Sumter Top 20 Professionals Under 40 contest aims to bring future leaders together

The Sumter Item, Chamber of Commerce hold inaugural young professionals event

BY KAYLA ROBINS
kayla@theitem.com
Posted 10/23/18

For anyone wondering what it takes to build a community of future leaders, downtown Sumter's Main Room on Thursday night was full of the "best and the brightest," and their r sum s were diverse and impressive.

The Sumter Item, in partnership with …

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Sumter Top 20 Professionals Under 40 contest aims to bring future leaders together

The Sumter Item, Chamber of Commerce hold inaugural young professionals event

Posted

For anyone wondering what it takes to build a community of future leaders, downtown Sumter's Main Room on Thursday night was full of the "best and the brightest," and their resumes were diverse and impressive.

The Sumter Item, in partnership with the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce and Young Professionals of Sumter, held a winners reveal gala to honor the 2018-19 Top 20 Professionals Under 40, a contest that raked in 99 nominations and more than 7,000 votes.

"There was not one set of criteria that ultimately led to them being honored," The Sumter Item Publisher Vince Johnson said. "They're involved in the community and making a greater Sumter, and they're also great in their career. We want to build Sumter, and this is one way that we're helping ... by promoting our young professionals and promoting what they're doing for this community."

The 20 winners, who were all listed with a photo and biography in an accompanying 20 Under 40 magazine that The Sumter Item ran in Sunday's paper - more are available still - come from many walks. There are attorneys and credit union managers and martial arts instructors and teachers and hospital directors and food truck owners. Some focus their lives on community service. Others have climbed corporate ladders.

They all are passionate about what they do and strive to make a positive difference in the world around them.

"We want them to know that we appreciate them. We want them to stay here. We want to retain our talent," Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Chris Hardy said. "We don't want them to use Sumter as an obstacle before their next move. We want to showcase to them what we have here, that they can have an excellent quality of life here, live here, work here, play here."

Hardy said while he knew many of the honorees from Sumter, he met some of those who won and live and work in Clarendon and Lee counties for the first time, which was another goal of the contest and event.

"It's important to get to know them and get them engaged so they can prepare themselves to be the leaders of their community," he said.

Moving forward, the 20 winners will be featured throughout the year as a way to market the region and the future leaders in it.

Hardy said he did not know how many people to expect to get nominated.

"When we found out there were basically 100 people that were nominated," he said, "the most difficult part was narrowing it down to the top 20. But whoever was not honored tonight, there's 20 more that's going to be recognized next year and the year after that and the year after that."