The Big Handshake 2022



We were excited to welcome over 100 like-minded professionals for an afternoon of meaningful networking and insightful panel sessions that examine top-of-mind loyalty and engagement topics. This sell-out, debut event promised to deliver value to anyone associated with the loyalty, engagement, incentive, reward, and gift card space. And it did!

The Big Handshake in 30 seconds

Images from The Big Handshake Autumn 2022

Fourth picture
Sixth picture
Second picture
Fifth picture

“Employee Engagement Influences Customer Loyalty”

In this session, industry heavyweights interacted with the audience to explore the relationship between these two vital elements of every business. Hosted by Tom Peace, MD of The Loyalty People and moderated by Julie Barbier-Leblan, CEO of Merit Incentives, our panellists discussed what needs to happen to create internal and external business excellence for brands and corporations. 


Panel Session One – sponsored by Merit Incentives

“Employee Engagement Influences Customer Loyalty”

In this session, industry heavyweights interacted with the audience to explore the relationship between these two vital elements of every business. Hosted by Tom Peace, MD of The Loyalty People and moderated by Julie Barbier-Leblan, CEO of Merit Incentives, our panellists discussed what needs to happen to create internal and external business excellence for brands and corporations. 

Meet the panellists

Tom Image

Panel Session One Host

Tom Peace, Managing Director, The Loyalty People

Tom has created a global community through The Loyalty People’s website and LinkedIn following, giving those in the loyalty industry a forum to share ideas and enjoy market-leading opinion.

Julie's Profile Picture

Panel Session One Moderator

Julie Barbier-Leblan, CEO, Merit Incentives

Julie is a serial entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in disrupting innovative technologies and strategic partnerships. After a successful career in finance law in Europe, she launched her first start-up in Dubai in 2012. In 2016 Julie founded Merit Incentives to cater to the growing B2B demand for rewards & digital gifting in large enterprise clients.

EK (1)

Eleanor Kirby, Head of Buying, Europe, O.C. Tanner

Eleanor is an experienced leader of Buying and Business Development teams. At O.C. Tanner, Eleanor is responsible for the Gift Voucher/Experience strategy, curating a robust merchandise catalogue sourced directly from many of the world’s largest brands, and the development of custom awards.

Dave Robinson, Member Strategy Director, Virgin Red

For the last 10 years, Dave has been closely involved in building customer loyalty and delivering CRM programmes and targeted communications utilising one of UK retail’s most powerful data foundations.

Peter Dorrington, Chief Strategy Officer, Anthrolytics Ltd

An expert in Customer and Employee Experience Management Analytics, Peter has spent over 20 years advising boards on the strategic use of data and analytics related to customer and employee experience and loyalty management.

Jane Vilijoen, Corporate Psychologist & Founder, Best Hopes Coaching and Consulting

Specialising in the fields of Emotional Intelligence, leadership and building trust, Jane supports organisations with team and leadership development programmes. She leverages a combination of neuroscience and positive psychology for improved productivity, strategic achievement, self-management, communication, and engagement.

Perry Timms, Founder and Chief Energy Officer, PTHR

Perry is a proud Chartered member of the CIPD and is a 5x member of HR Magazine’s HR Most Influential list. He is currently named as the Number 1 Most Influential Thinker in HR for 2022.

He is an international TEDx speaker and award-winning writer on the future of work, HR & learning.

Panel Session Two – sponsored by Reward the World

“Gift Card, Payment and Loyalty Fraud” 

Our next panel looked at the increasing importance of protection against the dangers of fraudulent gift card and loyalty program use. Covering everything from account takeovers to decisioning software, we also found out how the industry can support a new, national campaign led by UK Finance.

Meet the panellists

Denis Hure

Panel Session Two Moderator

Denis Huré, CEO and Co-founder, Reward the World™

Denis’ corporate background has included positions with KPMG, Computer Associates and Claris (Apple’s Software subsidiary). He has undeniable expertise in marketing, international sales, finance, and emerging technologies.

Through his previous endeavours, he developed a strong understanding of loyalty programs, digital sales promotions and corporate rewards and incentives, having worked across these sectors for most of his career.

Sarah Sinden, Economic Crimes Customer Education Strategy Manager and founder of the Take Five to Stop Fraud Campaign, UK Finance

Sarah currently leads the industry Economic Crime fraud prevention education and awareness activities at UK Finance and is responsible for the development management of the Take Five to Stop Fraud awareness and behaviour change campaign. 

Sarah is also a director of the Fraud’s Women’s Network (FWN).

Michael Smith, Co-Founder, Loyalty Security Alliance

Now co-founder of the Loyalty Security Alliance (LSA) and a Board Advisor for Airline Information (Ai Events), Michael’s career includes time spent in Financial Services and at British Airways where he managed the non-air partners in the Frequent Flyer Program.

He regularly speaks on the topics of Account Take-over and Loyalty Fraud.

Paul Maskall, Fraud and Cybercrime Prevention Manager, Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit, UK Finance

With a background in law enforcement, intelligence, counter terrorism, cybercrime and fraud, Paul now works within the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) at UK Finance.

Recently appearing on BBC Crimewatch Live, Rip off Britain and BBC Radio 1xtra, Paul applies behavioural and psychological principles to his work to maximise impact and prevent fraud and cybercrime across strategy, innovation and education.

Headshot photo v3

Catriona Still, Head of Fraud Prevention and Training, Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit, UK Finance

Cat’s 20+ years in fraud span the retail branch network and the Special Investigations Department at Nationwide Building Society. She then moved to UK Finance to manage the Industry’s Strategic Threat Management Process and the Fraud Intelligence Team.

Cat was seconded to the Financial Industry’s sponsored Police unit where she has been for the last three years.

Peter Taylor, Director, Peter Taylor Consultants Ltd

Peter is a former UK CID officer who went on to build his reputation disrupting organised claims fraud for the insurance industry. Peter now provides consultancy, investigation & training for clients in retail, banking, insurance, technology, and the private sector. 

Peter has produced the cybercrime triangle theory which is increasingly being recognised and used in the UK and beyond.


This event was about being relevant, so it was our aim to deliver the best networking experience our guests had ever had. To do this, we worked some nifty, colour-coded magic behind-the-scenes to work out which businesses our guests should be talking to.

All attendees received their personalised Networking Agenda ahead of the event and on the day.


The Loyalty People – Event Partner

“The Loyalty People are strategic consultants with a laser focus on Loyalty, CRM and customer engagement. We build loyalty strategy and help our clients to create innovative and differentiated customer engagement.

We work with our tech and service partners to provide end-to-end customer loyalty solution for our clients. We also run a FREE global loyalty community where our members enjoy the latest loyalty insight, market trends, expert opinion and new news.  You can subscribe on our site at

Ecologi – Sustainability Partner

Ecologi is a platform for real climate action that facilitates the funding of both tree planting and carbon reduction projects around the world through its simple but powerful subscription service. 

Ecologi is proud to announce it has partnered with The Gift Club to plant a tree for every attendee at the upcoming Big Handshake networking event. By doing so, The Gift Club hopes to raise awareness of climate action among the participating businesses, all of whom have a role to play in the fight against climate change.”

Take Five – Community Action Supporter

“Take Five is a national campaign that offers straightforward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud. This includes email deception and phone-based scams as well as online fraud – particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations.

Led by UK Finance, the campaign is delivered with and through a range of partners in the UK payments industry, financial services firms, law enforcement agencies, telecommunication providers, commercial, public and third sector organisations.”

Merit Incentives – Session One Sponsor

Merit Incentives uses innovative technologies for B2B clients to service customers with an online gift registry and customised engagement strategies using gift cards, merchandise & rewards in the Middle East, APAC and globally.


Reward the World – Session Two Sponsor

Reward The World are a world-leading, digital rewards solutions provider with an elegant rewards platform offering millions of digital entertainment choices available instantly, 24/7 at the click of a button, to encourage and reward the behaviour and outcome our customers desire.

Roiward – Cocktail Hour Sponsor

Roiward is the “one-stop-shop” Reward Engine offering a super simple and scalable API technology integration across three reward pillars: gift cards, home delivery and travel.

BitCard – Goody Bag and Networking Agenda Sponsor

Bitcard® is a technology company focused on providing gift card solutions that make bitcoin as easy to purchase as any gift card by enabling gift card, incentive, loyalty, and points providers to use the familiar and traditional gift card network.


We were surrounded by representatives from over 65 brands and we’d like to double that next time. If you’d like to make sure these projected numbers of attendees know who you are, what you do and why you’re a serious player in our wonderful industry, then you need to enquire about sponsorship opportunities.

Please complete this form if you’d like to sponsor our future events.

The Gift Club invites you to sign up to their fortnightly newsletter

Covering global news, insights and thought leadership from the Gift Card, Loyalty, Rewards and Incentives Markets.

Click here to sign up