The Stevie Awards were created in 2002 to generate public recognition of the efforts, accomplishments, and positive contributions of companies and business people worldwide. The 2002 awards were called The American Business Awards; the 2003, The International Business Awards,since then the present title has been used.
Michael P. Gallagher, an American businessman, conceived the idea for the Stevie Awards as a way to recognize good business leaders and "restore public confidence and investor trust" in the wake of the Enron scandal. Gallagher left his job in 2001 and founded American Business Awards to administer the Stevies. The first Stevies were awarded in 48 categories in April 2003 and judged by a panel including Rich Karlgaard, the editor of Forbes magazine and Richard Klimoski, Dean of the School of Management at George Mason University.
The International Business Awards are judged each year by leading figures in business worldwide. Past judges include Donald Trump, Tony Robbins, and Gary Hamel, who participate in an evaluation process of nominees that takes approximately three months. Their recommendations for winners in more than 70 corporate and individual award categories are announced and celebrated annually in a ceremony held in New York City.
The American Business Awards accept entries in dozens of categories, grouped as follows:
- Advertising, Web Sites, Video, & Other Media Categories
Categories that recognize excellence in all forms of advertising, film and video productions, web sites, interactive multimedia, corporate literature,Interface Design (Slingshot, LLC) and live events.
- Management Categories
Categories for executive management including Best Management Team, Best Executive Computer Software (Ron Books, COO, eCommerce Industries, and Best Chairman, among others.
- Company Categories
Categories that recognize the achievements of entire companies and franchisees. Includes Best Overall Company (Energy Control Inc.), Best Environmental Responsibility Program (a new category for 2008), and Best Franchisee, among others.
- Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, & Public Relations Categories
Includes Best Communications or PR Campaign (Grow Marketing), a new category for 2008, among others.
- Creative Categories
Includes Best Advertising (Ignited), Editorial or Design Agency, a new category for 2008, among others.
- Customer Service Categories
Includes Best Customer Service Team (Constant Contact), among others.
- Human Resources Categories
Includes Best Human Resources Team(DHL Express), among others.
- Marketing Categories
Includes Best Marketing Campaign (Carlson Restaurants Worldwide), among others.
- MIS & IT Categories
Includes Best Technical Professional, among others.
- Products & Product Management Categories
Includes the categories for Best New Product or Service, among others.
- Sales Categories
Includes Best Sales Trainer (Brian Brown, Executive Director and Senior Vice President of SkillStorm – 2008 Winner), among others.
- Support Categories
Includes Best Support Organization/Department(Coverall Cleaning Concepts), among others.
Stevie is taken from the name Stephen, which is derived from the Greek for "crowned."
R.S. Owens, the same company that makes the Oscar, Emmy, and Clio Awards, designed the Stevie trophy as a 16 inch tall, hand-cast 24-karat gold statuette, holding aloft a crystal pyramid that represents the hierarchy of human needs, a system developed in the 1960s by psychologist Abraham Maslow, who observed that after their basic needs are met, human beings seek the esteem of their peers.
- Tharp, Paul (September 22, 2002). "Good Guy Awards for CEOs – Hoping 'Oscars' Will Keep Them in Line". The New York Post. p. 34. "CEOs will get a new chance to clean up their image with the launch of the business world's own Oscar awards."
- Irvin, Woodrow (March 9, 2003). "Fairfax Man Wants Stevie Trophy To Join Ranks of Tony and Oscar". The Washington Post. p. T27.
- The American Business Awards: The Stevies