Ms. Alex Ropes is the manager of volunteers for Humane Society of Tacoma where the number of persons who share their compassion for animals with the organization has tripled in two of her five years there.

No group can grow that fast without a good system, clear practices, streamlined applications process and rigorous on-boarding procedures. “By not establishing standard-operating-procedures for volunteer requests, you can easily set yourself up for failure or a stomach ulcer from the stress,” she says.

Ropes’ reputation for calm competence spreads across the region as she joins others in Volunteer Administrators Network Northwest, where she is a known speaker and resource for other groups. She also mentors interns from the Next Move program of Tacoma Public Schools.

An active volunteer herself for Washington State Historical Society and local Rescue Mission, Alex Ropes is a fine example of a “40 Under Forty” individual showing the amazing things that can be accomplished when we work together and think the best of each other.

Casey Sullivan was described by his nominator as an outstanding banker, providing financial advice to his clients. After 10 years in the money world, the past seven at Wells Fargo, one of those family-held, middle market business clients (a 25-year bank customer) hired him away to become its Chief Financial Officer.

The Gig Harbor resident is now commuting to Chehalis where he is part of senior management for a manufacturer and lessor of modular commercial office buildings, movable classrooms, and such. It is a great application of Sullivan’s newly acquired graduate degree in taxation.

And all of this might not have come about, after Casey was diagnosed with cancer the summer betfore his senior year of college. An x-ray showed a tumor in his chest has grown to be larger than a soccer ball, which was ironic, since he was three-year letterman on his college soccer team. He had to drop out of school to fight and win his battle the disease and pay toward  medical bills.

When he was well enough, a referral from someone at the premier soccer team he was coaching connected him to the CEO of a small bank – the only person in the financial realm willing to take a chance on Casey without his degree. And from there, his career took off.

Casey Sullivan admits to being a competitive person, passionate about winning, and he’ll be sharing that as he begins coaching his two daughters' team this year. Such a successful life story, and he isn’t even 40 years old yet, so he qualified as a 2017 “40 Under Forty” honoree.

Rosa McLeod is a renowned leader both in work and volunteerism. As South Sound and North Olympic Peninsula outreach director for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell since 2015, her job is to make sure government is for everyone, not just those with the loudest voice.

Rosa spends miles and hours traversing the region to hear from residents, groups, city and county elected officials and staff members. This is work very much in alignment with her passion for finding solutions to help people overcome inequality.

As a 13-year-old, Rosa was taken from Tacoma back to her mother’s home country of Mexico, where she got to relearn the basics of school work and study twice as hard as her peers just to keep up. The experience did make her a more resilient person, coming out of her shell and overcoming an intense fear of public speaking.

Spanish language emersion also served her well years later, when she authored a bilingual resource booklet to help low income persons access free or low-cost reproductive health care during volunteer and staff work with NARAL Pro-Choice Washington.

“Non-profit organizations present unique opportunities to learn,” McLeod says, and “smaller (ones) usually have an ‘it needs to get done’ work climate, where smaller staffs and budgets sometimes require employees to pitch in on projects outside of their job description.”

Meet Alex, Casey and Rosa, plus 37 other remarkable members of 2017’s 40 Under Forty cohort at the celebration of their honors on Wednesday, October 11, at Foss Waterway Seaport in downtown Tacoma. It begins with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. and the recognition program will conclude before 8 o’clock.  Tickets are available at this link.