Red Carpet Recap: Sharkie Awards 2014

Red Carpet Recap: Sharkie Awards 2014
April 21, 2014

Now that the 6th Annual Sharkie Awards have come and gone, we can safely put away the tuxes and ball gowns, retire to our day jobs, and rest assured that we have celebrated the best of the best.

This year’s event was truly one of the most exciting yet, featuring our first-ever finalist from overseas (Surf Life Active by Presentation Studio in Australia) and brand new categories such as Best VideoSync Presentation (won by Karl Storz for AHDC Installation Guide).

One of the highlights of the ceremony came with the announcement of our first-ever RockStar Company Administrators of the Year, a celebration not of presentations, but of the people behind the scenes of their Brainshark accounts that ensure the success of the platform overall. This year, we recognized:

  • Wyatt Conrad from Sitel

  • Michael Helton from Combined Insurance

  • Bethany Sarazin from Transamerica

  • Jonathan Schenk from Citi Bank, and

  • Jack Wexler from Goodwill Industries International

Look out for another blog post coming soon with more information on our RockStars, their stories, and what it really means to be such an awesome Brainshark administrator.

As always, we finished off the ceremony with the awards for Best Brainshark Presentations of the Year. Though the six finalists made decisions very difficult, it was ultimately up to the public to determine the winners:  

BRONZE: YMCA Employee Benefits for their poem/Brainshark A Holiday Story

SILVER: UC Berkeley Haas School of Business for BetterSenders@Haas

GOLD: BB&T for Your Retirement Journey

We were fortunate enough to have representatives behind all three of the winning presentations on the line to share insights with us, which seemed to boil down to one essential theme of Brainshark best practices: know your audience and use the presentation to connect with them.

YMCA Employee Benefits

Marceline Allen from the YMCA Employee Benefits team said that by approaching their holiday update presentation creatively (read: as a poem) and focusing it on a topic that was close to their audience (benefits enrollment for HR), the presentation not only garnered the highest average completion rate of any presentation they had created, but also went viral among the YMCA branches.

UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

Virginia Martin from Berkeley-Haas spoke of a similar story, saying that by involving the target audience in the creation of the skit about email best practices and making the subject matter approachable through humor, it too led to incredible retention rates and also went viral, not just within their team, but within the Business school in general. Best of all, people are actually adopting the best practices and are becoming better email senders.


Amy Johns and Kristin Cabral represented the gold-winning BB&T presentation, which is a classic case study in how interactivity and customization of the viewer experience can lead to incredible results. Their presentation saw more employees actively engaged in retirement planning, generated fantastic feedback, and earned over 75% retention on a topic that was previously glossed over. Kristin made a point to mention that the “capability to customize a message [using Brainshark] is phenomenal,” a feat they accomplished by coupling graphics with plenty of question slides and question branching to segment viewer activity.

Overall, the ceremony was not only a celebration of high-caliber content, but also of great messages and exemplary utilizations of the Brainshark solution. It was an honor to recognize all of the presentations, administrators and stories that captured our eyes, ears and hearts this year, and we already cannot wait to see what the next year will bring!

You can view a full replay of the awards ceremony here, and check out our 2014 Sharkie Awards page to view all of this year’s wining presentations.

View 2014 Sharkie Award Winners