New Incentive Research Foundation Program Engages Future Leaders

The IRF's new Accelerate program aims to cultivate the motivation industry's rising stars.

IRF president Stephanie Harris announced the Accelerate program during the organization's 2023 Education Invitational event in Las Vegas.

The Incentive Research Foundation has launched Accelerate, an initiative for mid-level incentive, reward and recognition professionals who want to get more involved in the incentives industry and move up the career ladder. The program was announced by IRF president Stephanie Harris during the organization’s annual Education Invitational event, which was held June 5-8 at Resorts World Las Vegas

The year-long Accelerate program will kick off in 2024. The inaugural class will consist of 8 to 10 incentive professionals who meet the criteria outlined by the IRF. Interested parties can apply here for the free program. The deadline for submitting an application is Oct. 31, 2023; participants will be announced in December.

Accelerate participants will have quarterly meetings with their assigned board-of-trustees mentor and monthly meetings with the IRF volunteer committee. They’ll also participate in one research paper, attend the 2024 IRF Education Invitational and, at year's end, make a presentation to the board on what they learned from the program.

Introducing the program during her opening remarks, Harris said, "The IRF has been looking at what we can do as a foundation to foster the growth and development of future leaders in our industry. Dan Polulak came to us last year with some thoughts on a program to do just that. Ashley Slauter, IRF’s manager of foundation services, has led the charge in realizing this vision. So today, thanks to the generous support of Scott Young and his associates at the Meeting Company, I’m proud to introduce our new Accelerate program.”

In addition to Accelerate, the IRF has evolved in other ways. The 2023 Education Invitational offered two half-day educational sessions instead of the traditional single day. It also offered a wide variety of networking activities that participants could choose from — ranging from foodie tours to helicopter rides to free time — and the popular trip auction, which supports the IRF's many research projects and studies, included several lower-cost options.