The Stevie Awards Blog

2 Innovations to Ensure Success: Q&A With Lingotek CEO Rob Vandenberg

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, May 26, 2011 @ 11:52 AM

Robert Vandenberg is CEO of Lingotek in Draper, Utah, USA and will chair the final judging committee for the New Product Awards & Product Management categories of The 2011 International Business Awards.

0511VandenbergWhich innovations do you think will most improve businesses in the next few years?

I’m a huge believer in social media and how it is enabling a more transparent relationship between business and consumer.  The successful companies of the next few years will be those that use social media to engage with their customers, not those that resist it.

At the same time, increasing globalization will require all of us to be more aware and engaged with people of different countries, languages, and cultures. Companies will need to be able to understand those markets and communicate with them in order to grow.

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?

The phenomenal success of LinkedIn’s IPO underscores the value of permanent, transparent interconnections in professional relationships. Each of us now has the ability and tools to control our own professional brand.

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?

As someone who spends too much time on planes I would pick something that involved being outdoors. Being a ski bum in the winter and a sailing bum in the summer sounds ideal right now!

What quality or qualities do you most value in your business associates?

My top four are: curiosity, work ethic, maturity, and the ability to be proactive.

What do you think is the worst bad habit to have at work?

Negativity: Everyone’s a critic, but in the workplace you shouldn’t just complain, you should make the effort to offer a solution.

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
I have the good fortune to engage every day with interesting people who develop creative products and solutions for real-world problems. I’m not a techie, but I learn about customers’ issues as they seek to expand into global markets, and I can discuss these with my technology experts.  It’s a great feeling when we are able to provide those customers with effective solutions.

About Rob Vandenberg

As CEO of Lingotek, Rob Vandenberg is driving the vision as the company looks to change the future of translation. He has never shied away from asking the tough questions that have led to greater understanding, insight, and a more progressive development of new products and services.

Prior to being named president of Lingotek in 2008, Vandenberg served as the company's vice president of sales and marketing, where he provided guidance and inspiration. Before joining Lingotek, Vandenberg served at the helm of several successful ventures. He cofounded and served as the CEO of, which was acquired by HarrisConnect in 2005. Afterwards, he was named as the vice president of sales and marketing for HarrisConnect. Prior to that venture, he started as one of the first 20 U.S. employees at INTERSHOP Communications. As a top-performing sales executive with national account responsibilities he helped build the company’s worldwide business: the INTERSHOP initial public offering was one of the most successful enterprise software company IPOs in US history (a $10 billion market cap).

Vandenberg holds a bachelor's degree in political economics from UC Berkeley. 

About Lingotek

Lingotek | The Translation Network gives enterprise business customers new ways to engage their global communities by providing trusted, rapid translations to grow business in a cost effective way. Its exclusive web-based Collaborative Translation Platform™ represents the next step in the evolution of translation through technology and community involvement. Today global organizations, intelligence agencies, and government entities use the platform, saving time and resources on projects ranging from a few pages to several volumes. Lingotek also offers professional translation services for companies. The company is based in Draper, Utah and is funded by Canopy Ventures, In-Q-Tel, and Flywheel Ventures.

Topics: International business awards, stevie awards, product of the year, new product awards, IBAs, lingotek, robert vandenberg

How Mercedes-Benz Won Business Award for Tackling HIV/AIDS

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, May 19, 2011 @ 10:27 AM

Mercedes Benz South AfricaMercedes-Benz South Africa of East London, Eastern Cape received the Stevie Award for Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year in the Middle East and Africa in The 2010 International Business Awards. (The final entry deadline for this year's IBAs is June 8 - see the entry kit online.)  Here's the story of Mercedes-Benz's efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

In 2007, Sub-Saharan Africa was home to 22 of the 33 million people living with HIV/AIDS. South Africa is the country with the largest number of HIV-infected people in the world (5,7 million plus) with more than 90% of infections affecting the economically active. These statistics were having an adverse impact on South Africa’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which employ significant numbers and contribute about 40% to the GDP.

Through the Siyakhana Project Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) has expanded its globally acknowledged best-practice workplace program to provide HIV/AIDS program support to SMEs and the broader community.

Siyakhana means “to build together” in isi-Xhosam, the local vernacular. In order to achieve the key objectives of the Siyakhana Project, MBSA successfully enlisted the partnership of the Border-Kei Chamber of Business and the Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Health, and obtained financial
support from the German development agency DEG and BroadReach Health Care.

The Siyakhana Project is designed to simultaneously tackle HIV/AIDS at the workplace, in communities, and at the primary healthcare level to ensure a holistic response.

By March 2010 Siyakhana had achieved the following:

  • Implementation of comprehensive HIV/AIDS policies and programs in 55 SMEs.
  • 595 managers trained on HIV/AIDS in the workplace.
  • 164 peer educators trained.
  • 85 nurses trained on HIV/AIDS testing and treatment.
  • 55 successful workplace HIV voluntary counseling and testing campaigns.
  • 9,013 employees trained and counseled.
  • 6,980 employees voluntarily testing for HIV.
  • Establishment of, and ongoing training support to, a private physician network to manage HIV/AIDS care for SME employees and families.
  • 850 HIV-positive patients referred into the treatment program with 150
    people on anti-retroviral treatment (as of March 2010).
  • Capacity building services extended to 12 public-sector primary-healthcare clinics through providing a retired professional nurse and a lay counselor in each clinic, resulting in a 110% improvement in HIV testing rates.

The Siyakhana Project has a built-in monitoring system that tracks project success both quantitatively and qualitatively. Independent external evaluators regularly conduct an evaluation of project performance against operational plans and “best practice.”

Lessons Learned and Future Challenges

The foundation of the Siyakhana Project’s success has been the strong partnerships that MBSA’s HIV/AIDS program has built with the government, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, and community-based organizations.

Organized business involvement is also a key ingredient, and the project showed that SME owners and managers are keen to participate if guidance and hands-on support is provided.  Employees are eager to access testing, however confidence building is required.

While the Siyakhana Project has demonstrated how much can be achieved by forming broad-based partnerships involving both private and public sectors, its sustainability will be  an ongoing challenge requiring full commitment from all partners.

MBSA’s Promise

Managing HIV and AIDS is a core business for MBSA, and its HIV/AIDS program aims to effectively address the development challenge posed by HIV and AIDS to company employees, their families, business operations, and economic and social development. The workplace program extends universal access to quality prevention, treatment, care, and support to all its employees and their dependents.

MBSA is both a key automotive player and a social partner. It has played a significant role in industrial and corporate socio-economic transformation, and continues to do so today. This is evident in the fact that despite the recession, it maintained its corporate social investment spend in excess of R20 million per annum, and that it is a leader amongst its peers in skills development, employee health and well-being programs, and employee benefits.

About Dr. Hansgeorg Niefer
Dr. Hansgeorg Niefer, a qualified professional engineer, started his career with Daimler AG in 1986 at the Sindelfingen plant in Germany. He joined the South African operation in 2002 to head up the manufacturing activities in East London. Dr Niefer has been chairman of the local group of companies since 2005 and has recently been redeployed to head up the Daimler plant in Berlin. He notes, however, that one of his proudest achievements during his tenure in South Africa has been the group's success in the battle against HIV and AIDS, and the opportunity to provide advocacy and support programmes for SMEs, suppliers and retailers alike, as well as assisting communities impacted by HIV and AIDS.

About Mercedes-Benz South Africa
The Mercedes-Benz group of companies in South Africa was established in 1954. Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) manufactures Mercedes-Benz and Mitsubishi vehicles at its plant in East London, Eastern Cape Province. MBSA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG and is one of the largest automotive groups in South Africa.

Topics: business awards, csr awards, corporate social responsibility, mercedes-benze, best csr

Vote Now for Your Favorite New Products of the Year

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Fri, May 13, 2011 @ 02:32 PM

Concurrent with the announcement of Finalists in The 2011 American Business Awards, including nominees in the new product awards categories, voting has opened in this year's People's Choice Stevie Awards for Favorite New Products.

Vote now at

Voting will remain open through June 3 for the year's best new products and services in 16 categories, including, among others

  • Favorite New Consumer Product
  • Favorite New Smartphone
  • Favorite New Smartphone or Tablet App
  • Favorite New Tablet
  • Favorite New Media or Entertainment Product

Top vote getter in each category will receive a specially-designed crystal People's Choice Stevie Award trophy at the ABA's annual awards banquet in New York on June 20.

Topics: American business awards, stevie awards, ABAs, product of the year, new product awards

Finalists Announced in 2011 American Business Awards

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, May 12, 2011 @ 01:40 PM


Voting Now Open for People's Choice Stevie Awards for Favorite New Products

Finalists were announced today in The 9th Annual American Business Awards. Companies as diverse as Apple, Groupon, General Electric, Procter & Gamble, and The Walt Disney Company are among those recognized.  Lists of Finalists by category have been published at

The American Business Awards are the nation’s premier business awards program. All organizations operating in the U.S.A. are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small. 

This year’s Stevie® Award trophy winners will be announced during the annual gala on June 20 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York.  Tickets are now on sale.  More than six-hundred executives are expected to attend.  The event will benefit Camfed, which fights poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa by educating girls and empowering women to become leaders of change.  The ceremonies will be broadcast nationwide by the Business TalkRadio Network.    

A record number of nominations were submitted this year with more than 2,800 from organizations of all sizes and from virtually every industry.  The ABAs include a wide variety of categories including management awards, new product awards, marketing awards, public relations awards, human resources awards, information technology awards, web site awards, and more.

Members of 10 specialized final judging committees will select Stevie Award winners from among Finalists in judging that will begin next week.  Finalists were chosen by business professionals nationwide during preliminary judging in April and May.

Voting opened today for the People’s Choice Stevie Awards for Favorite New Products, a component of The American Business Awards that invites the general public to vote for their favorite new products in a number of categories including Favorite New Smartphone, Favorite New Tablet, Favorite New Consumer Product, and Favorite New Smartphone or Tablet App.  Voting is open through June 3 at

What do you think of the list of this year's Finalists?

 About The Stevie Awards


Stevie Awards are conferred in four programs: The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.  Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide.  Learn more about the Stevie Awards at, and follow the Stevie Awards on Twitter @TheStevieAwards.   

Sponsors and partners of The 2011 American Business Awards include Infogroup, IBM Netezza, American Support, Citrix Online, Epic Media Group, High Performance Technologies Inc., iolo technologies, LifeLock, Merisel, PetRays, SDL, SoftPro, and Vérité, Inc.

Topics: business awards, American business awards, stevie awards, ABAs, Stevies, Stevie

How a Female CEO Succeeds in Male-Dominated Financial Services

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, May 05, 2011 @ 12:39 PM

With the month-away launch of the call for entries for the 8th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, here's a profile of Debralee L. Goldberg, president and CEO of International Financial Data Services Canada in Toronto, named Best Canadian Executive in the 2010 Stevies for Women in Business.

Debralee GoldbergSince joining IFDS Canada as CEO in 2006, Debralee Goldberg has compiled an impressive record as a female chief executive in the traditionally male- dominated world of financial services. IFDS Canada’s operating income has risen by nearly 300%, and the number of clients has grown by 30%. Three of IFDS Canada’s 10 largest accounts were signed on in 2009–10.

Debralee Goldberg’s impact as CEO extends beyond the usual operating numbers, however, and includes initiatives in technology, the environment, and community giving.

Debralee began her 30-year career as an entry-level call-center employee in a Boston bank’s mutual fund division. Over the next eight years, she earned a number of management-level promotions, took additional courses, and learned the mutual fund business. She then took a five-year break to raise her family.

After her return, she rose to the executive ranks of First Data Investor Services, a spin-off from American Express, and then joined Kansas City-based DST Systems Inc. before being tapped to run IFDS Canada.

Reducing Environmental Impact
Since arriving in Toronto, Debralee’s solid understanding of mutual fund operations has allowed her to contribute as a board member of FundSERV, the Canadian financial-funds network responsible for managing intercompany settlements. Her deep knowledge has also enabled her to identify and champion ideas to improve client relations and operating efficiency, and to reduce the environmental impact of IFDS Canada. For example, new smart-screen technology has eliminated the company’s need to print received forms for data entry. In addition to eliminating paper, this advance increased data entry productivity by 60% and reduced by 70% the number of items requiring quality review.

Similarly, a new touch-screen solution now allows IFDS Canada mailroom associates to distribute incoming documents without printing and attaching paper routing instructions. This innovation has reduced monthly mailroom paper use by 50%.

Debralee is raising environmental awareness in other ways at IFDS Canada. She created a green-initiatives committee, has reduced travel with the use of VOIP and other e-meeting technologies, conducts annual green-awareness campaigns, and has supported distribution of reusable thermal lunch bags, drink bottles, and coffee mugs to all employees. As part of her personal commitment, she walks to work nearly every day.

Improved Technology
Technology improvements introduced under Debralee have reduced IFDS Canada’s carbon footprint and resulted in the deployment of these technologies by IFDS affiliates. They also contributed to IFDS Canada’s two software awards in 2009 and 2010: Best Use of Technology at the Canadian Investment Awards, and Progress Software’s SaaS Excellence Award.

Under Debralee’s leadership, the company continues to seek new ways to improve, spending more than $20 million annually on research and development.

Corporate Giving
Debralee recognizes the importance of giving back. In 2010, IFDS Canada’s charitable giving was on track to rise 350% over 2008. Employee participation in the same period increased nearly 50%.

Today IFDS supports more than 25 charities, including the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, University Settlement, the Hospital for Sick Kids, HopeSpring Cancer Support Centre, and United Way.

Upon receiving her Stevie Award for Best Canadian Executive last November, Goldberg commented: “I am very much honored to be recognized by the Stevie Awards for Women in Business. Not only as the rare woman in a male-dominated world of financial services, but also as it reinforces the value of—and our commitment to—increasing customer satisfaction, increasing operational efficiency for our clients, contributing to worthy charities, and reducing our carbon footprint.” 

About Debralee Goldberg
Debralee Goldberg has risen from her first job as a mutual-fund call-center associate to CEO of IFDS Canada, where she demonstrates leadership in business growth and efficiency, R&D, green initiatives, and corporate giving. Prior to IFDS, Debralee spent 25 years in the mutual fund industry with Boston-based banks and services companies First Data Investor Services and DST Systems Inc.

As an alumna of Boston University College of Arts and Sciences, Debralee is an active member of the alumni board, the parents’ council, and the dean’s advisory board at her alma mater. She has been married to Bill Goldberg for 29 years and has two sons, Harrison and Benjamin. Their favorite family activity isskiing. A certified chef, Debralee enjoys cooking and reading in her spare time.  

About IFDS Canada
IFDS Canada is one of Canada’s largest transfer agencies, with over 500 employees and more than 10 million unit holder accounts. It has become a global leader in business process outsourcing and application services. IFDS Canada clients include a mutual fund managers, wealth managers, insurance companies and banks. The company is a joint venture of State Street Corporation and DST Systems Inc.  For more information visit

Topics: business awards, stevie awards, women awards, women in business awards, entrepreneur awards, best entrepreneur, Debralee Goldberg, IFDS

2 Talents That Make a Top Entrepreneur, From a Business Awards Winner

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, May 05, 2011 @ 10:52 AM

Today is the absolutely the last day we can accept entries for The 9th American Business Awards, and next Wednesday is the entry deadline for The 8th International Business Awards, but it's almost time to start thinking about this year's Stevie Awards for Women in Business, which will open for entries within a month.  Mary Reilly-Magee, Owner and Founder of Love to Swim and Tumble School in San Antonio, Texas USA, was named Best Entrepreneur in a Service Business (Up to 100 Employees) in the 2010 Stevies for Women in Business.

0511LovetoSwimMary Reilly-Magee is the embodiment of the two talents that make a top entrepreneur: Determination and Passion.  She is an extremely determined businesswoman, and she is passionate about the prevention of drowning.  She is also passionate about lifelong learning and about building relationships.

Mary taught swimming while earning her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She taught English and coached the swimming and water polo teams at Holmes High School for 5 years while directing the summer night lesson program at Northside Aquatics. In 1998 she resigned from high school teaching to focus on her young family. 

Mary began coaching at local area pools and fitness centers, but was frustrated by having to deal with facility issues and scheduling conflicts. She wanted to provide a more stable environment that would better facilitate teaching children and adults how to swim. Inspired by her vision and dedication, Mary’s friends and family decided to pitch in and lend her the start-up money she needed to build her own facility.

Love to Swim School, founded in 2001, was the direct result of this combination of determination and passion. It quickly became successful and profitable.

After paying back her family and friends, Mary decided she wanted to do more to develop children’s fitness, so she incorporated a tumble facility into her swim school. Mary firmly believes that children that roll on mats, jump on trampolines, and balance on beams develop neurological connections that give them an academic edge over non-active children. Characteristics introduced in the gym such as risk-taking, focusing, following directions, and having an “I can” attitude lead to similar behaviors in the classroom.

By 2008, the renamed Love to Swim and Tumble School’s sales had grown exponentially, allowing Mary to expand her reach and open a second location in 2009.

Mary’s swim schools had taught over 37,000 swim lessons by 2010. Currently, Mary is planning to open additional locations to provide more children with the opportunity to learn.  

A Reputation for Excellence
With its two unique indoor facilities, Love to Swim and Tumble School is able to offer swim and tumble lessons year-round. Mary has developed a progressive approach for teaching, and the coaches on her staff are required to undergo extensive ongoing training. With her child-centered teaching philosophy, parental involvement, and highly trained staff, Mary’s facilities have a well-earned reputation for excellence.

A certified Texas educator, Mary has established herself as an expert in her industry and has written numerous articles for various publications. She constantly seeks to engage and involve parents in their children's learning through newsletters and by offering informational sessions while their kids swim.

Mary speaks at various parenting groups and industry tradeshows, and she provides free drowning-prevention demonstrations to students in local elementary schools. She has been a presenter at the American Swimming Coaches Association SwimAmerica™ National Conference and at the U.S. Swim School Association Annual Spring Conference. She currently serves as the Vice President and President-Elect of the U.S. Swim School Association, a national organization of professional aquatic directors. 

About Mary Reilly-Magee
Mary Reilly-Magee, an athlete, passionate instructor, savvy businesswoman, and mom, has spent the last 25 years of her life teaching students of all ages to swim. She is the founder of the San Antonio-based Love to Swim and Tumble School, and the current president-elect of the U.S. Swim School Association. Mary has presented at numerous national and local conferences as well as to “Mothers of Preschoolers” and parent-teacher organizations.

About Love to Swim and Tumble Schools
Love to Swim and Tumble School’s mission is to develop lifelong swimmers who are confident and masterful. Founded in 2001 by Mary Reilly-Magee, Love to Swim and Tumble School has locations in San Antonio and Schertz that provide swim lessons and tumble lessons. Students range in age from six months to adult, and in skill level from beginner to advanced.  For more information, go to

Topics: women in business awards, stevie awards. women awards, entrepreneur awards, mary reilly-magee, love to swim and tumble

3 Ways Business Awards Winner ITT Is Helping China...and the World

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, May 04, 2011 @ 12:08 PM

With the May 11 entry deadline for the 2011 International Business Awards now just a week away, we thought we'd look back at one of last year's International Stevie Award winners.   ITT Corporation of White Plains, New York USA received a Stevie Award for Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year in Asia in the CSR awards categories of the 2010 IBAs.  Here we look at how ITT has secured safe water and sanitation for communities in Asia.

ITT in ChinaSustaining the supply and quality of the world’s water is one of the most critical global issues facing us today. Water can be the difference between sickness and
health, the driver of economic development, and a powerful force when it comes to global security; yet, more than 883 million people live without access to
safe drinking water, and 2.5 billion live without basic sanitation.

Launched in 2008 with an initial three-year, $4 million commitment, ITT Watermark addressed this crisis by collaborating with leading nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to implement high-impact, sustainable water solutions in areas of great need.

In its first 3 years, ITT Watermark brought lifesaving water to more than 500,000 people in Asia, South America, and around the world. In September 2010, ITT committed $10.5 million to reach one million more people through ITT Watermark by 2013.

Focus on China
In China, more than 300 million people—one quarter of the total population—lack access to safe drinking water. Here, ITT Watermark focuses on three key initiatives:

  • Providing safe water, sanitation, and hygiene education to schools

In China, many children suffer from developmental issues and chronic stomach ailments as a result of contaminated water supplies. Recognizing this, ITT partnered with China Women’s Development Foundation (CWDF) to implement a proven best practice of providing safe water, sanitation, and hygiene education in schools. Since 2009, CWDF and 100 local ITT employees have planned, designed, and installed solar-powered safe water pumps, hand washing stations, and latrines for more than 8,000 students and teachers at fifteen schools in the Hebei, Jiangsu, and Yunnan provinces.  ITT employee volunteers enhanced these efforts by teaching the students in these schools about hygiene education. Additionally, ITT employees supported the initiative by conducting local fundraising efforts.

  • Proactively securing safe water supplies for people in times of emergency

Building on lessons learned during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, during which ITT deployed financial contributions, water treatment systems, and engineers with UNICEF, ITT Watermark has worked to increase the emergency-response capacity throughout China. Together with Mercy Corps, an international NGO, ITT hosted a disaster risk-reduction training course for NGO staff and ITT employees in 2009, providing education on topics including disaster risk-reduction basics, vulnerability and capacities assessments, and community emergency planning.

  • Supporting innovation and action around the preservation of local water resources  

Water pollution and insufficient conservation in recent decades have intensified China's water-access issues and have left 90 percent of Chinese cities with heavily polluted water supplies. To address local water needs, ITT and China’s State Environment Protection Administration sponsor the national Stockholm Junior Water Prize Competition, which encourages local Chinese students to develop water projects and advance water innovation at a local, country and international level.

ITT China employees also take action through local service projects, such as garbage-collection efforts at Dameisha Beach in Shenzhen and tree-planting days in both Shenzhen and Shanghai.

In total, ITT Watermark has improved the lives of more than 200,000 people in China and 500,000 people around the world and continues to create an enduring and positive impact in the communities it serves.

Beyond Water: Minimizing Environmental Impact Worldwide

In addition to its commitment to corporate social responsibility programs such as Watermark, ITT Corporation recently announced that it has made significant steps to minimize its global environmental footprint. By reducing its consumption of natural resources and generation of waste and emissions, ITT is advancing its long-held commitment to sustainability. The company is constantly striving to safeguard the planet's climate, communities, and resources, and has been recognized externally for its significant progress. Over the past five years alone, ITT's global operations have:

  • Cut back overall energy consumption intensity by 31 percent.
  • Decreased intensity of electricity consumption by 33 percent.
  • Reduced generation of hazardous waste by 46 percent.
  • Eased water use by more than 27 percent for production processes and employees.
  • Lowered the concentration of greenhouse gas intensity by 51 percent, including a 46 percent drop from 2007 to 2009.

"The recent metrics demonstrate that at ITT, sustainable behavior is a key part of our organizational fabric," said Steve Loranger, ITT's chairman, president, and chief executive officer. "We recognize the impact our company and our products have on the environment, and we are committed to using technologies to reduce our ecological footprint and protect our planet."

About ITT
ITT Corporation is a high-technology engineering and manufacturing company operating on all seven continents in three vital markets: water and fluids management, global defense and security, and motion and flow control. With a heritage of innovation, ITT partners with its customers to deliver extraordinary solutions that create more livable environments, provide protection and safety, and connect our world. Headquartered in White Plains, New York, the company reported 2010 revenue of $11 billion.

Topics: business awards, International business awards, csr awards, IBAs, corporate social responsibility, itt