The Duffy Award is the highest accolade at Celero Commerce. Every quarter, the executive team names a winner who exemplifies Michael P. Duffy’s legacy of servant leadership, elite performance, and respect. The Super Duffy, which is awarded just once per year, is a special distinction given to someone who has exemplified the Duffy Award values throughout the entire year. This award is reserved for the best of the best, not only at Celero, but in the fintech industry as a whole.
It is with great pleasure that we announce the 2020 Super Duffy Award Winner, and the first-ever winner of this prestigious honor: Lea Telonis, Vice President of Marketing.
Lea first joined Celero in early 2019 following the acquisition of legacy company UMS Banking. She was given the major task of leading marketing efforts for a fast-growing and evolving startup, with, at the time, only a small team to help out. Many would feel overwhelmed in the face of such responsibility, but Lea rose to the challenge from day one.
“I knew from the moment I met her on our first trip to the West Coast that we had somebody really special on our team,” said CEO Kevin Jones. “She was already living the values of our culture before we ever met her.”
As Vice President of Marketing, Lea has led the charge on hundreds of projects, ranging from articles to websites to our beloved employee newsletter, The Buzz. She has built a reputation as someone who always delivers for her colleagues and clients. No matter how much is on her plate, Lea handles everything with grace and leadership. She’s the type of person you can always count on.
“She’s so passionate about helping all of our stakeholders succeed,” said Kevin, “whether it’s me and Scott in leadership, our merchants, or our financial institutions. I appreciate both her intelligence and the heart that she brings to her work.”
“Lea joined our team at the very beginning, and it was up to her to set the tone for the Celero brand,” said Chief Marketing Officer Scott Farace. “That wasn’t an easy ask, but she’s done nothing but rise to the occasion. She leads by example and continues to set new standards of excellence. People want to work with Lea because she’s so special to work with.”
Previous winners of the quarterly Duffy Award include Nicole Becher, Abigail Lucier, Karo Torosyan, Spencer Ellis, and Kristia Poppe. Lea is the first to receive the annual Super Duffy Award, and we can’t think of anyone more deserving of this highest recognition at Celero. The Duffy Award is peer-driven and recognizes those who live and breathe the Michael Duffy tradition of respect, excellence, open and honest communication, and performance.
“In many ways, Mike Duffy’s leadership style provided the blueprint for our company culture,” said Kevin. “The culture he built at Chase Paymentech acted as a leadership incubator for so many at Celero. That’s why this award means so much — it’s given to people who have that same profound impact on others, both professionally and personally.”
“Michael Duffy meant a lot to me, Kevin, Jim Harris, Jeff Brown, and so many others at Celero and beyond,” said Scott. “He helped us become who we are today. I see Lea as somebody with that same power to lead others to greatness. She leads not only through example, but through humility, selflessness, and service.”
Lea will join previous Duffy Award winners at the company’s first Leadership Summit, which is set to happen in the spring of 2021 at Celero’s Nashville headquarters. The next Duffy Award winner will be named in April of 2021.