IMA Summit 2019 Recap

IMA Summit 2019 Logo

Another successful annual conference took place in Chicago, July 22-24, 2019! This year's Summit had a total of 362 attendees from a total of 14 countries around the globe! See the full attendee list below, along with other Summit highlights, including:

IMA Award Winners & Videos
Keynote Speaker Video
Photo Albums
IP Designations
Time to Tweet Contest Results
Philanthropy Session
Task Force

Final Attendee List (PDF)  

Summit Presentations*
*Members Only

For the sections below, minimize and expand the content by clicking on their gray arrow.

Awards Ceremony Video

Video includes Circle of Excellence, Karen Renk Fellowship, Hall of Fame & Spirit Awards. President's Award video is available in President's section.


00:00 - Circle of Excellence Awards
1:48 - Sales Incentive Programs: Incentive Solutions, Michelin
3:36 – Employee Incentives Programs: Hawk Incentives, KEHE Distributors
5:12 - Dealer Distribution Incentive: Digi, Coca-Cola Brasil
6:55 – Innovation: HMI Performance Incentives, Polyglass Q
9:22 - Karen Renk Fellowship Award: Cindy Mielke
18:43 – IMA Hall of Fame Awards (19:18 Diane Freeland; 20:00 - Cindy Mielke; 20:55 – Mike Murrell; 22:04 – Donna Oldenburg; 22:59 – Melissa Van Dyke)
24:37 - Spirit Awards (25:21 – IESP: Brant Dolan, CPIM; 27:00 – IGCC: Martha Weaver; 27:57 – IMRA: Mike Landry, CPIM; 29:09 – ITC: Robert Ward, CPIM; 31:00 – IMA-Europe: Mark Gregg)

The Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) presented its 2019 Circle of Excellence Awards at a ceremony yesterday during the association’s annual Summit in Chicago.

Sales Incentive: Incentive Solutions with Michelin North America 

Employee Incentive: Hawk Incentives & GoPivot with Kehe Distributors LLC

Dealer Distributor Incentive:  Incentive Agencia Digi with Coca Cola Brazil

Innovation Award:  HMI Performance Incentives with Polyglass USA

Read press release

View the 2019 Circle of Excellence Awards Ceremony:

IMA strategic industry groups and chapters honor five outstanding volunteers for industry-leading work and contributions of time and talent with Spirit Awards:

Incentive & Engagement Solution Providers (IESP): Brant Dolan, CPIM, director business development, Quality Incentive Company 

Incentive Gift Card Council (IGCC): Martha Weaver, director merchant relationships,

Incentive Manufacturers & Representatives Alliance (IMRA): Mike Landry, CPIM, vice president special markets, Tumi

Incentive Travel Council (ITC): Robert Ward, CPIM, director of sales, Ovation Rewards, AccorHotels

IMA Europe: Mark Gregg, CEO, Bonago Incentive Marketing Group

Read press release

Five inidividuals were honored for their research, education and leadership to advance the incentive industry at the 2019 IMA Summit by inducting them into the IMA Hall of Fame:

  • Diane Freeland
  • Cindy Mielke
  • Mike Murrell
  • Donna Oldenburg
  • Melissa Van Dyke 

Read press release

Cindy Mielke, CPIM, director brand relationships, Tango Card Inc., was honored with the Karen Renk Fellowship Award, at the annual IMA Summit in Chicago.

Read press release

View the 2019 Awards Presentation of the Hall of Fame, Karen Renk Fellowship Award:

Mike Landry, CPIM, vice president, special markets, Tumi, was honored with the 2019 IMA President’s Award at the Incentive Marketing Association’s (IMA) annual Summit in Chicago. 

Read press release

View the 2019 President's Award Ceremony at the Awards Dinner

John F. McDonough, Chicago Blackhawks

2019’s IMA Summit keynote speaker, John McDonough, President and CEO of the National Hockey League Chicago Blackhawks, is sure to inspire Summit participants with his inspiring message of engaging audiences for outstanding business success. Through McDonough’s guidance, under what Forbes magazine has called “The Greatest Sports-Business Turnaround Ever,” the Chicago Blackhawks have revitalized the team's profile and re-energized its fan base. Since McDonough joined the Blackhawks, the team has won Stanley Cup titles in 2010, 2013 and 2015, becoming the first organization in the NHL's salary cap era to capture three championships. 

Ten individuals received their Incentive Professional (IP) designation at the IMA Summit.

Megan Shea, IP, Links Unlimited
Scott Lapp, IP, Blackhawk Network
Carlo Stefanini, IP, Promarsa Italia
Brian Dodds, IP, WorkStride
Paul Hebert, IP, Creative Group, Inc.
Hollis Thornton, IP, CashStar, Velocity B2B
Pam Hoffmaster, IP, CashStar, Velocity B2B
Tracy Spencer, IP, MTM Recognition
Phil Mooney, IP, IMA Europe
MaryBeth Barbeau, IP, Blackhawk Network


 Monday, July 22, 2019
 8:00 am - 1:30 pm  IMA Board of Directors MeetingSullivan B
 9:00 am - 5:00 pm  Registration Open Wright Foyer
 9:00 am - 5:00 pm  Silent Auction Open – Wright Foyer
 10:00 am - 5:00 pm  First Data Gift Solutions Lounge Open Wright Ballroom 1-2 
 10:00 am - 1:30 pm  Principles of Incentive Design Course & Lunch – Sullivan A
 11:00 am - 12:30 pm  RGCA Membership Meeting & LuncheonJenney A & B
 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm  IGCC Education Session: Gen Z - Attitudes Toward Gift Cards, Loyalty Programs and Incentives - Research ResultsSullivan C 
 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm  Principles IP Exam – Sullivan A
 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm Incentives 101: New? Current? Get the Most out of your MembershipSullivan B
 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm  IESP Membership Meeting – Sullivan A
 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm  IGCC Membership Meetings – Sullivan C
 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm  Newcomer Reception – Pullman
 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm  Welcome Reception – Terrace Lake View
 Tuesday, July 23, 2019
 7:30 am - 5:00 pm  Registration Open Wright Foyer
 7:30 am - 5:00 pm   Silent Auction Open – Wright Foyer
 7:30 am - 8:45 am  First Data Gift Solutions Lounge Open – Wright Ballroom 1-2
 7:45 am - 8:45 am  Breakfast – Wright Ballroom 3-5
 7:45 am - 8:45 am  Past President’s Breakfast Jenney A & B
 8:45 am - 9:00 am  Welcome & General Announcements – Wright Ballroom 3-5
 9:00 am - 10:00 am  Keynote Speaker:  John F. McDonough, President and CEO, Chicago Blackhawks Wright Ballroom 3-5
 10:00 am - 10:30 am  Meet the SIG Presidents – Wright Ballroom 3-5
 10:00 am - 11:00 am  First Data Gift Solutions Lounge Open – Wright Ballroom 1-2
 10:30 am - 11:00 am  Networking Break Wright Foyer
  11:00 am - 12:00 pm  Education Session #1 International Panel -Essential Insights into International Trade – Sullivan A
 11:00 am - 12:00 pm  Education Session #1 Scotch/Whiskey – Incentive/Recognition –   Tomato/Tomahto?  – Sullivan B
 11:00 am - 12:00 pm  Education Session #1 Gift Card Hot Topic Round Tables  – Sullivan C
 11:00 am - 12:00 pm  Education Session #1 What’s Trending for 2020 in Travel – Jenney A
 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm  First Data Gift Solutions Lounge Open – Wright Ballroom 1-2 
 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm  Lunch – Wright Ballroom 3-5
  1:00 pm - 2:00 pm  Education Session #2 Considerations for Creating Global   Programs/Expanding U.S. Programs – Sullivan A
 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm  Education Session #2 Do You Really Think These New Reward Options  Will be in Your Reward Catalog in the Future? Sullivan B
  1:00 pm - 2:00 pm  Education Session #2 Gift Card Breakage: It's Complicated! –Sullivan C
 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm  Networking Break – Wright Foyer
 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm  Education Session #3 Life of an Incentive Program 3.0 Sullivan A
 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm  Education Session #3 How to Work with Promotional Product   Distributors Sullivan B
 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm  Education Session #3 B2B Gift Card Program Best Practices from a Merchant Point of View – Sullivan C 
 3:45 pm - 4:45 pm  Innovation Showcase – Sullivan A
 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm  First Data Gift Solutions Lounge Open – Wright Ballroom 1-2 
 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm  Awards Reception – Wright Ballroom 3-5
 Wednesday, July 24, 2019
 8:00 am - 4:00 pm  Registration Open – Wright Foyer
 8:00 am - 11:00 am   Silent Auction Open – Wright Foyer
 8:00 am - 9:30 am  First Data Gift Solutions Lounge Open – Wright Ballroom 1-2 
 8:30 am - 9:30 am  Breakfast Wright Ballroom 3-5
 8:30 am - 9:30 am  SIG & Chapter President’s Breakfast Jenney A & B
 9:30 am - 10:30 am  Education Session #4 The Future of Recognition – Sullivan A
 9:30 am - 10:30 am  Education Session #4 Improve the Design and Results of Incentive   Programs by Using Motivation Assessments – Sullivan B
 9:30 am - 10:30 am  Education Session #4 Fighting Gift Card Fraud:  What's Happening Out There and How To Partner with Your B2B VendorsSullivan C
 10:30 am - 11:00 am   Networking Break – Wright Foyer
 10:30 am - 12:00 pm  First Data Gift Solutions Lounge Open – Wright Ballroom 1-2 
 10:30 am - 12:00 pm   Philanthropy Session: Taking it to the Y:  Driving Gift Card Sales by Design – Sullivan B
 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm  IMA Annual Meeting, Philanthropic Update & Lunch – Wright Ballroom 3-5
 1:30 pm - 5:00 pm  First Data Gift Solutions Lounge Open – Wright Ballroom 1-2
 1:45 pm - 2:30 pm  Incentive Feud Hosted By Todd Roddy! Sullivan C
 2:30 pm - 2:45 pm  Networking Break – Wright Foyer
 2:45 pm - 4:45 pm  IMRA Membership Meeting – Sullivan A
 2:45 pm - 4:45 pm  ITC Membership Meeting Sullivan B
 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm  IESP Membership Meeting (Debrief)
 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm  Closing Reception – Terrace City View

This year's "Time to Tweet" contest, sponsored by Citizen Watch Company, engaged IMA Summit attendees in talking about the Summit on social media. Forty-six individuals and companies shared comments and pictures about all things Summit!

Winners: Rodrigo Ceciliano, Grupo Digi, and Paul Hebert, Creative Group, Inc., were the top social media posters using the #IMASummit2019 hashtag.

Thank you to our 2019 Sponsors! 

Fifteen youths from the YMCA of Metro Chicago attended the IMA Summit "Driving Gift Cards by Design" session, where they became newly hired Directors of Gift Cards for Tommy Hawk's Café. Tommy Hawk's Café is a fictional pet-friendly coffee bar concept with 200 locations nationally and growing. 

As newly hired Directors of Gift Cards, they were responsible for collaborating with peers and industry experts to generate ideas for growing Tommy Hawk's Cafe Gift Card program. Each team of Y youths and industry experts were tasked with developing a gift card design and promotion to draw new customers and keep existing customers coming back for more. 

Each table contained 2-3 youths and industry experts. First a brief summary explained the purpose of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA), its Strategic Industry Groups (SIG), and Summit. Second, Eric Werge the Executive Director of Community Schools Initiative, shared insight into the Y and its partnerships with local schools in the Metro Chicago area.

Next, the youths learned about the gift card industry and what is involved with building a successful program. After that, an ice-breaker activity left the kids all smiles; it required them to work together to build a tower (within a six-minutes) out of materials provided such as newspaper, magazines, and scotch tape. 

Once the ice-breaker activity was completed, each table was tasked with building their gift card program. After 15-20 minutes of collaboration, each table presented their gift card program to the group. Awards were provided to youths with the "Winningest Tower" and for participation in the session.
"On our way home after a fun time bowling and playing arcade games, what [the youths] talked about most was how much fun they had working with [the IMA] and how much they learned," wrote Eric.

Eric concluded, "The encouragement and positivity [the IMA] group offered our students are going to go a long way toward building their confidence and their belief in what they can accomplish, and since that is exactly what we are trying to do in our Community Schools Alumni Club, I can't thank [the IMA] enough for that." 
Maranda, Layla, Khamani, Garrard, Avery, Miranda, Tanesha, Alaina, Kyle, Arion, Zakia, Jeremiah, Ashlie, Raymond, and Vynzell (Y youths) thank you for the opportunity to learn about the IMA and our industry.

If you weren't able to attend the session - you can still make a difference by donating! Special thanks to Hinda Incentives for kicking off the fundraising drive for YMCA of Metro Chicago! 

When you are involved with the Y, you help bring about lasting personal and social change.

All of the philanthropy sessions photos  are on the IMA's Flickr!

View Photos

Special thanks to the Summit Task Force for all of their work to make a great event!

Don Killingback, Conference Chair
Heather Abbott, IP
Jeffrey Brenner 
Fintan Connolly 
Raj Dhaliwal 
Katie Dougherty 
Lori Gardner 
Anne Jetter 
Benita Johnson 
Mike Landry, CPIM
Lauren Loudenslagel 
Rick Low, CPIM
Cindy Mielke, CPIM
Rebekka Rea 
Gabriel Resendez 
Sean Roark, CPIM
Len Sadek, CPIM
Donnalee Silletti