Amanda Del Signore

Amanda Del Signore

Recent Posts

Cultivating a Positive Workplace With a People-First HR Approach

Posted by Amanda Del Signore on Thu, Jun 06, 2024 @ 09:52 AM

Talia DAquinoStevie-winner Talia D'Aquino, in her role as People Experience Specialist at Seer Medical, won a Bronze Stevie Award for Rising HR Star of the Year in the 2023 program of the Stevie® Awards for Great Employers.

Seer Medical is a healthcare company that specializes in neurological care and diagnostics. They provide comprehensive monitoring solutions for patients with neurological conditions such as epilepsy.

Rising HR Start of the Year
Talia's leadership skills were instrumental in building a productive and positive work culture at Seer Medical. Her people-first approach to work led to an increase in employee satisfaction, reduced staff turnover, and increased employee engagement. 

Her fellow employees described her as "supportive, encouraging, and approachable" and maintained that her efforts contributed to increasing morale and an increasingly supportive company culture. Talia's dedication to ensuring communication with the broader team was evident in her availability and approachability.

Talia undertook several HR-related initiatives and achieved outstanding results. One of her most notable achievements is the creation of Seer’s comprehensive onboarding system, which includes a welcome email, reference guide, department-specific inductions, a new starter hub, and a buddy system. This initiative improved employee retention and job satisfaction.

Talia also achieved success with the planning and project management of several internal company events, including a company blood drive and a charity walk for epilepsy, demonstrating her strong commitment to social responsibility and community engagement.

Talia’s approach to her role at Seer was underpinned by her “people-first” mindset. This is particularly evident when considering her commitment to fostering and upholding regular and thoughtful communication with her colleagues across all areas of the organization. During times of organizational change, which can be a difficult time for some employees, Talia offered support to several of her impacted colleagues on an individual basis and was able to inform them of the relevant external support resources available. In addition, Talia is a qualified mental health first aid officer and consistently uses this training to support her colleagues.

Since earning her Stevie Award, Talia has joined a new organization to help them transform their HR department and enable further team growth.

Talia D'Aquino won a Bronze Stevie Award for Rising HR Star of the Year in the 2023 Stevie Awards for Great Employers.

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Topics: great employers

Gold Stevie-winner Entek Elektrik's Approach to Talent Development

Posted by Amanda Del Signore on Thu, Jun 06, 2024 @ 09:34 AM

23 spotlight Square-6Stevie-winner Entek Elektrik, a prominent player in the renewable energy sector, specializes in offering a wide array of services tailored to meet the diverse needs of its clientele. The company focuses on various aspects of the energy sector, including power generation, transmission, and renewable energy integration.

In the realm of power generation, Entek Elektrik employs advanced technologies and engineering expertise to design and implement efficient and reliable power generation systems.

Furthermore, Entek Elektrik plays a vital role in power transmission projects, contributing to the stable and reliable supply of electricity to communities and industries. Through the deployment of cutting-edge infrastructure and grid management systems, the company enhances the efficiency and resilience of power networks.

Most Innovative Talent Management Program
Entek Elektrik has consistently ranked first among Koç Group Companies in the Employee Engagement Survey for three consecutive years, showcasing its commitment to fostering a positive work environment.

By focusing on critical thinking, problem-solving, and technical skills, Entek has empowered its employees to adapt to changing market dynamics and drive innovation within the organization. Through feedback sessions, mentoring programs, and development opportunities, individuals receive personalized support to enhance their capabilities and contribute to the company's overall success.

Additionally, the company has established partnerships with esteemed institutions such as Koç University, Harvard Business School, and Columbia Business School to provide high-quality training and development opportunities, underscoring its commitment to employee growth and value creation.

Furthermore, Entek Elektrik has prioritized employee skill development, evident in the significant improvement in critical thinking competencies among its work force. The average score in the Watson Glaser test increased from 28 out of 40 in 2017 to 33 by 2022, positioning its employees in the top 20% of the workforce in Turkey based on the test results. This focus on skill enhancement is reinforced through initiatives like the Talent Forward Program, aimed at promoting continuous learning and agility among employees.

Over the years, Entek Elektrik has achieved excellent progress in employee engagement. Their employee engagement score increased significantly from 62% in 2016 to 87.3% by 2021. The company has also witnessed growth in loyalty scores in the Career and Development category, rising from 48% in 2016 to 92% in 2021. Entek Elektrik continues to address the evolving challenges of the modern energy landscape with its expertise and commitment to excellence.

Entek Elektrik won a Gold Stevie Award for Most Innovative Talent Management Program in the 2023 Stevie® Awards for Great Employers.

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Topics: great employers

Novavax Advances Vaccine Research While Empowering Employees

Posted by Amanda Del Signore on Thu, Jun 06, 2024 @ 09:25 AM

Novavax logoStevie-winner Novavax is a biotechnology company dedicated to protecting global health through the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative vaccines.

Since 1987, Novavax scientists have been refining the company’s protein-based platform, gaining valuable research experience on diseases like Ebola, Influenza, and RSV. Utilizing recombinant nanoparticle vaccine technology, they aim to revolutionize vaccine development by producing highly immunogenic and efficacious vaccines with an excellent safety profile. The company's pipeline includes candidates targeting a diverse array of infectious diseases, with several products progressing through clinical trials.

In 2020, Novavax announced positive Phase 3 results for its influenza vaccine candidate. When the pandemic began, Novavax quickly shifted resources to develop a vaccine. In 2022, Novavax received authorization for its protein-based COVID-19 vaccine, offering a more traditional option, similar to well-known vaccines for flu, hepatitis, and shingles. The vaccine is approved in over 40 countries and has been granted WHO Emergency Use Listing.

In early 2023, Novavax welcomed new CEO John Jacobs, who aligned the organization around three priorities: delivering an updated COVID vaccine for the upcoming vaccination season, ensuring the company is operating in line with the transition to endemic, and leveraging the drug pipeline and technology to deliver long-term growth and protect global health.

"SuperNova" Novavax Employees
Despite rapid growth, Novavax has never wavered from its focus on its employees, internally referred to as "Supernovas." As the company navigated growth amid intense COVID-19 timelines, Novavax bolstered leadership and employee communications. Novavax created several global initiatives to increase senior leader engagement and develop teams, with a specific focus on:

  • Continued growth informed and motivated through leader-led Global Forums covering company-wide business topics, and smaller “SuperNova Sessions” focused on function-level topics.
  • Providing opportunities for employees to stay connected with senior leaders, such as regular small group listening sessions called “Jam with John” with the new CEO, John Jacobs, to get to know employees on a personal level, understand their day-to-day experiences, and gather feedback on operations.Novavax team photo
  • Supporting ongoing leadership development through Leading@Novavax, a new leadership competency model to support the “every SuperNova is a leader” philosophy, providing access for every employee to work with a certified executive coach and an Executive Development program for the next generation of senior leaders.
  • Facilitating career growth, professional development, well-being, and relationship building through quarterly SuperNova Learning Series workshops, a Leadership Book Club, and multiple coaching and leadership development programs to prepare and promote a diverse set of leaders into higher levels of leadership at the company.

Through partnerships and ongoing research efforts, Novavax is dedicated to contributing to the prevention and control of infectious diseases on a global scale.

Novavax won a Silver Stevie Award for Pharmaceuticals Employer of the Year in the 2023 Stevie® Awards for Great Employers.

Interested in entering the 2024 edition?

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Topics: great employers

The 2024 Asia-Pacific Stevie® Awards Ceremony Recap

Posted by Amanda Del Signore on Tue, May 28, 2024 @ 02:39 PM

More than 300 representatives of honored organizations and individuals gathered to celebrate the winners of the 11th annual Asia-Pacific Stevie® Awards at a gala on Friday, May 24 at the Shangri-La The Fort Hotel in Manila, the Philippines.

For those unable to attend, the ceremony was streamed live on Vimeo. You can watch the full ceremony replay on our site and our YouTube channel.

More than 1,000 nominations were submitted to the 2024 competition by organizations and individuals. Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award winners in the various categories were announced in April, as selected by the ratings of more than 200 professionals worldwide. Winners of five Grand ("best of show") trophies also were announced in April, while eight winners of People's Choice Stevie Awards, chosen in a worldwide public vote, were announced earlier in May.

View and download photos from the event here.

How the Awards Were Presented53744645198_a68da0b728_c
To kick-off festivities, gala attendees first enjoyed a formal reception at the hotel to network and forge new business relationships with other Stevie-winning professionals and leaders, followed by a dinner and the awards presentations.

Each organization was announced once during the presentations. A short video about the winning organization produced by the Stevie Awards was played, followed by the winners’ acceptance speech on stage. After receiving their award(s) on stage, winners had the opportunity to be interviewed on the red carpet area outside the event room, where they were asked two questions:

  • "What does winning a Stevie Award mean for your organization?" 
  • "How will winning a Stevie Award help your organization?" 

Acceptance speeches and interview clips will be available on the Stevie Awards YouTube channel.

Winner Highlights
The 2024 program recognized organizations in 25 markets including Australia, Cambodia, mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Estonia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.

Stevie-winner IntouchCX of Hyderabad, India, was one of the first organizations to be honored during the ceremony, accepting five Gold Stevies, three Silver, and one Bronze Stevie Award as well as a Grand Stevie Award for their Gold-winning nomination for Most Innovative Customer Service Team. IntouchCX is a global provider of customer experience management, digital engagement, and A-I solutions, fostering strong partnerships with brands and empowering employees for over two decades.

Another multiple-award winner celebrated at the gala was Watsons International, headquartered in Hong Kong. Watsons stands as a global health and beauty retailer renowned for its diverse range of products and services, catering to the wellness needs of customers worldwide.

Watsons won 35 Stevie Awards from their offices in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Taiwan: eleven Gold Stevie Awards, ten Silver Stevie Awards, and 13 Bronze Stevie Awards. Watsons also won the Grand Stevie Award for Most Honored Organization of the Year with 72.5 award points. This award could not be applied for directly. The award is determined by a points system based on the total number of awards won in the competition, with a Gold Stevie win counting for 3 points, a Silver Stevie for 2 points, and a Bronze Stevie counting for 1.5.

PLDT and Smart of Metro Manila, Philippines won 12 Stevie Awards total in categories including Award for Innovation in Cause-related Videos, Innovative Achievement in Corporate Social Responsibility, and Award for Innovation in Content Marketing/Branded Editorial. 

Ayala Land won 10 Stevie Awards total in categories including Award for Innovation in House Organizations and Publications and Award for Innovation in the Use of Events.

Other multiple Stevie Award winners in attendance include Aboitiz InfraCapital Economic Estates (Philippines); Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc. (Philippines); Dito Telecommunity Corporation (Philippines); Globe Telecom Inc. (Philippines); Home Credit Philippines (Philippines); Shell companies in the Philippines (SciP); IBM (Singapore); L'OREAL China (mainland China); Manila Electric Company (Philippines); Reclaim Energy (Australia); RUSH Technologies Inc. (Philippines); SolarWinds Inc. (Philippines); VILLARICA (Philippines), and many more.

See the full list of winning organizations in attendance here.

Watch the full ceremony here. 

The Official Creative Media Partner of this year's awards is Adobo Magazine, and the Official News Release Distribution Partner is PR Newswire, a Cision company.

2025 Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards
Entries for the 2025 edition of the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards will be accepted starting this October. Join the mailing list for the entry kit and it will be emailed to you then. Learn more about the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards at

Topics: Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards

Webinar: Insider Tips for Crafting Winning Stevie® Awards Nominations

Posted by Amanda Del Signore on Mon, May 06, 2024 @ 10:00 AM

Are you ready to take your business to the next level with prestigious awards recognition? Join us for a game-changing webinar on "How to Prepare an Effective Stevie® Awards Nomination"!

Business awards are not just accolades, they're powerful tools that showcase your credibility, elevate your brand, and pave the path for future success. Crafting a compelling Stevie® Awards nomination, however, requires reflection, finesse, and skill.051424-Webinar-v1b-x1080

This 1-hour webinar will take place on Zoom on May 14, 2024, at 10:00 AM EDT. 

We invite individual professionals, executives, entrepreneurs, and leaders from organizations worldwide—large and small, public and private, for-profit and non-profit—to register for this free learning opportunity.

Hosted by the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Stevie Awards, Michael Gallagher, this exclusive webinar will provide invaluable insights from past winners, seasoned judges, and industry experts.

Learn firsthand what it takes to clinch that coveted Stevie accolade! Here's what you can expect:

  • Behind-the-scenes peek into the awards entry and judging process
  • Pro tips and best practices from Stevie Award winners, judges, and industry gurus
  • Learn the art of storytelling to captivate judges and highlight your unique value
  • Understand the criteria and nuances that set Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Grand Stevie Awards apart
  • Guidance on navigating the nomination process, from account setup to submission
  • Expert advice on selecting the right competitions and categories to maximize your chances.
  • Access to a treasure trove of Gold Stevie Award-winning nominations for inspiration.

 Guests you can expect to hear from in the webinar include: 

  • Susan Turkell, Chief Executive Officer, PAIRELATIONS, LLC
  • Çağatay Kayabaş, President of Business Awards Consulting, and the official Stevie Awards representative in Turkey

In the last section of the webinar, attendees can engage in a live Q&A session to get answers to all their burning questions.

Register now to secure your spot and unlock the secrets to crafting award-winning nominations. Plus, enjoy on-demand access to the webinar and presentations until the end of 2024.Register for Free

Topics: International business awards, American business awards, stevie awards for women in business, great employers

Exploring Mailbird: Empowering Teams with Inclusive Culture and HiBob Integration

Posted by Amanda Del Signore on Thu, May 02, 2024 @ 01:10 PM

mailbird4744Established in 2013 in Bali, Stevie-winner Mailbird, Inc., is a leading provider of email management solutions. Its core offering is a user-friendly email client for Windows and soon Mac, designed to streamline and optimize email management for individuals and businesses alike.

With a diverse range of features integrated into its interface, Mailbird has become a go-to choice for millions of users worldwide seeking efficient and intuitive email management solutions.

Central to Mailbird's success is its commitment to excellence and innovation. The company's dedication is reflected in its consistent growth trajectory and numerous industry accolades. Notably, Mailbird has earned widespread recognition as a top-tier email client for Windows, a testament to its ability to deliver high-quality and effective solutions tailored to user needs.

Inclusive Work Culture
Beyond its product offerings, Mailbird stands out for its inclusive and vibrant remote work culture. Boasting a team comprising over 18 nationalities spanning various time zones, the company cultivates an environment that encourages diversity, creativity, and collaboration.

This dynamic workplace ethos serves as a driving force behind Mailbird's ongoing innovation efforts, positioning the company for continued growth and success in the ever-evolving landscape of email management.

Mailbird notes that their success throughout 2021 has been greatly amplified by the effective use of HiBob, their primary people management tool. They report that they have transitioned away from rigid work structures, promoting a results-oriented culture with the help of platforms such as Slack, ClickUp, and Google Meet. This allows them to maintain a collaborative and trust-centric environment, a departure from archaic time-tracking methods.

Their expansive 40-day PTO policy, also managed through HiBob, is significantly more generous than the industry standard, reflecting their commitment to employee well-being. HiBob allows them to oversee all information, from job histories to performance metrics. Its integration with other programs they use is also convenient.

Since Winning Their Stevie Award
HiBob's foundational role in employee record management remains critical. Managing information ranging from job histories to performance metrics ensures that every team member is accurately represented and understood within the ecosystem.

Their unique "unicorn kudos" system, facilitated by Bonusly, continues to play an instrumental role in employee recognition, fostering positivity and meaningful appreciation throughout the team.

Furthermore, they have continued to conduct improvement surveys. Most recently, their focus on psychological safety yielded encouraging outcomes. The results demonstrated an excellent level of psychological safety among team members, a vital ingredient for a collaborative environment.

Mailbird Inc. won a Bronze Stevie Award for Achievement in Managing a Remote Workforce and a Gold Stevie Award for Best Use of Bob for Creating a Winning Global Company Culture in the 2023 Stevie® Awards for Great Employers.

Interested in entering the 2024 edition?

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Topics: great employers

7th Annual Women|Future Conference Agenda Announced

Posted by Amanda Del Signore on Thu, May 02, 2024 @ 08:00 AM

We are excited to announce that the speakers and agenda for the 2024 Women|Future Conference are now available!

This year’s conference will take place virtually on July 23, 2024. 

The mission of the 7th annual Women|Future Conference, hosted by the Stevie® Awards, is to foster connections and professional and personal development through insightful sessions, workshops, and networking. 

Hear From Leading Women in Business
If you're a small business owner, executive, entrepreneur, or considering starting a business, #WomenFuture24 is an event you won't want to miss.

Our speakers will delve into the challenges, successes, firsts, and setbacks of their journeys. Many 2024 speakers are actually past and current Stevie Award winners who have earned recognition in one (or many) of our nine Stevie Awards programs. Speakers this year include:

  • Angelique Hamilton, CEO, Chief Coaching Officer, HR Chique Group
  • April White, Founder & CEO, Trust Relations
  • Bosky Mukherjee, Founder, PMDojo
  • Danielle Levy, Business Growth Strategist & Consultant, The Boardroom League
  • Deboshree Dutta, Founder & CEO, Criya
  • Denise O’Leary MBE, Managing Director & Founder, Purpol Marketing Ltd
  • Emoly Lyman, CEO, Branch & Bramble
  • Kerry-Ann Powell, Founder & Business Strategist, Trafalgar Strategies, LLC
  • Kristen Dolan, SVP, Growth, Influential
  • Lisa Thee, CEO, AMP Solutions LLC
  • Marissa Nance, Founder & CEO, Native Tongue Communications
  • Nicole Schmitz, Founder & CEO, Nicole Schmitz Leadership Coaching
  • Rachel Griffin, Co-Founder, PlayWise Partner
  • Risa Arin, Founder & CEO, XpertPatient LLC
  • Ronjini Joshua, Founder & CEO, The Silver Telegram
  • Surbhi Gupta, Product Leader, Zoox

Sessions are tailored to ambitious professionals looking to learn and share what’s working in their organizations, troubleshoot the challenges they collectively face, and make meaningful connections. 

You can expect discussions about everything from how to utilize mentorship as a path to professional and personal development, gain traction through public relations, and how technology affects human behavior.

You will learn practical takeaways from sessions on marketing strategies, business ownership, and more. Session Topics include:

  • Building a Trusted Brand: Authenticity in a Time of Public Scrutiny and Hot News Cycles
  • Unlocking Awards Success: The Power of Stevie Awards in Building Credibility and Business Growth
  • Breaking Barriers, Building Empires and Elevating Women: Driving Change in Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Business
  • Leveraging AI Technology and Navigating the Social Media Landscape: Strategies for Business Growth & Success

Connect With Like-Minded Professionals 
Women from cities across the United States, Canada, Australia, Asia, and Europe attend the conference year after year to be inspired, build resilience, and share insights into changes that impact their industries, their careers, and their lives.

The Women|Future Conference is a great opportunity to build industry connections, share challenges, and brainstorm solutions alongside women like you. In any given session, you may find yourself in the company of a non-profit founder, an Entrepreneur, a Publicist, and a CEO.

View the Full Agenda and Speakers online now.

Register to Learn from the Best and Join Our Growing Community of Ambitious Women in Business! 

To learn more about the Women|Future Conference speakers and view the full agenda, visit

For partnership, press, and media inquiries, contact

View Agenda


Topics: stevie awards for women in business, Women Future Conference

Achieving Marketing Goals With AI-Driven Content Optimizer Anyword

Posted by Amanda Del Signore on Thu, Mar 28, 2024 @ 12:08 PM

23 spotlight Square-2-1Stevie-winner Anyword specializes in artificial intelligence (AI)-driven content optimization solutions. Established with a focus on enhancing digital content effectiveness, Anyword utilizes cutting-edge AI technology to empower businesses to improve their online communication strategies.

By analyzing vast amounts of data and leveraging natural language processing algorithms, Anyword assists organizations in generating more impactful and engaging content across various digital platforms.

Anyword's core mission is to provide businesses with advanced tools to optimize their online presence and communication efforts. Through a combination of machine learning algorithms and linguistic analysis, its platform offers actionable insights and recommendations to enhance the performance of digital content.

Anyword was originally created as an AI tool called Keywee intended for publishers to grow their subscription base using AI and natural language processing. Keywee quickly gained success and was adopted by leading publications like Bloomberg, National Geographic, and The New York Times. The founders realized that through Keywee they had a unique opportunity to train an AI model based on top-performing ad copy and create a tool that would revolutionize the industry for marketers by predicting what content would succeed for specific audiences before it was published.

Unlike other generative AI platforms that help users create content at scale, Anyword solves the more significant problem of creating content that will help achieve specific marketing goals such as conversions, engagement, and reach. Anyword can do this because of its homegrown AI model, which was trained on over 2 billion marketing data points. By analyzing this data, Anyword offers valuable insights on performance, target audiences, demographics, and more.

Whether it's crafting compelling ad copy, refining website messaging, or optimizing social media posts, Anyword enables companies to achieve higher levels of engagement, conversion, and overall effectiveness in their online communications.

Using Anyword, users can generate any copy and see how well it will perform for their marketing needs, from ads, SEO-optimized blogs, engaging social posts, emails, landing pages, and more. Anyword's ability to optimize campaigns in real-time helps marketers achieve immediate impact and meet their specific marketing goals.

Since Winning Their Stevie Award
Anyword has launched a Google Chrome extension that works directly inside ChatGPT, Notion, and Canva, turning them into smart marketing content generators and allowing marketers to access Anyword's capabilities wherever they create content.

Anyword won a Bronze Stevie Award for Tech Startup of the Year- Software in The International Business Awards®.

Interested in entering the 2024 edition?

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Topics: International business awards

From Peer Support to Professional Guidance, TalkLife's Online Mental Health Support Platform Connects Millions

Posted by Amanda Del Signore on Thu, Mar 28, 2024 @ 12:02 PM

23 spotlight Square-Mar-28-2024-04-01-31-7168-PMStevie-winner TalkLife is an online peer support community platform, currently supporting millions of people globally.

Founded to foster a supportive community for individuals struggling with mental health challenges, TalkLife offers a safe space where users can connect with others, share their experiences, and receive encouragement and advice. The platform utilizes a combination of peer-to-peer support and professional guidance to create a comprehensive ecosystem aimed at improving mental well-being.

Through its online forums, chat features, and personalized resources, TalkLife enables individuals to access support whenever they need it, regardless of their location or time zone. The company's approach is rooted in inclusivity and accessibility, catering to a diverse range of users from different backgrounds and experiences.

By leveraging technology to facilitate connections and provide evidence-based information and coping strategies, TalkLife strives to empower individuals to manage their mental health effectively and navigate challenges with confidence.

With their free public platform TalkLife, their student platform TalkCampus, and their employee platform TalkLife Workplace, they have championed key geographies where mental health provision is lacking including India and the Middle East. They also provide services for free for students in Ukraine.

TalkLife's platform offers a variety of features designed to address different aspects of mental health, including anxiety, depression, loneliness, and self-esteem issues. Users can engage in one-on-one conversations with trained volunteers or licensed professionals, participate in group discussions, and access a library of articles and resources covering a wide range of mental health topics.

Additionally, TalkLife employs advanced moderation tools and algorithms to ensure a supportive and safe environment for all users, actively monitoring content to prevent harmful or inappropriate interactions.

As an advocate for mental health awareness and destigmatization, TalkLife actively collaborates with mental health organizations, researchers, and experts to promote positive dialogue and provide accurate information about mental health conditions. By fostering a sense of community and breaking down barriers to seeking support, TalkLife aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and encourage more open conversations about mental health.

Through its innovative platform and collaborative approach, TalkLife continues to make a meaningful impact in the lives of individuals worldwide, offering hope, connection, and support to those in need.

TalkLife won a Gold Stevie Award for Company of the Year - Health Products & Services - Small in The International Business Awards®.

Interested in entering the 2024 edition?

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Topics: International business awards

Female-Owned FunkkOFF! Develops Sustainable Solution for On-the-Go Oral Care

Posted by Amanda Del Signore on Thu, Mar 28, 2024 @ 11:24 AM

23 spotlight Square-Mar-28-2024-03-22-01-1890-PMSilver Stevie-winner FunkkOFF!® Inc. is a lifestyle brand company creating oral care, beauty, and personal care products.

FunkkOFF! was formed in 2019 by two lifelong friends, Joelle Flynn and Sonia Hounsell. Their friendship started in seventh grade when they attended a small all-girls Catholic school where they learned about teamwork, integrity, and responsibility.

On July 2, 2021, they officially launched FunkkOFF! TeethRefreshers®, a unique two-in-one toothbrush plus toothpaste product that is reusable (30x), 100% natural, vegan, and offers on-the-go teeth whitening.

The genesis for the product occurred when Joelle was wine tasting in Napa. She loved her red wine but loved her white teeth more—Joelle carried around a toothbrush and toothpaste to remove the purple “Funkk™” “OFF!” of her teeth. One time, Joelle pulled out her lipstick and thought, “Why isn’t there something compact, reusable, and easy to use like my lipstick—but to refresh my teeth?” 

Joelle began inventing a solution and eventually filed eight US patents on her designs and three US trademarks. She joined forces with Sonia who had spent decades in brand management in major consumer packaged goods companies. They worked together to refine the product design and usability and build a supply chain to manufacture the product. They formulated their proprietary tooth gel and completed product development in early 2021. Now they have 10 US patents (Utility & Design) and one Patent Cooperation Treaty Patent.

FunkkOFF productsThe only competing products on the market are one-time-use solutions or teeth wipes—both formats are used once and then disposed of. FunkkOFF! TeethRefreshers can be used 30 times, making them a more sustainable solution for on-the-go oral care maintenance. Furthermore, throughout the supply chain, FunkkOFF! is committed to sustainable practices that reduce the impact on the planet. 

Growing Product Demand
TeethRefreshers grew steadily with a robust direct-to-consumer business on their website and Amazon and sold out in just three months. When back in stock, they entered the retail market and have since gained distribution in 90+ stores in 40+ states. They were discovered organically and listed by a number of retailers including SHEN Beauty and Uncommon Goods. They were also discovered by the QVC Personal Care Buyer and received a large Purchase Order and airdate of August 28, 2023.

FunkkOFF! achieved international recognition in February 2023 when featured on Shark Tank Season 14 Episode 14 and received a $250,000 deal from Robert Herjavec. After the appearance and unanimous rave reviews by all the Sharks, demand has since skyrocketed. Sales in the first six months of 2023 were 350% higher than 2022. When FunkkOFF sold out in the first quarter, consumers placed preorders and were willing to wait three or more months for delivery.

Joelle and Sonia created the product and manufacturing supply chain from virtually nothing and have built a successful company with tremendous demand. Joelle's persistence in the early years led to extensive patent work which puts her among the 2.5% of women-only patent holders.

As minority business owners, they compete against oral care giants but also prioritize giving back. A portion of their sales is donated to Girls on the Run, which helps young women entrepreneurs find their potential and pursue their dreams.

FunkkOFF! Inc. won a Silver Stevie® Award for Startup of the Year - Consumer Services Industries in The 2023 International Business Awards®.

Interested in entering the 2024 edition?

Request the Entry Kit

Topics: International business awards