Red Carpet Affair: The 2015 40 Under 40 Class
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For Kellye Golden, personal and professional growth have gone hand in hand, and she seems to know better than most how intimately the two are linked.
“About three years ago, I stopped and took a sort of personal audit of myself,” said Golden. “I asked myself if I liked the person I had become, the decisions I was making, and the direction my life was taking. … Instead of focusing on all the reasons I wasn’t succeeding that were ‘out of my control,’ I asked myself what I needed to change within myself.”
That approach seems to have paid off. 2014 was Golden’s most successful year since she started at M3 seven years ago — and that success was definitely earned.
“Building a book of business from the ground up has been more challenging than I expected. While we are given access to many great resources at M3, gone are the days of a company handing you a book of business.”
Movie: (None listed)
TV show: The Blacklist
Jason C. Gonzalez
Attorney/Counselor at Law
Gonzalez Law Office LLC
As the owner of his own law firm, Jason Gonzalez is proud to have tried more than 10 cases to verdict in less than three and a half years — a number that, he says, proves he is an aggressive trial attorney. “I aspire one day to grow my law firm into a larger minority-owned, full-service law firm,” he said.
Named to both the top 100 Trial Lawyers list and the Top 40 Under 40 by the American Trial Lawyers Association, he says his role models include defense attorneys Dennis Melowski of Sheboygan, who focuses on drunk driving defense, and Stephen Hurley of Madison, whom Gonzalez lauds as “an effective litigator and business professional.”
A Fitchburg alder up for reelection in spring, Gonzalez is also a paid-on-call firefighter with the City of Fitchburg. In his spare time, he volunteers with area youth organizations and enjoys trips to the dog park with his puggle, Rocky.
TV show: Law & Order
Director of Client Services
State Collection Service Inc.
If you want to lose, bet against Tim Haag.
The director of client services for State Collection Service Inc., Haag has embraced a leadership role in his family’s firm, which his grandfather, Hilding Haag, started in 1949.
But when Tim was growing up, he had plenty of doubters, and his path to college seemed littered with obstacles. As a child, he was diagnosed with a learning disability that affected his reading and writing skills. During his senior year of high school, he worked with a reading specialist who helped prepare him for college, and eventually he proved his doubters wrong, attending Northern Michigan University and making the dean’s list four semesters.
And the kids and teachers who told him he’d never amount to anything? They were fuel for his journey to success.
“To most, graduating from college is the norm, but for me it was an achievement because of the people that told me I couldn’t do it,” said Haag.
TV show: Chicago Fire
Music: Pop, rock, hip-hop, R&B
Co-host, Discover Wisconsin; Marketing and PR Strategist
She’s a former Miss Wisconsin Central and was a top-10 finisher at the Miss Wisconsin Scholarship Pageant (2012), and now Mariah Haberman co-hosts the Discover Wisconsin television show.
In her parallel role as the marketing and PR strategist at Discover Mediaworks, Haberman created and manages a syndicated Discover Wisconsin column, has increased the show’s social media presence significantly since April 2013, and recently started a Discover Mediaworks social media department.
“I switch gears constantly,” she explained. One day, she’ll be on camera, and the next she’ll be found promoting the show on a local news station or crafting a social media strategy.
She’s also traveled the state speaking to groups about her experiences growing up in a family that “endured the toxic effects of alcoholism.”
Haberman considers her roommate, Kari, an ER nurse at UW Hospital, one of her role models. “No matter how tough of a day I’ve had, she inadvertently reminds me of the things that truly matter in life.”
Movie: Now & Then
TV show: Discover Wisconsin (“C’mon. You knew that was coming!”)
Music: Depends on mood (ZZ Ward, Lindsey Stirling, Beyoncé, Lana Del Rey)
Internal Audit and Compliance Manager
Summit Credit Union
Like everyone on our list, Tania Ibarra is driven, energetic, and determined to succeed. But in reading her 40 Under 40 application, one is tempted to conclude that she may not actually have an off switch.
Even her hobbies betray a mindset that values forward momentum above such base urges as “rest” and “sleep.”
She loves sports, traveling, and dancing, and above all, she enjoys discovering and trying new things.
Even her guilty pleasure — “being a busy bee” — is more about cultivating a good work ethic than indulging in gooey pop culture confections like rom-coms or romance novels.
But her positive attitude has taken her places — and supported the community in the process. She’s a founding member of the Latino Professional Association of Greater Madison and currently serves as its strategic plan advisor. She’s also served as treasurer for the Latino Chamber of Commerce and Centro Hispano.
And by all appearances, she’s just getting started.
Movie: Life Is Beautiful
TV show: The Amazing Race
Music: “I like anything that makes my feet move.”