IRF Trustee Bios

Trustee BIO
SUSAN ADAMS, CPIM, CEP is Vice President of Travel & Engagement at Next Level Performance. She is committed to generating business improvement through recognition, incentives, and engagement and her areas of expertise include travel and marketing operations, content creation, and product development. She is an author and frequently contributes to industry press. Currently, she serves on the board of the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), and as chair of the Research Committee. She has served as secretary of the board of directors of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA), as a member of the Incentive & Engagement Solution Providers and the Performance Improvement Council (strategic industry groups of the IMA), and as a past president of the Recognition Council.
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.
COSIMO BRUZZESE joined PRA in 2002, bringing with him an outstanding sales record in the hospitality industry with several years of previous experience in hotels, airlines and cruises. In his current role as Vice President of Business Development, Cosimo is responsible for developing and maintaining Sales & Marketing and is the primary contact for Corporate and Incentive clients. He currently serves on the IRF Board of Trustees, FICP Influence Committee and is a former Board member of MPI, FICP Hospitality Partners Advisory Council, Board of Directors for ADMEI and Co-Chair of SITE Young Leaders; he is a past SITE Kevin Forde Spirit Award recipient and was also named one of Special Events Magazines Top 30 under 40 in the events industry and Collaborate Magazine Top 40 under 40. Cosimo is the proud father of twins.
MORGAN CRAIN is the co-chair of the IRF's Content and Communications Committee. She has 20 years of experience across the Technology, Banking, and Insurance industries driving employee engagement through innovative recognition programs, engaging events (both in person & virtual), and transparent, informative, action-orientated communications. She recently joined the HR Total Rewards senior leadership team at Rubrik, a cloud data management startup, to lead the build out of their Employee Recognition offerings. Morgan joined Rubrik after a 14+ year career with T-Mobile where she led their award winning Rewards & Recognition organization. She is a compassionate leader who leads with heart and passion, knowing the impact employee recognition has on company culture and employee engagement. In fact, you'll often find her at the intersection of hard work and celebration with her pom poms cheering! Whether it's a complex, company-wide award program or a small gesture of thanks, Morgan helps ensure that meaningful recognition remains an integral part of a company's DNA.
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MIN CHOI serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Germania Insurance. Min has worked in the insurance industry for over 20 years in different roles, with the last decade focusing on revenue growth. He has successfully created numerous reward programs to engage audiences and develop sustainable top line growth patterns. He is an advocate for the incentive industry and provides guidance to insurance professionals who have limited experience with building their own programs.

Germania Insurance is the largest farm mutual insurance company in Texas, providing coverage for their policyholders in auto, property and life. For over 100 years, Germania has been the insurance that Texans Trust.

STEPHEN COOK is a 40 year veteran of the meeting and incentive travel industry. His experience through various sales positions in the travel industry allows Stephen to share a wealth of insight and knowledge. Since 2008 he has been the owner and Chief Inspiration Officer at Lorandus Meetings, focusing on engagement solutions in the reward & recognition space for customers throughout North America.

Stephen has served on the Incentive Research Foundation Board of Trustees since 2016 and currently is the Committee Chair for Content & Communications.

KAREN DEVINE is a 38-year veteran of the incentive travel industry, bringing a wealth of knowledge given her history of combined customer and supplier experience. After 10 years working for incentive companies such as Carlson Marketing Group and S&H Motivation, Karen began her supplier career in the Worldwide Sales Office in Chicago for Four Seasons/Regent Hotels & Resorts.

After representing an established multi-country DMC throughout Europe as Director of Marketing in the U.S., she joined Rosewood Hotels and Resorts where she became the Regional Director of Sales in Chicago representing the entire collection of luxury hotels and resorts. Joining Radisson Seven Seas (now Regent Seven Seas) in 2000, Karen became the Director of Charter & Incentive Sales representing this luxury cruise line to the incentive market nationwide.

Opening 3D Cruise Partners in 2004 allowed Karen and her team to bring instant cruise ‘insider’ expertise to customers by providing immediate access and complete details for all cruise lines.

Karen’s combined buyer/supplier (hotel, DMC, cruise) experience is unique in the industry, benefitting 3D’s clients with a diverse background to provide cruise and geographical expertise.

DAVID GOULD spent 23 years in the IT channel in various senior leadership roles, David moved industries and joined CR Worldwide. As CEO, he was 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 2018, he was appointed Vice President, IESP and separately, studied and qualified for the Incentive Professional (IP) designation. In July 2019, he gained the Certified Professional Incentive Management (CPIM) designation and was appointed President IESP (serving for a one-year term) and was also appointed to the Board of Directors of the IMA (still serving).

In September 2020, CR Worldwide was acquired by 360insights. David is now responsible for European operations at 360insights, as Managing Director, Europe.

David has a passion for the outdoor life especially skiing, travel, technology and quality family time.

SARAH HAINES has been in the events industry for over 15 years. She became an employee-owner at ITA Group in 2007 starting in operations and has moved to various leadership positions within the company. In her current role she leads a team of over 250 event professionals handling purchasing, operations, air operations, registration and onsite event execution. Her primary focus is helping clients infuse strategy and the science behind motivating people into their events. Sarah believes in a culture of integrity, teamwork and unwavering commitment to excellence. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, running and taking on various projects around the house.

CHRIS JOHNSON joined Land O’ Lakes in 2016 and currently leads a centralized corporate team responsible for driving strategy across five work groups including Corporate Travel, sourcing, event management, technology and event operations. Additionally, Chris has responsibility for sports marketing and sponsorship, tradeshow exhibit management, LOL campus conference center operations and all corporate premium solutions.

Recognized by Incentive Magazine as Top 25 Incentive Industry Influencer, September 2018 - Chris has over 20 years of creative and business savvy event marketing and travel operations experience across a wide range of event and travel management functions at a global level. His passion is driving experience through collaboration and strong teamwork. He also represents the industry on various hotel and partner customer advisory boards.

Chris enjoys adventure, sports and travel with his wife Julie and their triplet boys.

BICH-LIEN KALDAHL recently retired from United Airlines after 31 years in aviation sales and management. She was a Meeting, Incentive & Group Sales Manager, a position she had held for over 16 years combined with Continental & United Airlines. In this role, Ms. Kaldahl seeked out and facilitated corporate, group, incentive and meeting travel. She worked 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.
JIM KELLEY, Vice President, Marketing and Industry Relations, brings to the table decades of trade show and corporate meetings industry experience. He came to Fern in 2019 from Production Resource Group (PRG). Jim's career prior to that spanned the industry, including roles with exposition service contractors, convention centers and hotels. Committed to supporting the professional growth of the industry, Jim has been active in PCMA, both locally and nationally. In 2014 he was honored by PCMA as the “Distinguished Service Professional of the Year.” Additionally, he is active with the Incentive Research Foundation and Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA). Jim is excited to be part of a company with a deep-rooted culture of service and solutions that is designed around the customer first.

PATRICIA KERR, CMP, is a 25-year veteran in corporate meeting and conference management. She is a past member of the FICP Board of Directors, serving as its Chair in 2009. Patricia is recognized internationally for her expertise in strategic driven leadership in the areas of Strategic Meeting Management, Incentive & Recognition Development, Program Planning/Implementation and Strategic Sales Support. Patricia has been named as a "Changemaker" by Corporate Meetings & Incentives twice in her career. She has served on the MPI Executive Advisory Council. As AVP, Meeting & Event Management at Nationwide, she strategically drives enterprise wide meetings, conferences and events including the development of innovative cost-effective solutions that enhance client satisfaction, drive sales behaviors, increase revenue and lower meeting expenditures.

CINDY MIELKE is Tango Card's Marketing Director of Channel Marketing - Incentives and a Certified Professional of Incentive Management. Her passion is helping teammates, clients, and partners achieve incentive and recognition program success. A strong advocate for the incentive industry, Cindy was awarded the Karen Renk Fellowship and inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) in 2019. She also currently serves on the board of the Incentive and Engagement Solutions Providers council of the IMA.

JEN O'MARA joined Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in 2013 and currently is an Account Director in their Chicago Worldwide Sales Office. In her role, she is focused on growing market share, fostering strong client relationships, and overseeing account production. Prior to joining Four Seasons, Jen was with Peninsula Hotels in various roles in Sales & Marketing. Her favorite part of the incentive industry is working with her clients to create unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences around the world. Jen is a proud graduate from The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and cooking.

KELSEY NICOL joined Mutika, Italy’s premier Experience Management Company (EMC) in 2019 as Director of Business Development. In her current role, she is responsible for strategic customer acquisitions and marketing development within the USA and Canada. Being based in the U.S. allows her to be available to Mutika clients and support with their program’s intricate details. Kelsey believes you are only as good as the last program you operated and supports the Mutika team on reimagining today’s client and participant journey through understanding the lifestyle of travelers.

Having also been on the buyer side, she understands the importance of listening to a customer’s needs. Previously, Kelsey spent 15 years with a third-party and during this time, it was important to have a well-rounded understanding of event management. She began her career in operations and then moved to presale, account management and ended in sales. Her experience took place operating incentives on six continents. Kelsey is deeply passionate about the incentive industry and creating unforgettable memories for others that become emotional stories passed throughout family generations. Kelsey is also an active member of FICP (Financial Insurance Conference Planners), SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence) and ADMEI (Association of Destination Management Executives International).

AMY RIPPELMEYER began her exciting career in hospitality over 28 years ago at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco.  After graduating from California State University, Chico with a Bachelor of Science in Resort and Lodging Management, Amy began her multifaceted tenure.   With both international and domestic luxury leadership experience in various roles within sales, operations, and revenue management, Amy brings a unique perspective to finding solutions and driving results.   Amy is passionate about representing Marriott International Luxury Brands, a distinctive portfolio of over 400+ luxury hotels and resorts worldwide and has been on Global Sales Organization for 10 years.   She enjoys developing and nurturing meaningful relationships with her customers and fellow colleagues alike.  She loves a good challenge; she thrives on thinking outside the box, enjoys sharing her expertise and creative ideas, and leveraging her long-term relationships that enable her to create lasting memories for her valued customers.  

Amy resides in Redondo Beach California with her two amazing children.  She enjoys traveling to new destinations, supporting the dreams and passions of her kids, and spending quality time with friends and family. 

CHRIS RUANE currently serves as Vice President, Meetings and Incentives for Accor Hotels. Based in Toronto, Canada, Chris oversees the Global Sales Organizations M&I team for the Accor’s North & Central American Region where he plays a key role in developing and executing the strategic direction, deployment and productivity for this important market. Chris has been working in hotel sales and marketing for 32 years including his last 26 years with Accor (FRHI/Fairmont Hotels).

RICHELLE SUVER formerly Taylor, is Vice President, Incentives & Recognition for One10 LLC - a leader in performance improvement and marketing services in North America. Suver oversees One10’s go-to-market strategy and its Incentives & Recognition business segment which includes global rewards as well as technology development for One10’s propriety performance improvement platforms, PerformX and Rewarding You.  

Suver brings a seasoned background to One10, having held leadership positions in travel operations, marketing, sales and product management for enterprise recognition and incentive technology solutions.  

She is an active member of the Cincinnati chapter of the Network of Executive Women (NEW) and a member of Women in Business Networking (WIBN), in which she was named Top 25 Women to Watch in 2013. In 2021, she was named one of Northstar Media’s “15 Event Professionals Making an Impact.” 

Over the last 22 years, Suver has published articles and spoken on incentive and recognition best practices.  

Previously, Taylor has worked for MotivAction in Minneapolis, Aimia Inc, a Canadian loyalty analytics company; and for Dayton-based companies, Excellence in Motivation and Teradata Corporation; and started her career in the incentive industry at the Miami-based, Landry & Kling.  

One10 has offices in Dayton, Minneapolis, Dallas, Los Angeles, Detroit and Toronto. 

kari new square KARI VRBA is an industry veteran with over 20 years of experience in delivering performance improvement solutions focused on business development, client solutions, marketing, creative and events. 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.