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UniFirst Wins Stevie Award for Recruitment Initiative of the Year


Award-winning LEAP program created by UniFirst training and development team 

WILMINGTON, Mass., March 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- UniFirst Corporation (NYSE:UNF), a North American leader in providing customized work uniform programs, corporate attire, and facility service products, has won a Bronze Stevie® Award for its LEAP (Leadership, Education, and Performance) management development program in a new category for 2019—Sales Recruitment Initiative of the Year. The award was presented at the 13th annual Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service held in February at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. More than 700 executives from the U.S. and several other nations attended. 

Pictured (L to R): Talent acquisition team members Elizabeth Gerrity, supervisor; Elita Nicholson, specialist; and Michael Vella, manager; and Catalina Dongo, human resources director, receive a bronze-level Stevie Award for creating UniFirst's LEAP (Leadership, Education, and Performance) management development program that grooms high-potential Team Partners into successful managers.

The Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service are considered the world's top honors for customer service, contact center, business development, and sales professionals. More than 2,700 nominations from organizations in 45 nations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were evaluated in this year's competition. Winners were determined by the average scores of more than 150 professionals worldwide in seven specialized judging committees.

UniFirst developed the LEAP program to attract, hire, and retain talented high-potential employee Team Partners at the managerial level who exemplify leadership and critical thinking abilities, and place them on a fast-track career path within the company. The program includes 18 months of hands-on training, rotating between different UniFirst locations and departments throughout North America, and builds a strong foundation for a results-driven leadership career. Five leadership competencies make up the program's learning tracks (Critical Thinking, People Development, Business Management, Emotional Intelligence, and Ethical Leadership), all offered through a blend of operational knowledge and experience in the industrial laundry and services business with strategic thinking, sound leadership skills, and personal/professional growth.

"We're so honored to be recognized with this award for our LEAP program and management recruiting efforts," says Elita Nicholson, UniFirst talent acquisition specialist. "This is a new way of hiring at the managerial level, prompted by the need to fill these important roles with qualified internal applicants who have the right skills and a comprehensive understanding of our business. It's gratifying to see how each of our first LEAP recruits has developed from their first day until today (mid-way through the 18-month training program), and how they're already making a positive impact on our company and culture."

The program has been so successful to date that UniFirst is continuing it throughout 2019 and beyond. The company has also recently begun to recruit for the second cohort of LEAP participants.

"All the Stevie Award winners should be very proud of their achievements," says Stevie Awards President and founder, Michael Gallagher. "Independent professionals around the world have agreed that their accomplishments are worthy of public recognition."

Details about the Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service, as well as the list of Stevie winners in all categories, are available at More information about UniFirst's LEAP program, or for information on how to apply, is available at

About the Stevie Awards:
Stevie Awards are conferred in seven programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards®, The International Business Awards®, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 12,000 entries each year from organizations in more than 70 nations. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at               

About UniFirst: 
Headquartered in Wilmington, Mass., UniFirst Corporation (NYSE:UNF) is a North American leader in the supply and servicing of uniform and workwear programs, as well as the delivery of facility service programs. Together with its subsidiaries, the company also provides first aid and safety products, and manages specialized garment programs for the cleanroom and nuclear industries. UniFirst manufactures its own branded workwear, protective clothing, and floorcare products; and with more than 250 service locations, over 300,000 customer locations, and 14,000-plus employee Team Partners, the company outfits nearly 2 million workers each business day. For more information, contact UniFirst at 800.455.7654 or visit

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SOURCE UniFirst Corporation

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