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2018 Annual Education
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We’re cranking up the volume at RCI’s 2018 Annual Convention & Industry Expo. Through relevant educational sessions led by experts in their fields, you’ll discover how to channel your strengths in a way that makes your business shine, cultivate a powerhouse team, fine tune your retail space and create applause-worthy, new confections.

Opportunity Rocks!
Marvelless Mark Kamp, Keynote
Get ready to rock with an energetic, interactive and funny keynote on becoming a business rock star. Opportunity Rocks reveals the innovative success secrets that created household names like The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Tina Turner and Aerosmith. Using the same techniques as these bona fide rock stars, you’ll discover how to reinvent and revolutionize your own business.
Marvelless Mark (Mark Kamp), author of the acclaimed business book, Opportunity Rocks, combines years of entrepreneurial success with his natural abilities as an entertainer, radio personality, and Las Vegas headliner to show how any business can be transformed from a garage band to a legend.


Merchandising - Turn Up The Volume
Kevin Smith, Kevin Smith Studios Inc.

Crank up the volume with refined branding and merchandising techniques designed to outshine online retail giants like Amazon. Now, more than ever, an exciting, entertaining in-store experience is crucial to the success of retailers of all shapes and sizes. Learn how to challenge your brand perception and fine tune your retail space to not only survive, but thrive in today’s retail landscape.
With over 20 years of retail and merchandising experience, Kevin Smith successfully bridges the gap between product and consumer through brand storytelling and compelling visual merchandising. He effectively demonstrates to clients the power of an all-encompassing customer experience. Kevin built and led the visual merchandising strategy and implementation for Winans Chocolates + Coffees as they began to franchise in 2005. Kevin has worked with clients in almost every facet of retail including: merchandising, branding, graphic design, product development and sales.


Developing Confections Worthy of Applause
Joe Sofia, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate

Introducing new products can be risky, but don’t let fear hold you back from creating applause-worthy, new confections. Discover a streamline approach to create new and innovative confections while considering important elements like equipment needs, shelf life, ingredient sourcing and flavor authenticity.
Joe spent 10 years working for Nestle USA in engineering, R&D and manufacturing before joining Peter’s Chocolate as a sales manager in 1995. Now in his 32nd year in the confectionery industry, Joe is a chocolate specialist and account manager for Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. Joe currently serves on RCI’s Board of Directors and is an instructor for RCI education courses such as Chocolate Boot Camp® and Caramels, Toffees & Brittles.


Attracting and Retaining Rock Star Talent
Denise Kestner, ClearPath HR

Cultivating a powerhouse team is key to the success of any business. Learn how to attract top talent, execute successful interviews and identify the right candidates for your business. Explore trends that are electrifying employee retention rates and learn how to apply these effective strategies to your own team of rock stars.

Denise Kestner has over 25 years of direct experience in the human resources field, holding senior management positions in several industries. For the last 11 years, she has served as a consultant to small and medium-size organizations as the president of ClearPath HR, in addition to teaching at three local universities.










Candy Clinic
Do you have a clever concept that has worked well in your business? You're invited to share it! This session will give you creative ideas for your store as fellow RCI members share during a short presentation about their best products, packaging and marketing. Attendees vote for their favorite entrants, and awards are presented to winners at the Awards Banquet. Categories include:
  • Best Summer Idea
  • Best Christmas Idea
  • Best Valentine's Day Idea
  • Best Easter Idea
  • Best Misc. Holiday Idea
  • Best Marketing/Merchandising Idea
  • Best Packaging Idea
  • Best New Piece
  • Best Innovation

Kettle Talk
Do you want to know the secrets to making great confections? Join this open panel discussion with our experts to ask any question you have about chocolate techniques, production, regulatory affairs, labeling laws, business ownership and more. Drop off questions in advance at the registration desk or ask questions directly during the session.