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The votes are in! Meet our 5 newest Brightspot Award winners.

by Reanna Zuniga

We love celebrating each other’s successes.

Every quarter we ask our employees to nominate a deserving colleague for our Brightspot Awards. This initiative recognizes those who go above and beyond for their job, exemplifying Smartsheet’s core competencies. After getting so many nominations from our offices across the world, we’re excited to announce this quarter’s Brightspots.

Kate Karwowski | Drive Results

Headshot of Kata Karakowski, People Analytics Program Manager

Kate Karwowski is nominated for consistently driving and achieving results, even under tough circumstances. She joined Smartsheet at the very end of August 2021 as our People Analytics Program Manager.

What does this award mean to you?

“I'm honored to be recognized by my peers with the Brightspot Award! I feel so lucky to work somewhere that I am encouraged to take ideas and run with them, and grateful to have such a supportive team behind me who help make it all possible.” -- Kate Karwowski

What do Kate’s coworkers say about working with her?

Within the short time Kate has been here, she's delivered amazing results that are going to exponentially accelerate how teams consult with leaders on the health of their organizations and employee experience.

“Within Kate's first week, I gave her my wish list — we need visualizations and we need them in fewer places,” said one teammate who nominated her. “Kate’s work is going to revolutionize how we speak to fuzzy things like culture and inclusion and make them actionable, definable, trackable and meaningful.

Not only has Kate driven incredible results in her time at Smartsheet, her can-do attitude has made her a great team player and coworker.

“She's constantly iterating on the things I throw at her and telling me how what I'm asking for could be even better. She's put together a training curriculum for my team to kick off the year, ensuring every PBP will have fluency in people data from remedial stats 101 all the way to influencing and strategizing with data,” they said. “Kate is a HUGE asset to Smartsheet and I cannot think of anyone more deserving than her.”

Jonathan Marzinke | Take Accountability

Jonathan Marzinke is nominated for taking accountability for various responsibilities, whether it be his own or his teams. He joined Smartsheet almost seven years ago in September of 2015.

What does this award mean to you?

“It's certainly fun to be recognized and for that I'm grateful. However, the real reward for me is getting to take ownership of my small piece of Smartsheet and make it better to the best of my ability.” -- Jonathan Marzinke

What do Jonathan’s coworkers say about working with him?

“Jonathan is our lifeline between the customer data and our ability to send any communications for the company. He is constantly working to improve not just the quality of the data we can work with but also the efficiency and cleanliness of our lead database,” his teammate, who nominated him, said. “Jonathan always goes above and beyond what we ask of him and he works very closely with each of our team members, regardless of their newness to the company.

His ability to dive deep into technical issues and deliver effective, functional solutions makes him an incredible problem solver. He’s just as comfortable diving into complex technical systems as he is communicating with people in non-technical roles.

“He's so knowledgeable and compassionate and really cares about not just the customer experience but our team as a whole,” they said. “I believe he has earned the Brightspot Award 10 times over. We could not do our jobs without him!

Stephanie Barbee | Earn Trust

Headshot of Stephanie Barbee, Manager, Training

Stephanie Barbee is nominated for earning trust and gaining the confidence of others through straight forwardness, integrity and consistency. She started at Smartsheet in October 2017 as a Product Trainer and moved into her current role as Manager of Training in September 2018.

What does this award mean to you?

"Thank you for this recognition, I am incredibly lucky to have the best team and amazing colleagues to work with every day. Where we have been and where we are going ensures there is never a dull moment, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of folks to be with on this journey." -- Stephanie Barbee

What do Stephanie’s coworkers say about working with her?

“She works with an incredibly diverse team of direct reports and cross-functional teams, in addition to regularly meeting with customers from around the world,” her teammate said. “She always approaches every situation with empathy, sound logic, diplomacy, and actionable takeaways, and typically is responsible in following up even weeks or months later.”

Her ability to step into any situation and earn the trust of those involved is appreciated by many of her colleagues.

“Personally, I have entrusted her with my concerns about my role and my development, and she has taken them seriously by finding solutions and regularly revisiting open items even months later. She is direct and straightforward in her reactions while also maintaining a personal connection,” they said.  

Laura Jenkins | Value and Leverage Differences

Headshot of Laura Jenkins, Director of Marketing - APAC

Laura Jenkins is nominated for valuing and leveraging differences by seeking out the diverse perspectives of others. She started at Smartsheet in March 2020 as a Senior Marketing Manager, APAC and moved into her current role as the Director of Marketing, APAC in May of this year.

What does this award mean to you?

"I am so delighted to receive this award. As a marketer, I'm fortunate to work in a field that naturally intersects between so many different teams, providing me the opportunity to work with a wide range of superstars across the business each day, both locally and internationally.

Most recently, the opportunity to bring the Sponsor X program to life in the region was a career highlight for me and one of the most personally rewarding initiatives I've been part of.

To be recognised with this award whilst still on a high from the campaign and surrounding programs really is the icing on the cake. I'm excited for what the future holds as we continue to grow our teams and scale the Smartsheet business here in APAC and beyond!" -- Laura Jenkins

What do Laura’s coworkers say about working with her?

She has been instrumental in the development of our partnership with the McLaren Formula 1 team, the Sponsor X program and activation at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this year. She’s seasoned at bringing together cross functional teams across the globe and has gone above and beyond to build a program that sets a framework for impactful work in the future.

“Laura has led her team to leverage the Grand Prix as a key tentpole moment to drive results for the APAC region,” said a teammate who nominated her, “whether it’s about driving expansion for sales and the channel partners, building brand awareness through Sponsor X, or driving internal excitement through events and activities that pull the local teams together.”

Her positive outlook, energy and “we before me” work ethos has made her a rockstar at her job.

“Laura is so incredibly deserving of this award and exemplifies the Smartsheet values every step of the way. She inspires me, my team and our cross functional teams to strive for excellence no matter the challenge,” they said.

Gretchen Fitzgibbons | Continuously Learn and Adapt

Headshot of Gretchen Fitzgibbons, Manager, Large Enterprise Sales Engineering

Gretchen Fitzgibbons is nominated for continuously learning and adapting through experimentation when tackling new challenges. She joined Smartsheet’s Sales Engineering team in September 2018.

What does this award mean to you?

"This means the world to me and I feel deeply grateful to everyone who helped make this Bright Spot Award a reality. For nearly four years, I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most talented, brilliant problem solvers in the industry; and having those same people nominate me is an incredible honor I won't soon forget." - Gretchen Fitzgibbons

What do Gretchen’s coworkers say about working with her?

Gretchen played a critical role in developing and delivering a briefing for one of Gartner's leading reports. The briefing included a best-in-class demo, showcasing the Smartsheet product and brand to Gartner at one of the most high stakes moments.

“Gretchen was the star of the show, working with the Product, Marketing and AR teams to develop a new demo track specifically for Gartner. Gretchen took lots of feedback and was always looking to present Smartsheet in the best way possible for this important event,” her teammate said.

“With a snowstorm approaching on the day of the briefing, Gretchen went above and beyond by preparing for any and all contingencies — arranging for an understudy out of storm's way, providing them a script and ensuring success should the storm have taken out power and rendered her unable to deliver the demo,” they said. “I would choose to work with Gretchen 11 out of 10 times. She is outstanding in every way!”

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