Red Carpet Affair: The 2015 40 Under 40 Class
(page 5 of 8)
Foley & Lardner LLP
Matt Lynch has faced major obstacles from a very young age. At the age of 10, when most kids’ biggest challenge is learning how to add fractions, Lynch was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. “Mustering the courage to deal with what was a frightening, confusing, and demanding disease at that age seemed beyond me,” said Lynch.
With the support of his family, however, Lynch persevered, and he seems determined to pay it forward. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Wisconsin Equal Justice Fund, an organization devoted to ensuring access to legal services for Wisconsin’s 500,000-plus low-income residents.
Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that one of his professional role models is Branch Rickey, the Dodgers GM who threw open the door of opportunity for thousands of athletes by signing Jackie Robinson.
“Amid threats of boycotts and violence, Rickey had the courage to put his business at the forefront of social change,” said Lynch.
Movie: The Godfather
TV show: Seinfeld
Music: ’80s hair rock
Ten years from now, Kathy Maher wants to be a leading partner at a global CPA firm, and she’s working toward that goal at McGladrey by developing her management and communication skills and mentoring both colleagues and students (including one at the University of Colorado–Boulder) whenever possible.
Maher is a member of the Junior League and Leadership Greater Madison (2014), and she serves as board treasurer for the Madison Community Montessori School. Her financial analysis and business recommendations helped with the school’s debt refinancing.
Making her most-admired list are Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook, for working to eliminate workplace barriers for women, and Vicki McCarthy, the local head of school for Madison Community Montessori School.
A fun-loving adventurer, Maher has traveled to more than 15 countries, including Peru, where she hiked to Machu Picchu (taking “the more scenic and challenging route”). She’s also hang-glided in Switzerland and zorbed in New Zealand (think inflated hamster ball for humans).
Movie: The Dark Knight
TV show: Law & Order SVU
Music: Classic rock
Commercial and Industrial Marketing Account Manager
Madison Gas & Electric
Part of Mayra Medrano’s job is community outreach, and you might say she’s not afraid to take her work home with her.
She’s dedicated to improving our community on many levels through her participation in organizations such as the Latino Professionals Association, Leadership Greater Madison, the United Way of Dane County’s Rosenberry Society Council, the YWCA of Madison, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Latino Chamber of Commerce’s executive board.
And she’s making a difference in the Greater Madison business community as well. As a member of MG&E’s commercial and industrial team, Medrano provides local businesses with information on renewable energy programs and assists them with energy-efficiency initiatives to help them lower their costs.
It’s no surprise, then, that she views her community work as a vital part of her life’s goals.
“I want to be able to leave a legacy in this world,” said Medrano. “My career aspiration is one that requires community involvement and career success to be in tune with each other.”
Movie: The Sandlot
TV show: Scandal
Music: Blues, Latin
Wisconsin Financial Group Inc.
Marisa Menzel has spent her career helping people plan for life’s most important milestones.
Today, she’s a financial advisor who helps people create income streams for their retirements, but straight out of college she founded her own wedding consulting business, Marry Me Marisa, and became something of a pioneer in the process.
“I built it from scratch, including teaching myself to build our website, which was relatively new at the time,” said Menzel. “In fact, it allowed me to have an advantage over my competitors who did not yet have a website at a time when more brides were planning their weddings over the Internet.”
She’s still keeping busy, and with a list of volunteer commitments as long as a wedding dress train, she shows no signs of slowing down.
“[Volunteering] is a great way to get to know people, have fun, learn about our community, and give back, all at the same time.”
Movie: Love Actually
TV show: Shark Tank, PBS documentaries
Matthew B. Mikolajewski
Economic Development Division Director
City of Madison
Matt Mikolajewski has worked in economic development for the City of Madison for years, and he was recently named director of the city’s Economic Development Division, following in the footsteps of Aaron Olver.
Over the past six years, Mikolajewski has played a lead role in the city’s efforts to redevelop the Capitol East District, including the relocation of Shopbop to East Washington Avenue and the redevelopment of the former Don Miller auto lots into the Constellation and the soon-to-be-completed Galaxie.
A representative on several boards and organizations, Mikolajewski is proud to “help foster growth within the state I love while supporting the development of one of the best cities in the country.”
His role models include George Austin, president of AVA Civic Enterprises Inc., and John Stibal, director of development for the City of West Allis.
When he’s not “sleeping in way too late on the weekends,” Mikolajewski enjoys biking and travel.
Movie: The Godfather
TV show: Modern Family
Music: Classic rock