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Spotlight: The 2017 MVP Awards Judges

Last year, we hosted the 2017 MVP Awards across three of our sites: B2B Marketing Zone, eLearning Learning, and Human Resources Today. In order to get ready for this year’s coming awards across even more of our sites, we’re catching up with some of our judges from the previous awards who offered their time and insight to make the awards even better.

Want to nominate an article for this year’s awards? Email the article, and the site you’d like to nominate it for, to More details at the bottom. Enjoy!


Name: Tom Pick

Website: Webbiquity

Content Community: B2B Marketing Zone

What do you do, and what is your favorite part of your job?

I’m an independent digital marketing consultant. I work primarily with small to midsized B2B technology companies, in software, services, and med tech. I help clients with strategy and execution across content marketing, social media, SEO/SEM, and influencer marketing.

My favorite part of what I do is when I can report significant, quantifiable results to clients from our efforts, like dramatic increases in organic search traffic or improved AdWords performance.

How did you get started in B2B marketing?

I started my career as a technical writer at a digital prepress technology company. The marketing team there often asked for my help in writing ad copy or journal articles because I had to know the products so well. Then I stated going with them to trade shows. It was fascinating, so I got my MBA and moved over to marketing.

Since then, I’ve worked a dozen-plus years on the corporate marketing side in software, services, and hardware companies, and another dozen-plus years on the agency / consulting side.

What makes you a qualified judge?

I’ve done an enormous amount of writing about marketing and technology, on my own sites, leading marketing blogs, and on behalf of clients. I’ve developed marketing strategy and plans, and worked to execute those both through direct reports and coordinated efforts with client teams. Writing well over 1,000 blog posts alone has taught me a lot of lessons, 12 of which of which I summarized on LinkedIn Pulse here.

What’s a notable trend in B2B marketing that you’re seeing lately?

Marketers are increasingly being held accountable for producing measurable results and demonstrating ROI. Fortunately, the technology for managing campaigns and monitoring results keeps getting better. The technology is a bit disjointed, making measurement challenging particularly for smaller companies, but its continually improving.

What’s your favorite movie? 

Actually my three favorite movies are The Blues Brothers, Caddyshack, and Airplane — all released in 1980. Hollywood has been in decline ever since. 🙂


Name: Connie Malamed

Website: The eLearning Coach

Content Community: eLearning Learning

What do you do and what is your favorite part of your job?

I work as a learning experience design consultant, helping organizations with high level strategies as well as the entire design and development cycle. I also give workshops on design thinking and visual design and publish a website with articles and resources for instructional designers,

How did you get started in eLearning?

I had a job in a community college computer lab and my boss told me she was getting a graduate degree in instructional design. In my past jobs, I loved making educational materials and that was the first time I’d heard the words, “instructional design.” I knew exactly what it meant and signed up for the graduate school program as soon as I could. I started graduate school with two young children and a new baby. It was crazy.

What makes you qualified to judge eLearning MVPs?

Probably anyone who has been in the field for a long time and cares about the quality of our industry would be qualified.

What’s a notable trend in eLearning that you’re seeing lately?

I think three trends are spot on. One is that people are realizing that training is not the solution to every performance problem. So they are stopping for a moment and examining whether training is really the fix. Second I like the trend of openness. Practitioners are seeing that there are many different models, and picking the ones that are right for their projects. And third, the trend toward blended learning is supported by instructional science and I think it’s a brilliant approach. Instead of offering one intervention, practitioners are hitting the skills and knowledge in a variety of ways, over time.

What would your superpower be?

Visualizing information, ideas and concepts.



Name: Ben Eubanks

Website: upstartHR

Content Community: Human Resources Today

What do you do, and what is your favorite part of your job?

I’m the Principal Analyst at Lighthouse Research, which really means I’m a data geek. I love learning about what high-performing companies dodifferently from the rest in terms of technology, innovation, and strategy. I support employers with advisory around talent and learning strategy andalso with technology selection.

How did you get started in HR?

Unlike many people in the industry, I actually CHOSE to be in HR. I got a degree in HR and immediately went into the field doing the “grunt work” for a nonprofit locally. I learned the HR ropes from the ground up and it was a an interesting experience to say the least!

What’s a notable trend in HR that you’re seeing lately?

Definitely more awareness around artificial intelligence and what it could mean for the workplace. I’m writing a book on the impact of AI on the HR profession and exploring the technologies and advancements, but more importantly I’m highlighting the actual skills that will future-proof HR leaders in an increasingly automated workplace. More about the book here:

What’s your hidden talent? 

Hidden talent? I can walk on my hands! I taught myself when I was a wrestler in high school and still practice occasionally to make sure I still have it.



Name: Ryan Tracey

Website: E-Learning Provocateur

Content Community: eLearning Learning

What do you do, and what is your favorite part of your job?

I’m a Learning Innovation Manager, which essentially means that I am modernising L&D in the organization I work for. My favorite part of the job is observing the outcomes of the innovations we implement.

How did you get started in elearning?

I was working for a textbook publishing company when the e-learning wave swept through the education sector. My boss asked for someone to take care of the “new media” portfolio, and I naively put up my hand up for it. I’ve been in e-learning in one form or another ever since.

What makes you qualified to judge elearning MVPs?

Beyond education and experience, I’m a practitioner. I have unique insight into what works in the corporate environment (and conversely, what doesn’t) because I live it every day.

What’s a notable trend in elearning that you’re seeing lately?

I’m seeing a big push towards on-demand learning, replacing much of the formal training (including online modules) for which we have neither the time nor the inclination.

If you had a time machine, would you go to the past or to the future?

While my day job is defined by the future, I’m also a history buff who isfascinated by the past. I would love to go back in time to experience the things we can only read about today.



Name: Mary Faulkner

Website: SHRM Blog

Content Community: Human Resources Today

What do you do, and what is your favorite part of your job?

I am currently the Director of HR for a public sector water utility. I own Talent Acquisition, Benefits, Compensation and Wellness. This also includes Career Development and Succession Planning. The favorite part of my job is that I work across the entire business – I’m not assigned to just one group. I have to understand everything that people are working on and I can act as a connector for people in the organization who may be struggling with similar challenges.

How did you get started in HR?

Completely by accident. 🙂 I was going to be a stunt car driver… Okay, actually I WANTED to be a stunt car driver, but I actually got my license to teach high school. I ended up working for a tech startup instead and said goodbye to teaching. I started an MBA and hated it…but I loved my statistics class and went in search of something more attuned to performance and organizational development. I got a Master’s in Instructional Learning Technologies and got into HR through instructional design and OD. The rest, as they say, is history.

What’s a notable trend in HR that you’re seeing lately?

Outsourcing the administrative work so HR can focus on bigger picture stuff. There’s also a lot of pressure on HR to meet a wider range of needs from employees, which can be a blessing and a curse. While we appreciate the trend of recognizing the whole person at work, it can feel like HR is being asked to take on more of the burden, when really all of leadership needs to change the way we interact with and treat employees.

Which historical figure would you want to have dinner with, and why? 

I’d love to have conversations with Abraham Lincoln and Ben Franklin – Lincoln because I’m curious about his cadence of speaking, Ben Franklin because I think he’d be a hoot. I’d like to see Leonardo da Vinci in action. I’d want to see Chuck Yeager break the sound barrier. Lots of cool things.

Name: Clark Quinn

Website: Millennials, Goldfish & Other Training Misconceptions: Debunking Learning Myths and Superstitions

Content Community: eLearning Learning

What do you do, and what is your favorite part of your job?

I help organizations work smarter.  That is, I help align their learning design processes and their infrastructure with what we know about how people think, work, and learn, still under pragmatic constraints.  It’s about innovating in the real world. And my favorite part is working with folks and surprising them with insights they hadn’t seen yet can make real impacts on their success.

How did you get started in elearning?

As an undergraduate, I was tutoring to make some extra money, and then got a job doing the computer support for the office that handled the tutoring. A light went on about the possibilities between computers and learning. I designed my own major, and it’s been my life ever since. As I like to say, I like helping people, and I like playing with the latest toys. eLearning is perfect!

What makes you qualified to judge elearning MVPs?

Answering this question is an opportunity to sound self-obsessed!  I hope it’s because I’ve been doing this long enough to have a bit of perspective (almost 40 years now, showing my age), have been productive in writing on my own (blogs, articles, and books), have been consistently evaluating other’s writing as a journal and conference submission reviewer, and have worked diligently to stay on top of the field. I’m presuming that’s why I was asked.

What’s a notable trend in elearning that you’re seeing lately?

I think we’re seeing more interest in adaptive learning. While this is yet another opportunity for the hype wagon to get going full tilt, there’re upsides to the interest. For one, adaptive learning requires greater attention to content management, an area we can stand to do better in (cf. web marketing).  There’s always the possibility of putting adaptive on top of traditionally bad elearning (adaptive on top of bad design is still bad design), but there’s also a likelihood that the effort will also allow tighter (and better) definition around the content elements. This is far better than, for instance, the lack of nuance in the excitement around ‘microlearning’.

What’s your favorite movie?

My favorite movie is Raiders of the Lost Ark, because it artfully combines adventure, romance, and humor.


Thanks for reading!

Have a nomination for this year’s awards? We’re accepting nominations for the following sites:

  • B2B Marketing Zone
  • Customer Contact Central
  • Customer Experience Update
  • eLearning Learning
  • Human Resources Today
  • Product Management Today
  • Project Management Update
  • Recruiting Brief
  • Sales Pro Central
  • Supply Chain Brief

Email a link to the article you’d like to nominate, plus the site for which you’d like to nominate it, to Please nominate as many articles as you’d like, as long as you feel they are quality pieces of thought leadership that provide value or actionable insight.