A Chat With Melissa Van Dyke

Melissa Van Dyke presents the most recent research on integrating wellness into events at the annual Meet Well Summit, a collaboration between Prevue and the Incentive Research Foundation.

In her upcoming role as VP of Design and Insights at Creative Group, former IRF President Melissa Van Dyke will blaze a path in a new direction by “closing the loop” between data and practice.

Melissa Van Dyke has been one of the most visible figures in the incentive industry for the past 10 years. As president of the Incentive Research Foundation, she has led a team of talented researchers, fundraisers, staffers and volunteers to new heights and made that organization the go-to resource for research to support what we all do every day.

Those who know Melissa understand that she has always been driven by an underlying goal: to advance the practice of incentive travel—and the entire industry. And so, as she reflected on her career and the future, she realized that now was her time for a transition.

“In mid-January, I would have been with the IRF for a decade,” she says. “It has been my passion project for 10 years. I never would never leave if I thought it needed anything from me, but it’s extremely solid in every way. The IRF is in a great place.”

The fact that the IRF is in the process of mapping  out its Vision 2025 plan, work that will continue into next year, only added to her realization that the time was right. “If you were someone coming into this organization, you would want a hand in crafting it—not to be handed that after it’s done.”

In two weeks, she will take on a new role: VP of Design and Insights at Creative Group. “We are focusing on building the data insights practice within Creative Group, then bringing that back into incentive program design.” It’s something that’s not always done within organizations—”closing the loop,” as she calls it. “It’s the next evolution of how we are making an impact.”

She has had a long-standing relationship with Creative Group president Janet Traphagen, who has been an important leader in the IRF since she joined in 2013, as well as great respect for the company’s culture.”There’s a lot of talk about what it means to be intentional when it comes to servicing your clients and customers,” she says. “At Creative Group, ‘thrivability’ is the filter through which all decisions are made. They ask: ‘Will this help our employees, channel partners and customers thrive?’ ”

There’s no question that the decision to bring Van Dyke on board at Creative Group will do exactly that. She begins her new role on August 26.

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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