Jaron Chasca (left)

Jaron Chasca (left)

Vernon’s top young professionals honoured

Top 20 Under 40 program aimed at recognizing the area’s top young professionals and community builders

As a labour shortage continues to loom on the horizon, efforts are being made to seek out the leaders of tomorrow and recognize them today.

KPMG and the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to present the Top 20 Under 40 program, aimed at recognizing the area’s top young professionals and community builders.

The new program, which is the first of its kind locally, is currently accepting nominations, but only until Sept. 4. Anyone living in Greater Vernon who is excelling in their career, is passionate about the community, helping to raise the profile of our area and will be under 40 as of Dec. 31, 2015 qualifies.

“It’s an opportunity for us to jointly, and I think as a community, recognize those exceptional youth,” said Dan Rogers, chamber general manager.

Entrepreneurs, executives, those in the private or non-profit sector and just any youth who is making a mark on the region can be nominated at www.20under40vernon.ca.

“We’ve already received a few,” said Rogers, who suspects there will be much more than 20 nominations for judges to choose from.

Along with providing a venue to promote our own local youth, the program aims to identify the potential leaders of tomorrow.

“There is a bigger issue here, we have labour force challenges,” said Rogers.

While the Greater Vernon Chamber is piloting the program locally, the goal is to expand to other regional chambers and keep the initiative going.

“We do need these young professionals to keep our community growing and moving forward,” said Jaron Chasca, chamber president.

Murray Smith, KMPG partner, adds: “It’s definitely coming through as the baby boomers start to retire.”

As a major local employer, KPMG is pleased to partner in the initiative.

“It’s that next wave of leaders that we’re trying to promote,” said Smith.

While entrepreneurs who have successfully started up their own business are one area of potential candidates, Smith points to those who are also making an impact within larger companies.

“There might be other people at the Kal Tires and Tolkos who have moved up the ranks.”

Rogers also uses the many JCI members as an example.

“It’s not just what they are doing from 9 to 5 but what they are doing in their community.”

The nominees will be announced, in groups of five, starting Sept. 22 and featured on the website.

The recipients will also be honoured at a special recognition event on Oct. 22 during Small Business Week.

Supporters of the program include Community Futures of North Okanagan, Sun FM and The Morning Star.