by Leo Jakobson | July 29, 2014
 Please visit this page to read friends' and colleagues' memories of Renk. 

The incentive industry has lost one of its leading lights and most important figures.

Karen Renk, the longtime executive director of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA), passed away on Sunday, July 27, following a nine-month battle with cancer.

"She put up a fight worthy of a warrior, but in the end, her body could no longer maintain," said her husband of 43 years, Tom, in a statement. "She went peacefully surrounded by loved ones and without pain."

A highly respected and well-loved figure, Renk was an active and engaged advocate of the industry and the value of working together to share knowledge and promote the value of incentives. [To see what some of her friends and colleagues memories of Karen Renk, click here.]

A 26-year veteran of the incentive industry, Renk was a key in the founding of the Naperville, IL-based IMA, and its merger with the Incentive Manufacturers and Representatives Alliance and the creation of interest groups dealing with new facets of the industry as they arose, such as gift cards, global incentive programs, incentive travel and recognition programs. She retired and sold her association management company, Association Enterprise, in November 2013.

Renk is survived by her husband, Tom, her children, Courtney, Michael and Kate, and grandchildren Logan and Taylor, as well as sister Michaela and Megan.

A memorial service has been planned for Saturday, August 16. There will be a visitation at 9:00 a.m. at Saint Katharine Drexel Catholic Church, located at 8 South 055 Dugan Road in Sugar Grove, IL. It will be followed by an 11:00 a.m. funeral mass, with a reception following.

More details can be found on the IMA website.