2021 EP Awards Winners

Excellence in Mental, Physical, & Financial Wellness
Best HR Team of the Year
Workplace Culture
Excellence in Employee Engagement
Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion

Awards Categories

There are five EP Awards categories, each focused on celebrating worthy examples of excellence relevant to the community of HR executives.

Award for Best Workplace Culture

This award recognizes the unique character and personality of your organization, and how its people live its values every day.

Criteria to include in entry essay:

What is the story behind your culture? What are your company’s visions, values, and beliefs and how do they help your business succeed by connecting people to purpose, accomplishment, and each other? Offer both quantifiable and qualifiable examples of what your organization does to support your culture, and what your culture allows you to achieve together that would not be possible otherwise.

Award for Best HR Team of the Year

This award recognizes the most outstanding HR team of the year, where the team has excelled within the HR function and across their business as a whole. This award celebrates a team that takes a collaborative approach to HR.

Criteria to include in entry essay:

What is the story behind your team’s success? Describe your HR team’s overall strategy and objectives, and how they align with the rest of the business. Outline any major HR initiatives or programs implemented and/or improved that best showcase the team’s efficiency and spirit of innovation. Offer both quantifiable and qualifiable examples of what your organization does to support your HR team.

Award for Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion

This award recognizes the innovations and exceptional efforts of diversity and inclusion programs to build equality and openness into the fabric of workforce culture.

Criteria to include in entry essay:

Tell us about your ongoing efforts to support diversity and inclusion within your organization. What are the initiatives and how are they linked to and supported to other company strategies? Offer evidence of the positive impact these programs have generated.

Award for Excellence in Mental, Physical, & Financial Wellness

This award recognizes organizations that excel in providing wellness initiatives that support employees and have a positive impact on the entire workforce and culture.

Criteria to include in entry essay:

Tell us how your organization provides support through initiatives, programs, incentives, and benefits. What is the internal communication strategy that drives awareness, execution, and participation? Provide evidence of the impact on employee wellness and productivity, and include supporting information about how these programs help attract and retain your workforce.

Award for Excellence in Employee Engagement

This award recognizes organizations who are leaders in the art and science of engaging with employees to create a clear picture and generate ongoing positive change throughout their workforce.

Criteria to include in entry essay:

Tell us your employee engagement story. What makes you so special? How did it begin? Show us how and why it works. How has the program improved engagement, retention, productivity, and other key performance indicators? Candidates will be judged based on consultation, strategy, implementation, and results.

Submit a Nomination

The EP Awards are open to Human Resources professionals from all companies and organizations.


To be Announced

Entries will be sorted and short-listed by Executive Platforms, who will then pass the short-list candidates on to be reviewed by our panel of senior HR executives. All short-listed entries will be notified of their consideration. Executive Platforms will communicate any follow-up questions judges may have during their deliberations.

At the Show

The EP Awards, hosted by Executive Platforms, recognizes and champion the worthy industry experts that deserve to be held up for others to learn from, engage with, and draw upon for inspiration as they take on their own challenges and opportunities.

Across all five awards categories, Executive Platforms will solicit nominations from our advisory board, speaker faculties, and event participants, and those same stakeholders will decide who most deserves to be honoured for their achievements.

Make sure to stay tuned for future dates and updates.


Lars Minns

Chief Human Resources Officer, NAFTA, Mercedes Benz

Lars N. Minns is the Chief Human Resources Officer of North America for Mercedes-Benz, with responsibility for the USA, Canada, and Mexico. He leads the organization in designing and implementing HR strategies that directly align with the company’s strategic objectives related to the marketing, sales, distribution, and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz products in the region.

He and his team played a pivotal role in the company’s transition from New Jersey to Georgia, including the successful onboarding of 300+ new hires since his arrival in March 2015. This included the largest single year of hiring in the company’s 50+ year history. He is now poised to lead one of the world’s most admired brands through a large-scale transformation.

Prior to joining MBUSA, he served as the Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition for The Home Depot’s Home Services division, commonly referred to as the “Do it for me” business. He led his team in executing talent acquisition strategies for the company’s fastest-growing business segment.

Lars spent 10 years with The Home Depot and served in roles of increasing responsibility. Most notably serving as the Senior Manager of Talent Management for Operations, Services, Finance, and IT. He led all facets of Talent Management and supported those business areas in several efforts aimed at increasing overall operational efficiencies. He supported the company’s Supply Chain from 2010-2012, where his talent management and consulting skills were dedicated to the logistics side of the retail business. His primary responsibilities included: talent assessment, selection, development, and succession planning.

Early in his tenure with the company, he led the design and execution of the company’s executive coaching program, the CEO’s merchandising and USA retail focus groups, various exposure and leadership development programs, along with other enterprise-wide initiatives.

Before joining The Home Depot, Lars held various roles in IT consulting, sales, and recruiting during the “.com” and “Y2K” eras.

He is a current board member of SHRM-Atlanta and Page Turners Make Great Learners.

Lars is a sought after presenter and facilitator and spends considerable time communicating the importance of cultivating the right talent for business success.

Jennifer Christie

Chief Human Resources Officer at Twitter

Jennifer Christie is VP, People and Chief Human Resources Officer at Twitter. She leads the global People team and works with the executive management team and board of directors to support the strategic direction of the company.

Specifically, she oversees talent acquisition and management, diversity and inclusion, People systems and analytics, organizational and performance management, training and development, and total rewards and mobility. She also leads the HR Business Partner teams globally that support the engineering, product, sales and partnerships, and corporate function organizations. The global real estate and workplace organization is also a part of the People Team that she leads.

Prior to joining Twitter in 2017, Jennifer was the senior vice president and head of HR for the Global Consumer Services Group at American Express. In this role, she was responsible for developing and executing the talent, organizational, and leadership strategy for the business. Prior to this role, Jennifer was the vice president and HR Business Partner for Enterprise Growth Group.

In her first three years with American Express, she served as Chief Diversity Officer and vice president, Global Executive Recruitment and was responsible for developing the company’s global diversity and inclusion strategy and led executive level recruitment for all business and staff groups worldwide.

Before joining American Express, Jennifer was a consultant at a leading executive search firm and also spent two years as a Special Assistant to the President of the United States in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. Before joining the White House, she was an associate at Booz Allen Hamilton in their organizational design and change management practice.

Jennifer started her career in the federal government working for more than a decade for several federal government agencies to support community safety and security programs and implement offender reentry initiatives.

Jennifer received a master’s degree in criminal justice from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Tiffanie Boyd

SVP & Chief People Officer , McDonald’s

Tiffanie Boyd is the and a member US Senior Leadership Team. In this role, she leads the People function for the US business and is accountable for People strategy, alignment, talent management, performance management, leadership development, and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion. In this role she partners with leaders, employees, and franchisees to bring the McDonalds mission and values to life for all employees and partners across the country.

Tiffanie joined McDonald’s in January of 2021 after almost 23 years with General Mills. In her most recent role there, she served as Vice President, Human Resources, for North America Retail and lead initiatives to upgrade talent, transform the organization design, drive culture change, and improve employee engagement for 11,000 employees across the largest business segment of General Mills. She also has extensive global experience through her role leading HR for the global supply chain function which had 18,000 employees across 50 manufacturing plants and offices around the world. Prior to her supply chain role, she led HR for the Food service segment as well as served as the HR VP for General Mills Canada (based in Toronto). This followed a US based International role focused on leadership and culture development to align businesses outside the US that had joined General Mills as a result of the Pillsbury acquisition.

Early in her General Mills career, Tiffanie spent time in several manufacturing plants gaining experience working in both union and non-union, as well as tradition and high performing production environments. Prior to joining General Mills, Tiffanie worked at Hewitt Associates advising clients on defined contribution plan administration. She also has brief experiences with Blue Cross Blue Shield, General Motors Acceptance Corp, and Dow Chemical. She has an MBA and BBA from the Michigan Ross Business School and currently serves on the BBA Program Advisory Board.

Tiffanie is deeply committed to youth education, and health and wellness. She has done board work and consulting projects focused on closing the achievement gap for kids of color. She is an Executive Leadership Team member of the Twin Cities American Heart Association and co-chair of the Go Red for Women movement.

Tiffanie lives in Minnetonka, MN with her husband Colbert and sons, Evan and Ian. They plan on relocating to Chicago when it’s safe to do so.

Gena Smith

SVP, Human Resources& Head of Global Executive and Creative Recruitment at LVMH

Gena Smith is the Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Head of Global Executive & Creative Recruitment for LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. A highly experienced human resources executive, Gena ensures that LVMH is best in class at selecting, developing, and retaining senior executive and creative talent.

During her tenure with LVMH she has helped to further develop talent at all levels of the organization, including through attracting accomplished senior-level executives, instituting learning and development programs to prepare executives to meet business needs, and promoting mobility for high performing executives across the LVMH brands. She led the first ever Diversity & Inclusion initiative for LVMH launching it across North America in 2012. She has also led the Group’s regional gender diversity initiative, EllesVMH which included the Regional CEO’s signing of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles.

Prior to joining LVMH in September 2011, Gena was Global Managing Director at Karen Harvey Consulting, where she led the luxury & retail executive recruitment practice worldwide. She previously spent 10 years as an executive search consultant at Russell Reynolds Associates and Ray & Berndtson, working with many leading retail, luxury and consumer brands. Her earlier experience included several years in International Education.

Gena holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Business. She also studied French, Greek and Mandarin.

She currently resides in New York City with her husband Carlton Smith and two children, Madeline and Gage. She is a Board Member of Tiffany & Co, Gabriela Hearst, and Runway of Dreams.

Ken Barrett

Global Chief Diversity Officer, General Motors

Ken Barrett leads General Motors’ Global Diversity and Inclusion portfolio including workforce diversity strategy, empowering employee resource groups, and fostering an inclusive culture that promotes diversity of thought, to help GM compete and win in the marketplace.

Since joining GM in 2012 as the company’s first Global Chief Diversity Officer, Barrett has introduced key initiatives resulting in increased diversity hiring, greater accountability through actionable metrics, and leveraged employee resource groups (ERGs) to support employees and sell cars among their respective constituencies.

As Ken says, “It’s not about counting heads, it’s making heads count”.

Barrett strives to set the bar high and is regarded as a thought leader and subject matter expert in global diversity. Under his leadership, Barrett returned GM to DiversityInc.’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity, along with garnering a number of awards including the #1 Diversity Council in the U.S. from the Association of ERGs & Councils, scoring 100 percent on both the Corporate Equality and Disability Equality Indexes, Global Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award, ranking the Best of the Best Corporations for Inclusion, as well as best places to work for African Americans, Hispanics/Latinas, LGBT, Veterans, Native Americans and People with Disabilities.

Prior to joining GM, Barrett, a retired Navy Captain, served as the Under Secretary of Defense’s acting director of the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity in Washington, D.C., where he set the D&I agenda for 2.1 million military personnel. Prior to that, he had five years of award-winning performance as the U.S. Navy’s Diversity Director, where he achieved historic levels of minority and female officer additions and transformational work-life balance initiatives. Further, through his leadership, the U.S. Navy was selected as the Top Federal Agency by DiversityInc. For his efforts as lead of the Navy’s Task Force/Life Work, Barrett and his team were recognized with the Ted Childs Work Life Excellence Award by Working Mother.

A Worcester, Massachusetts native, Barrett holds a bachelor’s in political science from Holy Cross, a master’s in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College and an executive master’s degree in business administration from the Naval Postgraduate School. Additionally, he was Navy’s Federal Executive Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Olin Institute and a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College.

Ken serves on several boards including Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering (AMIE), National Organization on Disability (NOD), Families and Work Institute (FWI), Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF), New Detroit, Inc. and the editorial board of “Insight into Diversity.”

Jennifer Saavedra

Chief Human Resources Officer, Dell Technologies

Jenn Saavedra is Dell Technologies’ Chief Human Resources Officer. She leads the company’s Global Human Resources and Facilities function and accelerates the performance and growth of the company through our culture and our people. Our commitment to our people strategy and culture code make Dell Technologies both a great company and a great place to work for all. These industry-leading commitments drive our achievements and recognition both internally and externally.

Jenn has a Doctoral degree in Industrial and Organizational Behavior from Tulane University. Jenn’s passion is in understanding the psychology of human behavior and harnessing this knowledge along with analytical insights to help people, teams and organizations be their best. She joined Dell Technologies in 2005 and has held HR leadership roles in many disciplines including talent development and culture, business partner, strategy and learning & development. Jenn has served on the executive boards for many of our Employee Resource Groups.

Jenn lives in Austin with her husband and daughter. In her free time, she enjoys being active outdoors and listening to the great live music Austin has to offer.

Lori Costew

Chief Diversity Officer & People Strategy at Ford Motor Company

Lori Costew is honored to serve as the Chief Diversity Officer and Director of People Strategy at Ford Motor Company. Her portfolio focuses on the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts to cultivate an environment where all employees feel a sense of belonging, while integrating DEI into the corporate strategy.

For nearly three decades Lori has leveraged her expertise across Ford in roles including marketing, UAW negotiations, Equal Employment planning, and organizational development. She also led human resources for the Lincoln Motor Company and the Mobility division.

Currently, the most important priorities for Lori and her team are to identify and remove the barriers impacting women and minorities while fostering understanding amongst all employees. This is integral towards Ford’s aspiration of becoming the world’s most trusted company.

She is also an accomplished author, writing two award winning novels that provide inspiration and tools against bullying. Lori has a master’s degree in human resources from The Ohio State University and a certification in executive coaching from the Hudson Institute.

Judges will shortlist the nominations based on their experience and expertise and will vote on a confidential ranked ballot. Winners will be determined by the cumulative score of all participating judges’ ranked ballots on the evening of the HR Awards gala.

Judges will be profiled on the EP Awards webpage and receive preferred seating at the awards gala.

If you are interested in becoming a judge, please contact us at epawards@executiveplatforms.com

Contact Us

You can also email us at epawards@executiveplatforms.com. We look forward to hearing from you.