Red Carpet Affair: The 2015 40 Under 40 Class
(page 1 of 8)
From the pages of In Business magazine.
Each year, we solicit nominations for a new class of outstanding professionals under the tender age of 40, and each year we find that the Madison business community is blessed with scores of accomplished young leaders. When you read their brief bios, you’ll feel even better about the future of Madison’s business and residential communities.
With a nod to the Oscars, the Emmys, and the Grammys, we’ve also asked this year’s class for their favorite movies, TV shows, and music. To find out what their favorite books are, please check out the window display at the Barnes & Noble at East Towne Mall.
Community Coordinated Child Care Inc. (4-C)
Jody Bartnick will never forget Aug. 13, 2008, her first day as the executive director of 4-C in Madison. “The building burned down,” she stated. Bartnick headed up an emergency response, quickly learned all about insurance protocols and construction, and under her leadership, the child care resource and referral agency had a temporary home within two weeks. Since then, 4-C has expanded staff and services into three surrounding counties. “I am most proud of beginning a new position during a crisis situation, facing adversity head on, and turning crisis into opportunity,” she said.
When not at work or out in the community, Bartnick may be found bowhunting, a hobby that has earned her recognition in the Pope and Young Club’s records program for her success in harvesting elk, whitetail deer, and antelope. “I am proud to be recognized as a female bowhunter,” she said.
Movie: Sweet Home Alabama
TV show: The Following
Music: Classic country
Saris Cycling Group
Ryan Birkicht has already accomplished more than most young professionals his age. While at All Comfort Services, he won a national Suzi Award for his BOGO marketing campaign, which guided customers through a unique online user experience, and he recently completed his first triathlon.
But the accomplishment he’s most proud of had more to do with following the Golden Rule than gilding his résumé.
On Jan. 1, Birkicht launched a social network called Operation Generosity (www.operationgenerosity.com), which is dedicated to “generating and spreading great ideas of how to make the world a better place.”
With more than 2,500 Twitter followers, the site is off to a great start, and it’s helped establish Birkicht’s bona fides as one of author Malcom Gladwell’s celebrated “connectors.”
“I love to work with people, and I know that one day I’d like to lead,” said Birkicht, whose ultimate goal is to be a vice president of marketing at a large corporation.
Movie: Man on Fire
TV show: Frontline
Music: Indie, jazz, soul
The Hovde Foundation
For most people, learning to speak Spanish fluently and traveling to nearly 70 countries before the age of 40 would be impressive in itself. For Jeffrey Boyd, it’s a means to save young lives around the world.
Boyd helps identify local partners, develops projects, and oversees financial operations for the Hovde Foundation’s safe homes for vulnerable children. One rehabilitation shelter in Ghana cares for up to 70 children rescued from slavery.
“In 2011, I had the privilege of participating in a rescue operation of three brothers (ages 6, 8, and 10) in Ghana,” Boyd reported. He drove the getaway car for 10 hours to deliver the boys to freedom. They became the first residents of the Hovde House, which prepared them for reintegration into their families.
“Since opening, more than 200 children have rediscovered freedom, medical care, and love at this facility,” said Boyd, who dreams of becoming a U.S. ambassador to a Latin American country.
Movie: The Princess Bride
TV show: White Collar
Community Relations Manager, Middleton Outreach Ministry
Co-owner, Half-Pint Resale
Several years ago, Ellen Carlson and Lisa Seidel, two Madison-area mothers, identified a need for low-cost kids’ clothing for families on a budget, and soon after Half-Pint Resale was born.
The biannual children’s consignment sale draws hundreds of area families, and all the money raised stays in the community. “I’ve worked tirelessly over the years to create a business that bolsters families, local organizations, and businesses,” said Carlson, a mother of two boys, ages 6 and 9.
While Carlson has made a difference in the community through her business, her primary employer is Middleton Outreach Ministry, which created her position in recognition of her consistent advocacy on behalf of the nonprofit human services provider.
When she’s not working, Carlson enjoys spending time with her husband and kids, sewing, trying new recipes, running, studying astronomy, eating melted cheese (“in any form”), and going to amusement parks. “I live for roller coasters,” she said.
Movie: “Changes by the month, especially after every Wisconsin Film Festival!”
TV show: Friday Night Lights, Scandal
Music: Pop, top 40
Karen Menéndez Coller
Centro Hispano Inc.
Karen Menéndez Coller worked in public health for 20 years in California, including at UCLA as part of the university’s research faculty, and in 2009 she received a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, graduating with honors. But she’s most proud of her work at Centro Hispano in Madison, where she is helping to reduce racial disparities in the Latino community. “I’ve reached my career aspiration,” she said.
The mother of two has her hands full. After changing the agency’s emphasis from youth-centered to family-centered services and increasing collaboration in the Latino community as well as with county agencies, Centro has diversified its funding sources, creating long-term stability to advance quality programming.
She admires Dora Zuniga, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters, “for her authenticity and passion for the Latino community” as well as Findorff’s Rich Lynch and American Family Insurance’s Jack Salzwedel for not only being savvy businessmen but also “quality human beings.”
Movie: Saving Mr. Banks
TV show: Top Chef