by Leo Jakobson | April 14, 2017

Effectiveness is the focus of the Recognition Professionals International (RPI) 2017 Annual Conference taking place in Fort Lauderdale from April 30 through May 2. Specifically, the focus is on developing an effective corporate recognition program -- one that solves real challenges an organization faces.

"This year's conference offers a deep dive into how leaders can apply recognition in ways that make a tangible difference," says Kathy Stark, CRP, the president of RPI. "Recognition continues to become more sophisticated in how it's developed and what it can accomplish for an organization."

The 19th Annual Learning & Celebration Summit's educational offerings include case studies from companies in a wide range of fields, including Alberta Health Services, Boeing, the Cleveland Clinic, the Walt Disney Company, KeyBank, Southwest Airlines, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and Wells Fargo. There will also be more than a dozen breakout sessions by recognition industry thought leaders, as well as a pair of daily keynotes insights to be gleaned from modern advances in neuroscience by Charlotte Blank, executive director of the Maritz Institute, and Rodd Wagner, a New York Times bestselling author and the vice president of employee engagement strategy at BI Worldwide.

Beyond the education, the conference comes as RPI is also working on what it can accomplish as an organization. A membership drive has produced strong results, and in tandem RPI has also expanded the amount of actionable research and educational material it produces.

Rideau, Inc. CEO Peter Hart, CRP, at RPI's 2016 Conference

As of February, all of Recognition Professionals International (RPI) professional designation courses are available online as well as in live classes at the organization's annual conference.

The Certified Recognition Professional (CRP) designation requires recognition professionals to complete four courses and pass four exams.

The move comes as part of a broader membership drive by RPI, which wants to make its education and professional development offerings available to a wider group of recognition professionals. Recently, it added a second, free "basic" membership designed to provide recognition professionals the opportunity to sample many of its offerings at a lower cost than the full Premium Membership.

"We know all effective recognition programs involve assessment, strategy, implementation and review," said Rita Maehling, CRP, an RPI board member and chair of its Learning Action Team. "The CRP program is designed to be a guide through this process, for the benefit of organizations and also business providers everywhere."


The 19th annual conference is also RPI's first stand-alone gathering since 2013, when it was held in New Orleans. For the past three years, RPI co-located it annual conference with IMEX America in Las Vegas. The move also allows RPI to return it to the traditional late April-early May timeframe, rather than IMEX America's October dates.