January 21, 2021 Ripple Effect

Ripple Effect’s 5th Annual Awards Ceremony | January 15, 2021


Every January, Ripple Effect brings together our Ripplers from across the country and our various work sites to celebrate project successes and personal achievements from the past year. Last Friday, we virtually hosted our 5th annual award celebration. After a year of hardship and uncertainty, this year’s awards focused on what the past year has taught us about preparing for the unknown, or being truly #FutureReady.

To start the day, Ripple Effect President & CEO Amy Bielski and COO Jennifer Pohlhaus reviewed our company’s accomplishments, and shared their vision for our 2021 initiatives and goals. In true Ripple Effect fashion, a quick round of trivia was played, followed by the crowning of this year’s award winners!


Our Award Winners

Core Value Awards


Our NIH Office of Research Facilities Team took home the Paramount Achievement Award for producing countless SOPs, handling changing requirements like pros, and always trying to find ways to improve our processes and wow our clients. This team consists of Susan Cook, Taron Ordemann, Jasmine Ranjitsingh, Ashlea Hiltner, Frances Adebayo, and Autumn Jones.

Senior Accountant Cari Aldridge was presented with the Eye on the Prize Award for her focus and achievements in getting things done, while consistently making improvements that have had a significant impact on our organization.

Our Proposal Content Team received the Forging a River Award for implementing a new proposal development software that enables our company to develop new, content-specific documents in minutes, rather than hours. This team consists of Elyssa Warner, Kara Tippins, Ian Cohen, and Taylor Overos.


Senior Executive Support Specialist Stephanie Jackson won the Ace of Initiative Award for turning our normal, in-person events into engaging, virtual activities, and for coming up with ideas for thoughtful gifts (like a care package for Annual Awards!) that got sent to our homes. Stephanie’s planning and initiative has significantly impacted Ripple Effect’s overall culture for the better.

HR Support Specialist Eli Crutchfield was presented with the Went the Extra Mile Award for meeting all of our candidate’s needs, no matter how big or small, during the recruitment process. Eli has left a positive impression on each of our candidates, so much so that they consistently reach out to us to let us know how great he is!


Our National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Team of Science Policy Project Manager Ishita Das and Science Policy Analyst and Writer Elyssa Warner took home the Voyager Team Award for working as a cohesive team to digest complex science material and turn it into a monthly newsletter for the NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health.

Communications Specialist and Graphic Designer Natalie Mazur was given the Swiss Army Knife Award for being the jack-of-all-trades that the Communications Team relies on for almost everything! Natalie successfully supported our Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) contract to completion, and has made significant contributions to her newest project: the Health Care Payment Learning & Action Network (HCP-LAN).


Clinical Research Nurse Antoinette McNeary-Garvin and Biostatistician Jennifer Thornton were presented with the Sherpas Duo Award for their commitment to thinking ahead and planning for what’s next by creating new documents and templates for others at Travis Air Force Base.

Senior Communications Manager Kristin Ginnity won the Pioneer Award for leading the Conferences and Events Team in becoming virtual meeting experts in the face of the pandemic, pivoting and serving our clients’ needs in a short amount of time.


Work Smarter. Perform Better. Awards

Developing Business by Identifying Customer Problems

Communications Associate Langston Payne took home the Prevailed Persistence Award for leveraging his meeting and event skills from other projects and showing a client how Ripple Effect could support their virtual events, which in turn, increased our project budget and scope.


Program Evaluator Regina Buachie took home the Scout Leader Award for her commitment and efforts to mentoring and training others to enhance the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs’ (CDMRP) evaluation capacity, and providing excellent program evaluation support consultations to CDMRP staff and working groups.


The cross-divisional team of Asher Beckwitt, Meridian Howes, Kristin Ginnity, Robin Flanagan, Langston Payne, and Autumn Jones were given the All Great Mountains are Climbable Award for their work on a project that helped directly improve the COVID-19 pandemic response in the United States.

Experimentation and Failing Forward

Our COVID-19 Policy Implementation Team was presented with the Wave Maker Award for their ability and success in implementing executive orders that responded to COVID-19, developing alternatives for employees who face pandemic-induced challenges, and preparing our workforce for the future. This team consists of Tierra Terrell-Johnson, Kathy Williams, Cari Aldridge, Monika Hirschbichler, & Stephanie Jackson.

Increasing Efficiency

Research and Evaluation Project Lead Amanda Barczyk took home the Savvy Switchbacker Award for tackling countless obstacles and developing new protocols and techniques on complex projects; some of the most difficult projects her division has ever seen!

Prioritization and Dynamic Equilibrium

Senior Project Manager Amanda Crinks won the Alexa Award for, just like an all-knowing home robot, always delivering high-quality work regardless of what she is asked to do. Amanda has constantly increased her capabilities and managed multiple projects across our company, all without breaking a sweat.

Rookie of the Year

Research and Evaluation Associate Meridian Howes was given the Rookie of the Year Award for being a shining example of our four Ripple Effect core values. They have jumped into countless tasks across multiple divisions and succeeded with minimum supervision.


Overall Rippler of the Year

Talent Acquisition Manager Jacqueline Helfer was recognized as the North Star for being our hope and inspiration throughout the past year. When COVID-19 unexpectedly decreased HR support for an extended period of time, Jackie moved forward countless initiatives and projects, all while bringing the same positivity that we’ve come to know.

Overall Team of the Year

Our Naval Advanced Medical Development Team won the Apollo 13 Award for making all square boxes fit into round holes when supporting all stages of COVID-19 vaccine development, all in their first full year as a team! This team consists of Nilima Leffers, Dana Valentine, Christopher Gorini, and Todd Gallagher.


Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate our accomplishments and award winners this year. We can’t wait to honor a new batch of Ripplers next year!



Work Smarter. Perform Better.®

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Ripple Effect Communications, Inc.®

9600 Blackwell Rd., Suite 210,
Rockville, MD 20850