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New IMA President Len Sadek: WFH Will Promote Industry Growth

Len Sadek, CPIM, Director, Gift Card Sales & Marketing, Landry’s Inc., and the new president of the Incentive Marketing Association, believes the work from home movement will promote the need for motivation and expanded use of digital platforms. 
RRN: What trends do you see in the market related to the field of incentives?
SadekSadek: There is a greater need to motivate and engage the exponential growth in work from home (WFH) employees. We are also seeing companies wanting to incent their clients and customers “where they live.” This required some shifts in strategy to be able to deliver incentive programs and rewards directly to the individual, versus the office or team. There will be more digital rewards programs created and delivered to incent the increasing number of online transactions. We are already seeing this with many of the credit card reward programs. 
RRN: What are your plans for IMA this year in terms of initiatives, education?
Sadek: We are continually evaluating the programming and IMA offerings to make sure they reflect the changing environment. We are offering a new program series where companies can present their capabilities, with a focus on new innovations they want to tell our members about. The response has been very positive, and we already have several companies lined up for this new opportunity to present to our membership. 
IMAWe will focus on alliances where there are synergies and opportunities for our membership. We are proactively supporting our members who may find themselves in job transitions. The IMA is offering a free Members in Transition membership. This allows members who have lost their position in a member company due to layoff or furlough to receive a membership through the end of 2020 and helps them stay connected to education and networking.
RRN: How do you expect to handle the issue of live meetings?
Sadek: As the industry is aware, our in-person IMA Summit for this year was canceled. This is historically our major event of the year for all our members to network and participate in a broad offering of educational programs. Our board, our strategic industry groups (SIGS), and the summit planning committee shifted their efforts to be able to virtually deliver ongoing content, training, and networking opportunities over the second half of the year. We have included panel discussions, instant surveys, and chat discussions to help engage our members. Last month, we held an IMA new member orientation virtual session that included a social hour for networking with current members and recipes for their favorite cocktail. We even provided rewards for the most creative drinks.
RRN: Many companies still don’t measure their incentive programs…How important do you think the CPIM program is to everyone in the industry?
Sadek: We will continue to offer our members the opportunity to train and qualify for our highly respected industry certification programs, including our Incentive Professional (IP) and Certified Professional of Incentive Management (CPIM) designations. These programs advance the knowledge of incentives, including how to measure success. Individuals with these certifications are recognized as industry experts and leaders and provide an advantage in the marketplace.
RRN: What is the role of the Strategic Industry Groups (SIGs)?
Sadek: The IMA’s Strategic Industry Groups (SIGs) and chapters are an important part of the value the IMA provides to members. While the IMA focuses on expanding the incentive marketplace as a whole, SIGs and chapters provide content and increase visibility and business opportunities for their market segments.
Each SIG represents companies that provide similar products or services. They encourage information sharing, create networking opportunities, and develop educational programming that meet the specific needs of their members. Our chapters have diverse memberships from across the industry with a specific focus on a geographic region. They help connect their members to other members in the region and to the broader international IMA membership.   
RRN: Any other news you wish to share.
Sadek: The IMA website incentivemarketing.org is a great resource for incentive and corporate gift buyers. Our members can provide them with end-to-end services from developing the program concept to delivering all types of rewards and recognition. They offer customized communication to create memorable experiences for employees, channel partners, customers and more.  
For IMA members, the website provides easy access to industry news, upcoming events, and the latest research. The IMA member directory provides them access to potential business partners and colleagues for valuable networking. 

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