKE has been President of the IRF for over 6 years, during which time she has proudly helped triple the organization's research and education footprint.   As President, Melissa has responsibility for all day-to-day operational, financial and marketing aspects of the organization. She came to the IRF from her position as Managing Consultant of the Employee Engagement Practice at Maritz. Prior to this, Melissa held leadership positions in Solution Management, Product Development and Business Technology Solution Management and as a Senior Business Process and Technology Consultant for Ernst & Young LLP. Van Dyke has been named one of the "Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry" by Meetings and Conventions Magazine, selected as Incentive magazine’s “Rising Star in the Incentive Industry” and authored the chapter on “Using Non Monetary Awards to Support Business Behaviors that Drive Results” in the sixth edition of the Compensation Handbook. 

KARI VRBA leads MotivAction’s strategic vision of presale which includes sales, client solutions, marketing, creative, and purchasing teams. Kari is an industry veteran with 20 years of experience in delivering performance improvement solutions. Her work and client programs have received global recognition from SITE, CMI25, and Incentive Magazine. She plays an active role in industry roundtables and advisory boards for several leading hotel chains and in the past has participated on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Chapter of Site and multiple committees for SITE International.

 

BETTY WEINKLE is a Vice President of Partnership with Blackhawk Engagement Solutions. Her responsibilities include management of key strategic partners in addition to business development in alternate channels such as wellness. Betty’s 25 years of leadership in the incentive industry includes board membership in the Incentive Marketing Association and as a past President of the Incentive Gift Card Council. She has led research development, been an outspoken incentive champion, and is a designated Certified Professional of Incentive Management. She has additionally enjoyed mentoring a number of successful folks in the industry. She is a tremendous advocate for the power of incentives.

 

TODD ZINT, Todd uses his two decades of experience in the industry to support NFP’s meeting strategy as a shared service for the enterprise. He focuses on aligning meeting logistics with event goals and objectives, maximizing return on value. Prior to joining NFP, Todd worked in several Fortune 500 companies, including Ingram Micro, AXA Financial, MetLife, Washington Mutual, Maritz Travel Company and the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company. He is an active member in the Financial & Insurance Conference Planners association, serving as its chairman in 2011. He received his Bachelor of Science from Northern Arizona University. Todd lives in Austin, TX, with his wife, Monique, and their two children.

 


JOOST DE MEYER, Joost worked with Holland America Line before beginning his career in tourism. During his 25 years of working within the European Travel Trade, Joost worked primarily in management positions for various Dutch and German tour operators. Moving to Florida in 1997, Joost became a partner in First Incentive Travel and at the beginning of 2000, Joost and his wife Iris became owners of First Incentive Travel. The clients of First Incentive Travel are international corporate groups traveling to the USA. Joost achieved his CITE (Certified Incentive Travel Executives) Certification in 2007 and his CIS (Certified Incentive Specialist) in 2012. Both certifications are from the association SITE. Additionally Joost is a MPI member and received his CMM (Certified Meeting Manager) Certification in 2005. In January 2015 he received his ACC (Accredited Cruise Counsellor), a certification from CLIA and is working on his MCC.