American Business Awards 2016: Company / Organization Awards Judging Committee

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 @ 02:36 PM

Did you know The 2016 American Business Awards extended the final entry deadline through Tuesday, April 19? There is still plenty of time to submit your nominations. Learn a bit more about who is judging the Company / Organization submissions in The ABA's this year.

The American Business Awards are widely considered to be the premier business awards program in the U.S.A. All organizations operating in the U.S.A. are eligible to submit nominations -- public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small.  The 2016 awards  honor achievements since the beginning of 2015.  Entry details are available at


Judging Chair:

16-ABA-CO-SMALL-Chair-2.gifRobert Frost, Vice President, Customer Care
Carbonite, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Rob Frost is Vice President, Customer Care for Carbonite, a leading provider of hybrid backup (cloud and local) and recovery solutions for home users and businesses. Rob is hyper-focused on customer satisfaction and sets the highest standards for customer service. As VP of Customer Care, Rob and his award-winning, global customer care team continually strive to make sure every customer interaction is a positive experience. 

Prior to joining Carbonite, Rob was Director of Client Services and Technical Support at Intronis. Rob also served as Senior Director of Support and Global Client Relations at Acronis, where he spent three years in Moscow, Russia, delivering global support in nine languages.


Ilene AdlerIlene Adler, CEO
Vantage Communications, San Francisco, California, USA
As an executive in the tech world since the 80s, Im always learning. My experience ranges from international marketing director to president of RAD Data Communications in the US; founding Vantage PR in 1990 to acquisition by PAN Communications in 2015. The best part is connecting with amazing people.

Jennifer Cherry FosterJennifer Cherry Foster, Senior Vice President
Marx Layne, Farmington Hills, Michigan, USA
Cherry Foster is Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer. She oversees media and social relations for clients in a broad range of industry sectors including retail, restaurant, real estate and emerging technologies, and directs the agencys social media practice. With extensive experience in the retail sector, Cherry Foster also counsels clients on retail theory as well as sales and communications strategies.

Dave CraigDave Craig, Vice President, Human Resources
Fazoli’s Restaurants System Management, LLC, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
Dave Craig is Vice President, Human Resources for the 220-unit, Lexington, KY-based Fazoli's Restaurant chain. A native of Akron, Ohio and graduate of Ohio University, Dave has been in the restaurant industry for over 30 years, including 20 years with Fazoli's as the Company's senior HR leader and 10 years in various HR roles with the Long John Silver's Seafood chain. Dave and family reside in Lexington, KY.

Dennis GallagherDennis Gallagher, Director of Customer Service and Payments
Golden Nugget’s Online Gaming, New York, New York, USA|
Dennis Gallagher is a Customer Service professional with 20 years of experience managing Customer Service based organizations in the Telecom, E-Commerce, Media, and Hotel / Casino industries. Dennis feels that customer satisfaction is directly proportional to his employees' satisfaction, and so he has approached his Management positions with this in mind. His strategy of taking care of the folks who take care of customers has proven invaluable in building world class service organizations. Dennis focuses on creating enjoyable working environments to build loyal, hard-working and successful teams.

Eric HalvorsonEric Halvorson, Senior Vice President, National Services Group
Wells Fargo, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Eric Halvorson is a Senior Vice President in the Treasury Management Group. Based in Minneapolis, he is responsible for Operations, Implementation and Client Support for the newly created, enterprise-wide Banking as a Service Channel. Eric has a wide range of experience in consumer finance, treasury/cash management, mortgage and banking spanning more than 20 years. Prior to moving to Treasury Management, Eric managed operations for Wells Fargos Joint Venture mortgage companies.

Fatih HidirligilFatih Hidirligil, President
It's Always Christmas in NY, Inc., New York, New York, USA
Fatih Hidirligil, born in Turkey 1977, has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Economics and Business Administration, with expertise in import and export. He is CFO running his wife’s Christmas businesses with acclaimed success, and they have a precious son. He serves on the board of a non-profit organization.

Neslihan HidirligilNeslihan Hidirligil, Founder
N&F Global Corp, New York, New York, USA
Born in Turkey in 1978, Neslihan came to U.S. in 2002. In 2004, she found that her passion is to spread Christmas spirit year-round, and her ornaments now hang worldwide. She is the largest Christmas retailer on the East Coast, and designs the ornaments and displays at her stores.

Jaimon JacobJaimon Jacob, Associate Director - Customer Service & Business Excellence
UAE Exchange Centre LLC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Jaimon Jacob, a Master of International Business, has over a decade of experience in addressing operations management and organisational excellence. He has been instrumental at work on designing, developing and establishing systems for critical elements of Business Excellence such as Strategy Deployment, Performance Management, Continual Improvement, Break-through and Daily Work Management, among others.

Anila KalleshiAnila Kalleshi, President
Kalleshi Centre, Tirane, Albania
My name is Anila Kalleshi. I'm 44 years old and I am from Albania. I am a nutrionist and I run the most successful Weight loss center in Tirana. I've written 5 books: "How to loose weight", " Diet?! Not only", "Challenges Diet", "28 Day Diet" and "Live Healthy".

Jennifer Cherry FosterJennifer Maldonado, Senior Business Analyst
Activision Blizzard, Santa Monica, California, USA
Jennifer has served in customer advocacy roles for over 20 years. She was recently one of six customer experience practitioners globally to be recognized with the 2015 Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) Impact Award. Jennifer currently runs Activisions Voice of the Gamer program and manages its Customer Service Analytics team.

Greg MerrilGreg Merril, CEO
YOST Labs, Inc., Portsmouth, Ohio, USA
Greg Merril served as CEO for four VC-backed companies. He led HTMedical through a $42M merger with Immersion Corp. He delivered fifty+ lectures/keynotes covering VR, medical, and consumer electronics. An inventor with nineteen patents, he is recognized as a TEDMED Innovation Scholar. Greg Merril is a regional Ernst&Young Entrepreneur-of-the-Year winner.

Vaughn MootooVaughn Mootoo, Global Category Analyst
Chevron, Houston, Texas, USA
Vaughn Mootoo is the Production Operations Category Manager for the Chevron San Joaquin Valley Business Unit. He is responsible for developing contracting strategies, leading strategic sourcing events, managing supplier relationships, and leading category management initiatives that lower the total cost of ownership while maintaining operational excellence. Previous roles at Chevron include global category business analyst and supplier diversity coordinator.

Don PearceDon Pearce, Owner
Pearce Advisory Services, Dallas, Texas, USA
Don Pearce is currently the Owner of Pearce Advisory Services, a Company specializing in helping companies increase sales. Before then he served as Vice President for the Texas division of Alliance Technology Group and before then he held Executive Sales Management positions with Sun Microsystems, STK, Amdahl, and IBM. He has serves the Advisory Board for the Computer Science Engineering Department at Southern Methodist University and holds a B.S. in mathematics from SMU. He earned a M.S. in mathematics from Louisiana State University, where he also taught Mathematics for two years. Mr. Pearce is also a recognized leader in business management with a significant track record of success including 32 years achieving over 100% of his team's revenue quotas.

Churchill Dass PrinceChurchill Dass Prince, Founder & CEO
Sales Intellect Company, Chennai, India
Churchill Dass Prince is a well-known Research person and an Industry Thought Leader, in multiple industries. He founded a Sales Intelligence Company named "Sales Intelligence Services, Inc" and "Sales Intellect Company" with his trademark "Sales Intelligence(tm)", based on his award winning software innovation during 2003. Churchill Dass Prince has presented 100+ research papers in International and national conferences and honoured as "Chief Guest" in 100+ International and National Conferences.

Noah RowlesNoah Rowles, CEO
Rowles Holdings, LLC, Pasadena, California, USA
Noah Rowles is the founder of iolo technologies, a worldwide leader in the performance optimization software market. As CEO he led the business through 15 years of autonomous growth, profitability, and market leadership that ultimately culminated in a successful acquisition. As a self-taught technology architect, inventor, strategist, and multiple patent-holder, Mr. Rowles enjoys fostering high-growth business environments that produce game-changing results though a contagious spirit of innovation, quality of design, and collaborative efficiency.

The Categories:

The Company / Organization categories are one of the largest award category groups in The ABAs, with more than 34 categories for Company of the Year, including:

Company of the Year (may be for-profit or non-profit, public or private, large or small)
B01.    Accounting
B02.    Advertising, Marketing, & Public Relations
B03.    Aerospace & Defense
B04.    Automotive & Transport Equipment
B05.    Banking
B06.    Business Services
B07.    Chemicals
B08.    Computer Hardware
B09.    Computer Software
...and many more.

There are no entry fees in the Startup of the Year categories:

B35. Startup of the Year (for companies that began operations since January 1 2014). 
a. Business Product Industries
b. Business Service Industries
c. Consumer Product Industries
d. Consumer Service Industries

B36. Tech Startup of the Year (for companies that began operations since January 1 2014).

New categories for 2016 include:

B45.  Minority-Owned Business of the Year: A new category for 2016.  This category will recognize the achievements since January 1 2015 of businesses in the U.S.A. that are majority owned by members of an ethnic minority

B46. Veteran-Owned Business of the Year: A new category for 2016.  This category will recognize the achievements since January 1 2015 of businesses in the U.S.A. that are owned by veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

See all of the Company / Organization categories here.



Topics: American business awards, company awards, organization awards

Ideas Worth Spreading: Stevie Award Winner’s TEDx Presentation Outlines Why and How She is Improving the Lives of Women and Minorities

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Jan 06, 2016 @ 02:29 PM

I Change Her Life, a social business enterprise that is creating phenomenal changes in the lives of women in conflict-ridden regions of Pakistan and among the refugees in Turkey, won the Stevie Award for Community Involvement Program of the Year in the Company/Organization Awards categories of the 2015 Stevie Awards for Women in Business.

Dr. Ambreen Zaman Riaz, the founder of I Change Her Life, was in New York for the gala awards presentations at the Marriott Marquis on November 13, 2015. Just before the presentation, however, she gave a talk at TEDxKinnaird, Lahore, Pakistan, outlining her beliefs and motivations.   She has shared the official link to this presentation with us, and you can view it at:


The objective of I Change Her Life is to create positive change in the lives of disadvantaged women by employing and training them. The induction program has been updated over the past year to include a breakthrough “Life Coach” training manual that helps women overcome their suffering and enables them to become productive contributors to their communities.

In Pakistan, the outreach and visibility of I Change Her Life increased tremendously thanks to a collaboration with local non-profits and sister organizations. As a result of relentless efforts to improve the socio-economic conditions of vulnerable and weak women, the organization was able to increase the scope of positive social impact from 20 to 85,849 women in Pakistan.

Dr. Ambreen Zaman Riaz, the founder of I Change Her Life, tells us that this expansion was the direct result of collaboration with many organizations already working in the region such as Nida Pakistan, Blue Veins, and Sawera Pakistan.

“We are also in the process of initiating a joint program with the prestigious Agha Khan Foundation to work alongside their organization CIQAM to increase the scope of social impact,” added Dr. Zaman.   “In Pakistan, we have increased our presence and visibility, and managed to penetrate into the heart of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) region in the Northwest, by establishing close ties and creating relationships based on mutual trust and a strong belief in the process of positive social change.”  

Continued Dr. Zaman: “In Turkey, we have formed key alliances with Women Entrepreneurship group Kadiger Turkey, and with Macka and Flying Bloom. The vision and goals of these organizations are closely aligned with our own values and beliefs.”  

I Change Her Life is using these platforms to fight against gender violence in Pakistan. “We are actively involved in the process of drafting a legislature to modify the bill against honor killings and Sharia law in Pakistan that demeans the status of women in society and constricts their rights and civil liberties,” Dr. Zaman told us. “We are now actively involved in the process of social and legal change to create a positive atmosphere for women to flourish. Through our cooperation with WEF (Women Empowerment Forum) in Pakistan, we have been able to bring about subtle changes in the network of Pakistani society and institutions. The subject of gender violence is our priority, but it must be handled very delicately so as to not offend certain segments of society.”

“We have learned to create small but meaningful changes through our workshops, to create awareness against gender violence, and to focus on gender development,” concluded Dr. Zaman. “Our unique approach has helped us win over critics as well as conservative members of the institutions that we want to change. This is an unprecedented accomplishment: most other organizations have failed because they could not negotiate and ended up being attacked or abolished by fundamental groups. By combining good negotiation skills with open dialog, rather than pushing our agenda in the face of rigid opposition, we have managed to dissolve the boundaries of gender discrimination, leading to an overall change in the perception of the general population.”

I Change Her Life is also using its platform to voice concerns about the violation of the rights of minorities living in Pakistan.

About Dr. Ambreen Zaman Riaz:

Dr Ambreen Zaman Riaz is a medical doctor, social entrepreneur, renaissance scholar, and polymath. She left her successful career as a cosmetic dermatologist to help disadvantaged women because she firmly believed that educated people needed to get actively involved in the social-service sector. Dr Zaman has worked as a volunteer for non-profits both in Pakistan and Turkey. This has further enhanced her enthusiasm to serve vulnerable and weak women.

Dr Zaman is an active advocate of women's rights and participates in highlighting the rights of Christian, Agha Khani, and non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan. Her commitment to change the lives of underprivileged women has enabled her to achieve the status of "change maker" in international circles.

About I Change Her Life:

I Change Her Life is a Social Business Enterprise committed to changing the lives of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Pakistan and refugees in Turkey. The organization creates positive social impact in the lives of the vulnerable and weak. Its aim is to create awareness about issues such as gender violence and the rights of minorities. To find out more, go to:

Topics: stevie awards for women in business, women awards, company awards, organization awards, company of the year

How CSR Awards Winner Is Reducing the Environmental Impact of Commercial Transportation

Posted by Liz Dean on Mon, Mar 12, 2012 @ 01:39 PM

Donlen of Northbrook, Illinois, USA, received a Stevie® Award for Corporate Environmental Responsibility Program of the Year—Up to 2,500 Employees in the company awards categories of The 2011 American Business Awards. (The American Business Awards are now accepting entries. Download your entry kit here and submit your 2012 ABA entries by the March 28 deadline.) Here we take a closer look at what steps fleet financer and management provider, Donlen is taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

DonlenAs a global provider of fleet management solutions, the corporate awards winner was concerned with the following facts:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are the leading cause of climate change;
  • The commercial fleet industry currently manages nearly 3,000,000 vehicles, and one-third of GHG emissions in the United States come from the transportation sector; and
  • The average fleet produces nearly 9,000 metric tons of GHG annually, which is equivalent to the GHG emissions produced by burning 1,012,373 gallons of gasoline.

In 2010, Donlen stepped forward as an industry leader and became a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), collaborating with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in a CGI Commitment to Action titled “Commercial Fleet 20% GHG Emissions Reduction,” and launching Fleets for Change, a fully independent website and robust reporting database.

Utilizing significant Donlen resources, Fleets for Change works with companies to help transform the environmental impact of the U.S. commercial fleet industry. This five-year commitment will help to reduce fleet emission levels by 20%, generating a reduction of more than 500,000 metric tonnes of greenhouse gases.

Pledging Reductions
Any company that is committed to working to track and reduce GHG is welcome to join Fleets for Change. After joining, participants pledge reduction levels then upload their fuel usage and MPG data into a secure database. There, they can not only track their progress against their own goals, but anonymously benchmark against similar fleets with regard to vehicle type and/or class, industry, fleet size, and other criteria. (No company names or identifiers are ever disclosed to other participants.) Access to this cross-industry and fleet data is unprecedented in the fleet management industry.

Creating Change
The organization awards winner's commitment to creating meaningful industry change is easily recognizable through their Fleets for Change initiative:

  • This is an industry-wide initiative open to any fleet that wishes to participate, whether or not they are a Donlen customer. Fleets for Change is a fully secure, independent site.
  • There is no cost for a company to participate in Fleets for Change. Donlen is underwriting all associated costs of the site, database, reporting, and analysis.

  • Donlen is committed to protecting the security of participant information: no individual data is identified or used for any purpose other than confidential reporting by Fleets for Change to the Clinton Global Initiative.

Best Practices
For companies needing assistance to identify their reduction goals and strategies, business award winner, Donlen offers best practices based on extensive experience helping their customers to develop and implement sustainability initiatives. For their customers, Donlen consultants provide performance metrics, benchmarking data, analytical support, facilitating discussions around lifecycle costs and cost reduction. These effective strategies, some of which are shared with Fleets for Change participants, help to measure and reduce fleet GHG.

Corporate award winner and CEO Gary Rappeport spearheads Donlen’s innovation and unparalleled success in the fleet industry. His focus on employee and customer satisfaction, corporate social responsibility, and environmental consciousness has put Donlen in the forefront of workplace excellence, and allowed Donlen to experience unprecedented growth under his leadership.

“The transportation industry is responsible for 28% of the overall greenhouse gas emissions in the United States,” stated Rappeport.“As a leader in the fleet management industry, it’s important that Donlen takes the initiative to help reduce commercial fleet GHG on a broader scale. The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) offers us the ideal venue to address this critically important issue, and we're proud to collaborate with EDF to be part of the larger work of CGI.”

About Gary Rappeport:
Chief Executive Officer Gary Rappeport joined Donlen in 1986 and held a variety of roles prior to taking the leadership position in 1996. Named Executive of the Year-Services in The 2009 American Business Awards, Gary is committed to both employee and customer satisfaction, and developed the Donlen Service Success Chain in which annual goals are set and achievements benchmarked. Gary received a Bachelor's degree in Finance at the University of Florida and an MBA in Finance and Information Systems at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is a member of the Chicago Chapter of the World Presidents’ Organization, and serves as chairman of the American Automotive Leasing Association. Gary is on the Dean's Advisory Board of the University of Wisconsin Business School. He is an active member of The Sierra Club and is diligently involved with Children's Oncology Services, Inc. Prior to joining Donlen, he held sales and management positions at NCR and HP.

About Donlen:
A wholly owned subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation (NYSE:HTZ), Donlen (, with headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois, is a global provider of fleet financing and management solutions. Since 1965, Donlen has offered its clients highly personalized and responsive customer service, and their workplace excellence has been recognized as one of Crain's Chicago Business "List of 20 Best Places to Work in Chicago" each year from 2009-2011, a Leader on "The Global Outsourcing 100®" list by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) for five of the last six years, a National Association for Business Resources "101 Best and Brightest Places to Work For in Chicago" each year from 2007-2011, the 2012 Gold Stevie® Award winner for Business Intelligence, and the 2012 Silver Stevie Award winner for Front Line Customer Service Team of the Year in the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

Topics: business awards, corporate awards, American business awards, business award, corporate award, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, company awards, organization awards, executive of the year, Donlen, Gary Rappeport