LOS ANGELES – The winners of the first-ever XBIZ Executive Awards honoring professionals in various fields within the pleasure products and retail sector were announced last night during an exclusive XBIZ 360 special event.
The XBIZ Executive Award winners and respective companies included:
Business Development Executive of the Year – Bonnie Feingold, Honey’s Place
Marketing Executive of the Year – Ken H., ECN
Progressive Leadership Award – Joel Kaminsky, Good Vibrations
Tech Leadership Award – Michael Topolovac, Crave
Community Figure of the Year – Tom Nardone, PriveCo
Brand Ambassador of the Year – Robin Stewart, Jopen
Senior Leadership Award – Donna Faro, LELO
Chief Executive of the Year – CT Schenk, Aneros
Businesswoman of the Year – Mara Epstein, Maia Toys
Businessman of the Year – Adam Hasner, Adventure Industries
Industry friends, mentors and business partners presented XBIZ Exec Award winners with trophies during an intimate ceremony.
Doc Johnson’s Ron Braverman presented Feingold with her trophy and acknowledged her charitable spirit.
“She's taken the business to extremely new heights, and on top of everything she does an enormous amount to give back,” Braverman said. “She does a walk every year to keep her mother's memory alive.”
In her acceptance speech, Feingold said, “I'm incredibly honored. I really love this industry. I would not be who I am without it. It's really changed me for the better.”
XBIZ founder and publisher Alec Helmy recognized the industry savvy of Businesswoman of the Year, Mara Epstein.
“She stands alone when it comes to industry knowledge and business experience across all verticals of the industry,” Helmy said. “Most recently, she has established with limited resources a widely recognized pleasure products brand. She's tenacious, driven and always impressed me with her perseverance.”
In presenting the Marketing Executive of the Year, Standard Innovation’s Tori Parker said the recipient “has made a huge impact on the marketing within this industry.”
“The people are the best part of the industry,” Ken H. said. “To come to events and see everyone come together no matter what you're doing, whether you're a vendor, buyer or competitor, everyone's friendly and very gracious.”
Good Vibes’ Coyote Days presented the Progressive Leadership Award to her boss and mentor, Joel Kaminsky.
“He encourages the best out of everyone and that's what you want out of a progressive leader,” she said.
OhMiBod’s Brian Dunham shared a story of meeting Tech Leadership Award winner Michael Topolovac in Macao four years ago and becoming fast friends.
“Brian was the first person I met in this industry and what I didn't see coming was what a community this industry is,” Topolovac said. “I thank you all for believing in us. I'd love to thank Ti who's my co-founder I wish she could be there. “
Community Figure of the Year winner Tom Nardone also thanks his industry friends.
“They say friends are the family you choose and I choose all of you,” he said.
XBIZ Associate Publisher Sara Ramirez presented the Brand Ambassador of the Year award winner to former co-worker and friend, Robin Stewart.
“I'm thrilled to be in this industry,” Stewart said. “I love my job, I love the people I work with and the people I work for. Thank you to my customers and distributors, you guys are fantastic and make my job so easy.”
LELO CEO Miroslav Slavic presented Donna Faro with the Senior Leadership award while acknowledging her contributions.
“The last award I received was when I was a student in catholic school,” Faro said. “ I won’t specify what that award was for but it was presented for something I did all on my own – this award is certainly not something achieved on my own. XBIZ, thank you for this esteemed honor and being the compass for this industry. Thank you for allowing me to accept the award on the behalf of so many amazing individuals that at the heart of LELO.”
Eropartner’s Chris Baker presented the Chief Executive of the Year award to CT Schenk, recognizing how “he's developed solid experience in the last 10 years in branding and business development, as well as marketing and sales.”
Schenk said in his acceptance speech, “I'd like to thank the amazing team of Aneros, I wouldn't be anything without them. I'd like to thank the XBIZ team for putting together such an amazing show. I really believe in this format, I think it's nice to have these set meetings and I don't have to plan anything. Thank you to all of our partners for really believing our prostate massagers.”
Businessman of the Year award winner Adam Hasner accepted his award via FaceTime on an iPhone, presented by Deja Vu’s Megan Swartz.
“His most recent accomplishments include marketing campaign that have made his face the most recognized in the industry,” Swartz said. “From whip cream bikinis to gold body paint, this hall of famer will stop at nothing to be the top performer at his company.”