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SHRM Foundation Announces Its Winners of the 2023 SHRM Foundation Tharseō Awards

Michael Milken, Sheri Bronstein and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA, retired) will be honored at the annual event in Washington, D.C.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The SHRM Foundation announced today the winners of its annual Tharseō Awards. The Tharseō [THAR-SEH'- ō] Awards—derived from the Greek word for "courageous, confident and bold"—highlight leaders at the forefront of innovating and shaping the work experience. Recipients will be honored during a black-tie event at the Waldorf Astoria in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 5, 2023. In keeping with SHRM's 75th anniversary theme, Driving Change, the Tharseō awards will celebrate the visionaries, innovators and change agents who create impact within their organizations and far beyond it in the world of work.

"The Tharseō Awards are recognizing these extraordinary individuals because of their actions to innovate in the workforce continually," said Wendi Safstrom, president of the SHRM Foundation. "Tharseō highlights those maverick leaders who are paving the way to create positive social change in the world of work."
The 2023 award recipients are:

  • CEO of the Year: Michael Milken, Chairman of the Milken Institute

Michael Milken has been at the forefront of successful initiatives in medical research, education, public health and access to capital for more than five decades. Called "The Man Who Changed Medicine" by Fortune, Mike is the founder and chairman of FasterCures, which works to speed progress against all life-threatening diseases. HarperCollins recently published his latest book, Faster Cures: Accelerating the Future of Health, which chronicles his personal journey and the progress in medical research and public health over the past half-century. In 1982, he formalized his philanthropy by co-founding the Milken Family Foundation. The Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University was established with an Institute gift, and the Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream will open in Washington, D.C., in 2024. As a financier, Michael helped revolutionize modern capital markets by pricing and rewarding risk more efficiently; the thousands of companies he financed created millions of jobs.

  • Ram Charan HR Innovation Award: Sheri B. Bronstein, Chief Human Resources Officer, Bank of America

Sheri B. Bronstein is the chief human resources officer (CHRO) for Bank of America. In this role, she leads a global team of human resources and enterprise resources professionals who promote and foster the company's purpose and values. Serving on the company's Responsible Growth Committee, particularly focused on human capital issues, Sheri focuses her team on driving innovative and differentiated ways to deliver on the commitment to being a Great Place to Work. Sheri also is a thought leader on the importance of mental health priorities and drives the company's industry-leading focus on employee emotional wellness. This extends outside the company with her work in co-leading the Mental Health Forum to address challenges facing youth and best practices to support them as they transition into the workforce.

  • Policy Transformer of the Year: Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA, retired)

For the 2023 Policy Transformer of the Year award, SHRM recognizes former Sen. Tom Harkin. Before leaving public service, Harkin served as the representative of Iowa's fifth district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 to 1985 and represented Iowa in the U.S. Senate from 1985 until his retirement in 2015.
During his tenure in public service, Sen. Harkin worked to benefit workers, as well as the millions of Americans with physical and mental disabilities. Firstly, at the request of former Sen. Ted Kennedy, he worked to draft the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which changed the landscape of America, requiring buildings and transportation to be accessible, and providing workplace accommodations for people with disabilities. Additionally, Sen. Harkin served as chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee, where he played a substantial role in passing the Affordable Care Act.
After retiring from the Senate, Tom Harkin and his wife, Ruth, established The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement. Based at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, the Institute facilitates collaborative, nonpartisan public policy research and analysis dedicated to issues such as labor and employment, people with disabilities, retirement security, and wellness and nutrition.
About Tharseō
The Tharseō Awards Host Committee evaluates candidates through multistage qualitative and quantitative measurements. The criteria for each award category encompass leader ingenuity, implementation, and overall impact on the company and global workforce. The SHRM Foundation elevates and empowers HR professionals as a force for social good so that all talent workplaces can prosper and thrive. To learn more about the Tharseō Awards and its esteemed host committee, please visit
RSVP: To attend Tharseō, press registration is required. To request press credentials, contact Kelly Macfarland at

About the SHRM Foundation
The SHRM Foundation is the 501(c)(3) philanthropic arm of the world's largest HR professional society, SHRM. SHRM represents nearly 325,000 HR professionals across the globe, impacting 235 million workers and their families. The SHRM Foundation elevates and empowers HR professionals as a force for social good so that all talent workplaces can prosper and thrive. It is committed to addressing the health, economic and social disruptions impacting work, workers and the workplace to build a world of work that works for all. Learn more at  


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