I attended the Comp Laude® Awards last week where, as you may have already read, I was honored with the Industry Leader Award for 2019. The Comp Laude® Awards program was started by the late David Depaolo, founder of workcompcentral. It was intended to help change the narrative around workers’ compensation, and to recognize and honor the positive results that can occur within our industry. One of the most successful points of Comp Laude® is championing injured workers who have overcome incredible obstacles to restore the quality of their lives. There were many motivating moments at this year’s event held in Huntington Beach, CA. As a result, “Lessons of Comp Laude®” will be the theme of all of the articles from the Cluttered Desk this week.

One of the phrases commonly used at the awards ceremony was “putting our logo’s aside” in reference to honoring those who have made great contributions to the industry. It simply meant that, in a competitive industry with many diverse interests, Comp Laude® is a place where we all reach a bit higher to look beyond the daily routine of business in order to collectively celebrate success; success that brings about positive good for individuals and the industry. Nowhere at the event would the phrase “putting our logo’s aside” be more evident than with the award I was honored to receive.

Many people generally view workcompcentral and WorkersCompensation.com to be online competitors. They are right, in a sense, as we are both online information providers for the industry. We do have some areas of direct overlap, the most notable being in the news arena. Beyond that point, however, we tend to specialize in divergent areas. While there is a lot of common data available from both companies, they delve deeply into education, certifications and seminars, while my company deals extensively with claims compliance, forms auto-population and forms management systems. Still, I have long described them as “friendly competitors” to my business.

The concept of friendly competition is not new, and it is something that I learned many years ago from my parents. We owned a motel, restaurant and lounge in a small town in southwest Colorado when I was growing up. My parents were always willing to lend product or a helping hand to other restaurants and motels in the area, and those businesses were willing to reciprocate when we needed any assistance. My parents were friends with some of these competitors, and I learned that life could be easier when everyone could get along with one another – even when they were in a directly competitive environment.

So, for me, supporting a “greater good” concept such as Comp Laude® was a no brainer. We’ve enthusiastically sponsored it the last few years, with articles and advertising promoting it appearing routinely on our site. Still, our own “logo set aside” action pales when compared to the reality of presenting me with recognition at the event.

Representatives from many companies gathered at Comp Laude® and celebrated people’s success, despite the fact that many of them were in competitive positions with each other. But no one put their logo further aside than the folks at workcompcentral did. For them to be willing to elevate a competitor by recognizing him as an Industry Leader at their own event speaks volumes about the integrity of CEO Kristen Chavez and her team. In my mind the willingness to do so says far more about her than it does about me.

I consider Kristen a friend, as I did David Depaolo before her. She has long sought to carry on David’s vision for her company and for the Comp Laude® Gala. As an attendee to most of the annual Comp Laude® award events I can confidently say she has achieved that goal. In fact, in that arena, I would say that she has likely exceeded Depaolo’s expectations. My award notwithstanding, this year’s gathering was exceptional. 

So, with logo’s aside, I express my gratitude to workcompcentral and all of the people involved in the Comp Laude® nomination and judging process. It was an honor to participate, and the recognition is greatly appreciated. 

And as for next year, nominations are already open. Put your own logo aside and help celebrate the successes of workers’ comp by nominating a worthy person today.

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