Incentive Evolution Summit Visionary






Incentive Evolution Summit
April 3-5, 2024
Evermore Resort, Orlando

Event Speakers

Melissa Van Dyke,
Senior Vice President, Integrated Marketing and Innovation,
Creative Group

Melissa Van Dyke joined Creative Group in 2019 and currently serves as Senior Vice President of Integrated Marketing and Innovation where she oversees Marketing, Creative, Production, Solutions Development, and Partnerships. In her time at Creative Group she has served as both Vice President of Design and Insights and as Senior Vice President of Global Customer Experience, where she oversaw global operations for over 400 experiences annually.

Prior to Creative Group, she spent a decade as President of the Incentive Research Foundation, a leading non-profit in the MICE space, where she developed a research engine that tripled the research education footprint and helped expand their premier industry event, The IRF Education Invitational. In her early career, Melissa held leadership positions as Managing Consultant of the Employee Engagement Practice at Maritz and as a Senior Business Process and Technology Consultant for Ernst & Young LLP.

She has authored numerous articles, has been named one of the “Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry” by Meetings and Conventions Magazine, selected as Incentive Magazine’s “Most Influential People in the Incentive Industry” and authored the chapter on Non-Monetary Awards in the sixth edition of the Compensation Handbook.

Melissa is an avid powerlifter, and her favorite pastime is spending time with her husband and two teenage kids while caring for the most spoiled Guinea Pig in the world – Linnie.

Andy Schwarz,
Vice President, Content & Communications,
Incentive Research Foundation


Andy Schwarz is Vice President, Content & Communications, Incentive Research Foundation, an organization that funds and promotes research to increase the understanding, effective use, and benefits of incentives to businesses globally. Andy works with a team of researchers to distill complex research and data into accessible, actionable insights. That research is the basis for reports and education programs delivered both virtually and at incentive-level live events. Each year the IRF releases 10 – 12 studies on industry trends, benchmarks, best practices, and insights.

Emily Thibodeau,
Vice President,
Event Management,

In her role as Vice President, Event Management for Maritz, Emily is responsible for overall event management strategy. She supports the event management team designing elevated experiences for our clients and guests in both our corporate and association markets.

Emily has twenty years of industry, event management and leadership experience. Since her start with Maritz in 2004 she has held various roles within operations, account management and leadership. She has been in her current role since 2019. Emily has built a career planning and executing successful events for high profile clients across multiple sectors. Emily is a Maritz Master Designer and is involved in the operationalizing of Experience Design throughout the organization.

Emily is currently serving on the board for SITE Midwest as the Vice President of Events and Education. She is also CMP certified.

Tonya Fitzpatrick,
Esq., Co-founder,
World Footprints

Tonya Fitzpatrick leads a socially conscious travel media platform rooted in the philosophy of Ubuntu—a Zulu word translating to “I am because we are.” Recognized as the Black Travel Journalist of the Year by the Black Travel Summit and named Female CEO of the Year for Best Social Impact Travel Media Company by CEO Monthly, Tonya co-hosts the multi-award-winning World Footprints podcast. Her notable interviews include distinguished guests such as the late Dr. Maya Angelou.


Through World Footprints, Tonya passionately shares narratives highlighting the transformative power of travel and the beauty inherent in our shared humanity. A three-time TEDx speaker and international speaker, Tonya also serves on the Board of The Explorers Club. Governor Wes Moore appointed her to the Maryland Tourism Development Board, and she represented as a Delegate at the G100 Summit in Rome 2023.


Previously, Tonya served as a Delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and held a White House appointment as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights Policy at the U.S. Department of Education.


As a frequent television guest on NBC, CBS, FOX, and The List, Tonya has been featured in various media outlets, including AAA World, MSNBC, U.S. News and World Reports, Black Enterprise, and numerous books. Her insights have also been shared on popular podcasts such as Frommers and Traveling with AAA.

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