Fifteen 'value driven' executives were honored for their outstanding contributions to suburban business and the community Thursday at the Daily Herald Business Ledger's annual C-Suite Awards in Wheaton.

More than 100 people attended the awards event at the Danada House conference center in Wheaton.

The C-Suite Awards honor C-level executives for the leadership, business and civic contributions they have made to their organizations and to the suburban Chicago community.

Candidates are required to be executives responsible for the top management of an operating department in their company or organization. While they may not carry the title of chief department officer, they must handle the responsibilities of that office.

The honorees were selected by the Business Ledger management team after reviewing application criteria and supporting information submitted by the nominees.

The tone of the evening was set by keynote speaker Susan Fronk, president and CEO of MRA -- The Management Association -- who outlined key traits to being a successful leader. Among those traits are being value driven and projecting that to your employees, catching people doing things right and acknowledging them, and realizing "culture is king in today's world."

"Wear your brand like a tattoo on your knuckles," she urged the audience.

In addition, Fronk stressed maintaining positive stamina through good times and bad, and making sure that shows among your people.

"Leaders with stamina influence followers," she said.

Many of the honorees attributed their success to the work of their staffs as they accepted their awards.

"I'd be remiss if I didn't say I work with an amazing group of people," said David J. Gewalt, principal and CEO of Gewalt Hamilton Associates of Vernon Hills.

Michele Needham, executive director of human resources at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, added that success is all about "putting people first." "We make sure that others are developing and becoming successful," Needham said.

John Reynertson, president of Sturtevant Richmont in Carol Stream, summed it up simply.

"My name is on the award, but it belongs to all of you," he told his fellow staffers attending the ceremony.

Detailed profiles of the C-Suite Awards honorees will appear in the Aug. 21 issue of the Daily Herald Business Ledger.

Presenting sponsors for this year's program are Growth Law and Northern Illinois University MBA -- College of Business. Marketing partners are MRA - The Management Association and Small Business Advocacy Council. The award sponsor is Cristaux International.