IRF's 2019 Education Day took place on June 20, 2019. Check out the Education Day schedule below and check back often for updates on the 2020 Invitational Education Day offerings!

june 20, 2019
TIME Session
7:30AM - 8:30AM

IRF Education Day Breakfast
Sponsored by Belmond

8:30AM - 9:30AM

Opening Remarks

Jim Kelley, Vice President, Marketing & Industry Relations, Fern & IRF Treasurer
Mike May, President, Brightspot Incentives & Events & IRF Chair
Melissa Van Dyke, President, The IRF

9:30AM - 10:30AM

Morning Keynote

Vision – Mindset – Grit: Success Strategies to Help You Stand Up to Any Challenge (1 Hour)
Scott Burrows

Sponsored by Speak Inc.

The true measure of success is how well you respond to change, self-doubt, setbacks and fear. Whatever belief system you employ must be powerful enough to conquer these obstacles and any other impediments to your personal and professional growth, or you – and your organization – will be left behind.

During the IRF Education Day Opening Keynote, renowned speaker and author Scott Burrows will share his riveting story of overcoming adversity through sheer determination, willpower and goal-setting. Using his physical paralysis as a visual metaphor, Scott will reveal how to drive your personal and professional results using the same mental focus that helped him reinvent his life after a crippling accident. The dynamic principles in this keynote will inspire you and every member of your team to unprecedented levels of empowerment and self-confidence, setting the stage for developing cutting-edge ideas and leadership strategies that will benefit your entire company.

Vision helps you to set manageable but far-reaching goals. Mindset allows you to stay focused on those goals even as circumstances, personnel and other elements change. Grit is the everyday determination to persevere when all else beckons you to retreat, give in or simply maintain the status quo.

10:30AM - 11:00AM

IRF Education Day Morning Coffee Break
Sponsored by Loews Miami Beach Hotel

11:00AM - 12:00PM

Morning Breakout Sessions

  • Morning Breakout #1

The IRF's Top Trends in Incentive Program Design (1 Hour)
Melissa Van Dyke, President, The IRF

Sponsored by Rosewood Hotel Group

While 84% of U.S. businesses utilize some form of non-cash rewards, not all incentive programs are created equal. The most impactful programs have support from the C-Suite and an ongoing, innovative program design. Melissa Van Dyke, IRF President, will discuss how successful incentive programs are designed, measured, analyzed, and reported to management.

  • Morning Breakout #2

Your Big Event: What You Can Learn from the Super Bowl (1 Hour)
Brian D. Bishop, Vice President, Partnerships & Marketing, Miami Super Bowl Host Committee

What do your event and the Super Bowl have in common? A lot more than you think! Whether celebrating a Super Bowl Champion or recognizing a Top Performer, big events require vision, sponsorship, execution, and an engaging attendee experience. Brian D. Bishop, Vice President, Partnerships & Marketing of the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee will discuss strategies to produce a memorable, crowd-pleasing large-scale event.

  • Morning Breakout #3

10 Academic Studies Every Incentive Professional Should Know (1 Hour)
Allan Schweyer, Chief Academic Advisor, The IRF

Sponsored by Dorchester Collection

In 2018, the IRF introduced The IRF Quarterly Academic Review, to share recent, relevant, and actionable academic research with incentive professionals. During this session, Allan Schweyer, IRF Chief Academic Advisor, will discuss the top academic studies, and distill volumes of research into key points and actionable takeaways.

  • Morning Breakout #4

Using Event Technology to Enhance the Attendee Journey (1 Hour)
Greg Bogue, Chief Experience Architect, Maritz Global Events

Stephen Henric, Vice President of Business Development, Freeman
Donny Neufuss, Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships, Brightline Interactive

Is the technology you are utilizing making a meaningful impact on the attendee journey at your events? Today’s events require technology to be successfully integrated from conception to completion. During this session, we will not only review some of the new technologies that could make a difference to you and your attendees, but also will look at some tried and true technologies – and should they stay or should they go?

12:00PM - 1:00PM

IRF Ruby Celebration Lunch
Sponsored by IRF Ruby Invitational Sponsors

1:00PM - 2:00PM

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

  • Afternoon Breakout #1

How to Better Integrate Wellness into Meetings and Incentive Travel (1 Hour)
Kari Vrba, Senior Vice President, Business Development, MotivAction & IRF Vice Chair
Betty Weinkle, Vice President, Partnership, Blackhawk Network & IRF Trustee

Sponsored by Mandarin Oriental

In a recent IRF survey, the majority of meeting planners (64%) said their meetings are only “somewhat healthy.” Industry thought leaders Kari Vrba and Betty Weinkle will discuss how meetings and incentive travel can to be designed to be healthier. They will review standard and emerging wellness inclusions and provide insights from meeting planners who have successfully integrated wellness into their meetings and incentive travel programs.

  • Afternoon Breakout #2

Unlocking the Power of IRF Research to Strengthen Your Incentive Programs (1 Hour)
Janet Traphagen, President, Creative Group, Inc. & IRF Trustee

Morgan Crain, Senior Manager, Rewards & Recognition, T-Mobile & IRF Trustee
Chris Johnson, Director, Global Travel and Enterprise Events, Land O' Lakes & IRF Trustee
Dawn Ryburn, Director, Program Management and Communications, Ricoh Americas Company & IRF Trustee

So much data, so little time! Hear from program owners have used IRF data to prove the value of incentives within their organizations. Get practical advice on how to select and use IRF reports and resources to stay current on emerging trends, improve incentive program design, and enhance reporting.

  • Afternoon Breakout #3

9 Important Research Findings for 2019 (1 Hour)
Rick Garlick, PhD, Chief Research Advisor, The IRF

Sponsored by KSL Resorts

As the IRF has continues to deliver on a robust research schedule, twelve studies will be released in 2019. Rick Garlick, IRF Chief Research Advisor, will explore key findings from the IRF’s current and pre-released studies that will help you design more efficient and effective programs. You’ll also learn important trends and best practices reported in the IRF’s research.

  • Afternoon Breakout #4

State of the Cruise Line Industry (1 Hour)
Charles Sylvia, ECC, Vice President, Membership & Trade Relations, Cruise Lines International Association

Katina Athanasiou, Senior Vice President, Charters, Incentives & Events, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
Jerilyn Giacone, Director of Charters, Meetings & Incentives, Crystal Cruises LLC
Bob Lepisto, President, SeaDreams Yacht Club
Leanne Romanchuk, Corporate Sales Manager, Royal Caribbean International

Hear from cruise professionals on the state of the industry today and where the industry moving in the future. Charles Sylvia, Cruise Lines International Association, will lead a panel of experts in a discussion of how cruise lines are staying relevant, adapting for new audiences, and creating engaging experiences.

2:00PM - 2:20PM

IRF Education Day Afternoon Coffee Break
Sponsored by Loews Miami Beach Hotel

2:20PM - 3:20PM

Afternoon Keynote

Be the Spark: Five Platinum Service Principles for Creating Customers for Life (1 Hour)
Simon T. Bailey, Chief Executive Officer, Simon T. Bailey International, Inc.

If you’re unforgettable, you’ll create a customer for life - and in this service-driven economy, where automation and algorithms have replaced personal interaction, every moment is an opportunity to create a memory in the hearts and lives of your clients and team members.

In this keynote, Simon T. Bailey leverages what he’s learned over 30 years of working for six different companies, including the Disney Institute and The Ritz Carlton Learning Institute, to create memories that matter. Simon leans on evidence-based research to provide tried-and-true methods that work for everyone, no matter the job title.

Bailey will dive into “The Art of the Experience” and explain how a superior customer service experience is a connection, not a product. Attendee takeaways will include:

  • Becoming empowered to see customers and team members as guests and create a meaningful, personalized experience
  • Learning to anticipate needs and respond immediately, and capture loyalty through kindness
  • Discovering how to create a culture where everyone matters and people are invited to be their best selves

Relationships are the currency of the future. Simon will help you break through and transform from good service to Platinum Service, creating brand champions who become customers for life.

3:20PM - 3:30PM  Closing Remarks