20 Under 40 Awards are back – nominate an individual now!

20 young professionals in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan will be recognized for their trailblazing efforts, both in their careers and in the community. Each year, the 20 Under 40 Recognition Program highlights local leaders from 18 to 40-years-old from 19 surrounding counties who have exhibited compassion and hard work to positively impact those around them.

According to Sanford Lubin, president, Telex Communications, Inc., the program got its start to prevent Brain Drain – when people from a particular community move to other areas after college or other training. “It was established to call attention to and celebrate young professionals in our area,” he adds. Since the program’s inception in 1996, over 500 individuals were selected from hundreds of nominations each year.

The nomination process
Anyone can submit a nomination, even self-nominations. When they open up on May 1 each year, candidate profiles go through a rigorous review by a rotating independent judging panel that has new members each year. The panel reviews the submitted nominations based on set qualifications, such as career achievements, awards from professional association, and community involvement, among others. In essence, the judges are trying to find what makes a person stand out among other candidates. 

Those who are nominated will be notified via email provided in the nomination no later than July 2 and will be asked to complete a candidate profile. Nominations are open until June 30 and you submit one online by clicking here.

When the panel selects a nominee for the award, the suspense builds. It’s not until the night of the ceremony when the winners are announced. Carly Salamone was one of the winners in 2021 as she recalls the moment her name was announced. Carly is the director of Northwest Ohio Pathways HUB for the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio, where she played an instrumental role in bringing in nearly $20 million in grant funding to address housing insecurity, transportation in our communities.

She and her husband were watching the live stream of the awards show at home – something the program shifted to in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. “I honestly never expected to be selected,” she says, adding that it was an overwhelming feeling considering there were so many amazing people with such incredible accolades. “I still can’t believe I was selected,” she adds.

The awards ceremony
This year, pending favorable COVID-19 community numbers, the tentative plan is to return to a live, in-person ceremony at the Valentine Theatre with Chrys Peterson, former news anchor for WTOL 11, serving as the emcee. “While our virtual events were well attended, either online or via Buckeye Broadband, there is nothing like being in the audience and realizing the description of the person about to be introduced is yourself,” says Karen Fraker, who helps coordinate and execute the program, adding that the element of surprise has been one of the most exciting parts of the ceremony. When a nominee is selected, they’re presented with a personalized plaque from a past winner along with tickets, discounts or gifts from community support organizations.

The event will take place, regardless of the location, on October 25. The official announcement of the event and ticket information will be made available at a later date so be sure to follow the event’s Facebook page and visit the website for the latest details.