Sprint, UMB and Waddell & Reed Executives Awarded for Outstanding Corporate and Community Leadership

Contact: Michelle Webb 913.317.2888, michelle.webb@neli.net

OVERLAND PARK, KAN. (October 2, 2012) – On Friday, November 9, 2012, the National Eagle Leadership Institute® and CareerFOCUS Magazine will present the 20th Annual NELI Awards™ Gala at The InterContinental Hotel at The Plaza in Kansas City. The event is a national salute to companies and executives who set a higher standard of business and community leadership.

Local executives from Sprint, UMB Financial Corporation, and Waddell & Reed Financial are among this year’s honorees. Donna R. Crosswhite, Director and Senior Counsel for Sprint, Christopher Hernandez, Senior Vice President of Bank Operations for UMB Financial Corporation, and Nikki Newton, Senior Vice President and Director of Global Institutional Marketing for Waddell & Reed Financial, will each receive the 2012 CareerFOCUS Eagle Award—one of corporate America’s highest accolades in executive leadership achievement.

Susan Z. Haller, Sprint’s Vice President of Legal, nominated Donna R. Crosswhite for the Eagle Award. She described Crosswhite as someone who “has a 12-year history of outstanding personal performance matched by a legacy for exceptional leadership, both at Sprint and in her community. Her leadership has contributed in an important way to Sprint’s culture of high ethical standards.”

Daryl S. Hunt, Executive Vice President of the Operations and Technology Group at UMB Financial Corporation, nominated UMB’s Christopher Hernandez and had this say. “I can truly say that Chris Hernandez is one of the most talented young leaders that I have ever worked with! His integrity, leadership passion, ability to motivate and influence others, and commitment to community service are all personal attributes that I truly value. Needless to say, I have high expectations for Chris as he continues his career within our organization!”

Waddell & Reed’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Henry J. Herrmann, nominated Nikki Newton for the Eagle Award. “Nikki and I have worked together for close to 14 years. This gentleman in his personal and professional life behaves in a manner consistent with the highest ethical standards and with unquestionable integrity,” said Herrmann.

“The courage, decisiveness and tenacity of all of this year’s recipients has been tested more than ever before over the past year,” said Georgia L. Clark, founder and president of the National Eagle Leadership Institute. “We are honored to recognize those who have made a commitment to setting a higher standard of leadership—in both the best and worst of times.”


About NELI’s CareerFOCUS Eagle Award: Eagle Award recipients are generally nominated by the corporate chairman, president, or CEO—demonstrating the value of the nominee’s leadership to the overall success of the company. Eagle Award winners accept a two-year appointment to NELI’s Eagle Advisory Council through which they are instantly connected to a national network of leaders—all of whom are past Eagle Award recipients. In an effort to help build the next generation of leaders, Eagle Award winners become advisors to NELI’s Corporate Bound Academy™ Leadership Challenge where they inform, influence and inspire college students poised for corporate leadership.

About NELI: The National Eagle Leadership Institute® (NELI) is a premier leadership development network for professionals and college students. NELI was launched in 1995 in response to corporate America's increasing focus on leadership and diversity in the workplace. The Institute’s programs help recognize, recruit, and retain professionals who set a higher standard of leadership. NELI Helps Leaders Discover Their Highest Potential.

About CareerFOCUS Magazine: CareerFOCUS Magazine launched The Eagle Awards in 1993 to recognize professionals like those who grace its pages—men and women who lead with extraordinary results but whose contributions rarely receive national praise. In 1995, CareerFOCUS established the National Eagle Leadership Institute to support the recognition, recruitment and retention of culturally diverse executives.


Media Advisory: To learn more about NELI, visit www.NELI.net. For information about the 20th Annual NELI Awards Gala and Leadership Summit, visit www.NELILeadershipSummit.net. To reserve a press pass for either program, or to schedule an interview, contact Michelle Webb at 913.317.2888 or michelle.webb@neli.net.

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