November 30, 2016

To remain relevant, all industries need individuals who are willing to share their time and their expertise to help keep the profession moving in a positive direction. The four people on this list have worked tirelessly to accomplish that goal.

Amy J. Hurley, LSW, CRP, program director of faculty and staff recognition at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center; member of the Recognition Professionals International board of directors; chair of best practice awards for Recognition Professionals International (RPI)
 Hurley plays a key role in setting the recognition agenda for the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Beyond that, she makes a significant contribution to the direction of the recognition industry through her two positions with RPI. Hurley's status as an end user who implements recognition at an academic medical center gives her a unique perspective on the practice of recognition. "I have seen a giant shift in the way incentive companies operate in the last couple of years," she says. "Service providers are now creating amazing tools which boost the ways people can recognize each other at work for their accomplishments. They are also doing a great job creating tools for measuring ROI, which is the key to everything. Producing meaningful reports that can be shared with our senior leaders is vital."

RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENT: This year, Hurley has upgraded her organization's online recognition platform to provide a more user-friendly experience. A strong communication plan and monthly challenges set for faculty and staff resulted in a significant increase in everyday usage to the site. Regarding RPI, she has contributed, along with the other board members, to an update of the association's strategic goals, updated the website to make articles and information about webinars and professional certification courses more accessible; and helped plan the Learning and Celebration Summit, which runs April 30 - May 2, 2017.

 Alan Ranzer, cofounder and managing partner of Impact 4 Good
 Corporate social responsibility (CSR) may not be the buzzword it was in the incentive travel and teambuilding market a few years ago, but that's because so many companies -- and especially their Millennial employees -- now see giving back to the communities they visit and work in as an accepted and expected part of incentive programs. "I see incentives including more activities that strike an emotional chord amongst qualifiers by involving them in tangible donations, versus simply writing checks to organizations," he says. "The 'skin in the game' afforded to qualifiers will emotionally connect them to the destination community and increase their pride, loyalty, and overall employee engagement.

RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENT: The 10-year-old company remains a leader in creating and advocating for community service activities that create a "return on emotion."

Michele Samoulides, senior manager of worldwide reward and recognition programs for Microsoft; member of SITE Foundation board of trustees
 Samoulides is a true rarity in the incentive industry: an incentive end user who works for a global, blue-chip organization, who is also active at the association level and generous with her time and insights on how to move the industry forward. She speaks at industry events and for the last two years has been on the board of trustees of the SITE Foundation. "At the end of the day, corporations are in the business of attracting and retaining top talent and it is a very competitive world," she says. "Incentive trips are an important piece of that equation. I think our industry is in a great position to deliver life-changing experiences for top performers."

RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENT: Microsoft had to move a 700-person incentive program out of Istanbul due to security concerns. After two years of planning, Samoulides and her team were worried they would have to cancel the event altogether due to the difficulty involved in moving a large event on such short notice. By leaning on professionals and friends in the industry, Microsoft was able to find space in Tenerife, Spain. It turned out to be one of the company's best programs, and Samoulides is very grateful to all the people who came together to deliver this incredible experience.

Dana Weaver, CIS, senior manager of marketing services for GROWMARK; president of SITE Chicago
 Weaver has been active in SITE, helping advance the association's Certified Incentive Specialist (CIS) designation, and with the SITE Chicago chapter, where he is currently on his second term as president. "In recent years, experience has been the buzzword when describing an incentive travel program," he says. "We want the guests to have brief moments of intense joy throughout their recognition, which provides them the opportunity to be motivated to achieve the next incentive travel opportunity."

RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENT: Weaver is currently an instructor for the CIS certification course. In four years the certification has grown to 892 industry professionals earning their CIS accreditation.

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