Posted: September 08, 2014
GenXYZ 2014: 25 Most Influential Young Professionals
Impatience is a virtue for these GenXYZ achieversLisa Ryckman
Just try reading about this year’s 25 Most Influential Young Professionals without a little envy and a lot of astonishment.
Really, how did they come so far so fast?
Take Rachel Scott: She’s marketing director for Quick Left, but she’s also a musician and elite athlete who founded the Colorado Women’s Cycling Project, the largest women’s cycling team in the nation and possibly the world.
“She’s started and run two successful companies, rebranded 100-year-old nonprofits, orchestrated deliveries of thousands of books by bike to underprivileged children and runs the CWCP team,” says her business partner and friend, Vera Divenyi. “I met her at 25 and she’s continued to blow me away with her accomplishments, personally and professionally.”
Paths to success haven’t always been paved or leisurely for these young professionals: Scott was the first in her family to graduate high school, let alone college.
Peak CEO Luke Norris, who started his first company at age 14, struggled with dyslexia – but used the challenge as a motivator.
“It forces him to communicate in-person and carefully consider what he says,” colleague Kelsey Bernius says. “With that, Luke built Peak into a company that puts the customer first, beginning with one-on-one communication.”
The payoff: Peak has grown more than 400 percent the past three years.
Our young standouts are doing very well – and doing good at the same time.
As a board member for Mile High Youth Corps since 2012, Lucas Mallory helped create an assessment tool that helps provide work opportunities for disadvantaged teens. As chair of PCL’s United Way Committee, he’s overseen the highest levels of employee giving in the company’s history: $1.45 million.
Attorney Tommy West founded Boulder Flood Relief and championed a state Senate bill to expand civil liability immunity for disaster-relief volunteers.
And even as she was breaking sales records, Monica Perez was saving the young professionals group at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“When the group was about to dissolve, she stepped up and became the much needed advocate to move the group through turbulent waters,” says her mentor, Patricia Barela Rivera.
Her praise for Perez might apply to any of the ColoradoBiz up-and-comers.
“She does not dabble in things,” Barela Rivera says. “She puts her heart and soul into any venture she pursues.”
When it comes to taking care of business, not even the sky’s the limit for these rising Colorado stars.
(This is the fifth year of the GenXYZ awards recognizing Colorado business standouts in the 20 to 40 age group. Winners were selected from online nominations and judged by a panel made up of ColoradoBiz magazine’s editorial staff, past GenXYZ winners and representatives of the business community.)
Sam Bailey, 25
Business Development Manager, Colorado Office of Economic Development
Snapshot: For the past two years, Bailey has been the program manager for the Colorado Companies to Watch Program, earning his place as a peer to many of the state’s most successful entrepreneurs and leaders. A student mentor, Bailey is a member of the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation’s Impact Denver Class of 2014 and a past board member for the Colorado Thought Leaders Forum’s Strategic Connections Program.
My greatest passion: “Serving others. That passion has shaped my approach to economic development, volunteering, personal life and more.”
What others say: “Sam is constantly finding new ways to represent government as an advocate and strong resource, and to help business leaders see the state and government as a whole in a positive light,” colleague Sara van Rensburg says. “This is a goal many longtime politicians and government servants have yet to achieve, and Sam has done it by being genuine and by being of service to others.”
Casey Berry, 27
Founder, Imbibe Denver
Snapshot: As a founder of both Imbibe Denver and The Denver Passport program, Berry has a wealth of knowledge on starting and creating local brands. He has invested in IndiCard and Denver Off The Wagon, and currently acts as IndiCard’s chief marketing officer. He is also one of the creators of Cross-Cultured Denver, a meeting ground for the young and culturally curious to explore Denver’s artistic community and cultural institutions.
The best advice I’ve ever gotten: “Whenever a new venture arises and I fear the risks, I always write down the worst things that could happen if they fail. It helps take the fear out of going forward and putting yourself out there.”
Definition of success: “Seeing something through from start to finish.”
What others say: “Casey is very involved in the Denver community, especially with helping promote other local businesses,” nominator Alexandra Weissner says. “Many of Imbibe’s events benefit different local nonprofits like Water For People, Colorado Brewers Guild and Denver Arts & Venues.”
Tommy West, 27
Attorney, West Venture Law
Snapshot: West founded, organized and served as general counsel for Boulder Flood Relief, which raised funds for disaster relief efforts and dispatched thousands of volunteers to assist community members in need. He also championed Senate Bill 14-138, expanding civil liability immunity for disaster-relief volunteers. He organizes and presents at Boulder Startup Week to promote the entrepreneurial community. West founded, launched, and actively manages Pixel Space, a Boulder-based startup that promotes the community to visitors through a comprehensive experience and overnight accommodations.
Best advice I’ve ever gotten: “Step out of your comfort zone. I make it a habit to do at least one thing every day that I wouldn’t normally do, whether big or small.”
What others say: “Tommy believes in what he does, and truly cares about the outcome of every community project he involves himself with,” client Erica West says. “I’ve never known someone more committed to the community than he is.”
Mandi McIntyre, 29
Development Director, Hospice of Northern Colorado
Snapshot: McIntyre has doubled fundraising at her nonprofit in one year. She developed a strategy to attract new audiences of all ages and demographics by hosting contests and finding relevant information to engage audiences on social media. Her ability to design external marketing materials saves her agency more than $40,000 a year.
My greatest passion: “Making a difference, but more importantly raising awareness about the value of nonprofit hospice and quality end-of-life care. I hope to change people’s perception that hospice is about death, because truly, hospice is about life.”
Definition of success: “Inspiring others by leading through example. To motivate, support and encourage those around you to be better.”
What others say: “Mandi’s ability to lead, supervise, mentor and motivate others along with her ability to do so effectively makes a huge difference in our agency’s overall success and her success as a young professional,” says her boss, Cindi Werner.
Lisa Ryckman is the Associate Editor/Online at ColoradoBiz. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.