March 03, 2021

By Rocky Graziano

Curious what it takes to be a CEO Award winner at Cerence? We’re excited to kick off this new series in which we’ll spotlight each of our inaugural winners! 

The CEO Award is the highest honor a Cerence team member can achieve and is awarded to those who truly embody our guiding principles – Customer & Employee Focus; Transparency, Trust & Mutual Respect; Measuring What Matters; and Innovation, Speed, and Security – while performing above and beyond their normal duties. These are folks who take the bull by the horns, have a passion for innovation, and are core to our winning mindset and culture. 

Now, let’s get to know them a bit better! 

Vincent, Head of Applied AI
Years with Cerence: 19

“I can't stop listening to this new voice of Cerence.” That’s a direct quote from one of our customers about our new, next-gen text-to-speech (TTS) engine, GEEnE (Generative End-to-End Neural TTS). As the father of GEEnE, which is delivering incredible levels of TTS quality, Vincent led the charge with an  innovative mindset, using AI deep learning to create an entirely new product all the way from idea to productization.

From the introduction of GEEnE within our new product Cerence Reader to the cloning of our CEO and CFO’s voices for our recent earnings call, there are many things that make Vincent proud to work at Cerence. He credits support from peer researchers and management to fully innovate and modernize across the board with his success. This innovation extended from data practices and software architecture to algorithms, deployment and hosting – a true team effort. In the future, Vincent hopes to continue delivering pioneering visions and innovation to all our products.

Beside his broad technical interests, continuous learning, and eagerness to solve problems within and outside of Cerence, Vincent likes to hike, cycle and run to stay in shape. He also loves to cheer on his kids during their soccer and gymnastics competitions and ski, travel, enjoy and explore fine foods.

Jan, Senior Software Engineer 
Years with Cerence: 10

Jan has played a critical role in the introduction of Cerence Drive 2.0 and its newly unified cloud and embedded features. He completes all the base implementation of new features and interfaces and serves as the central point of contact in Professional Services for the Research & Development team.  When faced with an issue, he solves it. Apart from the framework implementation, Jan directly supports the different project teams with technological explanation, implementation assistance and reviewing.  Jan delivers extraordinary work that helps us exceed our customers’ expectations every day.  There’s no obstacle that he can’t tackle head on and solve.

Jan’s day-to-day responsibilities include working on function blocks, allowing him to share code and best practices with the rest of the Cerence team. He credits his current and former team members with his impact and success here at Cerence. Looking to the future, Jan is excited about the enhancements to our current product set and driving customer adoption of voice and AI in the car. 

Outside of work, Jan plays guitar in an indie rock band (that is currently on a COVID-19-induced hiatus), and – when it’s not snowing – he likes to run.
Junfeng, Senior Software Engineer
Years with Cerence: 3 

As a senior software engineer, Junfeng works hand-in-hand with one of our most important customers, who recently described him and his work as fast, accurate, and creative. They credit his skills and creativity with improving their product, even during these challenging times. 

When not hard at work delivering for our customers, Junfeng has a variety of hobbies and interests, including playing videos games. He also likes reading and watching movies as they fuel his wild imagination. Listening to music plays a big part in Junfeng’s daily life –  you’ll always find a headphone with music in his ear when he’s walking alone outside, one of his favorite pastimes.

Junfeng graduated from Syracuse University in New York and hopes to resume traveling when the pandemic is over.

CEO Award Winners

Vincent, Jan and Junfeng

Congratulations to Vincent, Jan, and Junfeng on being recognized as CEO Award Winners! We look forward to sharing more of these outstanding employees in the coming weeks. For more on what it’s like to work at Cerence, visit

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