The annual OSAC Achievement Awards for 2020 took place via a virtual video reception. The awards honor to U.S. Department of State employees or groups and private-sector individuals. These peer-nominated awards recognize significant contributions to enhancing the ability of American organizations to protect their personnel, assets, information, intellectual property or business operations overseas.

This year's Distinguished Achievement Awards saw two co-winners: Dinesh Elangovan and Rebecca Gomez. The honor is awarded to U.S. Department of State representatives who have made a significant, direct contribution to the safety and security of American organizations abroad.

Dinesh Elangovan, Chennai Site Manager, Fidelity Investments; Secretary, OSAC India-Chennai Chapter, wins the 2020 Distinguished Achievement Award as the Private Sector winner. According to ISF and his peers, "Dinesh is the “go-to” person for the OSAC India-Chennai Chapter. He coordinates and leads webinars and chapter meetings and has improved member communications, networking opportunities and chapter visibility significantly. His revision of the Chapter’s WhatsApp communication policy included updating communications standards and expectations. Dinesh created a common language requirement (English) for any local government directives on WhatsApp, a strategy that proved essential to coordinate COVID-19 responses in a country with approximately 27 official languages. When the Indian government locked down the country, Dinesh created webinars with business and emergency preparedness experts and conducted quarterly validation studies to update members. Dinesh fosters better networking by continually improving member communications and by creating innovative partnerships, including the recent collaboration between the Chapter and Chennai police. Educating Chapter members is also an area where Dinesh excels. This year, after extensive research of statutory information required by Indian law, he developed and disseminated best-practice requirements."

Rebecca Gomez, OSAC Program Manager, is the 2020 Public Sector winner of the Distinguished Achievement Award. According to ISF and her peers, "Rebecca’s tireless contributions, resourcefulness and can-do spirit to OSAC’s Women in Security (WiS) program have helped the WiS grow since its founding in 2017 into a thriving group with membership approaching almost 1,000 women and allies. Rebecca guided the WiS Steering Committee through the creation of its foundational documents, defining its mission and objectives and developing its organizational structure. Her steadfast resourcefulness and technical skills were instrumental in developing the group’s communication strategy and platform, including a clearly defined, collegial Google Group that has expanded the WiS community. A true collaborator, she helps WiS work in tandem across the Common Interest Committees. When the pandemic necessitated a pivot to digital programming, Rebecca worked with the Steering Committee to develop eight webinars over six months and three facilitated WiS events and discussions. She has been vital to WiS’s benchmarking surveys, nascent speaker bank and WiS’s most ambitious undertaking to date: a mentor/protégé program."

The OSAC Country Chapter Achievement Award this year went to the OSAC Ireland-Dublin Chapter. The Dublin Chapter’s leadership consistently and competently rose to the many challenges presented in 2020. The January in-person event and two subsequent virtual events focused on the use of intelligence in corporate security, working with law enforcement during cyber incidents and rising political risks in Europe and Eurasia. Due to COVID-19, the Dublin Chapter shifted seamlessly to an online joint event with the Chapter Steering Committee and the Irish ASIS chapter committee, which included three members of the OSAC China, Shanghai Chapter and Shanghai RSO Ed Swoyer. Open to all European OSAC members, this event, and a second virtual event on “Travel and Security Considerations in a COVID-19 Environment,” were well attended — setting the bar for other OSAC Chapters to open their virtual events to the wider OSAC community. The Dublin Chapter’s leadership of RSO Kevin Gonzalez and Co-Chairs Brian Kirkpatrick and John Murphy are committed to ensuring that all sectors interests are represented. Annual charter reviews and regular surveys and communication of the Chapter’s quarterly events ensure that it is meeting the evolving areas of interest of the membership and responding thoroughly and thoughtfully to the unprecedented challenges of 2020.

In addition, the 2020 Common Interest Committee Achievement Award winner went to Women in Security and was accepted by Margaret Levine, Chair, VP Corporate Security, Bridgestone Americas, Inc. Created following the resounding success of OSAC’s initial Women in Security (WiS) 2017 networking event, WiS has become a cornerstone of the OSAC program. Today, WiS’s membership of women and allies has grown to nearly 1,000 and is focused on the critical need to address the successes and challenges of women in security and to develop impactful networking and essential resources needed to thrive in the industry. Early in the pandemic, WiS’s Google Group quickly responded with information sharing and benchmarking, hosting eight webinars and three virtual discussions on duty of care and other relevant topics. This year, WiS made impressive strides in fulfilling its mission to encourage female perspectives and participation in OSAC initiatives, enhance diversity and inclusion industry wide and enable members to ascend to leadership positions. The newly established subcommittees – Benchmarking, Mentorship, Speaker Diversity, Webinars and Events – launched several exciting  initiatives. Of note, the Mentorship Subcommittee’s new mentor/mentee program has 50 matched participants to date. The Benchmarking Subcommittee’s February survey developed needed demographics to create future programs, and the Speaker Diversity Subcommittee created a directory prototype for Common Interest Committees and OSAC to use to expand speaker panel diversity. In addition, the WiS new job posting process is helping the security industry attract diverse candidates.

Congratulations to all recipients. To watch the video of the awards presentation, click here