The Judges’ Award is awarded to a company, organization, or individual that has made an exceptional contribution towards promoting global employee share ownership.

This award is intended to be granted to a company, organization, or individual that needs no application – a winner that is recognized as a leader in the field. If the award is given to a company or organization, the Judges will evaluate the overall impact of the equity plan, or promotion of equity plans, has had on its employees, shareholders, community, and the business environment. Individual awards will be based on the contribution of that person to the equity compensation profession over their lifetime.

Nominations are not solicited for the optional Judges' Award.




    Danyle Anderson, has been recognized as a Judges' Award winner for her exceptional leadership and impact on the organization. Serving as Executive Director for 11 years, Danyle had a profound effect on GEO, which was struggling operationally when she took on the role.

    Danyle's approach to leadership was critical in turning the organization's fortunes around, enabling people to pivot their thinking and achieve different and unexpected results. Her transformational leadership skills were put to the test during the COVID-19 pandemic, where she helped the company survive post-pandemic challenges and secure support from sustaining sponsors when it was clear that there would be no event income to keep the company afloat.

    During her tenure, Danyle went above and beyond to bring the global share plan community together. She surpassed in her role to transform the company, connecting with members on an emotional level and making sure that all regions were an active part of the conversation. Her leadership and strategic vision allowed GEO to become a well-informed community of professionals advancing knowledge and understanding of employee ownership worldwide.

    Danyle's commitment to the organization's success and her ability to connect with its global community have left a lasting impact on GEO. She deeply cares about the organization, its global community, and the GEO team, and it is no doubt that her legacy will continue to inspire future leaders in the organization.



    Under 5,000 Employees

    Campari’s winning entry, which was submitted in the Best Plan Effectiveness and Best Plan Communication categories, secured its victory as the Judges’ Award. Launched towards the end of 2021, the ‘Camparista Shares’ employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) plan was the first of its type for the company. In support of the company’s value pillars, Passion and Togetherness, the plan’s primary objective was to achieve as high a participation rate as possible so that their employees would be incentivized and motivated to serve the company’s broader strategic goals.

    Almost 85% of the total workforce - 3,200 of 3,800 employees spread across 24 countries on multiple continents - were deemed eligible for inclusion. During the 3-month enrolment period, eligible employees could specify whether to allocate 1%, 3%, or 5%. of their monthly salary to purchase Campari Group shares.

    Each quarter, the accumulated money was utilized to buy Campari Group shares on behalf of each participant. Known as ‘Purchased Shares’, participants can choose whether to keep or sell them once the transaction is complete. The company matches the shares with restricted stock units (RSUs) on a 1:4 basis for a small group of individuals in their long-term incentive plan, and on a 1:2 basis for those only in the Camparista Shares plan. These matching RSUs are used as an incentive to encourage participants to retain those shares for at least three years - if Purchased Shares are sold prior to three years, then those participants will lose the rights to the matching RSUs linked to those shares. Once the matching RSUs vest, recipients can then choose whether to hold the Matching and Purchased Shares, sell them, or move them to another account.

    As broad-based employee share plans were still a relatively new concept in some of the countries where the company operates, an effective communications strategy was crucial.

    The Group’s detailed and well-thought-out communications strategy was designed to demystify the process and answer any questions employees may have. It addressed a wide set of challenges: 20 countries scattered in 5 continents with different cultural nuances, very different employee functions (from plant operators to management and executive roles), varying levels of awareness and knowledge of employee stock ownership plans and financial subjects in general and different jurisdictional rules and legislation.

    The campaign’s theme leveraged two pillars of the recently redefined company Employee Value Proposition (EVP): Inspiring Ownership and Seizing Opportunities and featured a strong visual identity that was visually appealing, memorable, and engaging. Structured into different phases, the campaign drove awareness and generated excitement around the Camparista Shares with a letter and video from Campari’s CEO, announcements on the global intranet, MyCampari, internal social media posts on Yammer, posters, digital signage and launch date emails that pointed to its online equity portal.

    The company also wanted to ensure that employees fully understood the plan’s mechanics and what becoming a shareholder means. It provided accessible and approachable video animations, multi-lingual plan documents, guides and FAQs, and training via live presentations, roadshows and townhalls. Local HR teams were made available for 1-to-1 conversations and kiosks were set up in the breakrooms for plant operators to be able to access their email and enroll. An ongoing email campaign provided reminders and confirmations. All materials and touchpoints were translated into all Campari Group languages and delivered in editable formats, to allow any local language tweaking.

    More than 51% of eligible participants signed up for the plan, representing 1,600 of 3,200 participants, spread across 20 countries and several continents including emerging markets (for example, Brazil, India, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa, and Italy) and far exceeded the expected take-up rate of 30%.

    The judges unanimously agreed that Campari’s plan had a clear strategic vision and approach that aligned its corporate values, and that the unique design and execution with its simple videos and compelling testimonials was well considered from beginning to end with very positive outcomes for the individual and the organization. They also liked the very specific measure of engagement for its campaign and agreed that the achievement of these measures and positive results reflect that its employees have bought into the vision of employee ownership and expressed a vote of confidence in the future prospects of Campari Group.

    GEO is pleased to recognize Campari Group as the winner of the ‘2022 Judges’ Award’.

    Campari Group employs approximately 3,800 people in 24 countries. Campari Group wishes to recognize Deloitte and Global Shares for their professional contributions to this award-winning share plan.



    Danone’s ‘One Share for All’ plan was a legitimate contender for several awards categories this year. For this reason, it was a natural decision to reward their worthy achievements via the Judges’ Award.

    In designing their plan, Danone’s strategy and intent was very clear – they wanted everyone to be an empowered co-owner, with a clear focus on supporting their culture by providing them with a voice rather than helping them to generate wealth.

    To achieve Danone’s 100% ownership goal, all 83,000 eligible employees received one free share and a cash payment that equated to the gross tax amount to ensure the share was tax neutral. Employees could only sell the share if they left the company. In parallel, Danone offered an ESSP program, through which employees were given the option to invest in additional Danone shares at a discounted rate.

    The plan aligned with the company’s ‘One Person, One Voice, One Share’ employee engagement model that aims to positively empower employees to feel valued and connected to the business by allowing them to have their say on business priorities.

    The plan’s communications were short, clear and precise, designed to help engage, inspire and educate employees on the value of the program and let existing participants know that they would now have the right to vote at each annual shareholders’ meeting.

    A bright and cheerful design was applied consistently across multi-media applications that included a microsite, video, posters, flyers, letters emails and all of which featured vibrant images of fruit and vegetables as a nod to Danone’s food business heritage and photographs of employees.

    Danone exceeded the 2020 benchmark for employee participation in the voting process. 17% of One Share for All participants and 21% of ESPP participants voted compared with an external benchmark of 7%.

    The judges loved this simple and effective program and agreed that it helped develop a sense of equal ownership, regardless of job role or level of seniority. They thought that the communications campaign was comprehensive, dynamic, clear, accessible and that the colorful imagery was engaging and well thought through.

    From a CSR perspective, the panel considered that Danone’s plan represented true fundamental structural changes that fully aligned with the company’s long-term goals.

    GEO is pleased to recognize Danone as a winner of the ‘2021 Judges’ Award’.

    Danone employs around 102,000 people in 57 countries. Danone wishes to recognize Computershare, Henner, Stitch a Deloitte business, and Shearman and Sterling for their professional contributions to this award-winning share plan.



    nstitute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing

    Adeptly led by Professor Joseph Blasi, the Rutgers University’s Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing exists to progress education and research in the field of equity compensation and to drive employee engagement through share ownership.

    The Institute studies the current and emerging models of employee share ownership and profit share plans in corporations and society within the United States and around the world.

    This center of excellence researches methods that broaden financial participation and inclusion in the economy and business organizations, allowing employees to be fully-engaged and share in the rewards of their work.

    It makes both empirical datasets and qualitative case studies widely available for education and research and encourages the work of scholars through the J. Robert Beyster Professorship and a national competitive Fellowship Program.

    Published works by Institute scholars are accessible to businesses and individuals exploring employee share ownership while also providing technical assistance and executive, professional, and employee education.

    The Fellowship Program includes both senior scholars and recognized experts as Faculty Fellows and Mentors, Executive Fellows, and Senior Fellows.

    The Institute convenes the two largest scholarly conferences on these issues in the US and the world as well as develops and disseminates educational materials to encourage graduate and undergraduate education at Rutgers and other colleges through the Curriculum Library for Employee Ownership.

    In recognition of their outstanding work and dedication to our industry, its positive impact on educational standards and for creating opportunities for both individuals and companies, the judges are pleased to recognize The Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing.


Read our GEO Awards winner booklets for insights and inspiration from industry leaders and organizations who are pushing the boundaries of innovation and achievement.