SURVEY SAYS: Most Treasured Award

It is award season.

The Golden Globe awards have already been given, Oscar nominations will be announced today, and PLANSPONSOR is in the process of judging for its own awards given to plan sponsors and advisers.

So, last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “What award have you been given that you value the most?”

More than 55% of responding readers work in a plan sponsor role, 18.5% are advisers/consultants and 25.9% are TPAs/recordkeepers/investment managers.

More than 96% of respondents have been given an award for something they’ve accomplished, and 3.4% have not.

For 14.3% of respondents their most valued award was related to sports, for 25% it was related to work, and for 14.3% it was related to community efforts. For 10.7%, their most valued award was related to arts, and for 10.7%, it was related to academics. One-quarter of respondents chose “other,” and those categories included family and parenting, military service and human resources.

Many respondents agreed to share what was the award they received that is their most valued:

I'm still most proud of my Eagle Scout Award I received at age 16 in 1977.

Recognition for all the hard work put in each year and being recognized by my customers.

Ms. Hustle Award from my high school hockey team. -The award was given to the player that always worked hard and never gave up. I think this is my motto for life.

Can't say I have one I would consider "most valued."

WITT-What Ever It Takes for Teens, as a CASA Volunteer

I won first place in two art shows, one for a linoleum block print and the other for a picture of a lion.

As a Psychology Major in college we had to train laboratory rats to run mazes for "rewards". My rat one second place in the Rat Olympics!

Excellence in Leadership award by members of the Missouri City/County Management Association.

My most valued award was being a recipient of the Air Force Commendation Medal. While not an award for valor or heroism in the battlefield, I am very proud of this award as recognition for service to my country with honor and dignity.

No sports awards yet? Here goes: my most valued award is the All-Conference, Honorable Mention that I earned in football as a senior in high school. Yes, that means I was 3rd best, but, I only started playing organized football as a junior in high school. Prior to that point, I was definitely viewed as an academic (read: nerd). It is also important to note I only tried out for one position: punter. Our team already had a Division I prospect kicker, and as I soon learned, they intended to have him punt during our junior and senior year to make him more attractive to schools. As luck would have it, during our senior season, he was forced to get a cast on his hand after unknowingly breaking a bone in his wrist over the summer, in what can best be described as a freak golf cart accident (a different, also humorous, story). We were already several games into the season, and while he could still kick field goals, he could no longer catch long snaps. Thus, I became the starter due to injury. I ultimately earned the award after only starting slightly more than half the season. That award boosted my confidence in my punting ability, and I went on to start three years at a Division III college, where in my senior year, I won All-Conference honors again (both academic AND athletic).

Recognition for serving on the town finance committee for 30 years and accomplishments during that time

I played lead alto in a small-town high school jazz band. We won the Iowa Jazz Championships, beating out a number of 4A high school bands. FYI that this was a high school that hosted a football demonstration on Friday nights, before and after the marching band performance.

The only one displayed in my office is 'Best Mom Ever'. I've received others but they pale in comparison and aren't ever displayed

Ok, since you asked... I received an award for sailing. I raced small sail boats and usually finished the middle to back of the pack. One race I found myself in third place, the first boat rounded the mark one way and the second boat rounded the opposite way, I chose the correct way. At the end of sailing season I won an award for best use of deductive reasoning for making the correct decision. (I was 9 at the time).

My most valued awards are the nine Golden Pins I've earned in my years of bowling. They are for various accomplishments, such as lowest score of all men all season, largest decline in average during a season, and other notable (!) accomplishments. My team has won other conventional awards during the years (most recently, high handicap series), but the Golden Pins are a lot more fun. (As a recreational league, our Golden Pins obviously are a humorous attempt to include as many bowlers as possible in our awards process. They elicit a lot more applause and laughter than the "legitimate" awards.)

From my son - World's Best Mom

No question - the award I value the most was for "this highest grade point average for a student working full time" and which I learned about after the ceremony because I had dozed off.

My degree is in theatre & each year, we held an underground awards ceremony. Ballots were distributed to everyone who had participated in a show that year (on or off stage). Winning awards that were voted on by my peers, people who worked alongside me as we practiced the craft - those brought the biggest surge of pride when I won them. 20 years later, they still mean the most.

PSCA Signature Award. It was awesome to get recognition and confirmation that we had made significant retirement plan changes for the betterment of our employees.

Most Improved Speller


A Silver Quill from the International Association of Business Communicators for EGGTRA

Received an outstanding performance award early in my career. It proved to me that good work can be recognized.

I was given an "Outstanding Volunteer" award from the state in which I live. It was not something I even knew about, so I was not working to achieve it. That to me made it even more special that the school in which I was volunteering my time recognized the value I was adding.

Many years ago my daughter came home from school and gave me a certificate she made. She handed it to me and said, "You are the best Dad in the world". It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

I have been given the award of being a Grandparent. To me it is the ultimate award for doing life right.

In verbatim comments, readers shared what makes awards special and several expressed dismay at the new trend of giving out “participation” awards. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “I really think that many people/organizations consider an award as beating out another when in reality it means that you have achieved something in your quest to reach your goal(s).”

Much thanks to all who participated in our survey! 


Personal Management merit badge (required for Eagle Award) included financial planning and budgeting. It opened my eyes to retirement planning and saving for college!

Don't understand the "participation award" Always seemed to me like promoting mediocrity. Love the commercial where the dad rips off the Participation label on the trophy and writes in CHAMPS.

Awards motivate people and help them define themselves. It's either a pleasant surprise or something to strive for depending on whether there is knowledge of the award's existence before it is given.

It's not my most valued, but you asked about sports awards. I was given the "top female academic athlete" award from my high school in my senior year.

As a former T-ball coach, I have mixed emotions about providing each participating child with a trophy regardless of performance. I think it undermines those that truly achieve.

There is something wonderful and humbling about being given an award by your peers. These are the people who know exactly the challenges faced and what it takes to do the job well.

People should receive awards in sports for winning not for showing up.

It's great to have many alphabets behind your name and accolades from your peers, but the "awards" I treasure the most are the thanks I receive from clients that I've helped achieve or work toward their goals.

There are too few attaboys - bring em on.

If Cary Grant never won an academy award for his acting skills, why should I worry if I never won an award? Awards don't always equal quality.

Do participation awards count? I have a garbage bag full of them.

Outstanding employee awards that go to every employee likely means some of us are out standing in a field somewhere -

Awards are more meaningful if they are not given on a routine basis.

If someone is "working toward an award", (e.g., top salesperson of the month, qtr., year), that is special, but you, as an individual are looking for it. When it is not something you are working toward, but are recognized means more to me because others see what you can do without the expectation of receiving some recognition in return. Just being humble.....

I really think that many people/organizations consider an award as beating out another when in reality it means that you have achieved something in your quest to reach your goal(s).

It's importance should be in the "eyes of the beholder" and not for judgment of others


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.