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The Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) honored Jon Hanson, CPIM, founder and CEO, RepLink/The DataDirect Group, with the Karen Renk Award at the IMA Summit Awards program. The prestigious award was established in 2014 to honor Karen Renk who served as the IMA executive director for its first 14 years.

Hanson has been making a difference in the incentive marketplace for nearly 40 years. He worked closely with Karen Renk in supporting the IMA and Incentive Merchandise To Reward & Appreciate (IMRA) in carrying out their missions. He introduced the RepLink ™ software in 1993 to help suppliers and their reps manage, market, and sell incentive merchandise. RepLink has made it easier for new suppliers to enter the marketplace and for reseller customers to buy their merchandise from qualified incentive suppliers. RepLink has helped reps remain competitive and was expanded to add new service levels to meet the needs of a changing marketplace.

Hanson’s professionalism, collaboration, and mentorship are widely known and well-aligned with the qualities Karen Renk exemplified. He played a role in developing the original Certified Professional of Incentive Management (CPIM) and was in the first group to earn his CPIM certification.

“This award represents an enormous honor because it represents the vision she had and was so willing to pass on. Karen created IMA’s legacy of support and that includes the spirited encouragement she offered as RepLink worked to put all its pieces together. Karen provided exhibit space in the IMRA booth to demonstrate our software, assembled committees of reps and suppliers to provide counseling, and championed efforts to move our industry into a computer world of near-instant product searches and client presentations without glue and catalog pictures. Her tireless work and leadership are what makes this award so meaningful to me,” Hanson said.

Karen Renk guided the IMA, championed the business case for incentives and mentored a wide group of individuals for the betterment of the industry and the association. She was known for several qualities including mentorship, character, collaboration, and professionalism. The Karen Renk Award is given to the IMA member who best exemplifies these qualities in service to the association, either through their work within the organization or through outreach to the community at large.

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