BY NAOMI KOWLES
For the Star Journal
Forward Rhinelander has launched a new initiative designed to recognize young professionals who are making a difference in Rhinelander through their communities or careers. Everyone is encouraged to submit nominations via the Forward Rhinelander website for young adults, aged 39 or under, “who are doing the most to influence the area for good.”
Artstart Development Director and Forward Rhinelander member Melinda Childs explained, “There’s been a lot of conversation around ‘How do we get younger people to stay in Rhinelander or move to Rhinelander?’ For us, it’s twofold.”
Part of the equation, she said, was to make the community a place where people wanted to stay and come back to. Secondly, she said it was important to support, honor and appreciate the young people who are here now.
Childs said they drew inspiration from Wausau’s 20 under 40 event. Sponsored by United Way, 20 under 40 was started by the Wausau Daily Herald in 2013 and has continued through each subsequent year. Wausau’s 2017 honorees ranged in age from 28 to 39, representing leadership and philanthropic positions across a spectrum of fields.
A panel of community members outside of the Forward Rhinelander organization will be selected to judge the nominations, Childs said, using a rating system based on business success, mentor/leadership, and civic/philanthropic activities.
“An independent panel of community leaders should negate any preferential treatment or bias,” she noted. Forward Rhinelander wants to recognize a diverse group of people from various backgrounds and vocations for the final 10 nominees.
Forward Rhinelander is accepting nominations through March 31 for young adults 39 or under who live or work within the school district of Rhinelander. To submit a nomination, visit the Forward Rhinelander website. The final selection of honorees will be celebrated at the Business After Five event at Rocky’s Roadhouse on May 16.