A volunteer opportunity to serve after hours at a crisis-clinic while in college started Leslie Shahan off on a career path in non-profit work to help others. And from her success comes recognition for inclusion as a Class of 2016 “40 Under Forty” honoree.

“I am whole-heartedly passionate about helping others,” Shahan says. “My whole career has been spent” this way.

And as many discover, she learned there can be a ladder from volunteer to program staff to (now) vice president of operations at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington. The key is, in words from her nominator, “understanding people and systems.”

Among her key accomplishments is creating a fund-raising auction that now brings about $350,000 to support programs on behalf of children in need of bonds to a caring adult. For this as well as being named a “40 Under Forty” honoree, Leslie Shahan can be proud.

Eric Gilman describes himself as a”K-JD” lawyer, meaning that he knew early on that he wanted to be an officer of the court.

His family arrived from Japan when he was two years old, so he often had occasions where he “felt different” from the other children around him. He believes that experience helped him to become who he is, and “when you’re a little different, empathy comes more easily.”

The first in his family to attend law school, Gilman is setting a trail for others to follow as president of Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Foundation, co-chair of the local Campaign for Equal Justice and a pro bono attorney at Volunteer Legal Services.

“There is no greater rush than standing in front of a judge or jury and advocating for a just cause. What a thrill,” he says. A partner at Tacoma’s legal giant Gordon Thomas Honeywell, Eric Gilman is also honored in 2016 “40 Under Forty.”

You can meet Leslie and Eric, plus 38 other remarkable members of the 2016 class of 40 hororees at their celebration on Wednesday, August 17, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tickets and more information are at this link.