Talent Management announces winners of inaugural Talent Trailblazers awards program

Talent Management recognizes 6 HR and talent professionals for their immense impact on the field.

Talent Management announced the recipients of its inaugural awards program, The Talent Trailblazers, during its first virtual ceremony on February 27, 2024. This esteemed program honors outstanding emerging leaders in the HR and talent management field who have demonstrated exceptional dedication, innovation, and impact.

Following a rigorous selection process, the winners of the 2023 Talent Trailblazer Awards were chosen from a pool of individuals who have distinguished themselves through their visionary leadership, transformative initiatives, and commitment to driving positive change within their organizations. This year’s winners include:

Talent Trailblazer of the Year Award: Akkshada Maniyan, Senior Director, Head of Global Learning & Organizational Development, Innova Solutions

Akkshada Maniyan

The Trailblazer of the Year award recognizes a high-potential leader for their body of work over the course of their career. Akkshada Maniyan is without peer in developing and executing talent development strategies, marshaling and managing resources and achieving measurable success. Maniyan has led transformative efforts in workforce development, overseeing successful integrations and building a high-performing team from scratch. She orchestrated the design and execution of more than 12 impactful programs across her organization, impacting 10,000 employees within a year. Notably, she established custom leadership development initiatives, tailored for diverse leadership levels and spanning three business entities, which resulted in significant cost savings and notable improvements in leadership capabilities, with 9 percent of initial participants receiving promotions. Her strategic approach leveraging in-house resources and executive coaching, underscores her ability to drive organizational growth and cultivate talent effectively.

Assessment and Measurement Trailblazer Award: Thai Mach, Senior Learning Data & Insights Leader, Baker Hughes

This category focuses on emerging leaders who have implemented a significant measurement or evaluation program that has demonstrated exceptional business impact from their talent development programs. Thai Mach spearheaded the analytics strategy for his organization’s social learning community. By upskilling himself in various applications and leveraging innovative tools, he generated valuable insights and dashboards that not only enhanced employee engagement but also delivered significant time and cost savings for the organization.

DEIB Trailblazer Award: Malia Turner, Senior Global DEI Program Manager, Epiq Global

Malia Turner

The DEIB Trailblazer is an emerging leader who is effectively demonstrating commitment and intentionality when it comes to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in their organization. Under Malia Turner’s leadership, her organization saw a significant reduction in voluntary turnover rates among people of color, a substantial increase in the perception of diversity within the organization and a rise in the representation of women and people of color. She also spearheaded award-winning Employee Resource Groups and promoted transparency through an annual DEI report.

Performance Management Trailblazer Award: Christina Cohen, Talent and Organizational, Effectiveness Manager, Epiq Global

Christina Cohen

This award is for the emerging leader who has developed innovative and effective programming around performance management in areas such as core competencies, behavioral assessments, performance reviews and more. Christina Cohen’s transformative leadership led to a remarkable reduction in turnover through her revamping of the global performance management system, demonstrating her innovative thinking and dedication to talent development. Her efforts proved she is dedicated to cross-functional collaboration and continuous improvement in the field of performance management.

Talent Acquisition Trailblazer Award: Britton Bloch, Vice President Talent Acquisition Strategy & Head of Recruiting, Navy Federal Credit Union

Britton Bloch stood out from the nominees who have developed effective programs around employee recruitment, onboarding, retention or succession planning. Our winner spearheaded the launch of Navy Federal’s inaugural employer value proposition, “Make Our Mission Your Passion,” aimed at enhancing the employer brand and fostering enterprise-wide employee engagement. This initiative involved comprehensive research, internal alignment, external launch strategies, integration into HR practices and ongoing monitoring and iteration to ensure alignment with employee needs and market trends.

Technology Innovation Trailblazer Award: Chantelle Nash, Director, Digital HR Experience, Baker Hughes

Chantelle Nash

Our final award goes to our Technology Innovation Trailblazer, who has effectively delivered new and unique applications of emerging technology to facilitate employee connection and collaboration. Our winner successfully implemented a virtual learning platform, revolutionizing leadership development programs globally and streamlining administrative processes. Her strategic approach resulted in improved user experience, increased engagement and significant scalability.

Judges for the program include senior practitioners, talent and HR experts and Talent Management editors. Each nomination was reviewed by multiple judges, and winners were determined by averaging scores assigned by judges to each entry.

“We are thrilled to congratulate the remarkable winners of The Talent Trailblazers Awards,” said Ashley St. John, editor-in-chief and chief content officer at Talent Management. “Each of these individuals has demonstrated exceptional talent, dedication, and innovation in their respective roles, and their contributions are shaping the future of HR and talent management. We are proud to honor their achievements and celebrate their impact on the profession.”