NEW YORK, Nov. 06, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The CMO Club has announced its 2019 Social Responsibility Award winners, honoring four marketing executives with extraordinary approaches to corporate social responsibility, cause marketing efforts, and impactful global causes.

The four honorees were selected from a finalist group of eight nominees who have prioritized sustainability initiatives, placing a broader responsibility of their businesses to protect the planet. The winners of the 2019 CMO Club Social Responsibility Award include:

-- David Gitter, CMO, World Poker Tour and President, WPT Foundation -- Hope Frank, CMO, Mocana -- Rick Gomez, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Digital Officer, Target -- Susan Somersille Johnson, CMO, SunTrust Banks

“This year’s selections strongly prioritized giving back within their companies and communities in a variety of unique and impactful ways,” said Pete Krainik, CMO Club Founder and CEO. “With all of these nominees’ accomplishments around corporate responsibility, our members had quite the challenge selecting the four winners from this esteemed group.”

Gitter helped establish the WPT Foundation, which in less than a decade has raised more than $20 million for three dozen charities around the globe, including the Tiger Woods’ TGR Foundation, the Special Olympics, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Education Reform Now, MATTER, Haiti Relief and K-9s For Warriors.

“It’s no surprise many brands and companies are looking towards implementing purpose-driven initiatives,” Gitter said. “Consumers, especially millennials, clearly gravitate to brands with a clear purpose and a propensity to give back. It’s humbling that poker has become one of the most popular philanthropic activities used by charities around the world to raise much-needed funds. Partnering with great organizations and brands such as Baccarat Crystal, Meredith and CMO Club Cares to use poker to support their charitable initiatives is both fun and fulfilling.”

Frank leads Mocana’s innovative “Protect the Planet” initiative for the Internet of Things (IoT) to protect families, companies, cities and countries from rapidly evolving cybersecurity threats. She is also an advocate of HER Planet Earth, a Singapore-based women’s global advocacy movement for gender equality and environmental conservation, and she maintains a 20-year commitment to The Ocean Cleanup, The Plastic Pledge and Sea Legacy.

“Mocana’s business by definition is social responsibility – protecting the planet is our core mission,” Frank said. “Today’s connected world is rapidly evolving, driven by the advancement of cloud services and analytics, the impending arrival of 5G services and the accelerated sprawl of IoT. Everything in this new intelligent fabric – including connected cars, robots, smart cities, drones and digital grids – is a vulnerable target. By protecting mission-critical systems that empower humanity, we transform the connected world and enable all to prosper and live safe and fulfilling lives. I accept this honor from The CMO Club as welcome affirmation of our work.”

Target has a long legacy of giving back. Last year, the company donated $204 million to communities across the country and Target team members nationwide volunteered more than 1 million hours in their neighborhoods for the fifth consecutive year. This year, its focus on philanthropy extended into its new loyalty program, Target Circle, allowing members to cast votes to help direct Target’s giving to about 800 nonprofits in their local communities.

“This award is an honor for the Target team,” Gomez said. “Because giving back – and making sure the work we do today helps us build a better tomorrow – is important to our guests and to our team members across the country and around the world.”

Somersille Johnson has been instrumental in advancing SunTrust’s purpose of “Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being” and leading the “onUp” movement, a national crusade to help people gain confidence over their money and reduce financial stress in America. The onUp movement launched in 2016 and topped 5 million participants earlier this year.

“As marketers, we have a unique opportunity to influence what others think and how they behave, and that presents us with an extraordinary choice: we can use this opportunity to change the way the world sees our brand, or we can use our brand to change the way people see the world,” said Somersille Johnson. “For us at SunTrust, we’ve chosen to use our brand platform to advance our purpose and help people gain confidence over their finances – to take a step, Onward and Upward, toward financial confidence. Seeing the impact this choice has made on our teammates, clients and communities is both professionally and personally fulfilling.”

Additional Social Responsibility Award finalists included:

-- Melissa Brotz, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Abbott -- Chris Capossela, CMO, Microsoft -- Gretchen Saegh-Fleming, CMO, L’Oreal USA -- Kevin Smith, CMO, Rollins, Inc.

To be eligible for the award, nominees must currently hold the title of CMO or serve as a senior marketing executive for a major brand or organization. Finalists, originally announced on Sept. 19, were selected by the nominees’ peers. The Social Responsibility Award is one of 10 categories of awards The CMO Club bestows annually as part of its CMO Awards. Category winners and The CMO Hall of Fame Inductee will be honored at The CMO Awards Ceremony Dinner on Nov. 12 in New York City.

About The CMO Club The CMO Club is the world’s most engaged and inspired community of Senior Marketing Executives who help each other solve their biggest challenges, within a candid, trusted, and sharing environment. Collaboration fueled by inspiring events and within the members-only Digital Solutions Clubhouse raises the standard for what is required to be a successful Chief Marketing Officer. With more than 650 members across 35 Chapters, The CMO Club is the go-to center for today’s Senior Marketer for peer-based personal and career success support. For more details, please visit www.thecmoclub.com.

Media Contact:  James Barbour, 202.810.4346, james.barbour@hkstrategies.com

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