By John Kenyon
You are about to read about 40 people who work for much more than a paycheck.
There are many people out there for whom that is enough. That’s OK. They are what make the economy run.
But we don’t give them awards.
To get one of these awards, to earn the recognition of being named one of the Corridor Business Journal’s Forty Under 40, you must go well above and beyond. The honorees will be recognized Thursday, Oct. 27, at an awards banquet at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort. You can read profiles of each winner in the Oct. 24-30 issue of the CBJ.
These 40 young professionals, like the 240 others that have come before them, don’t do it for the recognition. They do it because they want to make their business as successful as it can be. They want their community to be a great place to live. And they are excited to do so.
These awards have very little in the way of criteria. The only requirement on the Forty Under 40 application is that these be “men and women who have made a significant impact in their business or community early in their careers.”
A record number of nominations were submitted, meaning it is more difficult than ever to make the list. These 40 were selected by a panel made up of representatives from the 2010 class.
Linn County is home to the most honorees, with 19. Johnson County was next with 17, while three are from Washington County and one is from Jones County. There are 22 men and 18 women in the class. Twenty-two work in the private sector, 18 in the public sector.
In these jobs, and in their volunteer work, these honorees go the extra step, actively seeking out problems to solve.
Kenya Badgett, value stream manager with Whirlpool Corp., is a good example. Ms. Badgett serves on the board of directors for the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County and is actively involved with the southeast side of Iowa City, where she lives with her two children.
“We were having a lot of problems on the southeast side and one evening there was an incident where there was a shooting and we had a neighborhood meeting,” she said. “I decided to go and see what they were talking about and at that point I realized, I can’t just be a bystander in the community anymore. If I expect change, I’ve got to go out and be the change.”
Dayna Ballantyne, who is executive director of the Iowa Women’s Foundation, also saw an opportunity to serve.
“After working at the Crisis Center for eight years, I realized I was working with the same families year after year and they were bringing in their children and in some cases, their grandchildren, for the same core emergency services. So I saw the cycle of poverty perpetuated over and over again,” Ms. Ballantyne said. “The Iowa Women’s Foundation was working on some innovative prevention programs, so that really interested me. I got really excited about working on the solutions to help them get out of poverty.”
Leighton Smith, a vice president with U.S. Bank, became a member of the Legion Arts board after feeling the need to get involved with its performance venue and gallery space, CSPS. After moving back to the area from Chicago, he mistakenly lamented the lack of cultural options. He learned about CSPS and wanted to work to get word out about it.
And all of these young leaders tackle these projects as part of already-busy schedules. Kimberly Ivester, director of cancer care with St. Luke’s Hospital is involved in several volunteer and community activities. She is also raising two children and said the balancing act can be difficult.
“It’s definitely hard. I have always gone with the motto ‘be where I am.’ I don’t agree to be a part of a board if I can’t give it everything I would give my job or the way I take care of my children,” Ms. Ivester said.
Despite this challenge, there is an enthusiasm about this year’s honorees that is infectious.
“We have wonderful students, supportive parents and a great community so it’s pretty easy to get excited about this place,” said Iowa City High Principal John Bacon.
It’s easy to see Mr. Bacon’s excitement about his school as emblematic of the excitement felt by all of the honorees for their jobs, programs and projects.
Perhaps Dave Thielen, executive director of the YMCA of the Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Area sums it up best.
“It’s rewarding to know everything that you can do and everyone you can help,” he said.
This year’s honorees are Matthew Adam, John Bacon, Kenya Badgett, Dayna Ballantyne, Kimberly Blankenship, Brian Brandt, Greg Buelow, John Burchert, Michael Butterfield, DonaJane Castelein, Brent Cobb, Patrick Donnelly, Emily Fritts, Scott Hansen, Chelsey Holmes, Sandy Hong, Chris Honkomp, Kimberly Ivester, Amy Lasack, Nicole Lee, Kathryn Moreland, Stefanie Munsterman-Robinson, Renee Nelson, Jayson Nelson, Matt Neumiller, Todd Patterson, Andy Petersen, Jennifer Pickar, Mark Sandvig, Kelly Slaughter, John Slump, Leighton Smith, Jason Smith, Dave Thielen, Eric Turner, Karla Twedt-Ball, Amy Vetter, Corey Watt, Amy Weber and Justin Zimmerman.