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by Alex Palmer | January 14, 2015
Janet Traphagen, who for six years has served as executive vice president of sales and marketing for incentive and event management company Creative Group, Inc., has been named the company's president. The new position, effective Jan. 5, puts Traphagen in charge of the Chicago-based company's day-to-day operations and adds value to its client relationships.

In an interview with Incentive, Traphagen described her priorities as striking a balance between continuing what is working while making improvements where possible.

"We will be making sure we're holding true to our almost 45-year run as a great place to work with strong ethical values," said Traphagen. "But as we look at our future, we want to bring more relevancy to our customers."

Traphagen emphasized that this focus on relevancy can take a number of forms, whether a particular product or service, input on how to help a customer reach its business goals, or training for Creative Group's own staff of 150 workers. Traphagen, who has worked with Creative Group for 18 years, spearheaded the company's revitalization of its CreativeCollection platform in 2012, in an effort to provide added relevancy to clients.

Traphagen is taking the helm at a time of growth for the company and the industry, pointing out that "budgets are coming back and there is more confidence to spend," and that Creative Group itself has enjoyed significant year-over-year increases.
But with that growth has come a greater focus from clients on "accountability."

"Our customers now have for their spend not just ROI, but the overall impact programs are having on their business," said Traphagen. "As the world becomes more transparent, what they are doing gets a lot more visibility and accountability. Helping customers with the right tools to have those conversations internally on ROI, impact, and overall rationale of the program is key."