Educaation Blast Header
A monthly member communication of the Incentive Marketing Association.

January 2016

In this Issue

President's Message

New Executive Director's Letter

IESP Board of Directors

IMA Education Foundation

2016 Summit

Call for Volunteers

Industry News

Event/Trade Show Calendar

IMA Welcomes New Member

Industry Resources

Distributor Resources

Global Incentive Programs

Incentive/Recognition Case Studies

Incentive/Recognition Program Basics

Industry Suppliers/Products Search

Legal Considerations

Marketing Intelligence

Media Training

People Performance & Recognition


Strategic Industry Groups of IMA

IMA Canada Council

IMA Europe Council

Incentive Engagement & Solution Providers (IESP)

Incentive Manufacturers and Representatives Alliance (IMRA)

Incentive Gift Card Council (IGCC)

Incentive Travel Council (ITC)

Thank You to our 2015 Education Foundation Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors

Diamond Sponsors


Emerald Sponsors
O.C. Tanner

Sapphire Sponsors
Above Target
Top Brands

Education Sponsor
Rymax, Inc.

IMA Welcomes
a New Member

Join IMA in welcoming your newest association colleague.

Chris Harrison

Spencer Toomey

Letter From the IMA President,
Spencer Toomey

In 1973 Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote the song, “Candle in the Wind” with the opening lyrics, Goodbye Norma Jean. Unfortunately, it is our turn to say Goodbye Norma Jean.

Norma Jean Knollenberg, President and Owner of Top Brands is retiring. Norma Jean does not stand very tall, but do not let that fool you. Norma Jean has been a giant in our industry for many years and a mentor to many, including myself.

Norma Jean is one of the original founders of IMA. The following year, in 1999, she was President of IMRA, one of IMA’s larger SIGs. A decade later she served as the IMA president. During her term she ran an incredibly successful IMA Summit in Boston. It was the first Summit to break a 300+ attendance record, as well as proving that members were willing to travel to the Northeast for a conference. Having run two Summits myself, the Boston Summit was always my benchmark for what I wanted my Summits to achieve.

Those on the IMA Board during Norma Jean’s presidency will always remember the look. Norma Jean was passionate about IMA, especially the IP and CPIM programs. She challenged everyone on the board to earn their certification. Norma Jean would give us the look, staring directly into our eyes, challenging us to get certified. Needless to say, I have my CPIM!

Norma Jean has been involved in virtually every alphabet soup association, alliance and federation in our industry. Her long time involvement and dedication to IMA has helped make it the success it is today. She was suitably awarded the IMA President’s Award in 2012. She truly is a super star!

Goodbye Norma Jean, we will miss you!

I want to wish all of you and your families the best in the New Year!


Spencer Toomey
Luxury Lines by MMSC
President, IMA

Click here to read Top Brands' press release on new ownership.

Letter From IMA's New Executive Director,
Karen Wesloh, CAE, CMP

Happy New Year!

It is with great pleasure that I greet you as the new Executive Director of the Incentive Marketing Association. I am looking forward to working with the extraordinary members and volunteer leaders of the organization and the community of dynamic Strategic Industry Groups.

I am eager to begin working to continue the organization’s successful efforts to advocate for and promote the use of incentives and recognition to improve business performance.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the new IMA core staff members.

Karen Wesloh, CAE, CMP
Executive Director

Melissa Serres, CMP
Operations Director

Jenna Berge
Membership Manager

Angie Newgren
Communications Coordinator

I am hoping to have the opportunity to meet more of our members at the PPAI show next week. Please take a moment to stop by and say hello... Or better yet, volunteer a one-hour shift at the booth. If you would be willing to serve as a volunteer, please contact me at

Karen Wesloh, CAE, CMP
Executive Director, IMA

Incentive & Engagement Solution Providers (IESP)


2016 IESP Board of Directors
Please join us in congratulating the 2016 inaugural IESP Board of Directors:

President: Cindy Mielke, / GCIncentives
Executive Vice President: David Sand, Uwin Iwin International
Secretary: Brant Dolan, Quality Incentives Company
Treasurer: Juan Manuel Valenzuela, Above Target

Directors at Large:
Michelle Smith, O.C. Tanner
Peter Cannon, Ticket Jones

As IMA's newest SIG launches, we are already off to a great start with 28 members, including three new members. Your organization may qualify for membership in this dynamic new SIG if it:
•Supports the purpose of the IESP;
•Is committed to maintaining the professional standards of the IESP;
•Agrees to abide by the IMA and IESP Bylaws and such other rules and regulations that IMA or the IESP may adopt;
•Provides and/or advocates results-based incentive and recognition solutions or consults on the design/delivery or investment of strategic incentive or recognition programs - focus which may be on strategy, design, communications, training, implementation, award fulfillment, tracking and/or measurement as evidenced by the company's promotional literature and marketing information; and
•Is sponsored in writing by a current IESP member.

If you were previously a member of the GIC, PIC or RC your membership automatically renewed as an IESP member on January 1, 2016. If you were not currently a member of one of these three SIGs and are interested in becoming a member of IESP please contact Jenna Berge or click here for more information.

IMA Education Foundation

The IMA Education Foundation is a key component in IMA’s ability to execute our mission of “advocating for and promoting the use of incentives and recognition to improve business performance.” It is through the Education Fund that we are able to participate in education sessions at various industry events, such as the Incentive Buyers Conference and the PPAI Expo, provide resources for IMA’s IP and CPIM certification programs, and conduct important industry research that helps IMA and our members understand the demands of the marketplace, and stay informed regarding industry business trends. 

The IMA Education Fund is a non-profit organization that is funded by sponsorships and donations. We urge you to support this important initiative by becoming a 2016 IMA Education Fund Sponsor. Benefits of sponsorship can include (depending on sponsorship level):

Online Visibility - Your logo will be displayed individually on the rotating sponsor banners at

Monthly Recognition for your Contribution - Your logo will be featured in twelve issues of IMA’s Fast Take online newsletter, emailed to all IMA members every month.

Annual Summit - Your logo will be displayed in the online brochure on IMA’s website marketed to 1500 industry professionals and on the event's signage to recognize your company.

Complimentary IMA Summit Registration Fees      

Link to your Website - Your logo, with a link to your website will be featured in the Partners & Sponsors section of IMA’s website.

Identification as a Featured Sponsor - IMA’s online directory will include a “Featured Suppliers” link to the sponsorship page with your company description and link.

Enhanced Listings - Your online and print directory listing will identify you as a Research Partner.

Complimentary Ad - Full page advertisement in Incentive Source, IMA’s print directory, distributed at PPAI brand and IMEX America.

For more information on IMA Education Fund Sponsorship levels, or to become a sponsor, click here.

2016 IMA Summit - Save the Date!

Calling All Volunteers!

Make the commitment this year to put into IMA what you’d like to get out of it.

We are in the process of reorganizing our IMA Task Forces and need volunteers who are passionate about what they do and want to be a part of the exciting changes taking place in our association. Our current task forces include:

  • Annual Executive Summit
  • Circle of Excellence Award Program
  • Industry Education Opportunities
  • Finance
  • IP & CPIM Certification
  • Legislative / Incentive Federation
  • Marketing & Communications
  • Membership Recruitment & Engagement
  • Philanthropic
  • Tradeshows & Strategic Alliances

Volunteer online today, or contact Karen Wesloh for more information about volunteer opportunities.

Volunteering requires different levels of commitment. Some commitments are short term with little time required, and others are ongoing and may require a greater commitment, but those typically also have a larger pay-off. You’ll be hearing a lot about our task forces throughout the year, so be a catalyst for change, and be a part of helping us grow the incentive recognition marketplace.

Industry News

Diane Freeland
GiftCard Partners is deeply saddened by the untimely and sudden death of Diane Freeland.

Diane was an icon in the incentive marketing industry for more than twenty years. She was involved since the industry’s inception, when she worked at Macy’s in 1990. She moved on to Spa Finder in 2000, later joining GiftCard Partners in 2006 as their first employee. Diane helped catapult the company to what it is today. Diane touched many of us with her kind manner, extensive knowledge and always positive attitude. She will be dearly missed. Diane leaves behind many dear friends, including Jack & MaryLou Vizoso, and Kate Lennon, who were family to her, and whom I have had the honor to get to know during the last few weeks.
Donations in Diane’s honor can be given to St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

May Diane’s memory be a blessing upon us.

Deborah Merkin
GiftCard Partners, Inc.

Event/Trade Show Calendar

Click here for more dates.