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The pain, uncertainty and immense amount of loss thus far wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic has, in many cases, resulted in a call to action.

The efforts of this year’s class of 40 Under 40 represent the many ways people came together, found new opportunities to make a difference and unearthed creativity they may not have otherwise.

Leighann Bacher started a Facebook group that resulted in thousands getting access to vaccines; Kacy McGill and Taylor Stessney started a Facebook group for restaurant workers aid that’s now a certified nonprofit. Carlos Carmona left his corporate job to become the disaster program manager at the American Red Cross.

Then there were members of this year’s class whose work, by definition, already focused on helping the most vulnerable: doctors such as Maya Ragavan or food rescuers like Mel Cronin; for them, the pandemic brought new challenges to their chosen industries.

But no matter if the pandemic directly or indirectly influenced them, they all have one thing in common: a work ethic that has only become stronger in the face of adversity.

This is the 2021 Class of 40 Under 40.

2022 40 Under 40 Honoree: Brittany Bell

“One penguin always has to jump into the water first — to basically see if they’re going to get eaten. And then the rest of the pack will jump in after if everything is fine.”

2022 40 Under 40 Honoree: Ashley Coup

“You can make innovation accessible to anyone, and anyone can be innovative if they are given the tools, the process, the framework, to allow them.”

2022 40 Under 40 Honoree: Collin Diedrich

“One of the things that I really want to do is to be an example for kids that think differently, that they’re able to pursue their dreams even if they need to overcome large obstacles.”

2022 40 Under 40 Honoree: Jack Dougherty

“I just get such a fulfillment from seeing people that come down every year, they have their holiday traditions, they have their family traditions, and it’s kind of building the space for that to happen.”

2022 40 Under 40 Honoree: Dr. Natalie Gentile

“I try to be very active as a pillar in the community because so often I think that people are separated from and distrustful of the medical community because there’s so many barriers between us.”

2022 40 Under 40 Honoree: Donald Jones Sr.

“My dream is leaving my legacy for my son to finish what I started and do what I'm doing — changing lives, helping guys and boys make better life decisions, as citizens, not just at work.”

2022 40 Under 40 Honoree: Miracle Jones

“We’re all impacted by each other’s actions. The best way for us to build a community safety network is to know each other, support each other and build each other up.”

2022 40 Under 40 Honoree: Noah R. Jordan

“I feel an obligation to take the natural skills and opportunities I’ve been given to try to help others — and make the kind of community that I would want to live in and want future generations to be a part of.”

2022 40 Under 40 Honoree: Tanisha Long

“I can’t imagine seeing other people suffering and knowing I have things that can lessen [it] and not doing that. I want others to adopt that ideology — don’t stay silent when you see suffering.”

2022 40 Under 40 Honoree: Monica Malik

“My goal is to make some kind of an impact. Whether it’s program design, assisting a community benefit or connecting individuals with resources, I try to leave a positive impact for the day.”

2022 40 Under 40 Honoree: Ayisha Morgan-Lee

“I’d like to leave a legacy with the students that we’ve touched to be able to say they had the opportunity to learn and study about themselves as Black girls and boys.”

2022 40 Under 40 Honoree: Jessica Rogowicz

“At the end of my life — which hopefully is a very long time from now — I just want to leave this earth knowing that I’ve had a more positive impact on it than a negative one.”
Categories: 40 Under 40