WASHINGTON'S LEADING BUSINESS MAGAZINE

2013 Executive Excellence Awards: Overview

A celebration of leadership at its finest
M. Sharon Baker, Leslie Helm, Sarah Hardy and Gianni Truzzi |   February 2013   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Hayley Young

Executive excellence is about good leadership and great execution. It’s about inspiring employees to put their best efforts into their work, whether they’re creating something completely new or serving customers in the best possible way day after day. Colleen Brown recalls that when she took over as CEO of Fisher Communications, the company had “great people and they just needed to be allowed to excel.”

Every great executive has his or her own particular way of eliciting excellence in others. For Inrix CEO Bryan Mistele, it’s about being transparency regarding finances, so employees feel like owners. For Dara Khosrowshahi at Expedia, it’s about uniting employees behind the mission of revolutionizing travel through technology. For Expeditors International CEO Peter Rose, it’s about hiring and training the right kind of people. For Columbia Bank’s Melanie Dressel, it’s about good communication.

Of course, building a great organization isn’t just about having a great CEO. Strong management means having great leadership at every level. When Sterling Bank lost its way and came close to bankruptcy, the bank was lucky to have Ezra Eckhardt step in as COO to help raise capital, cut costs and shrink bad assets so it could focus on what it does best: customer service. Marcia Mason, the vice president of human resources at Esterline Technologes for 19 years and now its general counsel, made sure culture and values remained intact even as the company acquired dozens of other firms. And as chief legal officer of F5 Networks, Jeff Christianson has played a key role in identifying and protecting the firms’s key technologies.

There are as many roads to great leadership as there are people. As evidence, we present the winners of our inaugural Executive Excellence Awards:

Jerry Lee, Chairman, MulvannyG2 Architecture – Lifetime Achievement Award recipient
Peter Rose, Chairman & CEO, Expeditors International
Megan Karch, CEO, FareStart
Colleen Brown, President & CEO, Fisher Communications
Steven Singh, Chairman & CEO, Concur Technologies
Dara Khosrowshahi, President & CEO, Expedia
Melanie Dressel, President & CEO, Columbia Bank
Bryan Mistele, President & CEO, Inrix
Mary Ellen Stone, Executive Director, King County Sexual Assault Resource
Ezra Eckhardt, President & COO, Sterling Bank
Kathryn Flores, Chief Administrative Officer, Child Care Resources of King County
Jeff Christianson, Executive Vice President & General Counsel, F5 Networks
Kathleen Philips, General Counsel, Zillow
Marcia Mason, Vice President & General Counsel, Esterline Corporation