DailyPay & American Payroll Honor winners driving business value


DailyPay and the American Payroll Association Honor Payroll Heroes Who Demonstrate Leadership Qualities By Constantly Innovating and Implementing New Systems

DailyPay and the American Payroll Association announced five recipients of the 2021 DailyPay Payroll Trailblazer Award, which recognizes those in the payroll industry who coach others, recognize diversity and drive business value. Five deserving individuals were chosen from a solid field of entries and were announced on September 14 at the American Payroll Association’s Payroll Leaders Conference, held in Las Vegas.

The 2021 Payroll Trailblazer Award Recipients are:

  • Wendy Cruz, Payroll/HR Specialist at MAS Restaurant Group, LLC, Houston, Texas
    • Wendy had no payroll knowledge three years ago. Now, she single-handedly ensures thousands of employees get paid every two weeks. She manages relationships with several vendors and, if there are problems, she gets them resolved, finds the solution or makes one. She also drove the process to change payroll companies, implementing pay cards and rolling out on-demand pay.
  • April Smith, Director of Payroll and Benefits, Senior Lifestyle, Chicago, Illinois
    • April wakes up every day and understands that payroll provides life’s necessities to her team members and, for that reason, it needs to be done incredibly well. She has been a trailblazer when it comes to adoption of on-demand pay, not only for her own organization, but also helping others with their concerns and questions, whether it’s on social media, listserv platforms or in published articles.
  • Jenny Bekker, CPP, Director of Payroll at Oldcastle Building Envelope, Fort Worth, Texas
    • As Director of Payroll, Jenny makes sure employees come first. She will do whatever it takes to get the job done. For implementation of a new on-demand pay system, Jenny led all of the testing and was key to the rollout to all 37 locations. She collaborates monthly with OBE’s HR community, providing updates on all data around the offering – take rate, average transfer and other key metrics. Her leadership in this space has been a key driver of its success.
  • Melissa CushingDirector of Payroll, Intelycare, Inc., Quincy, Massachusetts
    • Melissa is a forward progressive thinker when it comes to all aspects of payroll. When she joined the payroll team, there were many areas that required better processing, and she hit the ground running, instituting a coaching program and spearheading process improvements that benefited the company. Melissa successfully pushed for the adoption of on-demand pay at Intelycare to help the company and to provide employees cutting-edge tools.
  • Aulcie Perry, US HR Payroll and Timekeeping Specialist at IKEA USA, LLC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • Aulcie’s focus is on transforming financial wellness for IKEA co-workers, and he has been absolutely dedicated to driving this mission. While Aulcie recognizes the value of transformational financial wellness tools, like on-demand pay, for IKEA’s business, his true motivation has been to help improve the lives of his co-workers and their families. He brings a strategic approach to his job and is fully dedicated to improving the payroll experience.

“Payroll leaders are always looking ahead to meet the evolving needs of employees and business,” said Dan Maddux, executive director of the American Payroll Association. “These Trailblazers exemplify that ideal, they consistently move the evolution of pay forward to meet the ever-changing challenges of today’s workplace.”

“These payroll professionals are moving their employers and the practice of payroll forward by not just pushing for change, but by creating and implementing change for good. Among their successes, it is a great honor to see that several now allow employees access to their money on-demand, which is of utmost importance to ensure individuals and families have what they need,” said DailyPay’s Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer Jeanniey Walden. “We applaud these trailblazers for all they have accomplished in this past year, and look forward to watching their innovations enable us to rise together.”

The recipients of the Payroll Trailblazer Award were announced on September 14th during the American Payroll Association’s Payroll Leaders Conference, held in Las Vegas. To learn more about how payroll professionals are collaborating with their HR colleagues to resolve today’s staffing concerns, join our webinar on October 12th at 1:00 p.m. ET.

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