The Search Is On
It was a decade ago — if not to the day, then pretty darn close — when the leaders at BusinessWest conceptualized a new recognition program.
It would be called 40 Under Forty, and while that name — and the program itself — were not exactly new from a national perspective, they were to the Western Mass. region. And what’s happened in the 10 years since BusinessWest issued its first call for nominations of rising stars across the four counties of Western Mass. has, in a huge bit of understatement, exceeded all expectations — in many ways.
“I think we knew we had a great idea — to recognize young leaders who were standing out in their field, and in the community,” said Kate Campiti, BusinessWest’s associate publisher. “But I don’t think we knew just how big this would become.”
Big, as in a now-coveted award which has come to symbolize both accomplishment and leadership. Big, as in a brand which has adorned everything from plaques to beer mugs. Big, as in the party. Staged each June, the gala at which the class in question is introduced and given its moment in the spotlight has become a quickly sold-out, yet not-to-be-missed event.
And this year, well, it will get even bigger — at least in terms of the number of people who have a 40 Under Forty plaque on their desk and their photo and profile in a frame on their wall. There are 400 such individuals, and come the fourth Thursday in June (the 22nd), there will be 440.
That’s where you come in.
Indeed, while nominations are accepted all year, this is an official call for help in determining the composition of the class of 2017.
Nominations, which can be submitted HERE, will be accepted until Feb. 17. Those nominations will then be turned over to a panel of judges (to be introduced in an upcoming issue of BusinessWest), who will score them.
When nominating an individual, keep a few things in mind. First, said individual must be under age 40 as of April 1, 2017, and he or she must live or work within the four western counties of Massachusetts.
After that, actually, there really aren’t any rules, just some good advice, and that is to take the nomination process very seriously.
That’s because, in most cases, this information is what the judges will have at their disposal as they go about scoring the nominees — and there have been roughly 150 of them for each of the past several years. (If you’re wondering if someone is already a 40 Under Forty winner, please check the lists of previous winners HERE)
The goal, said Campiti, is make your candidate stand out and definitively answer the question, ‘why is this person worthy of being a part of this year’s class of 40 Under Forty winners?’
“Nominations need to be thorough in every respect,” she explained. “They need to list someone’s accomplishments and detail their work in their profession and within the community. But they also need to explain why the individual in question can be considered a leader.”
As noted earlier, the gala for the class of 2017 will be held on June 22 at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House. Tickets for the event will go on sale soon after the winners have been notified in early March. The gala has been sold out — quickly — in each of the previous several years.