LIVONIA, MI — Valassis appointed Michele Lazowski, executive director of program and project management, to the board of examiners for the 2018 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Valassis’ parent company, Harland Clarke Holdings (HCH), has over 25 years of experience with Baldrige, first implementing the Performance Excellence Model in 1993. The model was instrumental to HCH innovation and process improvement, culminating in receipt of this award in 2001. Lazowski is the second from HCH to be selected by the board of examiners, joining Andrea Turk, senior vice president, HCH, who was appointed in 2002.

At Valassis, Lazowski oversees organizational projects to drive success. She served as a Michigan examiner for three years prior to her selection by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to the national board and will also continue her state-level involvement through 2019.

Lazowski, who joined Valassis in 1998, will review and evaluate applications submitted for the Baldrige Award, as well as other assessment-related tasks. The examiner board is composed of more than 300 leading experts competitively selected from industry, professional, trade, education, health care and nonprofit (including government) organizations from across the United States. Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the award was established by Congress in 1987 and is the highest honor for organizational innovation and performance excellence.

“Being a part of the incubation of innovative ideas through the strategic planning process has taught me about the linkage of process to results  and the importance of measuring relevant KPIs to enable intelligent decision-making,“ Lazowski said. “I am inspired by the companies that participate in this program and feel honored to help another U.S. business with its journey to improve competitiveness and performance this year.”

Lazowski recently took part in a nationally ranked leadership development course based on the Baldrige Framework for Performance Excellence and the scoring/evaluation processes for the Baldrige Award. Those selected meet the highest standards of qualification and peer recognition, demonstrating competencies related to customer focus, communication, ethics, action orientation, team building and analytical skills.

“Michele shares her expertise on both national and state levels from planning to execution to post- implementation of results, all to help other organizations deliver value to both their clients and their employees,” said Grant Fitz, chief financial officer, Valassis. “She is dedicated to instilling in organizations a drive for excellence.”

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