We asked our newest class of 40 Under 40 honorees — who you can read all about here — what advice they could offer their cohort. Their responses are below. You might find something inspiring here, too.


Network. This has helped me find like-minded individuals who have become friends, liaisons, and mentors guiding and encouraging me through my career development. — Brittany Wimbish

Always remember to smile. Whether we are on the phone, Zoom, or in person. A good smile can always help someone. — Lisa Murtha

Complex problems take a diverse team to solve. Know when to let someone else take the lead and support them. — Joe Schmit

You learn more from failure than you do success. — Alisha Weiss

I have always prided myself on being genuinely myself at all times. Most people appreciate candor. Sometimes it might come off as blunt or cutting, but being straightforward and genuinely yourself will go the farthest with anyone you ever deal with. — Austin Patjens

Start at the root of what makes you happy and then seek to live it out. If you do this then you can’t go wrong. Have patience when cultivating your business and brand and don’t be afraid to do things differently. — Kwabi Amoah-Forson

Embrace change, be your authentic self, and find comfort in ambiguity and uncertainty. — Todd Minor

Community banking is fast-paced and faced with constant and fierce competition – community banks must be innovative and nimble. For those new to the industry, I recommend participating in as many projects as possible, be inquisitive and ask questions, and always bring your ideas to the table. — Rebecca Williamson

Be Consistent. Greatness is not achieved in one day; we must strive for it every day. — Tim Scheuffele

Never give up; I was told so many times that it was too difficult to get into veterinary school, and then once in vet school, that it was too difficult to work as a zoo veterinarian and that I should pick something easier. — Kadie Anderson

They all cannot be winning investments. Be patient and conservative; sometimes the best deals are the ones you did not do. The right deal will often times find you. — Michael Petramalo

Taking a whole systems approach can help reduce frustration when something isn’t working and (help you) see opportunities for change or innovation, because you’re not just focused on what your unit does or has done historically. It also can give you context for whether initiatives at other institutions have a chance of working at yours, because you have an idea of how all the pieces fit together. — Saralyn Smith

Listen to what people want in their professional AND personal lives and deliver on that. — Alanna Imbach

Never become complacent, especially when it comes to technology and cybersecurity. These industries have and will always continue to change at a rapid pace. The moment you stop learning and seeking knowledge in these industries, you will immediately be playing catch up. — Mike Bowen

Think about how you can make it happen, not how you can’t. — Desiree Wilkins Finch

Here are three lessons I discovered as a kid that helped me become who I am today and are applicable in my line f work. The first, from my faith: whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Second, from my first-grade teacher: you must always believe in yourself. The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Third, through mentorship, I’ve learned the importance of creating great habits. If your habits don’t align with your dream, you need to either change your habits or change your dream. — Dr. John Gaines

Your brand and your name should be protected at all costs. — Kela Hall

Start saving 20 percent of your gross income as early as possible. — Tyler Hjelseth

You should be focusing on how to deliver more value to your customers, rather than how much you can afford to slash prices and beat the next person. — Ryan Denny

Be persistent and have more patience, embrace being humbled, and know that sometimes life will change your definition of success. — Dr. Maricris Eleno-OramaGive back to your community and youth through knowledge, dollars, and items as much as possible, let the youth see how important it is and how it makes them feel to create a cycle of giving. — Bryan Neal

No data is better than bad data. — Rich Hanna

Embrace lateral thinking. There are many challenges in the maritime industry that can be solved through creativity and innovation. — Chris Rye

If you are feeling like you are approaching burnout, take some time. Find a moment to reconnect with the impact your work is making – go see an education matinee, watch the audience respond to a performance, listen to the applause, and feel the energy. Remember, our purpose fuels creativity and delivers joy. — Lacey Wright

One major key to growing is learning what to hold on to and what to trust to others. I’ve seen too many business owners say that ‘there are not enough hours in the day’ for them to do everything -which ultimately prevents them from developing their company. — Christina Blocker

Do what you love, the money will always follow when you do great work. — Kiara Daniels

By refusing to accept “no,” you’ll separate yourself from the pack. Sometimes you just have to outlast the competition — and wear down your boss! — Thuli Lushaba

Get aligned with what your customers want, not what you think they want. Don’t guess — back it up with the data. — Quincy Henry

When asking for a donation: Don’t take no’s personally. It most never is about the person asking. — Laura Badeaux

Lean into your strengths, but do not be afraid to learn new areas of expertise when you see emerging needs that you are interested in helping to fill. You may end up creating a new position for yourself over time. — Kelly Bay-Meyer

Hang in there. The best is yet to come. — T’wina Nobles

Always check the miscellaneous contract provisions that are often overlooked, or not given quite as much attention, such as the notice provision. They always seem innocuous right up until they aren’t. — Rosemary Boelens

Taking great care of the people around you will empower them to take care of the people around them. — Ross Andrew Treleven

Be genuine in your business relationships. That is the foundation to your success. — Rose Stanek-Norbe

Be intentional with everything you do. Intention creates stronger purpose, experience, and relationships. — Aljolynn Sperber

Be clear, be consistent, be kind. — Rachel Lehr

I think as young people, architects all dreamed of becoming an architect one day. It’s not really a profession you fall into. I would advise my peers to think back to your younger self when you dreamed of becoming an architect and recognize you are living your dream. — James Hill

To build trust, ask others for their input and confidently own up to your mistakes. — Leah Dobey

If it was easy, everyone would do it. Nobody else is going to make you successful. You have to take it upon yourself to acquire the education and training to get where you want to be. Don’t let fear hold you back. — Kevin Brown

Always look at the menu ahead of time before going out to eat with a donor. And don’t order tacos! — Kaarin Praxel-Austin