The GEO Awards Ceremony

Each year, award recipients are revealed at a glittering gala dinner and presentation held as part of GEO’s Annual Conference.

Celebrate the GEO Awards Winners with GEO

Join GEO at its Annual Conference for a black-tie evening event attended by the industry’s most prestigious representatives. This is your chance to join the celebrations as our industry come together with all its partners to recognize the best of the best.

The event is also an opportunity to show your team how well they have done, to show off your talents to the industry, and to relax with friends and peers, with special guests, entertainment and sponsors providing great support to what is always a magical evening.

  

Sponsored by Fidelity

Attend the 2023 GEO Awards in Edinburgh

This year’s GEO Awards will be announced and celebrated at the National Museum of Scotland.

The glitzy dinner will include a drinks reception in the museum’s Undercroft, followed by dinner and award presentation in the breath-taking Grand Gallery, where guests will be wowed by Scottish-themed entertainment whilst surrounded by exhibits.

The museum houses Scotland’s national collections, showcasing treasures from the age of dinosaurs to the technology of the future.

Dress code: Formal, black-tie, or business attire.

National Museum of Scotland

Reserve Your Seat

Attendees at GEO’s 24th Annual Conference may attend the 2023 GEO Awards at no additional charge.

Your ticket includes:

  • welcome drinks reception
  • 3 course dinner with wines, beer and water
  • after party entertainment

If you are not attending, you can pay to reserve places at the GEO Awards through myGEO. Please send requests or queries directly to Michele Holly.

Book a Table

Tables of 10 are now available to book for the GEO Awards 2023. The Early Rate applies to all bookings completed before 1 February 2023.

Early Rate to 1 February

US$5,000 table of 10

US$500 individual seat

US$275 conference attendee guest*

Standard Rate 1 - 28 February

US$6,000 table of 10

US$600 individual seat

US$375 conference attendee guest*

Late Rate after 1 March

US$7,500 table of 10

US$750 individual seat

US$525 conference attendee guest*

* GEO’s 24th Annual Conference attendees may purchase one guest ticket per person. Please refer to the terms and conditions.

Meet the Judges

GEO Awards are judged by a panel of industry leaders representing only issuer companies or members of academia, all of whom are considered experts in their respective fields. In addition to meeting stringent criteria related to their experience, expertise and achievements, each judge agrees to dedicate their time to the rigorous judging process.

GEO is grateful to this accomplished group of professionals for the time and energy they dedicate to this process.

Thomas Paleka

"As the lead GEO Awards judge for the past two years, I have had the privilege to see the innovative and creative plan designs that are being utilized around the globe. I am incredibly excited to take part in this event and celebrate the shining examples of best practices we can all emulate within our own organizations."

Thomas Paleka, FGE

Vice President, Global Total Rewards, Gallagher (US)

GEO Awards Judges

Dr. Joseph R. Blasi, FGE

Rutgers University

Dr. Joseph R. Blasi

Joseph Blasi is a distinguished professor and sociologist at the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University where he teaches the undergraduate and graduate courses on corporate governance. He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His work includes economic sociology, the social and economic history of the corporation, and public policy, particularly broad-based employee stock ownership, profit sharing, gain sharing, and stock options in corporations, in countries, in industries, for example, with a study of Silicon Valley, and in different historical periods of American history.

He has written 13 books including Employee Ownership (Harper and Row, 1988), The New Owners with D. Kruse (HarperCollins, 1991), Kremlin Capitalism with M. Kroumova and D. Kruse (Cornell University Press, 1996), A Working Nation with various co-authors (Russell Sage Foundation, 2000), In The Company of Owners with D. Kruse and A. Bernstein (Basic Books, 2003), and Shared Capitalism at Work with D. Kruse and R. Freeman (University of Chicago Press, 2010). His articles have appeared in the British Journal of Industrial Relations, Industrial Relations, and the Industrial and Labor Relations Review, among others.

Cherie Curry, FGE

 

Cherie Curry

Cherie is the Director of Global Equity at Hilton. She has overall management responsibilities for Hilton’s Global Equity Plans. She has a broad depth of experience in all facets of equity compensation with responsibility for strategic planning, worldwide regulatory and tax compliance in over 100 countries, global communications, vendor management, overhang, burn rate and stock plan reserve analysis.

Cherie's issuer experience includes oversight of employee stock plans in various M&A transactions, development and implementation of ESPPs, working with internal and external partners on best practices for share plan requests, new vendor implementations, insider trading compliance, accounting and valuations, and overall plan administration.

Cherie holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland’s College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and has earned her CEP.

Yael Elbaz-Roiter, FGE, CEP

 

Yael Elbaz-Roiter

Yael has broad experience of building and running global projects and programs. Design, implementation, communication plans, and management, for equity compensation and recognition plans.

At Teva Pharmaceuticals, Yael was responsible for managing the global recognition program for over 42K participants and the company's equity programs in over 67 countries, Shareholders database and company dividend process.

Yael’s experiences and responsibilities also includes management of affiliate transactions and the insider trading policy, proxy and financial reporting, M&A transactions, monitoring and implementation of regulatory developments worldwide, as well as administration of special equity-related projects which included but were not limited to the options exchange program, special dividend/dividend reinvestment issuance, share depository transition and stock plan system conversions.

Vastly experienced in equity plan systems and broker equity administration services, Yael also works closely with NYSE, TASE (Tel Aviv stock exchange), custodian banks and brokers worldwide and frequently speaks at equity compensation-related events.

Karen Needham, FGE

Wave Life Sciences

Karen Needham

Karen has over 40 years of dynamic experience and leadership in the equity compensation industry. In her most recent role, Karen is responsible for the global equity administration and compliance for Wave Life Sciences as well as the multi-state U.S. payroll.

Prior to this role, she held management roles in client relations and education for 3 of the largest equity administration software providers. Karen began her career with Wang Laboratories where she was responsible for equity compensation in over 50 countries. She subsequently oversaw the equity administration for Genzyme, including the administration of employee equity plans for its numerous tracking stocks.

Karen is a member of GEO (Global Equity Organization), NASPP (National Association of Stock Plan Professionals) and is a Certified Equity Professional (CEP).

She was recently honored as a Fellow of Global Equity at the 2019 GEO International Conference.

Tom Paleka, FGE

LEAD JUDGE
Gallagher

Tom Paleka

Tom Paleka joined Gallagher in September 2008 as Vice President of Global Compensation, a newly created role. Promoted in 2016 to lead the global rewards function, he now has overall responsibility for guiding the company’s equity, compensation, benefit, and mobility programs, as well as the payroll organization. In 2018, he was named as an officer of the company.

He has been instrumental in designing the company’s long-term incentive plans, securing shareholder approval of five of Gallagher’s long-term incentive and employee share plans, automating many compensation and payroll processes, and driving a global benefit philosophy.

Tom joined Gallagher from Tellabs, a large telecommunications manufacturer of infrastructure equipment. While at Tellabs, he designed and managed sales compensation programs and was promoted to Director of Global Compensation and Benefits in 2005, with responsibility for all broad-based and executive programs. Prior to that role, he had twenty years of extensive background in the telecommunications industry with AT&T and Ameritech in sales compensation, direct sales, sales management, and sales operations.

Tom has served on the Global Equity Organization (‘GEO’) Board of Directors since 2017 and is co-chair of the Issuer Advisory Council. Tom has served as a judge for the GEO Awards for several years, the last two as co-Lead Judge. He also has been an active member of the Fidelity Stock Plan Services Client Advisory Board. He has spoken at many conferences for such organizations as GEO, Certified Equity Professional Institute, Equilar, World at Work, Conference Board, and the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals (‘NASPP’). In addition to his professional organizations, Tom has also served on the Junior Achievement DuPage County Board of Directors from 1994 to 2000 and 2007 to present, and as a volunteer since 1982.

Pat Sims, FGE

PJS Consultancy

Pat Sims

Pat has been part of the share plan community for over 20 years.

Originally as a share plan consultant at Mercer, and then in 2002 she joined Orange as part of the in-house share plan team. Pat then moved to Rio Tinto in 2009, and in January 2015 moved into freelance and consultancy work. Since then, Pat has provided support to several global companies on their share plans, and related projects. This includes Pearson, Vodafone, AstraZeneca, BT, Nokia, J Sainsbury's and Rio Tinto.

Pat is an active member and supporter of GEO, and speaks at their conferences and other conferences and } seminars on a regular basis.

Dr. Joseph R. Blasi, FGE

Rutgers University

Dr. Joseph R. Blasi

Joseph Blasi is a distinguished professor and sociologist at the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University where he teaches the undergraduate and graduate courses on corporate governance. He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His work includes economic sociology, the social and economic history of the corporation, and public policy, particularly broad-based employee stock ownership, profit sharing, gain sharing, and stock options in corporations, in countries, in industries, for example, with a study of Silicon Valley, and in different historical periods of American history.

He has written 13 books including Employee Ownership (Harper and Row, 1988), The New Owners with D. Kruse (HarperCollins, 1991), Kremlin Capitalism with M. Kroumova and D. Kruse (Cornell University Press, 1996), A Working Nation with various co-authors (Russell Sage Foundation, 2000), In The Company of Owners with D. Kruse and A. Bernstein (Basic Books, 2003), and Shared Capitalism at Work with D. Kruse and R. Freeman (University of Chicago Press, 2010). His articles have appeared in the British Journal of Industrial Relations, Industrial Relations, and the Industrial and Labor Relations Review, among others.

Dr. Adie Leung, FGE

Citi Asia

Dr. Adie Leung

Adie is responsible for Citi’s executive compensation, equity compensation, international and mobility tax and related governance, HR-related accounting, financial and operatonal issues in the Asia region. Adie sits on Citi’s global steering committees for equity compensation, and global process owner projects for cross-border employees, mobility and equity compensation.

Adie initiated the Citi Asia’s frequent business travellers and secondments travel tracking and management system 18 years ago and currently serves on Citi’s global steering committee for the project.

Adie has also built a mobility talent planning and management strategic business function and been a key player in Citi’s various regional M&A projects.

Adie was awarded a Doctorate of Business Administration for researching the factors impacting the effectiveness of share ownership schemes in relation to voluntary turnover in China.

Karen Needham, FGE

Wave Life Sciences

Karen Needham

Karen has over 40 years of dynamic experience and leadership in the equity compensation industry. In her most recent role, Karen is responsible for the global equity administration and compliance for Wave Life Sciences as well as the multi-state U.S. payroll.

Prior to this role, she held management roles in client relations and education for 3 of the largest equity administration software providers. Karen began her career with Wang Laboratories where she was responsible for equity compensation in over 50 countries. She subsequently oversaw the equity administration for Genzyme, including the administration of employee equity plans for its numerous tracking stocks.

Karen is a member of GEO (Global Equity Organization), NASPP (National Association of Stock Plan Professionals) and is a Certified Equity Professional (CEP).

She was recently honored as a Fellow of Global Equity at the 2019 GEO International Conference.

Tom Paleka, FGE

LEAD JUDGE
Gallagher

Tom Paleka

Tom Paleka joined Gallagher in September 2008 as Vice President of Global Compensation, a newly created role. Promoted in 2016 to lead the global rewards function, he now has overall responsibility for guiding the company’s equity, compensation, benefit, and mobility programs, as well as the payroll organization. In 2018, he was named as an officer of the company.

He has been instrumental in designing the company’s long-term incentive plans, securing shareholder approval of five of Gallagher’s long-term incentive and employee share plans, automating many compensation and payroll processes, and driving a global benefit philosophy.

Tom joined Gallagher from Tellabs, a large telecommunications manufacturer of infrastructure equipment. While at Tellabs, he designed and managed sales compensation programs and was promoted to Director of Global Compensation and Benefits in 2005, with responsibility for all broad-based and executive programs. Prior to that role, he had twenty years of extensive background in the telecommunications industry with AT&T and Ameritech in sales compensation, direct sales, sales management, and sales operations.

Tom has served on the Global Equity Organization (‘GEO’) Board of Directors since 2017 and is co-chair of the Issuer Advisory Council. Tom has served as a judge for the GEO Awards for several years, the last two as co-Lead Judge. He also has been an active member of the Fidelity Stock Plan Services Client Advisory Board. He has spoken at many conferences for such organizations as GEO, Certified Equity Professional Institute, Equilar, World at Work, Conference Board, and the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals (‘NASPP’). In addition to his professional organizations, Tom has also served on the Junior Achievement DuPage County Board of Directors from 1994 to 2000 and 2007 to present, and as a volunteer since 1982.

Pat Sims, FGE

PJS Consultancy

Pat Sims

Pat has been part of the share plan community for over 20 years.

Originally as a share plan consultant at Mercer, and then in 2002 she joined Orange as part of the in-house share plan team. Pat then moved to Rio Tinto in 2009, and in January 2015 moved into freelance and consultancy work. Since then, Pat has provided support to several global companies on their share plans, and related projects. This includes Pearson, Vodafone, AstraZeneca, BT, Nokia, J Sainsbury's and Rio Tinto.

Pat is an active member and supporter of GEO, and speaks at their conferences and other conferences and } seminars on a regular basis.

Sandra Sussman, FGE

SAP

Sandra Sussman

Sandra is a seasoned professional with 30 years of experience in global equity compensation, global stock plan services management and administration, and legal and corporate governance administration. In her current role at SAP, Sandra is responsible for global equity compensation strategy and the design of best-in-class global equity compensation programs to facilitate SAP's attraction and retention of key talent. She has played a central role in the implementation, design support, and administration of equity compensation programs in several prior leadership roles, both in-house and with third-party advisors.

Sandra also spent a number of years as Executive Director of the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals (NASPP), overseeing a wide range of initiatives and activities. During that time, she was a co-editor of The Corporate Executive and The Corporate Counsel newsletters, both invaluable resources for securities and tax law, accounting regulations, and interpretations affecting both equity and executive compensation. Sandra holds a B.A. degree in political science from the University of Virginia, and began her professional career as an active-duty officer in the U.S. Army Transportation Corps.

She is a Certified Equity Professional, a Fellow Global Equity and an active member of GEO, NASPP and WorldatWork.

Dr. Adie Leung, FGE

Citi Asia

Dr. Adie Leung

Adie is responsible for Citi’s executive compensation, equity compensation, international and mobility tax and related governance, HR-related accounting, financial and operatonal issues in the Asia region. Adie sits on Citi’s global steering committees for equity compensation, and global process owner projects for cross-border employees, mobility and equity compensation.

Adie initiated the Citi Asia’s frequent business travellers and secondments travel tracking and management system 18 years ago and currently serves on Citi’s global steering committee for the project.

Adie has also built a mobility talent planning and management strategic business function and been a key player in Citi’s various regional M&A projects.

Adie was awarded a Doctorate of Business Administration for researching the factors impacting the effectiveness of share ownership schemes in relation to voluntary turnover in China.

Toby Morrow

Rio Tinto

Toby Morrow

Toby is responsible for all aspects of executive and all employee share plan arrangements at Rio Tinto.

Toby started his career with Deloitte in the UK, advising and working with clients to implement a broad spectrum of remuneration and share plan arrangements.

After more than 10 years in professional services, Toby moved in-house and has held roles managing all aspects of equity-based compensation for a UK financial services firm and for the last 5 years in the US for Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest mining companies.

Toby is a UK Chartered Tax Advisor.

Karen Needham, FGE

Wave Life Sciences

Karen Needham

Karen has over 40 years of dynamic experience and leadership in the equity compensation industry. In her most recent role, Karen is responsible for the global equity administration and compliance for Wave Life Sciences as well as the multi-state U.S. payroll.

Prior to this role, she held management roles in client relations and education for 3 of the largest equity administration software providers. Karen began her career with Wang Laboratories where she was responsible for equity compensation in over 50 countries. She subsequently oversaw the equity administration for Genzyme, including the administration of employee equity plans for its numerous tracking stocks.

Karen is a member of GEO (Global Equity Organization), NASPP (National Association of Stock Plan Professionals) and is a Certified Equity Professional (CEP).

She was recently honored as a Fellow of Global Equity at the 2019 GEO International Conference.

Tom Paleka, FGE

LEAD JUDGE
Gallagher

Tom Paleka

Tom Paleka joined Gallagher in September 2008 as Vice President of Global Compensation, a newly created role. Promoted in 2016 to lead the global rewards function, he now has overall responsibility for guiding the company’s equity, compensation, benefit, and mobility programs, as well as the payroll organization. In 2018, he was named as an officer of the company.

He has been instrumental in designing the company’s long-term incentive plans, securing shareholder approval of five of Gallagher’s long-term incentive and employee share plans, automating many compensation and payroll processes, and driving a global benefit philosophy.

Tom joined Gallagher from Tellabs, a large telecommunications manufacturer of infrastructure equipment. While at Tellabs, he designed and managed sales compensation programs and was promoted to Director of Global Compensation and Benefits in 2005, with responsibility for all broad-based and executive programs. Prior to that role, he had twenty years of extensive background in the telecommunications industry with AT&T and Ameritech in sales compensation, direct sales, sales management, and sales operations.

Tom has served on the Global Equity Organization (‘GEO’) Board of Directors since 2017 and is co-chair of the Issuer Advisory Council. Tom has served as a judge for the GEO Awards for several years, the last two as co-Lead Judge. He also has been an active member of the Fidelity Stock Plan Services Client Advisory Board. He has spoken at many conferences for such organizations as GEO, Certified Equity Professional Institute, Equilar, World at Work, Conference Board, and the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals (‘NASPP’). In addition to his professional organizations, Tom has also served on the Junior Achievement DuPage County Board of Directors from 1994 to 2000 and 2007 to present, and as a volunteer since 1982.

Pat Sims, FGE

PJS Consultancy

Pat Sims

Pat has been part of the share plan community for over 20 years.

Originally as a share plan consultant at Mercer, and then in 2002 she joined Orange as part of the in-house share plan team. Pat then moved to Rio Tinto in 2009, and in January 2015 moved into freelance and consultancy work. Since then, Pat has provided support to several global companies on their share plans, and related projects. This includes Pearson, Vodafone, AstraZeneca, BT, Nokia, J Sainsbury's and Rio Tinto.

Pat is an active member and supporter of GEO, and speaks at their conferences and other conferences and } seminars on a regular basis.

Vivek Sundaram

Wolters Kluwer

Vivek Sundaram

Vivek is the Vice President of Global Compensation at Wolters Kluwer.

In his current role, he is responsible for all aspects of executive and broad-based compensation within the company.

Vivek has over 18 years of progressive experience in various consulting and practitioner roles within the compensation and benefits practice.

In his free time, he loves to travel, watch movies and spend time with close family and friends.

Sandra Sussman, FGE

SAP

Sandra Sussman

Sandra is a seasoned professional with 30 years of experience in global equity compensation, global stock plan services management and administration, and legal and corporate governance administration. In her current role at SAP, Sandra is responsible for global equity compensation strategy and the design of best-in-class global equity compensation programs to facilitate SAP's attraction and retention of key talent. She has played a central role in the implementation, design support, and administration of equity compensation programs in several prior leadership roles, both in-house and with third-party advisors.

Sandra also spent a number of years as Executive Director of the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals (NASPP), overseeing a wide range of initiatives and activities. During that time, she was a co-editor of The Corporate Executive and The Corporate Counsel newsletters, both invaluable resources for securities and tax law, accounting regulations, and interpretations affecting both equity and executive compensation. Sandra holds a B.A. degree in political science from the University of Virginia, and began her professional career as an active-duty officer in the U.S. Army Transportation Corps.

She is a Certified Equity Professional, a Fellow Global Equity and an active member of GEO, NASPP and WorldatWork.

Barbara Waters, FGE

Signify Health

Barbara Waters

Barbara has been active in the equity space for over 40 years. She has held various positions at Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney, Morgan Stanley and Aetna. Barbara worked in the vendor environment for 30 years in several positions. She has managed administrative teams, implementation teams and Corporate Action teams as well as responsibility for the Stock Plans Systems budget and business requirements. After many years at the vendor, Barbara shifted her concentration to the Issuer side. She is currently the Director of Executive and Equity Compensation for CVS Health. In this role she is responsible for all CVS Health Equity including NQ Deferred Comp and RSUs, PSUs, SARs, NQs and ESPP. Barbara is currently on the NY Board of GEO and is an active member of the NASPP.

Barbara was named a Fellow of Global Equity in 2019 by the Global Equity Organization. She received her CEP designation in 2004 and actively supports the exams as a CEP Volunteer. She has spoken on NASPP, GEO and CEP Symposium Panels. She is also a member of World at Work and the GEO Issuer Advisory Council and is working towards her CECP.

Photo Gallery

View photos from some of the wonderful evenings we’ve celebrated together over the years as an industry.