EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: “The economy” is an abstract term as corporate profits have been relatively healthy, Michael Gallagher, president of The Stevie Awards, tells Ib Talk Online

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Russell Simmons smiles as The Stevie Awards President Michael Gallagher reads Simmons' biography shortly before he picked up the Difference Maker award at the 9th Annual American Business Awards in NYC. Photo credit: Ibrahim Dabo.

A decade ago Michael Gallagher left his job and founded The American Business Awards to administer the Stevies. The Stevie Awards honor achievements and positive contributions of organizations and business people worldwide.  Starting with The American Business Awards in 2002, the recognitions grew to include The International Business Awards in 2003, The Stevie Awards for Women in Business in 2004, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service in 2006. Today, the Stevie is one of the world’s most coveted awards. Ib Talk Online Executive Editor Ibrahim Dabo caught up with Gallagher, president of The Stevie Awards, after the 2011 American Business Awards to talk about the economy and the Difference Maker award, which made its debut this year.

IBRAHIM DABO: The US economy is still struggling to regain momentum but honoring many executives at The American Business Awards for excellence in a challenging economy means a lot. It seems businesses are still doing well. What is your reaction?

MICHAEL GALLAGHER: There are over 25 million businesses in the U.S.A.  Many of them are doing well, others are not.  It’s important to remember and to recognize that businesses are just collections of people, and people in all fields – not just movie stars and other celebrities – like to be recognized for their achievements.

“The economy” is an abstract term.  Corporate profits have been relatively healthy, because many companies have adjusted to the realities of reduced demand.  The hiring picture is bleak, because many companies are able to meet current demand with current employees.  Until demand picks up the jobs picture isn’t going to improve.  There’s no magic solution for this.

Russell Simmons and Michael Gallagher

Russell Simmons receives the Difference Maker award Michael Gallagher. Photo credit: Ibrahim Dabo.

IBRAHIM DABO: You honored Russell Simmons with the “Difference Maker” award last night. How really important is this award, especially since it is considered as the first of its kind?

MICHAEL GALLAGHER: We’ve bestowed several Lifetime Achievement Awards in the past, notably upon Richard Branson and Donald Trump.

When we considered honoring Russell we knew we had to come up with a different name for the award, because he’s still a relatively young man with much else to accomplish.  Difference Maker seemed like the right name for the award, because many of his activities now focus on improving his communities.

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About Ib Dabo

Ib Dabo, founder and executive editor of Ib Talk Online, is a writer, journalist, photographer, and communications and IT leader whose mission is to inspire and work with people to make a difference in our world. Visit his official website - www.IbDabo.com - to learn more. Follow @IbDabo on Twitter and also @IbTalkOnline on Twitter.