Introduction by Katharine Carlon
Photography by Brian Draeger, Ben High and Miranda Meyer
The Corridor Business Journal is proud to introduce another remarkable class of Forty Under 40 honorees, selected for the meaningful contributions they’ve made to their businesses and communities in their still-young careers.
For the 14th year running, the CBJ celebrated 40 of the Corridor’s most successful young professionals at an awards dinner held Oct. 18 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Cedar Rapids. In all, 114 people were nominated, with the final 40 selected by a committee of previous honorees.
The 2018 class is diverse, both by gender – 23 women and 17 men – and in terms of their career paths, running the gamut from business and finance to medicine, engineering, government service, economic development, publishing and the nonprofit world. Uniting them, however, is a dedication to hard work – the average honoree clocked in just over 51 hours a week and slept an average of just 6.8 hours a night – and a passion for their mission whether it’s real estate, banking, law or public service.
“When we believe in a cause, we will work hard to effect change,” wrote Dr. Nkanyezi Ferguson of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, of her generation’s sometimes unfairly maligned work ethic. The CBJ’s 2018 honorees spoke often about the need for collaboration, fulfillment and a sense of purpose in their working lives, and their drive to work hard for employers and causes that capture both their minds and their hearts.
“When there is a connection between what we’re working on and what sets our souls on fire, we’re unstoppable,” said Meegan Hofmeister, founder of The Dostal House and Signed M.
That sentiment was echoed again and again, including by ICR Iowa Director of Talent Attraction Tim Carty, who explained that as an older millennial, “I think it’s important that people understand that we’ll be fiercely loyal if we find the right mission and purpose.” If not, said Monica Nieves, vice president of special events and communication for the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, this generation has no problem moving on to an employer who offers the right fit.
“That gives us a bad reputation as job jumpers, but ultimately, we want to work for a company that recognizes and appreciates our skills and will give us the opportunity to grow,” she said.
The CBJ’s 2018 class of honorees brings that same passion, sense of mission and willingness to roll up their sleeves when it comes to the causes they support, with most citing poverty, inequality and supporting children as society’s most pressing needs.
“I handle our juvenile docket and I see how people struggling with many aspects of poverty also struggle with their parenting responsibilities,” said Kristofer Lyons, assistant attorney for Jones County, who wrote that if he had $1 million to give away, he would ensure every Corridor child had proper nutrition, housing and school supplies. “It’s a cyclical challenge, and if we can take better care of kids now, we can help alleviate other problems in the future.”
This year’s honorees are socially conscious and focused on fairness, embracing issues from making the region more diverse and culturally inclusive to addressing gender inequality. Amanda Wendling, partner at GRIT Capital, called for more women in leadership positions in companies across the Corridor, while Jordan Grimm, continuous improvement specialist at Van Meter, said he supports “organizations that promote true masculinity and don’t feed toxic masculinity.”
“There is a tremendous amount of heart and passion in this area, but I think we are often surrounded by people who look and think just like us,” said Hannah White, director of marketing and operations for the Zach Johnson Foundation. “I would love to see more people placing less blame and reaching across zip codes to see how we could make a difference.”
Iowa City Superintendent of Parks Zachary Hall sums up his generation as “dope and we know it but won’t flaunt it.” The CBJ agrees and congratulates this year’s hard-driving, energetic and socially aware class of honorees.
The 2018 class: