Nearshore Americas

Illuminate Awards 2023: Celebrating the Nearshore’s Top Performers and Visionaries

In the midst of a business landscape that turns more challenging and surprising by the day, the Nearshore remains resilient not only in its value offering, but in its disruptive power.  In that context, NSAM proudly honored the winners of the Nexus Illuminate Awards 2023, celebrated on the eve of Nexus 2023, held last week in Hoboken, New Jersey.

For business, the past couple years have been characterized by change in the midst of crisis. A transformation has been taking place, and it feels as if market forces are exerting even more pressure to accelerate those changes.

The Nexus Illuminate Awards shine a spotlight on the best performing, most adaptable and innovative players that the region has to offer; those responsible for continuing to build a reputation that is slowly changing the pathways of business in the Americas. 

But they also recognize, in this particular year, the visionaries who keep betting on and building the Nearshore’s capabilities in the face of adversity. 

Nearshore Executive of the Year — Vidya Ravichandran, Founder and CEO, GlowTouch

A bona fide business hall-of-famer, Vidya Ravichandran exemplifies the good that can be done from a position of success.

Glowtouch DR
Vidya Ravichandran, Founder and CEO, GlowTouch

Through GlowTouch, Vidya has built a platform which has brought more than business to the Nearshore. Her leadership has allowed GlowTouch to position itself as not only an employer of local labor, but also as a benefactor of the communities where it has set its operations. 

In 2022, GlowTouch opened a site in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), a business venture which, under Vidya’s leadership, promises to be a catalyst for  both economic and social development in the community.

“Vidya says one thing constantly: it’s all about the people, it’s all about the community, it’s all about the connection. She always challenges us to make sure we don’t forget that,” said Jim Farsworth, Growth Leader at GlowTouch, who received the award in Vidya’s name. “It’s a pleasure to work for someone as committed as she is.” 

Hailing from a family of entrepreneurs, Vidya has high hopes for the Nearshore and for the role that GlowTouch will play in the development of the region’s most overlooked corners.

Nearshore Entrepreneur of the Year — Brandon Powell, Founder and CEO at Hatchworks 

Brandon Powell’s story is filled with both the spirit of entrepreneurship and the will to help communities.

A self-professed “Chief Enabling Officer”, Brandon has grown into a prominent figure in the business landscape of Atlanta, where he has received several awards for his entrepreneurial aptness. 

Brandon Powell, Founder and CEO at Hatchworks 

He’s known for a more horizontal approach to his role as an executive and for his efforts to make Hatchworks a company that employees are pleased to work at. As others may see a slow down in hiring, Hatchworks continues to expand at a rapid rate. 

“I’m no one’s executive officer. My job is to enable. I started my company with one goal: be the best place to work,” Brandon stated in an interview back in 2022. 

“I learned a lot at some big consulting companies, at AT&T; I learned things that I wanted, what I didn’t want. I’ve tried to build a very flat organization as we scale, but also, my employees are my customers […] I try to create raving fans of our employees. That’s what turns our flywheel,” he explained.

Beyond the US, he has made sure to become a promoter of community development –particularly through tech education– in Costa Rica, Colombia and other Nearshore countries where Hatchworks operates.

Nearshore City of the Year — Mérida, Yucatán (Mexico)

Mérida built itself into a bright light in the middle of the Mexican southeast, a region that has for long been historically overlooked. 

Located in the state of Yucatán, Mérida is growing fast in terms of population size, real estate development and investment flows. The city is rapidly cultivating its nearshoring capabilities, attracting the attention of industry giants and mid-sized players looking for a partner in their own path towards growth.

NSAM Founder and Managing Director, Kirk Laughlin (left) and Luis Castro, CEO of QS2 Point (right)

“This is a great recognition to the city of Mérida, to the government of the state of Yucatán, who have been making a conscious effort to make the city one of the best tech hubs in Mexico,” stated Luis Castro, CEO at QS2 Point, who received the award in representation of the city.  

With a wealth of untapped talent and other resources, Mérida stands out as a textbook example of potential that is worth developing.

Nearshore Company of the Year — TELUS International

TELUS International has journeyed for almost 20 years in the business and digital services industry.

During those almost two decades, the company has built a global employee base of around 75,000, operating in 32 countries and providing service to its clients from 71 delivery centers and digital solutions studios.

Its network extends to the Nearshore. TELUS International is today one of the most fervent believers in the region’s capabilities for tech. It has operations in Costa Rica, Central America’s outsourcing superstar, but the company also works from Guatemala and El Salvador, lesser known destinations in which TELUS International is contributing to the development of capabilities and local tech workforces. 

TELUS International’s growth allowed it to strike recent acquisition deals with firms like WillowTree, Lionbridge AI, Playment and Xavient Digital, moves which have proven pertinent as the market grows hungrier for digital services capabilities.

Nearshore Investment Promotion Professional of the Year — Shane Angus, Regional Manager of Trade and Investment at JAMPRO

Investment promotion agencies (IPA) are crucial components in the Nearshore’s development, and few are as successful as JAMPRO.

Shane Angus, Regional Manager of Trade and Investment at JAMPRO

Jamaica is regarded today as one of the region’s superstar performers in drawing BPO investment, and that outstanding performance is attributed in great part to the efforts and vision of Shane Angus, JAMPRO’s Regional Manager of Trade and Investment. Shane has been a integral part of Jampro’s North American business outreach strategy for the better part of the last decade. His tireless commitment and joyful demeanor are two of his key strengths.  

Kirk Laughlin (left) and Roshelle Lewis, Senior Trade and Investment Officer at JAMPRO (right)

“Having worked with him [Shane]  since 2018, I know he’s deserving of this award. His vision for the outsourcing industry in Jamaica, and his commitment to working with partners like NSAM is one of the reasons we are one of the leading destinations not only in the Caribbean, but in the world,” said Roshelle Lewis, Senior Trade and Investment Officer at JAMPRO.  

“So many things are happening in Jamaica, and that’s because of Shane, his vision and the team around him,” she added. 

Nearshore Lifetime Achievement Award: Tata Consultancy Latin America

TCS’ Latin American journey has been going for over two decades now. Over that period of time, the regional bet made by TCS has paid handsome dividends. Today, Latin America is TCS’ fastest growing region in terms of revenue, and the company plans to push that growth even further.

With a presence in nine countries and a headcount that hovers the 25,000 mark, TCS Latin America is a true example of what can be achieved in the Nearshore. The company has positioned itself not only as a major business player regionally, but also as an important component of the technological development of the locations where it has landed.

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TCS has also managed to create a successful cultural experiment in the region, combining its own corporate culture with the variety of cultural and social expressions it has found in each of the locations it operates from. The result has been a rich mosaic of visions and capabilities which has allowed for further growth and innovation in Latin America.

Cesar Cantu

Cesar is the Managing Editor of Nearshore Americas. He's a journalist based in Mexico City, with experience covering foreign trade policy, agribusiness and the food industry in Mexico and Latin America.

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