By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – After a year which has seen many ups and downs, a local group is taking time to highlight the area’s most impactful young professionals.
Current Young Professionals Network, a program of the Greater Green Bay Chamber, is once again recognizing the accomplishments of young professionals making an impact in the community with its Future 15, Young Professional of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year and the Next Generation Best Place to Work awards.
“I just would like to share how excited we are for this year’s finalists,” said program director Mallory Nash. “They’re all deserving, incredible human beings, and it will be one awards ceremony for the books. As community leaders, it is important we recognize and support the talents among our young professionals by providing them with opportunities to be innovative and excel at doing so.”
Current focuses on young professionals between the ages of 21-40.
The network, which strives to attract, engage, develop and retain young talent to the area, has more than 2,000 members, and hosts monthly professional development sessions and other networking events.
The Future 15 was started by Current in 2007 as a way to bring awareness to young professionals.
More than 150 young professionals were nominated for this year’s awards.
“This year has been tough, to say the least, but I’m thrilled with the number of nominations we received,” Nash said. “I’m amazed each year with the talent, and this year is no different. The applications were outstanding, and tough for the judges, I’m sure.”
During the selection process, judges highlight the accomplishments of the top candidates, as nominees make their way through a variety of reviews.
“It’s blind review,” she said. “We do our best to remove all identifying markers from the applications, so all applicants receive a fair and equal shot at the awards. It’s not a popularity contest, it’s an opportunity for applicants to demonstrate their professional accomplishments, community involvement, leadership, passions and share their vision of making Greater Green Bay a better community for us all.”
The highest scorers make up the Future 15.
The top scoring applicant out of that group is then recognized as the Young Professional of the Year.
“The nominations are one of my favorite aspects of the process because I get to see from the community’s perspective what each person, business and/or organization does to stand out,” Nash said. “It’s from someone that has been impacted by their nominee. And that’s really incredible to see. Gives me goosebumps. I’m very excited for all finalists.”
This year’s Future 15 recipients are:
• Ashley Bethke – Greater Green Bay Community Foundation.
• Bryan Carr – University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
• Cathryn Siolka – KerberRose.
• Joshua Kohnhorst – Nicolet Bank.
• Kim Westover – Belmark, Inc.
• Billy Korinko – St. Norbert College.
• Cameron Teske – Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau.
• Chelsea Kocken – Thornberry Creek at Oneida.
• Joshua Loritz – Familia Dental.
• Marissa Heim – Golden House, Inc.
• Brad LaPierre – Infinity Machine and Engineering.
• Cassandra Erickson – American Civil Liberties Union.
• Diana Delbecchi – Green Bay Area Public Schools.
• Kathryn Trulley – Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
• Meredith Hansen – St. Norbert College.
Two other awards will be handed out during the event.
The Young Entrepreneur of the Year award celebrates those who are building and leading successful and dynamic area businesses.
“This year, we had more Young Entrepreneur applications than last year, which was very exciting to see,” Nash said. “Typically, we highlight the top three of each category, but I felt it was important to highlight more as this year has been tough for many businesses.”
This year’s finalists are Sadey Broecker, Lux Life Chiropractic; Katrina Magnuson, LedgeStone Vineyards; Trevor Folker, MVMT Performance & Rehabilitation, LLC; Rachael Phillips, RP Photography; and Julie Gile, Julie M. Gile Photography.
An area business will also be recognized as the Next Generation Best Place to Work.
This award is presented to a business that demonstrates a commitment to attracting, developing and retaining young professionals.
This year’s finalists American Tent, KerberRose and United Healthcare.
More details will be released in coming weeks.
Like in years passed, a short video presentation will be shown during the evening highlighting each recipient’s accomplishments.
Registration information is available at greatergbc.org/future15.
“Current is proud to have such a tremendous representation of young professionals and business leaders within the area,” Nash said. “They deserve the spotlight. We want to recognize them and share our appreciation for choosing this community to share their talents with.”