Harrisburg Young Professionals (HYP) is excited to announce the 20 honorees of the organization’s third annual 20 In Their 20’s class. Meet 20 rising stars from business, culture and civic life who are making a meaningful impact in their communities and workplaces.
The 3rd Annual 20 in their 20’s Awards Ceremony will be held on November 10th, 2021 at the Hilton Harrisburg beginning at 5:30pm. Tickets are on sale now at hyp.org. For sponsorship opportunities please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. This year’s event is sponsored by Members 1st Federal Credit Union, TheBurg, Tyler Ross Productions, and Historic King Mansion.
REGISTER TODAY AT HYP.ORG
Where do you work? Self-employed
What is your job title? Founder
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? Yes, I volunteer a lot for Mountain Be Removed Outreach Center. It’s an outreach ministry I’m VP of. MBROC means so much to me. I love being able to help my community and give people a much needed smile. It really warms my heart to give to those in need.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? Being a positive change in the life of my community. Even as a entrepreneur, my goal is to make a lasting impact on people. One of my most favorite things about what I do is just hearing the testimonies of those that have heard my speeches and took my classes.
Any accomplishments or Awards you have received? I became a certified Life Coach at 20-years-old
How did you begin your career? I was very suicidal growing up because of relentless bullying. The bullying I received from my peers horribly effected my self-esteem and mental health. Feeling unwanted, I never wanted young person to experience what I have. So at age 13 I co-authored a book called “A Letter To My Bully” which lead to me becoming a public speaker and writing another book at 16. The following year I founded my company Chante’ Whisonant, Inc that aims to unlock the leadership abilities in young people they might not see in themselves.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? I moved to the Harrisburg/Penbrook area in 2013. Our outreach was looking to expand in influence and Harrisburg seemed like a lovely and friendly place to live.
Who inspires you or motivates you? The people I help motivate me the most. The people in my community who need my outreach to help feed their families motivates me. Meeting teens who remind me of younger a version of myself inspire me everyday to be who I am. They push me to be who I needed growing up.
What does this nomination mean to you? It means so much to me because it shows that I am making an impact in the lives of other people. This nomination proves that I can help change lives of those in my community.
Where do you work? CodeHS and Temple Ohev Sholom
What is your job title? Account Manager and Religious School Director
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? I spend a lot of spare time volunteering for Kesher Israel Congregation and currently serve as their Vice President. This organization has been a grounding force for me since I landed in Harrisburg. It has offered a strong community, learning opportunities and a space to find meaning in my hectic life. I am particularly excited about the work we are doing to build a new synagogue for our congregation which will ensure a strong Jewish community in uptown Harrisburg for years to come. In addition I have recently become the Secretary of the Riverside United Neighbors. I am excited to be a part of this grass-roots neighborhood organization to help elevate the Riverside community as a beautiful place to live, work and play.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? My favorite thing about the work that I do is that I get to blend my passions for innovative education and Judaism. At CodeHS I get to work with school administrators everyday to consider how computer science education can affect the lives of their students. At Ohev Sholom I get to work directly with teachers and students to consider how we can present Judaism in a digestible manner for the 21st century. This role has also allowed me to think about how we can spark meaning in peoples lives and offer them a connection to their heritage.
How did you begin your career? I began my career in teaching and sales. It was a natural fit as I love to work with other people and help them discover new things. My transition to educational sales allowed me to blend my passion for working with others and education. Adding the educational director role enabled me to spend more time doing what I love: Helping others find passion in their Judaism.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? I am not from the Harrisburg region, I am from Minneapolis MN. I am planting my roots in Harrisburg because its such wonderful place to live. There is a strong sense of community and people looking out for each other. Moreover I love that its affordable but yet we still have wonderful breweries, coffee shops and hiking opportunities. It a hidden gem!
Who inspires you or motivates you? My wife, Zeva, inspires me above all. She inspires me to be the best version of myself everyday and motivates me to do better. She is always by my side in everything that I do, encouraging me and reminding me that my work is enough. She even pushes me to relax and enjoy slow life once in a while.
What does this nomination mean to you? This nomination means a lot to me. It makes me feel recognized for the hard work that I have done throughout Harrisburg to help it become a better place to live. I am honored to be receiving it.
Where do you work? Curb Consulting Ventures
What is your job title? Chief Technology Officer
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? I have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and an Organization called Hopes door. I also donate and volunteer with the Human Rights Campaign. Non-Profit is more than a legal entity. These non profit mean family, friendship and purpose. The reason why I say this is because these non profits help to sustain lives. They help people grow and become better humans. Being able to help and be part of a growing community is always ideal. I not only makes me happy but allows other people to continue striving to be the very best they can be. Habitat For Humanity provides decent living conditions to people. Hopes Door provides intervention and prevention services to families affected by intimate partner and family violence. And finally The Human Rights Campaign support LGBTQ+ rights. I volunteer at these non-profit organizations because they are wholesome, and beneficial to everyone in society.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? The favorite thing about the work I do is when I notice that an employee, client, student, or coworker that I am working finally realizes that they understand an aspect of the design, code or development process we are working on. I notice their mind starts running a mile a minute and that little boost gives me the satisfaction I need to know that I am helping in some way. When the individual finally reaches an epiphany or euphoric moment or academic growth I feel proud and excited that I was able to assist them in their growth as a human and as an engineer, Developer or Analyst.
Any accomplishments or Awards you have received? Starting my Cyber Security Consulting Firm, Deans List at PSU Harrisburg, West African Community Service Award.
How did you begin your career? I started my career in HighSchool. I get my first job as an IT Help desk Managerial Assistant. The thrill of working with computer and solving issues with the Network was all I needed to realize this was something I wanted and enjoyed doing.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? I was born in Lagos Nigeria. I visited the United States a lot as a kid. I finally graduated High School from a private day school called The American Int School of Lagos and I moved to The Central Pennsylvania region for college. I planted my roots I. central PA because everyone is so welcoming and kind. I have made a lot of friends here and I am glad that I was able to continue growing with the community.
Who inspires you or motivates you? My father is my biggest motivation. He has accomplished so much and I can’t wait to be the more upgraded version of him. I am also inspired by Donald Trump because of his character he is called the come back king for a reason. His failures are success and always strives to be the best he can be. I am also inspired by Nelson Mandela he was a great politician he changed a very tumultuous area in Africa and was successfully and stopping terrible atrocities.
What does this nomination mean to you? This nomination means a new horizon. It means growth and opportunities. If I could use this platform to continue spreading my beliefs I know that this world will be a better and more delightful place to live in. I am honored to be nominated as one of the 20 in their 20’s. I believe that technology is the future and in the right hands our society will be able to expand, grow and thrive to the farthest edges of the universe.
Where do you work? Penn State Health Holy Spirit Medical Center
What is your job title? Neurological Surgery Physician Assistant
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? I volunteered with Highmark Walk for a Healthy Living to create a Go Gray In May Walk for Brain Tumor Awareness.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? I am challenged everyday to learn something new and use my skills, but also to give back to patients and the local community by bringing neurosurgery services to the West Shore.
Any accomplishments or Awards you have received? I was the first physician assistant on board at our Penn State Health Holy Spirit neurosurgery department. I was the chairman for our department’s Go Gray in May walk that raised $2000 for local brain cancer research at Hershey Medical Center and placed 1st funds raised in the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Lifestyle Competition. I also volunteer and teach the neurosurgery lectures at Penn State Hershey’s PA program as well as help proctor many of their practical physical exams. In addition to teaching, I volunteered in the Covid-19 testing tent during the 2020 initial outbreak.
How did you begin your career? I began my career working in trauma surgery at Holy Spirit after spending time in the department as a student. Penn State Hershey Medical Center then began expanding their neurosurgery department to Holy Spirit and I was asked to come on board as their first physician assistant with medical director Diana Jho, MD. I then joined the neurosurgery team which also continued to take 24/7 neurosurgical trauma call and therefore I continued to work alongside my trauma colleagues in this new role.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? I grew up in Mechanicsburg and after going to undergraduate at Elizabethtown College and graduate school at Lock Haven University, returned to the Harrisburg region to help provide medical care to the region I grew up in. My family and I have gotten to know so many people locally and I am so passionate about providing exceptional medical care to this community. I also enjoy all this area has to offer including hiking the Appalachian trail, exploring downtown Harrisburg and all of it’s delicious restaurants, and participating in HYP sports teams. There are so many incredible young professionals and things to do within this community so I made the decision to buy a house and settle down back in Central Pennsylvania.
Who inspires you or motivates you? Professionally, I am motivated by my two coworkers Allison and Molly, who are excellent PA’s, coworkers and friends. I am motivated by my 3 surgeons as they are some of the most intelligent and talented professionals I’ve ever had the opportunity to meet set alone work beside. Inter-personally, I am inspired by my parents who are not only incredible people, but my dad always worked 3 jobs up until a few years ago and has an unmatched work ethic and heart for others that I try to mirror in my own career.
What does this nomination mean to you? It is extra meaningful to me because as a healthcare worker during the last year, we have all put ourselves second and worked tirelessly to help provide care to the local community. I am truly honored and humbled to be recognized within the community I grew up in. I truly feel so passionate about making an impact in our Central Pennsylvania region. I also would not be here today without the incredible support of my colleagues, especially the two other PA’s on my team, Allison and Molly.
Where do you work? Morgan Stanley
What is your job title? Wealth Advisor Associate
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? HYP Arts and International chair- HYP has provided me an avenue to make a difference in the community through volunteering and bring young people together in order to cultivate new friendships and forge meaningful connections.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? Helping people gain financial confidence and navigate difficult life decisions. I work primarily in retirement planning, and positioning clients for the next phase of their lives by providing them with a roadmap for success makes me feel like I’m making a difference.
Any accomplishments or Awards you have received? Chairing the HYP arts & international committee
How did you begin your career? I began my career in 2019 following in the footsteps of my father and brother. I joined them in the financial services industry after working at local nonprofit, Communities In Schools of Pennsylvania, during college. While at communities in schools, I helped successfully launch and market the Harrisburg Bike Share program.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? Yes. I am planting my roots here because Harrisburg is a growing, booming community full of potential and wonderful people. Here, I can make a difference and see the benefits of my efforts start to pay off. Volunteering in HYP and creating a welcoming space for new Harrisburg residents has been incredibly rewarding, as I hope The Who have gotten involved will stay in this area and continue to make Harrisburg a better place.
Who inspires you or motivates you? Entrepreneurs and business owners greatly inspire and motivate me. Knowing what you’re passionate about, putting all of your time and resources toward that passion, then sharing it with the world is such a powerful concept. It takes a lot of hard work and courage. We have so many wonderful entrepreneurs and business owners in Harrisburg that have made me incredibly proud to be a resident. These are the people that make me want to stay true to myself and utilize my strengths and interests to make a difference.
What does this nomination mean to you? To me, this nomination means that my contributions are having an impact, and that with dedication and hard work— there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.
Where do you work? Sysco Corporation
What is your job title? Sales Consultant
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? Yes, I volunteer at Cocoa Packs in my spare time. They are a vital resource in providing food, support, clothing and other necessities to families and students in need in the Central Pennsylvania Region. Working in the food industry and seeing the challenges of this unprecedented pandemic that heightened hunger, homelessness and job loss really impacted me. Together we can all work to help our neighbors in need by supporting amazing organizations and utilizing community resources like Cocoa Packs.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? The relationships I have built over the years and continue to strengthen make my job so enjoyable. I also love helping businesses succeed, especially during this pandemic in one of the hardest hit industries across the country. Seeing my customers collaborate with all Sysco’s varied resources from menu development, food tastings and just the overall excitement that we bring is extremely rewarding. And, who doesn’t love spending their day surrounded by food?!
Any accomplishments or Awards you have received? I’m proud to work for a company that recognizes our accomplishments and hard work. Though this past year was tough for my industry, I was continuously recognized for my sales performance and exceeding corporate goals.
How did you begin your career? While I was in my final semester at Penn State University in the Hospitality Management Program, I was honored to be recruited by Sysco. Over six years later, I still can’t imagine working anywhere else where I get to help so many people everyday.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? I was born and raised in Harrisburg. I graduated from Camp Hill High School and Penn State University. My family, friends and job keep me in the area. Recently, I just purchased my first home in Camp Hill! There are so many wonderful aspects of this region including: diverse entertainment, wonderful restaurants, lively downtown Harrisburg and Hershey, exciting sporting events, unique wineries and breweries, successful local businesses and so many amazing surrounding towns and cities.
Who inspires you or motivates you? Luckily, I am surrounded by so many inspiring and motivating people in my life from my amazing parents, family and close friends to my boss and management team at Sysco. I was extremely fortunate to grow up with two hardworking parents who have always pushed me and continue to do so. I wouldn’t be where I am at today without them.
What does this nomination mean to you? I am honored and deeply touched to be selected for such an exciting and prestigious nomination. To be in the company of so many amazing, talented and hardworking peers, is truly rewarding.
Where do you work? Milton Hershey School
What is your job title? Marketing Coordinator
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? I am a volunteer of the Red Shoe Crew of Central PA with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central PA. The Red Shoe Crew volunteers with the house for their annual fundraising events, creates fun, memorable events for the families staying at the house, and represents the organization at events as brand ambassadors. This nonprofit is near and dear to my heart as my family previously used the services of Ronald McDonald House Charities when my sister was battling cancer back in 2000. I believe in their mission and am proud to volunteer with their events throughout the year. I also am a member of Harrisburg Young Professionals and a volunteer with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? In my current role, I have the opportunity to capture and share the magic of life at Milton Hershey School. I am lucky to be a member of the MHS Communications team, made up of 13 thoughtful, talented individuals, who develop large school events, tell compelling community stories, and promote the school through internal and external communication channels. I also am a volunteer mentor through the MHS M.O.L.D. Mentoring Program where I support and encourage high school students through their last few years at MHS before graduation.
Any accomplishments or Awards you have received?
- Dean’s List: Indiana University of Pennsylvania
- Employee of the Month: Hands From The Heart Home Healthcare Services
- Davey Awards: 2020 Websites Gold & Silver Winner (Gavin Communications and RMHC-CP)
- 2021 Circle of Excellence Awards: Grand Gold 2020-21 Opening of School Celebration (MHS Communications Team)
How did you begin your career? I began my career working for a home healthcare agency where I sharpened my teeth by managing and developing their email marketing, social media, and website development. Here, I gained a true appreciation for business development, branded storytelling, and realized that my passion for marketing is parallel to nonprofits’ missions.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? I am from Lancaster County (Manheim Central graduate), but now have planted roots in Central PA with my husband, Cooper, and our corgi, Ivy. Also as a freelance writer for TheBurg, I have had the pleasure of meeting and highlighting the brilliant business owners and the vibrant culture of Downtown Harrisburg. We are happy to call Linglestown home.
Who inspires you or motivates you? My boss, mentor, and friend, Kristina Pae. Kristina exhibits and exemplifies all of the qualities of an ideal role model. She is a constant support system and inspires me to be my greatest self in all aspects of my life.
What does this nomination mean to you? I am honored by this nomination and am thankful that my family is planting roots here in Central PA.
Where do you work? YMCA Center for Healthy Living, Pennsylvania Picnic Company, Next Step Performance
What is your job title? Program Director, Owner, Trainer (respectively)
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? A Miracle 4 Sure, this non profit means women in Harrisburg get a second chance after incarceration! Friends of Midtown, I get to help beautify the place I live, work, and play.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? At the core of everything I do I’m serving my community and the people in it!
How did you begin your career? I’m actually in the middle of a career change but with every opportunity I like to make sure that I’m working for an organization whose values align with mine! Social and environmental responsibility are at the core.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? I grew up in the DC area, but I’ve been in Harrisburg for 4.5 years. The small city charm, the incredible small businesses, and the people of Harrisburg make it a great place to live!
Who inspires you or motivates you? My friends who are always pushing me to be my best! It truly does take an army.
What does this nomination mean to you? It means that the work I do for my community is valued!
Where do you work? Highmark Blue Shield
What is your job title? Community Affairs Analyst
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? The two non-profits that I’m currently most involved with include Rotary and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I’m serving at this years President of the Rotary Club of Palmyra and I’m also working with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Central PA as one of their 2021 Finest honorees. Rotary is currently the organization that I’m most involved with. I’m a huge advocate for Rotary because of the impact the organization and Rotarians have made on both our local and global community. My personal favorite local projects include donating dictionaries to third graders at Palmyra School District, highway clean-ups, and projects at the Palmyra Pool.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? My favorite thing about the work I do is being able to make a positive impact on the lives of those who live in our community.
Any accomplishments or Awards you have received?
- Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Central PA’s Finest honoree in 2021.
- Graduated from Leadership Harrisburg Area’s Community Leadership Series in 2020
How did you begin your career? During my time at Penn State Harrisburg, I had several internships with local non-profits. My final internship was as a communications intern with the Rutherford House Senior Community Center in Harrisburg. At the end of my internship, the board was looking for an Executive Director and I was hired to fill that role. I was with the Rutherford House for a few years before making the transition to Highmark Blue Shield where I now work in Community Affairs.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? I was born in Palmyra where I still reside. I made the decision to stay local because of friends, family, and the local connections I’ve made over the years.
Who inspires you or motivates you? I’ve been fortunate to have a number of incredible female mentors over the years who inspire and motivate me every day including Kathleen McKenzie, Amy Mehl, Amy Sauertieg, and several others.
What does this nomination mean to you? This nomination is a huge honor. I’m so thankful to have an incredible job (and boss/colleagues) that allows me to do what I do. I’m also very fortunate to have been able to work with so many great mentors who have instilled the importance of servant leadership in me. I’m very very grateful to have been nominated.
Where do you work? Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC
What is your job title? Membership Services Director
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? I am a compassionate listener for the nonprofit organization Someone to Tell it To. By practicing vulnerability, empathy, and building genuine relationships with the people I listen to, I am able to help them feel heard, valued and not alone.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? My favorite thing about the work that I do at the Chamber is hearing the testimonials from business owners that the connections I helped them make made a positive difference in their life and their business.
Any accomplishments or Awards you have received? Care to Listen Impact Award – Volunteer Listener awarded by Someone to tell it to
How did you begin your career? I began my career as a freight broker for a local logistics company.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? I am originally from Long Island but have lived in Central PA for 12 years. I am happy to call the Harrisburg Region home and am planting roots here because it is such a beautiful place to live, with people that are passionate about making our community a better place.
Who inspires you or motivates you? I am inspired by the other people in our community who see a problem and do something about it.
What does this nomination mean to you? I am so proud to be a part of this group of young professionals who love where we live and want it to be a better place. This nomination acknowledges that one person can make a big impact in their community.
Where do you work? Enginuity
What is your job title? Manager of Pre-Construction
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? Having the opportunity to work with unique stakeholders on a daily basis
Any accomplishments or Awards you have received? Professional Engineering license in both New York and Pennsylvania. WELL Accredited Professional
How did you begin your career? After receiving a BS in mechanical engineering from Bucknell University, I began my career in New York City working for an engineering consulting firm.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? I am not from the Harrisburg Region – I grew up on the coast of Maine. The easygoing lifestyle and kindness of the people in the area are keeping me in Central PA.
Who inspires you or motivates you? My fiance Lexi, my parents, and my coworkers motivate me every day.
What does this nomination mean to you? This nomination justifies all of the hard work and effort I have put into my career thus far!
Where do you work? Office of Governor Tom Wolf
What is your job title? Deputy Secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs (previously Special Assistant to the Governor)
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? Yes, CAPAL, the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership. I was a scholarship recipient of theirs in college and I’ve spent time trying to mentor current scholarship recipients. This has been especially important to me with AAPI hate crimes spiking across the country.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? Getting to work everyday on trying to make Pennsylvania a better and safer place.
Any accomplishments or Awards you have received? In 2018 I was the inaugural winner of the American University Public Policy Hackathon.
How did you begin your career? My first political job was a fundraising job in DC where I was raising money for several Democratic Senators. I then interned on the Hill for Senator Casey as a Healthcare Policy Intern and for Obama right after he was President at the Obama Foundation. Right after college, I went to work for Governor Wolf. I’ve had a lot of cool career experiences so far but working for Governor Wolf has truly been an honor.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? I’m from right outside of Philly – Harrisburg has been a great place to work and I’ve found it’s easier to make a big impact compared to DC or Philly. There’s also a great communal feel in the Harrisburg region.
Who inspires you or motivates you? My mother inspires me – she immigrated from China to attend Juilliard and is an accomplished musician. She actually has played in the Harrisburg Symphony since I was a small child! When I think about how hard it is to go from the other side of the world to America and then establish a career and raise a family – while learning a new language and culture – it really pushes me to work hard.
What does this nomination mean to you? I feel incredibly grateful and honored, but also a little shy!
Where do you work? Pennsylvania Insurance Department
What is your job title? Policy Director
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? Shipoke Neighborhood Association – it’s a great way to connect with neighbors and make the neighborhood a better place to be for everyone.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? I love that my work revolves around protecting the best interest of Pennsylvanians. My job includes solving complex problems, and at the end of the day it always comes down to creating and implementing the most equitable and consumer-minded solutions.
Any accomplishments or Awards you have received? I’m proud to be a Licensed Social Worker in the commonwealth. I’ve also previously was awarded GPA-related awards and recognition for my work in advancing equity for vulnerable populations throughout my college career.
How did you begin your career? I started with direct practice social work where I helped a variety of different populations to reach their full potential. I started my career with the commonwealth when I was fortunate enough to become an intern at the Department of Health my senior year of college working for Dr. Levine.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? I’m originally from a small town outside of State College. Moving to Harrisburg was completely pushing me outside of my comfort zone, but I’m forever grateful for that. I’ve fallen in love with the quirks of the city and am so glad I made the move from my small hometown.
Who inspires you or motivates you? My dad is someone I look up to immensely. Since I was a child, he would always say “some people are born on third base thinking that they’ve hit a triple” and being raised around that mindset of being grateful and working to make sure everyone can make it to “third base” and be successful in the way that is most meaningful to them. My parents never shielded me from anything, and made sure I knew that there were systemic and structural inequities in society. This has always motivated me to do what I can to make the world, and Pennsylvania a better place.
What does this nomination mean to you? I am truly humbled and honored to have been selected knowing how many hardworking and selfless professionals there are in this city. I’m thankful for all of the mentors and educators who have made me who I am today.
Where do you work? Valley Counseling Center
What is your job title? Child/Adolescent Art Therapist
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? I volunteer with my church, Trinity Presbyterian, working with the children and youth. On Wednesday nights we host Kids Bible Club and ESL classes. I really enjoy seeing the kids excited about learning the Bible, and sharing God’s love with them!
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? My favorite thing about being an Art Therapist is being able to help children work through the hard parts of life by using creative expression. Often times, children can’t explain how they feel in words, but when they draw or paint it, it’s like watching a light switch turn on their their brain. I love seeing children make new connections and learn new things through the process of art making.
Any accomplishments or Awards you have received? I am a board certified art therapist (ATR-BC) and licensed professional counselor (LPC). I have training in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and recently received a scholarship to attend a training on evidence-based practices for the treatment of OCD in January. I received the Dean’s Scholarship of the Arts from Messiah College for my undergraduate degree, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary scholarship from Marywood University for my graduate degree. This coming year, I will have an article published in the 4th edition of Assessment and Treatment Activities for Children, Adolescents and Families (Edited by Liana Lowenstein).
How did you begin your career? My journey towards becoming a therapist actually began when I was 11 – I was diagnosed with severe anxiety. Art became a way for me to cope, and after several years of my own therapy, it wasn’t until high school that I began thinking about how I could use my love of art, and my own life experiences, to help other children that face hardships.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? I am originally from Lancaster County, but moved to the Harrisburg Area for college. After attending graduate school in Scranton, my husband and I moved back to Harrisburg because of job opportunities in the area. We met at Messiah College and consider Harrisburg our home. We have many fond memories here, and we still love to go on weekend dates to Yellow Bird and Midtown Scholar!
Who inspires you or motivates you? This might sound cheesy, but my Grandma truly inspires me- there is nothing she can’t do! As one of one 2 girls in hr class, she graduated from Bucknell with a degree in Mathematics. She has lived a truly full life, raising two kids, traveling with her husband, and enjoys singing and painting. She is truly the most generous person I know and always has an encouraging word to say. I hope one day I grow to be like her!
What does this nomination mean to you? I am honored and humbled to be considered for Harrisburg’s 20 in their 20’s. I hope that it inspires young people to believe that they can truly go out there and make a positive impact in the world!
Saliyma H Chapman
Where do you work? I am a licensed Real Estate agent & certified Realtor with Century 21 Realty Services in Camp Hill under the National Association of Realtors and the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors.
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? With my spare time I volunteer with Another Way of Life Inc and New Beginnings. I naturally love bettering the lives around me so the organizations are aligned with my passion. Both organizations I volunteer with not only reach out into the community but offer a hand up to many of those in need in Dauphin County. New Beginnings led by Dereasha A Leaks and Helen Spence is the non-profit that I was raised up on. As youth Chair I organized and facilitated monthly meetings. Helped plan and facilitate community outreach events from feeding the homeless, visiting the elderly with our Adopt-A-Grandparent program, car washes to raise money for community outreach, developing content for our What’s Good TV Show on WHBG-TV 20 that highlighted the positive youth in the community broadcasting content for kids by kids across Dauphin County. Fast forward to today the organization has helped thousands and thousands of residents of Dauphin county find funding, food and resources for families in need.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? My favorite thing about the work I do is connecting with people. I meet so many amazing people in my line of work everyone has a story, a aspiration or a dream. I love when I have the opportunity to listen to someone explain why they decided to become a home owner or sell their home. Or educating them on home ownership and the attainability of it. I have conversations with people every day that thank me for opening up their eyes to a new way of life. Even if all I can do is plant a seed, I know my words made an impact.
Any accomplishments or Awards you have received? The main accomplishments and rewards I received are becoming a Real Estate agent and winning the Power Agent Award with my brokerage within my first couple of months of being there. I’ve won many awards so far in my career and community work but just to become a licensed professional in any field has been an accomplishment for me. Like many, I grew up with humble beginnings. My mom worked hard, working multiple jobs taking care of me and my siblings as a single mom. But I always knew I wanted something more for myself, family and community. So to now be a licensed Professional is a major accomplishment.
How did you begin your career? I went to Messiah College for Psychology right after high school I wanted to have a profession where I could help the ones that needed it the most. But once at school I realized it wasn’t for me. I was looking at graduates of college struggle to find jobs and pay back their student loans complaining and regretting taking on so much debt. And I didn’t want that to be me. I knew there had to be another way for me, so I dropped out and started working in customer service. I loved it but it became very mundane and restrictive, I started to feel like I needed to do more with my life. I would pray and meditate for clarity, for God to show me the way, to lead me down the right path to my destiny. Until one day I seen a girl I went to Susquehanna Twp High School with and something told me to ask her what she did. She happened to be a Realtor. Once she explained what she did I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Help people find housing, sell, invest or upgrade their homes. Also the harder I worked the more financial freedom I’d have. I did some more research attended and graduated Real Estate school. Studied night and day (literally) and then passed all my State and National exams on the first try which is unheard of. From there I was led to Century 21 Realty Services in Camp Hill where I’m blessed to have an experienced team take me under their wing and show me the way. And I look forward to expanding my career.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? My family is from Harrisburg we been here since the early 1900’s. I spent my earlier life upstate Rochester NY moving back to Harrisburg in ‘05 for elementary school and been here every since, so I’d say I’m from here lol. What keeps me here is not just my family but my belief that Harrisburg can be so much more than what was formerly believed. We have so much culture and talent here and year by year the city is living up to its title as the Capital of Pennsylvania. I see a positive progression in Harrisburg.
Who inspires you or motivates you? My big brother Rayon Braxton inspires me. Growing up he was always the care giver and leader, he was the oldest of my moms four kids and only boy. He was adventurous and brave with a big heart. My sisters and I would look up to him not only because of his popularity and dancing skills but because he could walk into any room and brighten up the energy. In school he was the kid that would go to the back of the class room to sit next to the kid everyone ignored or made fun of. He made it cool to be kind. Because of his pure heart he was adored by all that had the honor of meeting him. Most people didn’t know but he connected with everyone because along with other tragic events he was bullied in school when we were young and experienced being homeless. Because of that he was able to see the people others overlooked. Rayon had a dream for Harrisburg it was to take the roughest most dangerous part of Harrisburg and beatify it. He rented out the top floor of the Big Ugly Warehouse in Allison Hill and turned it into to a community arts center BXH. He wanted to show the residents of Harrisburg and the world that we are important, we have hopes and dreams, we have potential and with the right opportunity we can and will succeed. Unfortunately at age 25 he was murdered on November 27th 2015….. the same city he was trying to raise up and inspire took his life away. My brother always told me I can do and be anything I want in life, he told me I was smart and had the strength to over come any obstacle. So when I feel pressure or the road is tough, giving up is never an option for me. I not only fight for my dreams but for his to come to fruition.
What does this nomination mean to you? This nomination means so much to me, my family and community. It shows that with dedication and discipline the sky is not the limit the stars are. Anyone can be whoever they choose to be. I try to pass along affirmations to people when I can because there is so much information being passed around but to spread positivity and love is what makes life worth living. This nomination puts me on a stage where I can reach the masses and let my life be the affirmation to show you can do this. You can definitely do this! Not just say it but show it.
Where do you work? Iron Eagle Excavating LLC
What is your job title? Owner/ President
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? We recently donated equipment to assist a renovation project at Tidings of Peace Mennonite Church Private School. The schools mission is to help underprivileged children learn and grow. I value the next generation and enjoy aiding in a small part of their growth and development.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? I enjoy working with my team to complete a common goal. As well as encouraging individuals to better themselves each day, personally and professionally, while working along side them.
Any accomplishments or Awards you have received? Owning Iron Eagle Excavating and watching it grow has been a great achievement.
How did you begin your career? I found an industry I was passionate about when I was 17 and started subcontracting with other companies to gain knowledge. I hired my first employee when I was 20 and started taking on projects of my own.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? I grew up in Berks County and Harrisburg has been a great centrally located area with a lot of growth potential.
Who inspires you or motivates you? Many people have motivated me through out my professional journey. My wife has been a great encouragement since the beginning by supporting my dreams through all its challenges.
What does this nomination mean to you? I am honored to be recognized as apart of a community working toward growth and development.
Where do you work? PANO, the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations
What is your job title? Manager of Development & Membership
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? I volunteer my time with two local organizations: the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Central PA Chapter and Mental Health America (MHA) of Lancaster County. I serve on the Strategic Planning Committee for AFP Central PA where we provide training, advocacy, and professional development resources to support fundraisers in Central PA. I’m also involved with Mental Health America (MHA) of Lancaster County as a member of their Suicide Prevention Coalition. I discovered MHA by attending their Survivors of Suicide Loss Day event back in 2019. That event had a lasting positive impact on me because I was able to find connection and healing through meeting others who had a shared experience with losing a loved one to suicide. After discovering the organization and benefiting from attending the event, I decided to join the Suicide Prevention Coalition. Their mission means a lot to me because I’m passionate about lowering barriers to accessing mental health care so that all those in our community have the support they need. I believe that increasing the dialogue around mental health is critical to paving the way for a better future.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? My favorite thing about the work I do is having the opportunity to support and connect with nonprofit organizations across all of PA. I get to learn with and from professionals who are addressing issues like gun violence, hunger, and homelessness to name just a few. Through my work, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for what can be made possible through collaboration and bridge building. I’m inspired by the passion, drive, and tenacity that nonprofit professionals show and I’m passionate about amplifying their voices and supporting them through the challenges of running and growing their organizations.
How did you begin your career? I began my career working with the older adult population through in-home health care. I later pivoted to the nonprofit space through an internship at a nonprofit senior community center, where I later was hired on full time as the Executive Director. After realizing I wanted to scale my skills and jump into macro-level work, I joined the team here at PANO where I’ve been able to grow my knowledge in nonprofit management and development work.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? I was born in the Philippines and I moved here with my family in 2001 at the age of four. I’ve grown up in the area and have worked in Harrisburg for almost the entirety of my career. I believe the Central PA community is bursting with potential especially as Harrisburg continues to grow and develop its young leaders.
Who inspires you or motivates you? I’m inspired by my colleague, Tish Mogan, because she makes a lasting positive impact on almost everyone she meets. Tish embodies the idea of servant leadership and commitment to helping others. I admire her for her generosity, wisdom, and humor.
What does this nomination mean to you? It is such an honor to be recognized among this talented group of young leaders. I’m inspired by the work that this group is doing and the way these individuals show up for the Harrisburg community. As a first generation Filipino-American immigrant, I am truly humbled to be receiving this nomination. As I reflect on what it means to me, I think of the sacrifices my family made for me to have the opportunities that I have in this country. I’m incredibly grateful to all my family, friends, and colleagues who have mentored and lifted me up throughout my career thus far.
Where do you work? The Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC)
What is your job title? Scholarship Coordinator
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? While I do not consistently volunteer with one organization in the area, I don’t want to underestimate the importance of being vocal about the causes I’m passionate about. If I’ve learned anything from working at a community foundation, it’s that there are so many kind and ambitious people in this area doing incredibly important work. Personally, I’m passionate about mission of the LGBT Center of Central PA, The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV), Keystone Business Alliance, Central PA’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? In the role of Scholarship Coordinator, I have the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of community members, including students, school counselors and career advisors, business owners generous fund holders. I love that I am able connect these individuals to the resources they need to reach their goals, be that attaining higher education as a student or supporting local young people as community member.
Any accomplishments or Awards you have received?
- Emerging Philanthropist Program – class of 2020
- Leadership Harrisburg Area – 2021 Class
- Member of Toastmasters International – Level One of the Visionary Communication Pathway
How did you begin your career? I started as the Scholarship Associate at TFEC in 2016 and was able to grow in to a more leadership position here. While I have a degree in Chemistry, my experience at IUP and being in leadership roles in campus organizations and volunteering in the Indiana community, gave me the insight to know that nonprofits and helping people is my passion.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? Yes – I graduated from West Perry School District and moved to the East Shore after college. Central PA is my home. I am continuously learning about new events, activities, restaurants, music venues, and more. I love all the possibilities for new experiences and the comfort of having my friends and family near by.
Who inspires you or motivates you? I am frequently inspired by the people around me. Nearly everyone I meet has a quality I admire: qualities I’d like to cultivate within myself or behaviors and habits I’m so happy others bring to a group. Over the years, the people who inspire me the most embody a quotation by Marianne Williamson that I think of quite often – “As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” I am inspired by people who navigate the world with a calm confidence about them. It’s a difficult place to get to – To be willing to show up authentically when so often we face pressures to change in ways that will make others more comfortable. The people in my life who “let their light shine” motivate me to share the things I’m passionate about, be honest about my goals and struggles, and to embrace the power in what makes me unique.
What does this nomination mean to you? I was nominated by a friend and coworker who also grew up in Central PA. We’ve only worked together for a few years and I thought it was very sweet that she wanted to highlight the work I’ve had the opportunity to do at TFEC over the last five years. I’m so incredibly grateful to have started my career at TFEC and to continue to have the chance to grow here both personally and professionally. This nomination gave me the chance to reflect on my time. TFEC has been around for over 100 years, and I love that I get to be a small part of that story. I’m hopeful that my path shows the impact you can have when staying at an organization for a period of time.
Bradley D. Wainwright
Where do you work? Urban Revolution Marketing & Branding LLC
What is your job title? CEO
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? Giving back to the minority community!
How did you begin your career? I started my agency 1 year ago.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? Yes, I am born and raised in Harrisburg, and plan to stay in Harrisburg!
Who inspires you or motivates you? My family motivates me! Their support through everything that I accomplish, makes me want to continue fighting for them.
What does this nomination mean to you? This nomination means that my work gets noticed and that we can shine light on the need to support the minority communities of Harrisburg, Pa.
Where do you work? PA House of Representatives
What is your job title? Research Analyst
Do you volunteer your spare time with any nonprofit organizations? If yes, who? What does this non-profit mean to you? I volunteer with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and with my Church Community Evangelical Free Church of Harrisburg. While my contributions to these organizations are small, I believe that they are still impactful. For the food bank, I’ve helped pack boxes of food for distribution. While that in itself is not a major contribution, I know that because of my efforts, that more families will receive the supplies they need than if I did not. With my church, I help broadcast Sunday service, live, to our congregation on the internet. Again while this is a small task, I know that I am helping some of the more vulnerable in our congregation stay safe during COVID while still being able to enjoy Sunday Service. These organizations represent an opportunity for me to convert my spare time into something that will help someone else multiple times over. Whether I spend just a little time packing boxes or broadcasting service, I am happy knowing that my time made a meaningful impact in someone’s life, and I believe that that is huge.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do? At work, I am responsible for writing the bills that may one day become laws. What I love about this is that these bills/ laws that I write, can touch the lives of every Pennsylvanian. Being involved in that process gives me an opportunity to shape and guide bills through the process to ensure that it benefits as many people as possible.
How did you begin your career? I began my career with an internship at my local Representative’s office. My role often dealt with hearing concerns and issues directly from the constituents in my area. It was here where I fell in love with the idea that my work could benefit another person and so I continued to pursue a life as a public servant.
Are you from the Harrisburg Region? Why are you planting your roots in Central PA? I am originally from the Pittsburgh region, and I moved to Harrisburg to continue my career. However, I am planting roots here in Harrisburg because it is such a small but diverse city with enormous potential. This coupled with the city’s vibrant culture and neighborly communities provide me with an excellent place to start a family.
Who inspires you or motivates you? My wife, Olivia Rindfuss, inspires and motivates me to be a better: public servant, volunteer, citizen, husband, and man every day by supporting me and giving me encouraging me to do all I can.
What does this nomination mean to you? I am humbled by this nomination and it is my hope that this will serve as a beacon for Harrisburg to encourage others to come to this city to volunteer, start a business, or plant some roots.
Honorees are featured in the October Print Issue of TheBurg.