SIIA’s New Impact Awards Have Gravitas, Industry Value, and a ‘Nice’ Ring to Them

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
—Jackie Robinson

When considering what to name our new awards last year, several great words were suggested. But when we thought about the mission—to acknowledge leadership in the publishing industry, specifically championing Emerging Talent and Equity—“Impact” certainly stood out.

Thus, the Impact Awards are a part of a continuing commitment by SIIA (AM&P Network’s parent organization) to help our members achieve better outcomes in diversity, equity and inclusion, and spotlight and develop outstanding young professionals across the publishing industry.

The entertainment industry has their EGOT status for those who win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award. With our esteemed and new Impact Awards, SIIA just might have the equivalent with our Neals, Impact, CODiES and EXCELs. Reaching NICE status would be quite the accomplishment.

The Impact Awards are broken down into two categories:

Emerging Talent recognizes those age 35 and under who have 3+ years of service to the industry and have demonstrated outstanding success and leadership potential.

Equity Awards recognize individuals and teams demonstrating significant progress and identifiable achievement toward efforts related to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. Within this category there are several sub-categories of awards including:

  • Individual Contribution
  • Outstanding Employee Resource Group (ERG)
  • Team Award (organization with less than 50 employees)
  • Team Award (organization with 51-99 employees)
  • Team Award (organization with 100-149 employees)
  • Team Award (organization with 150+ employees)

The application includes several short-answer questions that describe actions taken to elevate equity within a community, supported by meaningful and measurable results. Nominees have the option of uploading additional PDF documentation to support their nomination.

Nominated projects/initiatives or ERG accomplishments should have occurred—or in the case of ongoing efforts, begun—between April 1, 2021, and June 1, 2022.

In a Lunch & Learn introducing the awards last month, Alexis Redmond, managing director, legal, risk & compliance community, Manufacturers Alliance, talked about crafting your submissions like you’re telling a story about yourself—and it being a good exercise for your career.

“You have an opportunity to really shape a nice narrative that you could use again,” Redmond said. “Because a lot of times those same things you can pull into cover letters [or bios] later, you can pull into your narrative about your ability to make an impact. And then for those groups that are submitting, [your submissions] are going to show the legacy that you’re having for [organizations,] for publishing and for society.

“I always recommend to people as they are thinking about their submissions, that you think about how to structure it really clearly… What’s the situation? What actions did you take as a result? Make it so that if you handed it to your grandma, [she] would know exactly what you’re talking about. When I’ve submitted for things, I have the one person who knows me well, who can tell me if I forgot to include something. And one person that doesn’t know me at all who can tell me if any of it makes sense.

“For those who are on the organizational side, tell us how you’ve overcome a challenge; tell us how you rallied the troops and got everyone together,” Redmond added.

Speakers also encouraged people to sign up to judge. It will be an opportunity to read firsthand the DEI strategies being implemented in our industry. Impact Award judging will take place virtually from Sept. 12-26. Judges will then convene for a 2-hour, live, digital roundtable discussion on Sept. 28 to determine the winners. A celebration luncheon will be held on Nov. 15.

“My main piece of advice is definitely don’t be afraid to apply and be confident when you apply,” said Nicole Racadag, the team lead of publications at the American College of Radiology. “Especially think outside the box when thinking about your nomination letters and who you want to write a letter for you. It doesn’t always have to be your supervisor or your colleague in the publishing community, although you can certainly ask them.”

The application period goes until Sept. 7. You will find all the nomination information here. You can sign up to judge here.

To circle back to the beginning quote, today I saw this story tweeted out by Ron Fournier, a former publisher and editor of Crain’s Detroit Business:

When the great baseball star and Black icon Jackie Robinson died, his widow [Rachel] called [Bill] Russell and asked him to be a pallbearer.

“Sure but … why?” Bill asked her.

“Because you were his favorite athlete,” she said.

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