Judging Chairs Named in the 2024 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Dec 19, 2023 @ 03:05 PM

The Stevie® Awards are delighted to announce the seven distinguished professionals who will chair the judging committees of the 2024 (18th annual) Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service competition.

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service are the world's top sales awards, customer service awards, business development awards, contact center awards, and more.

Stevie Award finalists will be determined at the end of the judging period in February. Results of Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Awards will be announced at the 18th annual awards ceremony in Las Vegas on April 12.  

The seven committee chairs were invited to chair based on their professional experience and expertise. Judging chairs helped to form their committees, each of which will be comprised of other professionals from around the globe. Learn more about the Stevie Awards judging process here

Here are this year's judging committee chairs:

Customer Service & Contact Center Achievement Awards
Chair: Neal Topf, President, Callzilla, Miramar, Florida, United States

24 sascs csa chair Neil topfNeal Topf is the President and Co-Founder of Callzilla, an outsourced contact center provider. Inspired by Annette Franz’s Built to Win tome on how to truly serve customers, Neal has learned the importance of shaping Callzilla to be Employee Centric, Customer Centric, and Client Centric. Neal’s passions are taking apart and solving modern Customer Experience puzzles through the lenses of the employee, customers, and clients, including how the intersection of humans and artificial intelligence can be leveraged to remove friction, to improve speed of response and resolution rates and truly place each of these at the center of the enterprise. 

Neal serves on the Executive Board of the Society of Consumer Professionals (SOCAP) where he enjoys the role of governance of a leading CX industry association. A graduate of the HEC Paris MBA program, Neal studied entrepreneurship and general management. Prior to his MBA studies in Paris, Neal worked for 4 years in the international division of MCI, the great telecom challenger of the 80’s and 90’s, which was a career changing opportunity. Neal now resides in South Florida where he tries to incrementally improve his golf game. And in his spare time, he wonders if the Washington Commanders, his lifelong favorite football team, will ever return to prominence? 

Customer Service Department & Customer Service Success Awards
Chair: Sarah Sajedi, CO-founder, CEO & CTO, ERA Environmental Management Solutions, Saint-Laurent, Quebec, Canada

24 sascs csd chair sajediSarah Sajedi is an award-winning environmental expert and one of the co-founders of ERA Environmental Management Solutions. Over the past 28 years as the company’s CTO and CEO, Sarah has had to carve out a place for herself in a competitive and largely male-dominated industry. Through her business acumen, degree in Chemistry/Biochemistry, and determination, Sarah has established herself as an authority on environmental performance and compliance solutions across the automotive, aerospace, chemicals, metal, and general manufacturing industries, among countless others.

Sarah’s leadership philosophy is simple: investing in the education and growth of employees promotes innovation and a stronger company. By fostering emerging talent from a diverse workforce, Sarah has grown ERA from a small firm into Canada’s most successful environmental management solution provider, successfully winning out Fortune 100 and 500 companies against multimillion-dollar U.S. competitors. Sarah is a passionate advocate for higher education. She believes education is empowering - that is why she currently sponsors three scholarships for higher education and is working toward establishing a foundation to provide financial aid and university access. She believes in helping others, particularly young female entrepreneurs, by providing a means to obtain higher education and independence, which is vital for their continued success.  Voluntarism is also an essential part of Sarah’s leadership. She works with Angels of Mercy to provide food, clothing, and a listening ear to Montreal’s homeless population, and through the Helping Hands organization she provides clothing and education to children in developing nations. It’s important for her to be able to work hands-on with those in need.

Under her leadership, ERA has been named one of the most admired companies to watch (2018), one of Canada’s top SMEs by the Globe and Mail (2019) and Corporate Vision (2021), one of the top 10 automotive solution providers (2021), the most innovative EHS&Q compliance platform (2022), the Canadian Sustainable Business of the Year (2022), and the Gold Stevie Award winner in the Customer Service (Technology Industries category) at the 2023 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.  Sarah herself has been named a Woman of Influence by RBC, the Silver Stevie Award winner at the 2013 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the recipient of the national Sara Kirke Award for Leadership in Technology.

Customer Service & Contact Center Individual & Team Awards
Chair: Kimberley Hayes, Global Chief Experience Officer, MONAT Global Corp, Doral, FL, United States

24 sascs csit chair hayesKimberley Hayes is a distinguished professional with over 25 years of extensive experience in managing Customer Care operations on a global scale. Her leadership journey has taken her from the corporate landscapes of the USA, Canada, and the European Union to the bustling markets of Asia. Kimberley is renowned for her exceptional expertise in customer experience (CX) management and a distinguished career marked by remarkable achievements. Throughout her illustrious career, Kimberley has proven herself as a seasoned executive who consistently delivers exceptional results. Her unwavering commitment to success is a driving force that has set her apart in the industry. Kimberley is known for her strategic approach to customer care operations, making her a visionary leader who excels in crafting innovative and effective solutions to complex challenges.

In 2023, Kimberley Hayes received a prestigious Silver Stevie Award in the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, a testament to her excellence in customer care where she was honored as "Women of the Year in Customer Service," underscoring her extraordinary contributions and leadership. Furthermore, Kimberley is no stranger to the dynamic world of start-ups. Her entrepreneurial spirit and adaptability have allowed her to excel in nurturing and growing early-stage companies. This experience has equipped her with a profound understanding of the fast-paced, ever-evolving nature of the business world.

Kimberley's track record extends beyond accolades, as she has successfully built and managed organizations of over 500 seats, showcasing her remarkable ability to scale operations while maintaining a focus on quality and excellence. Her wealth of experience, exceptional results, and relentless determination position Kimberley Hayes as a leading figure in the customer care and CX industry. Her commitment to delivering unparalleled customer experiences, combined with her extensive global experience and expertise in start-ups, make her a true luminary in the field. With a career that epitomizes excellence, Kimberley continues to be a driving force in shaping the future of customer care and CX management.  

New Product & Service Awards
Chair: Dennis Reno, Chief Customer Officer, Cyara, Almeda, California, United States

24 sascs np chair renoDennis Reno joined Cyara in 2020 and most recently has been a member of the executive leadership team as Chief Customer Officer and is focused on delivering world-class customer experiences for a global customer base.  Dennis has a rich background managing Customer Experience and Customer Success functions among leading tech firms in Silicon Valley and at companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, Proofpoint, BEA Systems, and Continental Airlines.

On being appointed Chair, Dennis commented: “I have had the honor of being a judge for the Stevie Awards for many years and each time I participate I have the pleasure of making new friends and contacts among my fellow judges and gain the unique ability to learn so much about other businesses and industries that deliver world-class service and support.”  

Sales Achievements & Sales Distinction Awards
Chair: Oğuz Kartal, Chief Transformation Officer, Karaca Zuccaciye A.S., Sisli, Istanbul, Turkey

24 sascs sasd char kartalOğuz is a Chief Digital Transformation Officer with more than 15 years of experience working alongside Telecom, Retail, Finance, and Technology industries. During this time, Oguz has worked with top companies in Turkey, Dubai, Qatar, and Kuwait. Having worked for top telecom and finance companies, Oguz has a unique set of capabilities for leading the strategic vision and business development for companies to leverage digital capabilities and digital channels as well as to build and differentiate the brand through a better digital experience for everyone.

Sales Individual & Sales Team Awards
Chair:  Mario Martinez Jr., Founder & CEO, Vengreso, Inc., Walnut Creek, California, United States

24 sascs sit chair martinez-whiteMario is the CEO and Co-founder of Vengreso - the creators of FlyMSG, the AI All-inOne Productivity Assistant helping professionals save 1-hour a day in lost productivity by storing, organizing, typing, and writing for you. He spent 106 consecutive quarters in B2B Sales, Marketing, and Executive Leadership roles, growing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue annually. 

In 2023, he was named Most Influential CEO in the Software Solutions category by CEO Monthly, and he was also named to the #1 spot in the Top 10 Most Influential Business Leaders by Beyond Magazine in 2021. Most notably, he was one of 20 sales influencers invited to appear in the Salesforce.com documentary film “The Story of Sales”. He was named one of the Top 10 Sales Influencers by The Modern Sales Magazine, Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals, Selling Power Magazine’s Top Sales Training and Coaching Consultant, and was recognized as one of the top Social Media Leaders by The Social Shake Up. 

As a renowned sales influencer, Mario teaches marketing and sales professionals how to develop an engaging personal brand to attract today’s modern buyers using the digital sales ecosystem.  Mario is the host of the popular The Modern Selling Podcast. He’s been featured in Forbes, INC., Entrepreneur,  and was formerly a contributor to the Huffington Post. He’s a highly sought-after Keynote Speaker with brands such as LinkedIn, Cisco, and many more. He is also known to open a speech with a Salsa dance.  Follow him on YouTubeLinkedIn, on Twitter, or view his website at https://vengreso.com.

Solution Provider, Business Development & Thought Leadership Awards 
Vicki Brackett, Chief Knowledge Office, Knowledgely, Hollister, California, United States

24 sascs spbd chair brackettRecognized as a subject-matter expert on virtual/work-at-home environments and leadership development, Vicki Brackett has written for and been interviewed by ForbesFast CompanyFortune MagazineCIO MagazineCEOWorld,  HR News, Training MagazineICMI, Contact Center Pipeline, The Justin Brady Show,and a host of other publications and podcasts, on creative work-at-home, leadership development, and employee engagement strategies. Vicki has led customer service, technical support, and sales teams in a contact center environment for over two decades. She and her teams have helped organizations achieve exceptional operational excellence, increased sales, higher employee engagement, productivity, and retention with strong customer satisfaction - driving both top line revenue and bottom-line contribution.

Today, Vicki is the Chief Knowledge Officer, at Knowledgely, an organization that helps contact centers understand how their knowledge maturity is adding operational costs and increased mental stress to agents who are looking for the right answer to help a customer.  With a proven methodology, Knowledgely can help companies drive reduced new hire training times, increased agent productivity and employee/gig worker job satisfaction. Their systematic approach can offer new strategies to achieve better knowledge maturity behind self-service technologies that exceed customer expectations and drive down operational costs.

Vicki is also the author of ‘The Leadership Toolbox - Manage Less Achieve More,’ a book about her experience leading virtual/work-at-home and brick & mortar contact center organizations across industries ranging from consumer technology, education, automotive, cosmetics, nutrition and other consumer products and services. Her book showcases a set of leadership tools that have been vetted by thousands of employees and a systematic approach that can transform organizations into top performing business units, where employees and gig workers love coming to work, are highly engaged, and exceed customer expectations.

On being appointed a 2024 Chair, Vicki commented: “It’s an honor and privilege to be a Stevie Award Chairperson and Judge. The Stevie Awards recognize top performers in an industry that continues to respond to the changing business climate. We can learn from these award winners and take best practices back to teams across the globe. Congratulations to all the winners!”

Topics: Steve Awards for Sales and Customer Service