This blog appeared on Workiva.com on Sept. 16, 2021.
There’s always been something about Workiva customers that gets me. I saw it in the stories on the website before I was even hired. I see it first hand in my work with user groups, customer panels, and Workiva’s Customer Advisory Board. I’d loosely define it as “spirit,” but as it goes with exceptional things, it’s hard to come up with a word that does it justice.
It’s because of this that we launched our new Customer Awards Program. We heard so many exceptional stories from exceptional people—all of them operating in truly exceptional circumstances in the last year. These are folks who are champions for change. People who see a complex process and ask “Can’t this be simpler?” Innovators who amplify their groundbreaking spirit across the organization. And for every customer named here, there are others doing great work that haven’t hit our radar. Yet.
Without further ado, here are our 2021 Customer Award Winners...
Innovators of the Year
The Separate Accounts Reporting team at Talcott Resolution, led by Tony Rosa, for their long history of technology-enabled process innovation. If there’s a way to use technology to work smarter, this team will find it. As early adopters of many new Workiva features, they’ve helped guide our product roadmap and shared their experience with others every chance they get.
Architects of the Year
The Financial Reporting team at Southwest Airlines, led by Riley Drummond, for their commitment to building a culture—and specifically a financial reporting process—that is adaptable, inclusive, and cutting-edge in terms of efficiency. Riley’s team made a smooth transition to working from home during the pandemic and re-evaluated several of their processes as a result. They’ve since connected their general ledger directly to the Workiva platform and are looking at ways to improve their tie-out process.
Catalyst of the Year
Trista Muse, Senior Manager, Corporate Accounting at Walmart, for her ability to see the art of the possible and bring people together to make those possibilities a reality. Having implemented the Workiva platform at her previous employer, she saw the efficiency gained just by merging investor relations reporting with external reporting in Workiva. Then, on the Consolidations team at Walmart—the largest team within the Global Controller’s group—she brought people together to realize even more efficiencies, at a much wider scale.
Leader of the Year
Junko Swain, CAO at Upwork, for sharing her leadership experience in this year’s keynote address at Amplify. Junko’s candidness, humility, and unique way of turning the spotlight to others have impacted many, far beyond her colleagues and immediate network. In her words, “the most important thing as a leader is to continue providing unbiased equal opportunities to everyone and producing future leaders.”
Collaboration of the Year
SmileDirectClub’s Financial Reporting team and WorkOps Consulting for the work they did to revamp the team’s external reporting process, taking full advantage of the latest and greatest Workiva platform capabilities. With WorkOps’ expertise in platform technology and the Financial Reporting team’s advice on what works best for their organization, they came up with a cutting-edge process that’s a shining example of what happens when the best of the best work together.
Excellence in Transformation
Shifra Kolsky and Michelle Green at Discover Financial Services for leading change on multiple levels. They’ve been at the center of digital cloud finance transformation across the Discover enterprise, and their commitment to change for the better certainly doesn’t stop there. Shifra is founding member and the executive sponsor of the Finance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiative at Discover and a passionate supporter of the company’s DEI efforts. Michelle’s love of technology—and the improvements she’s seen it bring to people’s lives—fuels her work with Lumity, a not-for-profit focused on breaking down barriers to STEM by providing teens and young adults from underserved communities with experiences that prepare them for STEM careers.
Excellence at Scale
Jordan Brackett, VP Controller at Solenis, for his work to scale the efficiency of the Workiva platform through multiple areas of his organization: financial reporting, internal controls management, statutory reporting, and tax reporting. By thinking bigger about what the organization needed, he found a solution in the Workiva platform that solved multiple problems at once.
Excellence in Connectivity
Nancy Jordan, VP Internal Audit at Cornerstone Building Brands, for being a connector in every sense of the word. When two of the company’s subsidiaries merged, she connected the SOX and audit processes in the Workiva platform to cut through the complexities and make life simpler for everyone. What’s more, she’s managed to build relationships person-by-person to stay connected to stakeholders all throughout the business. In her words, “I always start with the people.”
Excellence in Community Building
Jonathan Gregory, for his influence in driving conversations that shape the future of finance and accounting. Through his work with SEC Pro Group—and most recently his joining of the ESG Steering Committee—he’s quick to share his experience and expertise with others, and in doing so has been instrumental in building the professional community. As Jonathan puts it, “It’s about being part of something bigger."
Congratulations to all of our award winners—the organizations, teams, and individuals that make a habit of thinking differently, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, bringing people together, and building a future we can all get excited about. We are so happy to be able to serve you