by Lisa A. Grimaldi | October 22, 2019
Stephanie Harris, a long-time meetings industry research and marketing executive, has been appointed president of the Incentive Research Foundation; her appointment is effective  Oct. 28.

In her IRF role, Harris will lead strategic development of the organization's s research and education initiatives.  She replaces Melissa Van Dyke, who departed from the organization in August.  

Prior to her new post, Harris spent a decade with American Express Meetings & Events, where she responsible for global marketing, thought leadership and event services strategy, including the design and management of the annual American Express Global Meetings Industry Forecast. Her industry experience also includes eight years as division vice president at Maritz, where she launched Travel Insight, a incentive travel research tool to determine participants' preferences.

In an exclusive interview with Incentive, Harris explained her passion for the incentive industry. "It taps into very human side of business and allows people to feel valued; Incentives are powerful tools when used the right way."

The new president has an immediate set of goals for her new role. "Job one is building on the foundation and great research work that's being done now and setting strategic goals for next five years. I want to make sure the research we put out is very usable and consumable and approachable, so people in incentive community can engage with it and get clear takeaways."

Weighing in on Harris' appointment, IRF board of trustees chair and president of Brightspot Incentives & Events Mike May said "Stephanie brings her industry knowledge, event background, and passion for research at a critical time as the IRF creates its Vision 2025 (five-year strategic plan)  and develops a strategy to increase our impact on the incentives industry."