Winners Announced in 17th Annual Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service

World’s Top Customer Service and Sales Awards Were Presented in Las Vegas

FAIRFAX, Va., March 06, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Winners in the 17th annual Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, recognized as the world’s top customer service awards and sales awards, were unveiled on Friday night at a gala ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada USA, attended by more than 400 executives from around the world.

The complete list of Stevie Winners by category is available at http://www.StevieAwards.com/Sales.

DP DHL, with 46 Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award wins, was the most honored organization this year, earning the top Grand Stevie Award trophy. This is the 11th year in a row in which the multinational package delivery and supply chain management company, headquartered in Bonn, Germany, has won a Grand Stevie in the program, and the ninth year of the 11 in which they placed first on the list of most honored organizations.

Other Grand Stevie Award winners, in descending order, include IBM, Sales Partnerships, Support Services Group, ValueSelling Associates, UPMC Health Plan, PowerSchool Group, GoHealth, TalkDesk and Michael Kors.

More than 2,300 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were evaluated in this year’s competition. Finalists were determined by the average scores of more than 170 professionals worldwide in seven specialized judging committees. Entries were considered in more than 60 categories for customer service and contact center achievements, including Contact Center of the Year, Award for Innovation in Customer Service, and Customer Service Department of the Year; 60 categories for sales and business development achievements, ranging from Senior Sales Executive of the Year to Sales Training or Business Development Executive of the Year to Sales Department of the Year; and categories to recognize new products and services and solution providers, among others.

Sales Partnerships, Inc. won 12 Golds, the most in the competition. Other winners of two or more Gold Stevie Awards include: Alight Solutions, Blackhawk Network, ClearSource BPO, DP DHL, EFG Companies, Genpact, GoHealth, IBM, ICW Group, Janek Performance Group, JK Moving, LivePerson, MetTel, Michael Kors, MONAT Global Corp, Optima Tax Relief, LLC, Optum, Paradigm Marketing and Design, PREMIER Bankcard, Rapid Phone Center, Sales Partnerships, Inc., SAP, SoftPro, Splunk, Tata Consultancy Services, TELUS Smart Security & Automation, TIM Brasil, TransPerfect, Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S., UPMC Health Plan, Perceptyx, Veeam, and WNS (Holdings) Limited.

Winners in one special category, the Sales Partnerships Ethics in Sales Award, were also announced on Friday. This award recognizes organizations for best practices and achievements in demonstrating the highest ethical standards in the sales industry. The Gold Stevie winner in this category is Greater Prairie Business Consulting. The Silver winner is Belkins, and the Bronze Stevie Winners are Cal Dental USA and Integrity Solutions.

The presentations were broadcast live via Livestream and are available to watch online.

Nominations for the 2024 edition of the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service will be accepted starting this July.  The entry kit may be requested at http://www.StevieAwards.com/Sales.

The awards are presented by the Stevie Awards, which organizes eight of the world’s leading business award shows including the prestigious International Business Awards® and American Business Awards®.

About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in eight programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards®, The International Business Awards®, the Middle East & North Africa Stevie Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 12,000 nominations each year from organizations in more than 70 nations. 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 www.StevieAwards.com.

Sponsors of the 17th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service include Sales Partnerships, Inc., Support Service Group, and ValueSelling Associates, Inc.

Contact:

Nina Moore
(703) 547-8389
Nina@StevieAwards.com

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8781987

US Warns About Increasing Use of Intermediaries to Evade Russia Sanctions

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has triggered an unprecedented wave of U.S. sanctions on Russia.

In the year since the onslaught, the U.S. The Treasury Department has sanctioned about 2,400 entities and individuals, while the Commerce Department has imposed prohibitive controls on exports to Russia and its ally Belarus.

While the Biden administration says the restrictions have “significantly degraded” Russia’s military-industrial complex and supply chains, it appears equally concerned that Moscow has proved increasingly adept at skirting the sanctions.

Using intermediaries, Russian companies continue to ship oil across the globe despite wide-ranging Western sanctions on its energy industry, while at the same time importing U.S. and European technology through intermediaries in countries that have not imposed sanctions on Russia.

In a bid to close the loophole, the Biden administration has been homing in on what it calls “evasion-related targets,” designating more than 200 entities in connection with evading the sanctions. Spanning Europe, Africa and Asia, the targets include transshipment points in the Middle East, the Eurasian Economic Union, and East Asia, the Treasury Department said last month.

Putting companies on notice about the risk of violating U.S. sanctions on Russia, the U.S. departments of Justice, Treasury and Commerce last week released a “compliance note” to highlight what they described as one of the most common sanctions evasion tactics: the use of third-party intermediaries and transshipment points.

In the joint notice, the three agencies responsible for sanctions enforcement cited more than a dozen common “red flags” that suggest the use of a third-party intermediary – or a foreign company based outside Russia – to evade the sanctions.

Among the tell-tale signs: Using shell companies to execute international wire transfers, being reluctant to share information about the end user, and routing shipments through “certain transshipment points commonly used to illegally redirect restricted items to Russia or Belarus.”

“Businesses of all stripes should act responsibly by implementing rigorous compliance controls,” the notice warned.

Antonia Tzinova, a partner at the Holland & Knight law firm in Washington, D.C., said the administration’s sanctions compliance notice reflects growing concerns that Russian entities have found ways to circumvent the restrictions.

“The concern is that Russia keeps getting the technologies that have been embargoed in support of its war and keeps getting the resources to finance its war,” Tzinova said.

Sanctions – when targeted, closely coordinated and multilateral – work, she said. But they lose potency over time as their targets learn to evade them.

“This is part of the adjustment process,” she said of Russia’s ability to weather the sanctions’ effects. “They’ll find ways because for them it’s a matter of survival.”

Jim McWeeney, chief executive officer of Integrity Risk International, said the compliance note amounts to a warning signal to governments that are helping Russia evade the sanctions.

“These aren’t just the typical bad actors that we normally see around the globe,” McWeeney said.

The notice mentioned China, Armenia, Turkey and Uzbekistan among the countries commonly used as “transshipment points” to Russia and Belarus.

In January, the non-profit Silverado Policy Accelerator reported that some former Soviet states had “increased their transshipment of goods produced by multinational firms that no longer export the goods directly to Russia.”

Another alleged transshipment point to Russia and Belarus is the United Arab Emirates.

Elizabeth Rosenberg, U.S. assistant secretary of Treasury for terrorist financing, said the administration is “concerned” that UAE-based companies exported more than $18 million worth of goods to U.S.-designated Russian entities between July and November 2022.

In addition, she said, UAE firms shipped more than $5 million in U.S.-origin, export-controlled goods to Russia, including semiconductor devices.

“We are specifically concerned about increases in trade with Russia in the kind of goods that can be used on the battlefield and those who are aiding designated Russian entities,” Rosenberg said last week at the Association of Women in International Trade. “We are investigating this type of assistance at the individual, firm and sector level.”

The embassies of China, Armenia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan in Washington did not respond to VOA’s requests for comment.

McWeeney of Integrity Risk said the Biden administration is clearly “concerned” about Russia’s efforts to circumvent international sanctions.

“The more they can evade sanctions, the longer that Russia can continue to pursue this war,” McWeeney said. “The more that the sanctions can be enforced, the more difficult it is on Russia to fund the war, to continue the war.”

Source: Voice of America

UN Chief Warns Equality Among the Sexes 300 Years Away

The United Nations secretary-general warned Monday at the start of a major women’s conference that at the current pace, gender equality is projected to be 300 years away.

“Progress won over decades is vanishing before our eyes,” Antonio Guterres said at the start of the Commission on the Status of Women.

The CSW, as it is known, is expected to draw more than 4,000 government ministers, diplomats and civil society members for the annual two-week-long gathering to discuss how to improve the lives of women around the world. It is the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic that the conference is fully in person.

Guterres told the opening session that the CSW takes on even greater significance at a time when women’s rights “are being abused, threatened and violated around the world.”

This year’s theme is “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.” The conference and its dozens of side events will look at how a disproportionate lack of access to the internet is holding back women and girls globally.

“Three billion people are still unconnected to the internet, the majority of them women and girls in developing countries,” Guterres said. “In least developed countries, just 19% of women are online.”

Globally, the U.N. says men outnumber women 2-to-1 in the tech industry, while only 28% of engineering graduates and 22% of artificial intelligence (AI) workers are women. There is also a significant gender pay gap of 21%.

“The digital divide can limit women’s access to life-saving information, mobile money products, agricultural extension or online public services,” said Sima Bahous, executive director of U.N. Women. “In turn, this fundamentally influences whether a woman completes her education, owns her own bank account, makes informed decisions about her body, feeds her family or gains productive employment.”

Bahous said these inequalities have created a new kind of digital poverty.

“We will not achieve gender equality without closing the digital gap,” she said.

Women and girls also experience more harassment and sexual abuse online, the U.N. reported.

Afghanistan

This week, the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan, where the Taliban has taken away many of their rights since seizing power in August 2021, will be in the spotlight.

Guterres said women and girls have been “erased” from public life there.

In January, he dispatched the deputy secretary-general and Bahous to the country with what he said was a “clear message” for the Taliban.

“Women and girls have fundamental human rights, and we will never give up fighting for them,” the secretary-general said.

At a side event on Monday, several Afghan female activists took the podium, making a clear call for the international community to turn up the pressure to help reverse the Taliban’s more than 30 edicts. The orders include banning women from secondary school and university, working outside the home, travel without a male chaperon and taking part in any political or cultural activities.

“The intolerable reality of a terrorist group seizing power has resulted in a complete breakdown of law and order in Afghanistan,” said Fariha Easer, an activist and women’s rights researcher who was evacuated from Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover. “The state of absolute chaos has led to anarchy and utter lawlessness, leaving women completely vulnerable and with nowhere to turn for justice.”

Easer said the situation “is beyond dire” and choked back tears as she said Afghan women are committing suicide and are victims of gender-based violence.

“It’s so hard to talk about today’s realities of Afghanistan,” she said to supportive applause and a standing ovation.

On Wednesday, which is International Women’s Day, Pakistan is hosting a conference on the sidelines of the CSW on the challenges facing Muslim women. It will seek to dispel some perceptions of Islam as a religion that oppresses and discriminates against women, highlighting the contributions of Muslim women throughout history. And it will address obstacles to the empowerment of women.

Source: Voice of America

Russia Gives Fertilizer to Malawi, Seeks African Support

The Russian government has donated 20,000 tons of fertilizer to Malawi as part of its efforts to garner diplomatic support from various African nations.

Russia will give 260,000 tons of fertilizer to countries in the continent, Russian Ambassador to Malawi Nikolai Krasilnikov said at a handover ceremony Monday at the capital, Lilongwe.

He said he hopes African leaders will press for the abolition of international sanctions against Russia when they attend the second Russia-Africa summit to be held in St. Petersburg at the end of July.

The Russian manufacturer Uralchem-Ukalkali had produced the fertilizer and made the gift to Malawi, said Dmitry Shornikov, head of the firm’s southern Africa branch, who also attended the handover.

The fertilizer should help Malawi achieve its goals of substantially boosting its agricultural production and helping families grow more healthy and nutritious food, said Shornikov.

Malawi’s Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale said the fertilizer will reach 400,000 farming households and boost their agricultural production.

Also attending the event was a representative of the United Nations’ World Food Program.

Malawi voted to censure Russia at the United Nations last year for its invasion of Ukraine. More than 15 other African countries abstained from the vote.

Source: Voice of America

A Month After Quake, Survivors Need Shelter, Sanitation

One month after a powerful quake devastated parts of Turkey and Syria, hundreds of thousands of people still need adequate shelter and sanitation, and an appeal for $1 billion to assist survivors is only 10% funded, hampering efforts to tackle the humanitarian crisis, a United Nations official said Monday.

The February 6 earthquake and strong aftershocks have killed more than 46,000 people in Turkey, destroyed or damaged around 230,000 buildings and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless — making it the worst disaster in Turkey’s modern history. The U.N. estimates that the earthquake killed around 6,000 people in Syria, mainly in the rebel-held northwest.

About 2 million survivors have been housed in temporary accommodation or evacuated from the earthquake-devastated region, according to Turkish government figures. Around 1.5 million people have been settled in tents while another 46,000 have been moved to container houses. Others are living in dormitories and guesthouses, the government said.

“Given the number of people that have been relocated, given the number of people that have been injured and given the level of the devastation, we do have extensive humanitarian needs now,” Alvaro Rodriguez, the U.N. Resident Coordinator in Turkey, told The Associated Press.

“We have some provinces where up to 25% of the population — we’re talking sometimes half a million people — have relocated. So the challenge we have is how do we provide food, shelter, water for these communities?” he said.

The U.N. representative said tents are still needed even though they are not “the optimal solution” for sheltering people. He reported some cases of scabies outbreaks because of poor sanitary conditions.

Last month, the U.N. made a flash appeal for $397.6 million to help Syrian quake victims — just over half of which has come in — and a $1 billion appeal for victims in Turkey to cover emergency needs, such as food, protection, education, water and shelter, for three months. Rodriguez said the appeal for Turkey is only about 10% funded.

“The reality is that if we do not move beyond the roughly 10% that we have, the U.N. and its partners will not be able to meet the humanitarian needs,” he said.

Rodriguez added: “Turkey has been a country that has supported 4 million Syrian refugees over the last few years, and this is an opportunity for the international community to provide the support that Turkey deserves.”

The World Bank has estimated that the earthquake has caused an estimated $34.2 billion in direct physical damages — the equivalent of 4% of Turkey’s 2021 GDP. The World Bank said recovery and reconstruction costs will be much higher and that GDP losses associated to economic disruptions will also add to the cost of the earthquakes.

In Syria, the situation remained dire one month after the deadly earthquake, with aid groups citing fears of a looming public health crisis with families still packed into overcrowded temporary shelters and crucial infrastructure damaged by the quake.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement that Aleppo’s water infrastructure — already aging and damaged by the war — had been further damaged by the quake, which “reduced the system’s efficiency and raised the risk that contaminated water could pollute the supply.”

Water contamination is of particular concern in Syria as the country had already been battling cholera outbreaks before the earthquake.

While the quake generated an initial outpouring of aid, relief organizations cited fears that the world’s attention will move on quickly, while basic humanitarian needs remain unmet.

Meanwhile, political and logistical issues have in some cases blocked aid from reaching those in need.

Amnesty International said Monday that between February 9 and 22, the Syrian government had “blocked at least 100 trucks carrying essential aid such as food, medical supplies and tents from entering Kurdish-majority neighborhoods in Aleppo city,” while Turkish-backed rebel groups in northwest Syria blocked at least 30 aid trucks sent by rival Kurdish groups from entering Turkish-controlled Afrin in the same period.

“Even in this moment of desperation, the Syrian government and armed opposition groups have pandered to political considerations and taken advantage of people’s misery to advance their own agendas,” Aya Majzoub, the rights group’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

Source: Voice of America