Winners Announced in 2023 Stevie Awards for Great Employers

Bank of America and Globe Telecom Among Top Winners

Winners in the 8th Annual Stevie Awards for Great Employers Were Announced at a Ceremony in NYC

The 2023 Stevie Awards for Great Employers recognize the world’s best employers and the human resources professionals, teams, achievements, and HR-related products and suppliers who help to create and drive great places to work.

FAIRFAX, Va., Sept. 19, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Winners in the 2023 Stevie® Awards for Great Employers, an international competition, were announced on Monday, September 18 during a gala event in New York City. The awards recognize the world’s best employers and the human resources professionals, teams, achievements, and HR-related products and suppliers who help to create and drive great places to work.

A complete list of Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award winners by category is available at

A diverse group of organizations and individuals around the world are among those recognized. The organization that won the Grand Stevie Award for Most Honored Organization of the Year is Bank of America of Charlotte, NC, with seven Gold, seven Silver, and seven Bronze Stevie Awards wins totaling 45.5 points. Organization of the Year goes to the organization with the most award points, with each Gold Stevie win counting for three points, each Silver Stevie win for two points, and each Bronze Stevie for one-and-a-half points.

The Grand Stevie Award for the Highest-Rated Nomination of the Year goes to Globe Telecom Inc. of Taguig City, Philippines for their nomination of Ato Jiao for Chief HR Officer of the Year, which received an average score from the judges of 9.5 out of a possible 10.

Leading winners of Gold Stevie Awards include Bank of America (7), Cathay United Bank (5), IBM (4), Tata Consultancy Services (4), Tech Mahindra (4), Dimes Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş. (3), Enerjisa Enerji (3), Product Madness (3), TELUS International (3), Akbank T.A.S. (2), American Systems (2), Ayala Land Inc. (2), BlueSky Personnel Solutions (2), Borusan (2), DHL Global Forwarding, Freight (2), FedEx (2), Globe Telecom (2), GoHealth (2), Golden Hour Veterinary Telemedicine (2), Kordsa Teknik Tekstil A.Ş. (2), Saint-Gobain North America (2), Siemens AG (2), and Top Hat (2).

More than 1,000 nominations by organizations from 28 nations were evaluated in this year’s competition. Winners were determined by the average scores of more than 125 professionals worldwide acting as judges.

Stevie Award winners in the 31 Employer of the Year categories were determined by a unique blending of the ratings of professionals and the votes of the general public.

The Stevie Awards for Great Employers recognize achievement in many facets of the workplace. Categories include:

  • Employer of the Year Awards
  • HR Achievement Awards
  • HR Individual Awards
  • HR Team Categories
  • Solution Provider Awards
  • Solutions, Implementations, and Training Programs or Media Awards
  • Thought Leadership Categories
  • COVID-19 Response Awards

The awards are presented by the Stevie Awards, which organizes eight of the world’s leading business awards programs including The International Business Awards® and The American Business Awards®.

About the Stevie Awards

Stevie Awards are conferred in eight programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, the Middle East & North Africa Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards®, The International Business Awards®, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, 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

A sponsor of the 8th annual Stevie Awards for Great Employers is HiBob.

Marketing Contact
Nina Moore
+1 (703) 547-8389

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at:

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8924230

Impulse Dynamics Announces Leadership Changes

Jason Spees Appointed to Chief Executive Officer — Shlomi Nachman To Be Chairman and John Liddicoat To Join the Board of Directors — Expanding Depth of Medical Device Industry Leadership and Track Record of Driving Commercialization Success With Advanced Technology

MARLTON, N.J., Sept. 19, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Impulse Dynamics plc, a global medical device company dedicated to improving the lives of people with heart failure, announced new leadership appointments, including Jason Spees to Chief Executive Officer, Shlomi Nachman to Chairman of the Board, and John Liddicoat, M.D., as a member of the Board of Directors. Spees was recently President and Chief Commercial Officer at Impulse Dynamics and brings a depth of medical device industry experience from commercial leadership roles. Nachman most recently was the Company Group Chairman at Johnson & Johnson, overseeing the Cardiovascular and Specialty Solutions & Vision Group. Liddicoat most recently served as Executive Vice President and President of the Americas Region and Enterprise Technology & Innovation function at Medtronic.

“I am pleased to lead the Impulse Dynamics team, focusing on a strong commercialization strategy and our commitment to an ongoing pace of innovation to change the course of treatment for patients living with heart failure,” said Spees. “We find ourselves in a unique position to capitalize on robust clinical data and a lineup of cutting-edge technologies, exemplified by the Integra-D™ trial featuring the groundbreaking single device that integrates our CCM® technology with implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) technology. I look forward to working closely with the board and the leadership team to optimize the company for its next phase of commercial acceleration.”

“I am honored to join the board of an organization that has showcased substantial contributions to the advancement of heart failure treatment,” said Shlomi Nachman. “Over 64 million people suffer from heart failure, and many of those treated are not experiencing the higher quality of life they deserve. With CCM therapy and its future product pipeline, we are in the exciting position of being able to help millions of these patients to feel better and lead fuller lives,” Nachman added. “I’m looking forward to working with the leadership team and the board to ensure a direct path to ongoing innovation and commercial success.”

“I’ve been watching Impulse Dynamics and its technology from the sidelines for many years, and I am excited to now be able to join the team,” said Liddicoat. “I look forward to working with a strong leadership team to lead innovation-driven growth as we aim to enhance the standard of care for heart failure patients across the globe.”

Jason Spees joined the company as President and Chief Commercial Officer in July 2021. He brings more than two decades of successful leadership roles in the medical device industry. Spees was most recently Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Biotronik in the areas of cardiac rhythm management, cardiovascular intervention, peripheral vascular intervention, diagnostics, and digital health. Prior to Biotronik, Spees was the Chief Commercial Officer of Preventice Solutions, along with multiple leadership positions, including Vice President of Sales for Boston Scientific. He holds a B.S. in Operations Research and Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy and an M.A. in Public Management – Finance from the University of Maryland.

Shlomi Nachman was the Company Group Chairman of Cardiovascular and Specialty Solutions and Visions Group within Johnson & Johnson’s Medical Devices sector. Nachman was a member of the Medical Devices Group Operating Committee, where he led a diverse portfolio of six medical device businesses, including Electrophysiology, Neurovascular Intervention, Ear, Nose & Throat, Breast Aesthetics, Optometry and Ophthalmology. Before that, Nachman had various roles with increased scope and responsibilities, including Worldwide President of Biosense Webster and Cordis. His career at Johnson & Johnson spanned over 27 years, comprising multiple leadership positions with a proven track record of success that has recognized the ability to drive growth, innovation, and architect business turnarounds. Additionally, Nachman has accrued deep knowledge in all aspects of medical devices, such as general management, strategy, L&A, finance, product development, operations, sales and marketing, and research and development. Nachman was born in Israel and holds a B.S. in Management and Economics from the Technion Institute, as well as a diploma in electrical engineering from the Amal Technical School.

John Liddicoat brings a history of transformational leadership focused on execution. He spent 16 years at Medtronic, driving the strategic direction and global operations of increasing size and scope, including the Structural Heart, Cardiac Rhythm, and Heart Failure businesses. In his most recent role as Executive Vice President and President of the Americas region and the Enterprise Innovation and Technology function, he was responsible for designing and implementing go-to-market strategies to deliver above-market growth across North and South America. Liddicoat graduated medical school from the University of Chicago, completed a residency in general and cardiothoracic surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School. An innovator and entrepreneur, he has also served as a consultant to venture capital firms and early-stage medical device companies.

About the Optimizer® Integra CCM-D™ System and CCM® Therapy

The Optimizer Integra CCM-D System is an investigational device that combines CCM therapy and ICD therapy into one device. This device is being used in an FDA-approved Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) study and is not available for sale in the United States.

Impulse Dynamics currently offers the Optimizer system that is FDA-approved and CE-marked. The Optimizer system delivers CCM therapy — the company’s proprietary technology — to the heart. CCM therapy has been designed by Impulse Dynamics to improve the heart’s contraction, allowing more oxygen-rich blood to be pushed out through the body. CCM therapy is indicated to improve the 6-minute hall walk, quality of life, and functional status of NYHA Class III heart failure patients who remain symptomatic despite guideline-directed medical therapy, are not indicated for CRT, and have a left ventricular ejection fraction ranging from 25 to 45 percent.

CCM therapy delivers non-excitatory electrical pulses from the implantable Optimizer device in a manner designed to improve heart contraction. CCM therapy sends unique electrical pulses to the heart cells during their absolute refractory period. Impulse Dynamics has completed numerous clinical studies, including several randomized controlled trials, and CCM therapy has been published in more than 120 peer-reviewed journal articles.

About Impulse Dynamics

Impulse Dynamics is dedicated to advancing the treatment of heart failure for patients and the healthcare providers who care for them. The company pioneered its proprietary CCM therapy, which uses the Optimizer technology platform to improve quality of life in heart failure patients. CCM therapy is delivered through the Optimizer system, which includes an IPG implanted in a minimally invasive procedure and approved for commercial use in the United States and 44 countries worldwide. More than 9,000 patients have received the therapy as part of clinical trials and real-world use, where it is proven to be safe and effective for heart failure patients with debilitating symptoms who otherwise have few effective options available to them. To learn more, visit or follow the company on LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as ‘‘may,’’ ‘‘will,’’ ‘‘should,’’ ‘‘expect,’’ ‘‘plan,’’ ‘‘anticipate,’’ ‘‘could,’’ ‘‘intend,’’ ‘‘target,’’ ‘‘project,’’ ‘‘contemplate,’’ ‘‘believe,’’ ‘‘estimate,’’ ‘‘predict,’’ ‘‘potential’’ or ‘‘continue’’ or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions, although not all forward-looking statements contain these words. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning potential benefits of CCM therapy, and CCM therapy combined with an ICD delivered via a single device (CCM-D), and the absence of risks associated therewith; the ability for CCM therapy and our products to fill a significant unmet medical need for patients with heart failure; and the short-term and long-term benefits of the Optimizer Integra CCM-D System and CCM therapy in patients with heart failure, as well as to the physicians treating those patients. These forward-looking statements are based on management’s current expectations and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Other important factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those contemplated in this press release include, without limitation: the company’s future research and development costs, capital requirements and the company’s needs for additional financing; commercial success and market acceptance of CCM therapy; the company’s ability to achieve and maintain adequate levels of coverage or reimbursement for Optimizer systems or any future products the company may seek to commercialize; competitive companies and technologies in the industry; the company’s ability to expand its indications and develop and commercialize additional products and enhancements to its current products; the company’s business model and strategic plans for its products, technologies and business, including its implementation thereof; the company’s ability to expand, manage and maintain its direct sales and marketing organization; the company’s ability to commercialize or obtain regulatory approvals for CCM therapy and its products, or the effect of delays in commercializing or obtaining regulatory approvals; FDA or other U.S. or foreign regulatory actions affecting us or the healthcare industry generally, including healthcare reform measures in the United States and international markets; the timing or likelihood of regulatory filings and approvals; and the company’s ability to establish and maintain intellectual property protection for CCM therapy and products or avoid claims of infringement. The company does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements and expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the company’s views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.

Rohan More, Global Vice President of Marketing
Impulse Dynamics

Ian Segal, Public and Media Relations Manager
Impulse Dynamics

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8924737

George Mason University is Virginia’s Top University for Social Mobility and a Top 50 National Public University

Fairfax, VA, Sept. 18, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Multiple national college rankings released in recent weeks have placed George Mason University among America’s top 50 public universities, top 100 among all public and private institutions, and Virginia’s No. 1 university for social mobility.

Released today, U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges 2024 rankings puts Mason at #51 among all public universities and #105 among all universities nationwide. Mason retains its top 20 ranking position for innovation and improved to a top 50 (#49) university for veterans, according to these national rankings.

“The rankings are confirming what we here at Mason and Virginians have known for some time; based on our performance, George Mason University is one of America’s top 50 public universities,” Mason President Gregory Washington said. “Further, today’s rankings reflect the value and performance families are looking for from a college education, and Mason’s year-over-year enrollment increases and placement of our graduates confirm that we are now a destination for graduates from Virginia and beyond.”

Overall rankings 

Mason is now a top 50 public university in the Wall Street Journal Best Colleges in the U.S. (#33, up from #95) and Forbes America’s Top Colleges (#40). In addition, U.S. News & World Report put Mason in a tie at #51 (up from #64) among public universities, and Washington Monthly National University Rankings ranked Mason 60th among public universities.

Among all universities, both public and private, Mason earns a tied ranking of 105th from U.S. News (up from #137), 95th with the Wall Street Journal (up from #179 in 2021), 93rd with Forbes, and 91st with Washington Monthly (up from #94).

Social mobility

The most significant change in this year’s rankings is the addition of social mobility factors to ranking methodologies, in recognition of growing public demand for more affordable, inclusive, and accessible universities. Mason places No. 1 in Virginia across all rankings that measure social mobility. Among public universities nationwide, Mason ranks #41 with the Wall Street Journal and #34 with Washington Monthly, both for social mobility, and #19 in the New York Times Top U.S. Colleges with the Greatest Economic Diversity.

“All students deserve access to a college education and experience that will deliver on a promise to transform their lives and set them up for lifelong success. Mason delivers in access, innovation, excellence, and opportunity. We are not just in the education business—we are in the success business,” added Washington.

Other national recognitions 

These high-profile rankings follow other recent scores that highlight Mason for being one of America’s most inclusive and welcoming universities. FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, updated its rankings this month, naming Mason No. 8 in the nation for First Amendment observation, up from 17th last year.

Campus Pride also gave Mason its “Best of the Best” designation again for offering safe and welcoming campuses to the LGBTQ+ community, one of just 30 universities in the nation and the only university in Virginia to earn this distinction.

“The measurements of success are starting to change to favor institutions that are more inclusive and less exclusive,” Washington said. “That adjustment is long overdue. Mason is all about helping hard-working students reach their Point B, no matter where their Point A happens to be.”

The university’s total student enrollment has surpassed 40,000 this year, a first for the Commonwealth of Virginia, including the largest freshman class in school history with 4,500 students. Mason’s graduation rates are higher than the national average. In addition, 86% of recent graduates are employed in the greater Washington, D.C. area and 89% in positions related to their career goals.

Currently, about one in four Mason students is in the first generation of their family to attend college, and a slightly higher percentage of Mason students qualifies for Federal Pell Grants, which are awarded to undergraduates with exceptional financial need.

This year, U.S. News also ranked several of Mason’s undergraduate programs in the top 100 nationally, including business, economics, psychology, computer science, and teaching.

Over the years, Mason has been recognized in the numerous college rankings as Virginia’s top public university for diversity, innovation, cybersecurity, homeland security, service to military veterans, and service to students outside the traditional college ages. Check out all of Mason’s updated rankings:

About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 40,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility. In 2023, the university launched Mason Now: Power the Possible, a one-billion-dollar comprehensive campaign to support student success, research, innovation, community, and sustainability.

John Hollis
George Mason University

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8924300

UN experts warn of ongoing atrocities in Ethiopia

Nearly one year after the cease-fire to the conflict in northern Ethiopia, UN experts on Monday warned of ongoing atrocities. The statement was made by the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia, which was established by the United Nations Human Rights Council in December 2021, to conduct thorough and impartial investigations. The commission investigates allegations of violations and abuses of international human rights law, as well as violations of international humanitarian law and international refugee law in Ethiopia, committed since November 2020 by all parties to the conflict, including the possible gender dimensions of such violations and abuses. ‘Nearly one year since the signing of an agreement to cease hostilities in Ethiopia, atrocities, war crimes and crimes against humanity are still being committed in the country, and peace remains elusive,’ the commission said in its latest report released Monday. ‘The situation in Ethiopia remains extremely grave,’ a statement by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) quoted Commission Chair Mohamed Chande Othman as saying. ‘While the signing of the agreement may have mostly silenced the guns, it has not resolved the conflict in the north of the country, in particular in Tigray, nor has it brought about any comprehensive peace,’ Othman added. ‘Violent confrontations are now at a near-national scale, with alarming reports of violations against civilians in the Amhara region and ongoing atrocities in Tigray.’ Earlier this year, the Ethiopian government released its draft ‘Ethiopia Policy Options for Transitional Justice,’ launching a series of consultations on a potential domestic transitional justice process. The commission, however, said the process has been rushed to meet an arbitrary deadline set by the government and has not sufficiently engaged victims in many areas, including Ethiopian refugees living in neighboring countries.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Government urged to disburse funds to the creative art industry

Madam Sharon Dede Padi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Padiki Art Gallery has appealed to the government to disburse funds to the creative art industry just as it has done for other sectors. She said many people wanted to enter the creative arts industry, but the means to operate was challenging, adding that the government should intervene and support them financially. Speaking at the ninth Feminine Ghana Achievement Awards 2023 in Accra, Madam Padiki who is also an artist said in making Ghana a more alluring destination for the diaspora, there was the need to create a deeper awareness of the root and origin of Ghanaian culture through arts. The Feminine Ghana Achievement Awards scheme is established to identify, officially recognise and reward women whose personal and professional conduct have been exemplary and whose achievements have been outstanding. The awards seek to officially recognise women in Ghana who have achieved outstanding accomplishments in various forms of endeavor across both the public and private sectors, such as entrepreneurs, professionals, corporate executives, public institutional managers, diplomats, sportswomen and traditional rulers. Taking home two awards-‘Africa Most Respected CEO from Mauritius and Most Outstanding Female in Art,’ Madam Padiki encouraged people interested in art, especially the youth ‘not to give up because art was a profession and to keep doing their best, for they know not who is watching.’ She, therefore, urged parents, family and loved ones to encourage the upcoming artist to bring out the best from them to make their future better. According to her, it was time to empower young women to build a strong business environment. Madam Claudia Turbay Quintero, Ambassador of Columbia to Ghana, charged the awardees to continue their impactful work in society. ‘The women in Ghana deserve this, and it makes me happy; and I want to support that action. I have accompanied this process for several years and am part of those who are happy for the awardees. This recognition is what I consider important in every society,’ she added. The feminine Ghana achievement Awards series organized by Business Executive recognise excellence of companies in the corporate space, as economies across the sub-region strive to bounce back from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic and individuals for their outstanding performance in stewardship, entrepreneurship and innovation as well as Industrial contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of the country. Instituted in 2014, the awards seek to recognise female achievers from various walks of life in Ghana whose corporate conduct, performance and achievements are exemplary. Mrs Adelaide Siaw Agyepong, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of American International School (AIS) who won the Outstanding Female Entrepreneur in Education humbly attributed her success to a higher power, saying, ‘I always say when your time is due for the Lord to bring you out of obscurity, He does it beautifully.’ She stated that her achievements were as a result of collective efforts within the AIS community. She added that the importance of nurturing analytical thinking skills among students in the 21st century, aimed to mold them into problem solvers. Meanwhile, Mrs Dinah Owusu Kissi won the Most Outstanding Female in Commercial Cleaning Service while the former Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Cynthia Mamle Morrison, received an honorary award for her contribution to the empowerment and advancement of women and children. Other past honorary awardees were Madam Claudia Turbay Quintero, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Columbia Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Stephanie S. Sullivan, United States Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Anne Sophie Ave, Ambassador of France to Ghana, Madam Maria Elisa de Luna, Brazil Ambassador to Ghana, and Madam Anne-Claire Dufay, the UNICEF Country Representative.

Source: Ghana News Agency

VEEP to embark on three-day campaign tour of the Western North Region

Vice President Dr Mahamoud Bawumia, a presidential aspirant of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), is scheduled to begin a three-day campaign tour of the Western North Region starting Wednesday, September 20. A statement signed by Mr Felix Foster Ackah, the Regional Secretary of the Party, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the Vice President would meet delegates at Aowin, Suaman and Akontombra constituencies on the first day. On day two, the tour would start at the Bia East Constituency and then to Bia West, and then to Juaboso. He would later engage with delegates at Bodi Constituency. Vice President Bawumia would meet delegates from both Wiawso and Bibiani Anhwiaso Bekwai constituency to wrap up his campaign tour of the region on Friday, September 23. ‘The region would give equal opportunities to all aspirants to ensure unity before and after the November 4 presidential primaries for victory in the 2024 election,’ the statement said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Five miners jailed 100 years for mining without authority

The Tarkwa circuit court has sentenced five persons to a total of 100 years imprisonment in hard labour for mining without authority. They are Sampson Mefe, Eric Bentua, Francis Nkubi, Timothy Kumordja and Evans Larbi, all being illegal miners. Although the five pleaded not guilty to the offence, they were found guilty after trial, and each was convicted to 20 years imprisonment in hard labour. Prosecuting, Mr Kingsley Agyekum, Assistant State Attorney, told the court, presided over by Mrs Hathia Ama Manu, that the complainant was Nana Yaw Baako, the Assemblymember of Himan Electoral Area. He said the accused persons lived at Ankobra, a community within the Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality. On August 17, 2021, at about 1500 hours, the complainant, together with five opinion leaders, had information that the accused persons were prospecting for gold nuggets in the Ankobra River. He said after receiving the tip-off, they went to Kpoviadzi, a village in Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality, and found the accused persons mining in the river with a dredge machine. They were immediately arrested and handed over to the police to assist in investigations, while the dredge machine was set on fire, prosecution said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Bavarian zoo reports kangaroo on the hop since the weekend

A zoo in southeastern Germany has been missing a kangaroo, that escaped at the weekend. The animal has been spotted several times since then, police said on Tuesday, adding: ‘It has not yet been possible to catch it.’ The zoo in the Bavarian city of Hof wrote on Instagram, that the grey-brown male kangaroo Willi was no longer in its enclosure on Saturday morning. How the animal, which is about 70 centimetres tall, was able to leave the zoo is still being clarified, the zoo said. ‘As the animal lives on leaves and grass, it is not in danger of starvation at the moment, only predators in the wild could pose a threat to it.’ Anyone who sees the kangaroo, should only observe it from a distance and notify the police, the zoo said. ‘Please refrain from searching on your own, this would only further stress the animal unnecessarily.’ Runaway kangaroos have been reported from time to time in Bavaria in recent years. The most recent one was Toni, a male kangaroo who escaped from the enclosure of a hotel in the Bavarian Forest in summer. With a trail of treats, the owners were finally able to lure him back to his enclosure, after several weeks.

Source: Ghana News Agency