Last week this year’s Michiana Forty Under 40 Class was revealed. The 2017 class represents the eleventh Michiana Forty under 40 class. This program is an annual collaborative effort between the South Bend Regional Chamber, the Young Professionals Network South Bend, the Elkhart County Community Foundation, and other Chambers of Commerce across the region.
The program recognizes forty regional business and professional leaders who have achieved success before the age of forty. It was developed originally to shine the spotlight on forty of the area’s most talented and dedicated young executives, professionals and leaders who demonstrate career success and community engagement.
This year’s class includes a broad collection of individuals from a variety of industries. Those included higher education, healthcare, food service, manufacturing, computer science, banking, government, financial services, legal, business services, retail, utilities, early childhood, K-12 education, engineering, insurance, construction, accounting, and real estate.
Organizers of the first class wondered if the program could sustain over time. Would there be enough young professionals to recognize each year? Eleven years and some four hundred honorees later, there is no shortage of talent. The recognition has become highly sought after. This year, two hundred nominations were received for the forty slots.
Recipients were selected based on the following criteria. Initiative and dedication in pursuing their career. Proven success and achievement in their job/career. Investment in and service to others through their involvement in civic, charitable and/or religious organizations. Passion for their community, giving back because of that passion.
In addition, nominees had to be under the age of forty on May 16, 2017; and live and work in Michiana (LaPorte, St. Joseph, Elkhart, Starke & Marshall counties in Indiana; and Cass & Berrien counties in Michigan). Anyone in the region could complete a nomination, which are received in the spring of each year.
A review committee from across the region annually reviews and scores the applications received, performing what has become a very difficult task of narrowing the list of two hundred down to forty. Over the next month we’ll hear from a few naysayers who will complain that people that weren’t nominated weren’t selected or that their favorite was passed over.
So why does this all matter? It should give us all confidence that our area has a “deep bench.” That we have leaders in virtually every industry and in each community in the region stepping forward to make a difference. That we have young people who have chosen to stay right here to launch their careers and plan roots instead of fleeing for larger metro areas or warmer climates.
The next few years are critical to our region. As we seek to attract young people, new families, and businesses to our region, it will take a team effort from across the region. You’ll see members of this class play a vital role, especially as they join with their peers that have been selected before them and work collectively to promote and grow the region.
Congratulations to this year’s class! We’ll celebrate their contributions at a recognition luncheon on Tuesday, May 16 at the Gillespie Conference Center. If you would like to join us for the celebration or see who is in this year’s class, visit www.sbrchamber.com.