Every year the Mississippi Business Journal combs the state searching for young people under the age of 40 who are making a difference in their community. The 2003 quest is now underway.
Our Top 40 Under 40 awards program will recognize 40 young people from all over the state for their achievements. Nominees must be employed and have lived and worked in Mississippi for at least two years, be under the age of 40 as of December 1, 2003, and be involved in much more than just making a living. The deadline for accepting nominations is October 10, 2003.
Involvement with the Top 40 program has been an uplifting, but humbling, experience for me. Each year, we honor 40 serious achievers who have struggled to overcome obstacles, rack up impressive professional accomplishments while contributing to their communities and balancing family life all the while. Each year I feel better about the future of Mississippi after studying the record of the Top 40 nominees.
Top 40 winners are successful in their occupations. That is a given. Additionally, winners are active in all kinds of community organizations and projects. Not just members of boards and committees, our winners chair projects that require more than mere attendance.
Due to the quality of past Top 40 winners, the award has become a mark of prestige. We receive about 150 nomination packages each year. We leave the selection to a panel of three judges who have one of the hardest jobs we can imagine. It is a sad fact of life that the quality of nomination package itself impacts the judges decisions. Neat, complete packages that provide ample details of professional and community involvement and include letters of recommendation are more likely to be favorably considered than a hastily prepared, sketchy package. Go long on accomplishments; this is not the proper occasion for modesty.
Our Top 40 Under 40 program is now in its 11th year. Past winners have continued on their paths to success and now represent some of the most outstanding citizens in our state. We are confident that this years’ class will follow that same path and continue to serve their families, professions and communities for years to come.
Winners will be honored at a luncheon here in Jackson on January 21, 2004. More than 500 people attended last years’ Top 40 awards program. We look for forward to meeting a new crop of young leaders this year.
Joe D. Jones, CPA, is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.