WATERTOWN – The NNY Business Class 20 Under 40 2021 was celebrated Friday evening in the Hilton Garden Inn Ballroom.
The room was filled with 20 tables each with eight chairs. Four televisions displayed rotating images of the 20 Under 40 award winners.
“It’s a privilege to be able to do this,” said Holly C. Boname, editor and designer for NNY Magazines and public relations manager for Johnson Newspaper Corp.
The keynote speaker was ABC 50’s Alex Hazard, who said he was a little surprised when he got the call and said he had written his speech on an elliptical using text-to-speech.
“I had thought a lot about it, what leadership was and what it meant to me,” he said. “I had to decide what it meant to me, but then what it would mean to the recipients and I tried to combine the two.”
In his speech, Hazard, who is gay, said representation was important and he saw representation among the 20 recipients under the age of 40. He added that he had seen the depiction on television as a child and didn’t really understand how important it was, but understood that these people “represented something that I wanted”. .
“In the same way, Chris Marshall, you represent for Bryson, your son, who I grew to love, that dad can be the boss and so can he,” he said. “In the same way, Mykel (Myrick), you showed kids up north that people of color can be in local media, which we rarely see, locally, and even globally. national. And I’m sure you all have your own stories of who you looked up to, knowing you could do exactly what you’re doing here today.
Mr Hazard spoke of events that shaped his life – his mother forcing him to do the morning announcements for school and traveling to Brazil as a Rotary Club exchange student. But one case really marked him.
“I was doing a spot on fish fries during Lent at a church and was told I wasn’t welcome,” he said. “I was in a grocery store and someone told me I was a pedophile. I was in a country club and someone told me they wanted me dead and they wouldn’t have Not afraid to do it with my own hands as I walk to my car so I better be careful. That’s when I realized I was physically unfit to protect myself… Like you probably guessed these moments happened because i was gay, publicly, but what i left out of the story is that they happened for a brief year when i moved to central Pennsylvania…that death threat was a life-changing moment for me.
He said that after receiving the death threat he lost 85 pounds, started speaking publicly about his sexuality and moved back up north.
“Here in the north of the country, we don’t pick on people when they struggle, we encourage them,” Mr Hazard said.
The 2021 Class of 20 Under 40 includes Catherine Bennett, Milkweed Tussock Tubers; Jessica Blair, Watertown City School District; Andrew Boulter, Watertown Savings Bank; Nicole Caldwell, Better Farm/betterArts & Stacker; Corey Campbell, Jefferson Community College; Jason Hendricks, H3 Designs LLC; McKenzee Fisk-Kamide, GYMO Architecture Engineering & Land Surveying; Jordan Jones, CREDO Community Center for Addictions Treatment; and Dr. Asim Kichloo, Samaritan Medical Center.
Jeffrey Kimball, Northwestern Mutual; Josh Leviker, Barret Paving Materials Inc.; Christopher Marshall, Secondary School Governor; Mykel (Quince) Myrick, Tunes 92.5 and Holdown Upstate; Dr. Jennifer Nightingale, Countryside Veterinary Clinic; Suzanne Renzi-Falge, Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library; Cheyenne Steria, Lewis County Economic Development/Naturally Lewis; Meredith Taylor, Hiring Heroes Military Spouse Professional Network; William Trithart, Big Spoon Kitchen; Matthew Turcotte, North Shore Solutions and U Store; and Lisa Virkler, Lewis County and Samaritan Medical Center.
Mr Hazard said the recipients represent the best of the north and show the next group of leaders that they too can become community leaders.
“Because representation matters, kindness matters, service to others matters, compassion matters, that’s what leadership is, and if you do those things, which anyone who wins this award does, you’re a leader of the things that matter,” he said. mentioned.
The 20 Under 40 Awards are given annually to individuals who exemplify what it means to be a young leader in the North Country and have been an annual NNY Business magazine tradition for over a decade.
“I am honored to be able to present this award to people in the community who are making a difference every day,” said Ms. Boname. “It’s amazing to me to see the amount of talent I’ve witnessed over the past six years of presenting this award.”