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August 24, 2022
Engage! Cleveland announces award winners for inaugural Generation NEXT Awards


Engage! Cleveland announces award winners for inaugural Generation NEXT Awards

Cleveland, Ohio —August 24, 2022 – Engage! Cleveland announced today the award winners for the inaugural Generation NEXT Awards. The Generation NEXT Awards honors the companies and individuals working diligently to attract, engage and retain young professional talent to Cleveland. Winning companies and individuals will be recognized at an awards ceremony on Thursday, September 29, 2022 at The City Club of Cleveland.

“We are thrilled to recognize the companies and individuals who are making Cleveland a great place to live, work and discover by investing in young, diverse talent,” said Gary Shamis, Board Chair for Engage! Cleveland.

With the exception of the Lifetime Achievement Award, awards were given to four winners per category – large employer, mid-size, small, and nonprofit/government/public sector. Award winners were determined by a Selection Committee. Engage! Cleveland Employer Member of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Awards were internally nominated and selected.

The winners of the inaugural Generation NEXT Awards are as follows:

Company of the Year

Small: Bostwick Design Partnership

Mid-size: Code3

Large: Union Home Mortgage

Nonprofit/Government/Public Sector: NOPEC

Mid-size: Summer Internship Program, GNCO, Inc. (photo right)

Large: Emerging Professionals Group, Oatey Co.

Nonprofit/Government/Public Sector: Cleveland LEADs, Cleveland Council on World Affairs

Young Professional of the Year

Small: Bill Baraona, Owner, Flex Media

Mid-size: Rachael Ossovicki, Search Advertising Strategist 2, Code3

Large: Sophie Hall, Talent Management Specialist, Swagelok

Nonprofit/Government/Public Sector: Laura Mottor, Donor Relations Officer, Greater Cleveland Food Bank

Engage! Cleveland Employer Member of the Year

Small: Staffing Solutions Enterprises

Mid-size: MIM Software Inc.

Large: The Sherwin-Williams Company

Nonprofit/Government/Public Sector: The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Lifetime Achievement Award: Ira C. Kaplan

Engage! Cleveland’s current board member and past Board Chair, Ira C. Kaplan, is being awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. Ira is the Executive Chairman and serves as a member of the Executive Committee at Benesch. Mr. Kaplan is often referred to as someone who is a strong advocate for the young professional community.

“Ira was not only a wonderful Board Chair, but a terrific mentor to me personally. He went above and beyond is his role advocating for young professionals in the region,” said Ashley Basile Oeken, President of Engage! Cleveland.

To learn more about Engage! Cleveland, please visit and follow the nonprofit on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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