Behind the Scenes: 2016 Vanguard Award Selections

Last week DYP announced our fifteen 2016 Vanguard Awardees and we want to give you insight into the hard work that went into selecting this awesome group for recognition. 

As early as December 2015, we started receiving emails on when the Vanguard Award nominations would open. It's exciting that our network looks forward to this event every year! We launched nominations for the Vanguard Awards and received over 100 nomination by the time it closed 6 weeks later. 

Our awards committee consists of DYP Executive Team members with diverse backgrounds and networks - it provides a great breeding ground for healthy debate. We started by simply reviewing the nominations on their face. Now, it must be said that all nominations are not created equally. Some nominations literally wrote that a person should receive an award because "he's really great". Sorry, but no. Others were paragraphs of detailed accolades of her accomplishments and commitment to service that really inspired us to advocate for receipt of an award. 

We narrowed the general pool of nominations down to about 30. In the rare occasion that we could unanimously agree on a candidate, they were selected for an award. In most cases it required that we put on rubber gloves, do a deep dive and debate on who would be selected for an award. We looked up Facebook accounts, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, corporate and company profiles - nothing was off limits, people - and we went back and forth on who was the best representative of the Vanguard Awards.  After the committee made their selections, we took the list to the entire Executive Team (about 40 volunteers) and gave everyone an opportunity to voice concerns (side note - thanks Zsa Zsa!). In the end, we are intentional about selecting a diverse group of young professionals and entrepreneurs who are excelling in their respective careers/businesses and giving back (i.e. community service) to the Metro-Detroit community.

In closing, there is NO WAY that only 15 young professionals and entrepreneurs in our region embody the essence of the Vanguard Awards. Similar to all awards (i.e. Taylor Swift Grammy Album of the Year), there will always be candidates who are deserving but don't receive an award. DYP STILL LOVES YOU. But if we had to give out 60 awards we'd never make it home in time to watch Scandal y'all...

In the end, I hope we can all take a note from Chelsea Handler -  never blow out someone else's candle to make your light brighter. 

Hope to see you supporting your friends, family and colleagues at the 6th Annual Vanguard Awards on Thursday, October 13 @ Cobo Center (5:30pm). Register at