The Stevie Awards Blog

Never Too Far from Helping Others with United Way Worldwide

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 @ 02:22 PM

We all benefit when a child succeeds in school, when someone finds a job that will help them provide for their family or when more people are able to access quality, affordable healthcare. United Way Worldwide fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community.

United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit, supported by 2.8 million volunteers, 9.8 million donors worldwide and more than $4.7 billion raised every year. So it’s no surprise they received the Gold Stevie Award for Best Annual Report and for “New Product of the Year, Education, K-12 Course or Learning Management Solution” in The 2017 American Business Awards.

Anyone Can Help Everyone

united way people.pngProviding a platform to make a bigger, deeper difference is what Southerlyn Worsham, Director of Public Relations at United Way Worldwide, says is a top priority when getting involved with United Way Worldwide.

“We’re engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide to create sustainable solutions to the challenges facing our communities.”

United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, government, civic and faith-based organizations, along with educators, labor leaders, health providers, senior citizens, students and more.

The Importance of Celebrating Lasting Change

It’s hard to quantify the value of helping people around the world, especially at United Way’s scale. But lives being changed for the better can be acknowledged and celebrated with awards that represent the hard work people do day in and day out. Southerlyn enjoys sharing these stories as testaments to the difference that communities can make when we come together to create lasting change.

“Our team is awed by the awards and the double victory. Our entire office is so proud of the two awards and have been congratulating each other. It has been amazing for morale and pride. These victories have reignited our passion to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community.”

The Gold Stevie Award in The 2017 American Business Awards for Best Annual Report was given to United Way Worldwide for their multi-media annual report about their efforts and results, including 1,800 locations, 40 countries, six continents, served by 2.8 million volunteers and 9.8 million donors. The annual report details individual efforts, collective results and large-scale impact in childhood success, youth success, financial stability and access to healthcare.

The Versatility of Giving

Giving money to fuel community solutions, volunteering your time or lending your voice to a cause that matters to you are just some of the ways people can get involved. United Way also allows people to gift stock with stock transfer instructions provided.

In keeping with the times of constant innovations for sending money, you can now even donate using Bitcoin, by giving to the United Way Worldwide’s Innovation Fund. The Innovation Fund drives the development of new technology and new strategies to expand their reach and impact in communities around the world. Also, every year, millions of employees around the world launch campaigns to support local United Way solutions that improve education, financial stability and healthcare.

Tags: new product awards, annual report awards, best new product or service, best new product, best annual reports

Education Program Helps Struggling Students Turn the Page

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Jun 27, 2017 @ 12:41 PM

Thanks to growing charter school and homeschooling movements in the U.S., parents have more options than ever when it comes to their children’s education. Selecting the right school for one’s child ‒ and helping them succeed in that environment ‒ has become more of a process than it was in the past.

Stevie Award-winning Founder / Director of New Heights Educational Group, Pamela Clark, experienced this first-hand when she was deciding where to enroll her young children. Clark home-schooled her children before finding the right charter school for them.

NHEG-Logo-with-Banner.jpg

At the local charter school, Clark took on leadership and mentoring roles. Despite her affinity for these independently-controlled schools, she noticed that certain students were falling behind. Those with learning and emotional difficulties, like autism and ADHD, had a particularly tough time getting through the curriculum.

What those students needed, she thought, was a place they could go for additional support. And so, in 2006, New Heights Educational Group was born.

Filling in the Educational Gaps

The organization became a single destination where families could get help deciding where to educate their children, improve their literacy skills and find a library of reading materials for dealing with challenges.

At its core, New Heights Educational Group is a one-on-one tutoring program that focuses in on areas where the student needs extra attention. Teachers and students are required to meet three hours a week over a three-day period.

“We found that fill-in-the-gap type tutoring is necessary in order to reach students that have been left behind in traditional settings,” Clark says.

This focused approach has yielded dramatic results, she notes. Several students who were on the verge of dropping out of high school before they received tutoring from NHEG have now graduated. One student who suffered from seizures at a young age was able to jump three grade levels in science and four grade levels in math in a little over a year.

Parents with children facing learning disabilities found an environment where they could explore new strategies and share their experiences with others.

“In addition to successful, child-focused learning techniques, families are able to cope with their children’s struggles better because of increased social support,” she says.

If anyone could empathize with someone struggling because of a lack of outside help, it was Clark. Neither her father nor her two brothers ever graduated from high school and her mom wasn’t always there to help with her studies. She had also faced numerous health ailments throughout her life, in large part from  being malnourished as a child.

Thanks to New Heights, she’s making sure other students don’t have to deal with those same hardships. The organization recently won the Silver Stevie in The American Business Awards for Organization of the Year in the Small Nonprofit or Government category, which was awarded during a June 20 gala at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York.

“This is such an honor,” Clark said afterward. “Every day our team of 81 volunteers work to promote our work in bettering education for all families, regardless of school choice, background or beliefs.”

Continuing to Grow

Eleven years after starting the venture, Clark continues to grow New Heights. It currently draws students from several states, thanks in part to its flourishing online solutions.

With help from Kathryn Stout, author of Natural Speller, the organization has created a free online version of the book for students learning to read and spell. Clark and her team also developed a free financial literacy course to help youths make wiser decisions with their money.

The journey into the digital realm has proven to be a fruitful one. New Heights garnered a second Silver Stevie this year in the New Product or Service of the Year category for its PK-12 Personalized Learning Solution.

In addition to helping students advance in school, Clark has also positioned the organization as a leading voice in educational strategies. On top of the monthly educational magazine it recently launched, New Heights started an Internet radio program that now boasts more than 24,000 listeners a year.

Clark and company published a book entitled One Nonprofit’s Journey to Success in 2015 and released a second, Unraveling Reading, late last year.

Even as she faces ongoing health issues, Clark continues to serve as the engine for the program. She oversees the dozens of volunteers who provide tutoring through New Heights, offers training to teachers and continually researches new strategies for helping students reach their potential.

“Educational changes are slow moving and very little improvements are ever made,” says Clark. “So the work that nonprofits do are very important and normally don't receive the attention they deserve.”

Tags: new product awards, new product of the year, best new product or service, education awards

Winners Announced in 2017 People's Choice Stevie® Awards for Favorite New Products

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Jun 07, 2017 @ 10:32 AM

Awards to Be Presented at Gala Ceremony on June 20 in NYC

Cirkled in is the top winner in the 2017 People's Choice Stevie® Awards for Favorite New Products, a feature of The American Business Awards, the U.S.A.’s top business awards program, which are now in their 15th year.

The nationwide public vote was conducted last month, with the highest number of votes deciding the winners in a variety of product categories. More than 38,000 votes were cast.  To win, a category’s leading vote-getter had to have received at least 100 votes.

ABA peoples choice-2.jpgCirkled in, the Redmond, WA based company won the most People’s Choice Stevie Awards in two categories, Education - Classroom Mgmt and Education - Cloud-Based. 4LifeTransform Burn collected the most votes of any nominee.

The crystal People’s Choice Stevie Awards will be presented to winners at The American Business Awards’ banquet on Tuesday, June 20 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York, NY. Tickets for the event are now on sale. There, the winners of peer-adjudicated Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Awards will also be presented their awards. More than 550 nominees and their guests are expected to attend.

All new products and services recognized as winners in the new product awards categories of this year’s American Business Awards were eligible to be included in voting for the people’s choice awards.

The winners of the 2017 People’s Choice Stevie Awards for Favorite New Products are:

B2B Products: Qstream's Coaching Hub
B2B Services: Arise Starmatic Scheduling System
Computer Hardware: IGEL UD Pocket
Consumer Electronics: Anki's Cozmo
Consumer Products & Services: 4LifeTransform Burn
Content - Content Marketing: Thomson Reuters' Checkpoint Marketing Social Media Solutions
Content - Other: AT&T Global Video Player
Content - Reference/Legal: Enquiron
Content - Sales/Marketing Intel: Ignite Sales Customer Engagement Management Platform
Education - Classroom Mgmt: Cirkled in School Offering
Education - Cloud-Based: Cirkled in School Offering
Education - Game/Virtual/Other Curric: Advantexe Learning Solutions Drivers of Business Performance Business Simulation
Education - Other: United Way Worldwide, NFL, Verizon and Everfi: Character Playbook
Health & Pharmaceuticals: Makers Nutrition's Private Label Product Line
Industrial: Magline LiftPlus
Software - Big Data: CareerBuilder's Customer Health Score Tool
Software - Cloud App/Service: FieldEdge
Software - Cloud Backup/Storage: Quest Rapid Recovery v6.1
Software - Cloud ERP: Intacct Contract and Revenue Management
Software - Cloud Infrastructure: Wind River Titanium Control
Software - Content Mgmt: Built.io Contentstack
Software - Data Visualization: Lucky Orange Dynamic Heatmaps
Software - Ecommerce: Ve Interactive VePanel
Software - Endpoint Security Mgmt: Dell Data Guardian
Software - FinTech: Ingo Instant Payments
Software - Human Capital Mgmt: RiseSmart Insight
Software - Identity/Access Security: IdentityForce's UltraSecure+Credit (Version 5.1)
Software - Infrastructure/Platform AAS: FIS Merchant Processing System
Software - Integration Solution: West Video Meeting Gateway
Software - Learning/Workforce Dev: Articulate 360
Software - Marketing/PR: Digital Air Strike's Mission Control
Software - Mobile On-Demand App: Equo by Runzheimer
Software - Network Security: Cisco Stealthwatch 6.8
Software - Other: MindTickle
Software - Payments: BluePay?s Premier Payment Gateway
Software - Relationship Mgmt: Vlocity Communications
Software - Supply Chain Mgmt: PRO Unlimited's Wand VMS
Telecommunications - Product: Nextivity's Cel-Fi GO

Tags: new product awards, best new product or service, best new products, new service awards

Chargebacks911: Reducing Costs, Enriching Understanding, and Recovering Revenue

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 @ 04:52 PM

Chargebacks911 won Gold and Silver Stevie Awards in The 2016 American Business Awards for Best Business-to-Business Product and New Product of the Year - Software Commerce Solution. 

The 2017 American Business Awards are accepting entries through April 7. Review the entry kit here. Learn more about New Product Awards.

We spoke with Gary Cardone, CEO of Chargebacks911 to learn more about the organization and what winning Stevie Awards has meant to their successes.

chargebacks banner.jpgIn a sentence or two, what does your organization do?

Chargebacks911 is dedicated to eliminating chargeback fraud (friendly fraud, family fraud, unauthorized claims and mis-coded disputes) for merchants, issuers, and acquirers. Last year, we safeguarded over 2.4 billion online transactions in 87 countries, working hand-in-hand with thousands of e-stores all over the world.  In a nutshell, we take the guess work out of chargebacks, which means reducing costs, enriching understanding, and recovering revenue. 

What is the vision behind your organization?

Our vision is simple: begin and end with a win-win scenario. When it comes to chargeback fraud, everyone is victimized: merchants pay fees and lose money to fake claims, banks devote expensive resources, and consumers end up paying higher prices and forfeiting friendly policies. 

We are passionate about identifying the true source of the problem and not just treating the symptoms.  Everything we do is backed by an ROI guarantee that is only possible due to our first-hand expertise and technology. Our vision has been built upon a mission to bring our understanding and workable results to enough merchants and banks that as an industry, we can overcome the growing chargeback problem. 

Ironically, this type of vision does not leave us without a business. Helping merchants achieve sustainability and growth is our primary goal, and understanding the best methods to use for managing chargebacks is a key component. There will always be disputes or issues to resolve between buyers and sellers. What is most relevant is the innovation undertaken to meet these growing requirements–a vision that keeps pace with evolving technology and consumer behavior...this is where we fit!

Is there a story or reasoning behind the nomination?

Our two company founders–Monica Eaton-Cardone and Gary Cardone–were jointly selling products online in 2010, when they were victims of chargeback fraud.

Chargeback fraud is an unjustified refund that’s forced upon merchants, occurring when a cardholder reports an unwarranted charge to their bank. The burden of proof is then on the merchant to defend the legitimacy of the sale, which is an extremely difficult threshold for online purchases, card-not-present transactions and shipped merchandise. Merchants lose $40 billion annually to chargebacks and the payments industry suffers even higher losses as a result.

Monica and Gary searched for a company to protect them from chargeback fraud, but to their astonishment, no such company existed. So, they studied chargebacks and became expert themselves, launching Chargebacks911 in 2011.

Roughly five years later, Chargebacks911 has 300+ global employees, thousands of clients, and corporate offices throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

How did your organization first become acquainted with the Stevies?

The Stevie Awards are internationally recognized as “The World’s Premier Business Awards,” because it’s not about politics, pay-for-play, or personal connections; it’s truly a merit-based honor that celebrates excellence in the field of business. We’ve admired the Stevie Awards for many, many years, and we’re deeply humbled to be included among such a distinguished list of trailblazing entrepreneurs, innovators and international trendsetters.

What was it like for your organization to win this award?

It validated what we believed all along: excellence deserves to be recognized, and if you “build a better mousetrap,” you’ll achieve success. It’s an honor that we share with our dedicated, passionate team-members, and they’re just as proud of this award as our cofounders are!

How has the win affected your business?

The eCommerce industry is extremely technical and very nuanced; even savvy, veteran online merchants often have difficulty understanding the latest developments in chargeback fraud, banking regulations and dispute resolution.  Capturing gold and silver Stevie Awards differentiates us from the competition, and offers an invaluable third-party testimonial to our clients. 

In short, it communicates something very special: We’re the best at what we do. 

What results have been gained since this award was won? Have any documents such as case studies been created that you can share with us?  

We just opened a new location in the UK so we can expand our service levels to better support our growing European customers. This addition comes on the heels of our increased focus on the travel industry. A case study, outlining how our services have impacted the travel industry, can be found here.

Please look out for exciting news–case studies and trends are due to be released Q2 2017.  With the changes from Visa and other payment providers taking hold this year, it is due to be an exciting one for industry news. We plan to release insider tips and regulatory updates shortly.

What changes in the industry does your team find interesting and why?

Perhaps “interesting” isn’t the right word, but it’s certainly noteworthy – cyber-fraud is growing by leaps and bounds:

  • The chargeback issuance rate is growing by 20 percent each year
  • There’s been a 300+ percent increase in fraud attacks on digital goods
  • 94 percent of websites experienced a “bot” (nonhuman) cyber-attack last year
  • 6 percent of an online merchants’ total annual revenue is now spent exclusively on fraud-prevention
  • Chargeback fraud has grown by 41 percent and continues to climb each quarter

It’s an extraordinarily dangerous time for online merchants. It’s becoming as inevitable as death and taxes.

That’s why you NEED to be prepared.  And that’s why Chargebacks911 is here to help.

Is there an inspirational story related to your organization that might appeal to our blog readers?

Because of our rapid growth, Chargebacks911 has hired hundreds of new employees, largely from our hometown in Tampa Bay, Florida.  Sadly, we soon realized that many young people lack the confidence that is a prerequisite for success in such a fast-paced, hi-tech environment. This led our cofounder and Chief Operating Officer Monica Eaton-Cardone to launch a non-profit program called “Get Paid for Grades.” It offers a financial incentive to struggling high schoolers, focusing on improving literacy and mastering the life-skills that so important in today’s economy—thereby, improving self-confidence. 

Chargebacks911 is a sponsor of Get Paid for Grades, and the program recently expanded to four additional schools across Florida. We hope to eventually introduce the program nationally – because every child deserves an opportunity to succeed.

Tags: new product awards, America Business Awards, new product of the year, best new product or service, best new products

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