IMA Honors Michelle M. Smith with Karen Renk Fellowship Award 

MINNEAPOLIS – July 25, 2018
– The Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) honored Michelle M. Smith, CPIM, CRP, incentive industry author, speaker and strategist, with the Karen Renk Fellowship Award. The prestigious award was established in 2014 to honor Renk, who served as the IMA executive director for its first 14 years. The award was presented at the annual IMA Summit in Newport Beach, California, this week.


Karen Renk guided the IMA, championed the business case for incentives and mentored a wide group of individuals for the betterment of the industry and the association. She was known for a number of qualities including mentoring, character, collaboration, and professionalism. The Karen Renk Fellowship is awarded to the IMA member who best exemplifies these qualities in service to the association, either through their work within the organization or through outreach to the community at large.

“Michelle’s impact on the IMA to a global audience cannot be understated. No one individual, through her passion for our industry, has spoken to more people and organizations about what the IMA stands for than Michelle,” says Cindy Mielke, CPIM, vice president sales and marketing operations, GC Incentives, a division of 

Smith is an accomplished international speaker, strategist, executive and author. She was named as one of the Ten Best and Brightest Women in the incentive industry and to the Employee Engagement Power 100 list. She has worked in every facet of the incentive and recognition industry, and is known for her passion for the industry. Smith is a president emeritus of the IMA board of directors, and has given countless hours of her time to the IMA and its’ Strategic Industry Groups (SIGs). She was active in several IMA SIGs, and supported their transition into the current SIG, the Incentive & Engagement Solution Providers (IESP), and served on the IESP board. She was instrumental in the successful protection of the 274(j) tax legislation for service awards and safety incentive programs. She also is past president of the FORUM for People Performance at Northwestern University and was the founder and editorial chair of Return on Performance Magazine

Michelle M. Smith, CPIM, CRP featured with Tom Renk at the 2018 IMA Summit


“I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Karen Renk and the IMA, who taught me (and so many others) that we could shape the marketplace and our own careers. Karen and my fellow IMA colleagues have given greater meaning and consequence to my work, and I’m grateful and proud to have played a role in the discussions and initiatives that have helped guide this industry’s destiny,” Smith said. 

Smith becomes the fourth recipient of the Karen Renk Fellowship Award. Previous recipients are: 

  • 2015 - Sean Roark, CPIM, PromoPros/IncentPros
  • 2016 - Heidi Chatfield, CPIM, All Star Incentive Marketing
  • 2017 - Brian Dunne, CPIM, Giftcard.Consulting 

Note: Smith was also a 2018 inductee to the IMA Hall of Fame.


View the Awards Dinner ceremony on the IMA Summit 2018 Recap page

Contact: Ione Terrio ● ● 952-928-4649