40 Young Leaders in Long Beach Are Celebrated

Long Beach Post publisher, Cindy Allen, kicked off the evening, welcoming those in attendance

Long Beach Post publisher, Cindy Allen, kicked off the evening, welcoming those in attendance

A celebration of young leaders in Long Beach was held this evening, with a gorgeous view of downtown Long Beach. Held at the Hotel Maya, Long Beach Post‘s 40 Under 40 event celebrated forty adults under the age of forty who are leaders in a variety of fields.  The featured guest of the evening was Mayor Dr. Robert Garcia, who had been one of the co-founders of the Long Beach Post in 2007.  While this was the third such event by the Long Beach Post, the last such event was in 2013, but it was clear that it was a good thing to have it return. “I’m so glad we could bring it back,” said Keeley Smith, executive editor of the Long Beach Post.

Mayor Dr. Robert Garcia was the featured speaker of the 40 Under 40 event

Mayor Dr. Robert Garcia was the featured speaker of the 40 Under 40 event

While there were food stations and cash bars set up for the evening, the main event was the speech by Mayor Garcia followed by the awarding of the honorees.  As it happens, Mayor Garcia was one of the co-founders of the publication in 2007, causing him to remark “In some ways, I feel like a proud dad” about where the publication is at this time.  Prior to his mayoral campaign, he had stepped down from his position as editor to focus on his campaign.  “They have made it more impressive than I imagined,” remarked Mayor Garcia, speaking of how the editorial staff has improved the publication. “Any legacy of a news organization is that you chronicle the people and events of your community,” noted Mayor Garcia, who pointed out that is what the Long Beach Post does. Moreover, Mayor Garcia highlighted what he appreciated about the publication: “What I think is unique about the Post is that it would cover traditional news, but would also look at what’s going on certain arts and progressive communities.”

Beyond speaking about the Long Beach Post and his erstwhile connection with it, Mayor Garcia also pointed out that 40 under 40 “is a great combination.” Furthermore, Mayor Garcia stated, “I want to thank all of you for your contributions to Long Beach.” Mayor Garcia stayed on-stage while each of the honorees were called up and had their pictures taken with both him and Long Beach Post Publisher Cindy Allen. Each of the honorees had just enough about them ably read off by Long Beach Police Commander Randy Allen to give the audience a sense of who they are, yet not too much to make the evening’s formal event drag on.  In all, it was a nicely-structured and tidy flow of speeches.

Each of the forty honorees had their pictures taken with Mayor Garcia and Cindy Allen, while a brief description about them was read off by Commander Randy Allen (far left). Pictured here is Deni Volkoff.

Each of the forty honorees had their pictures taken with Mayor Garcia and Cindy Allen, while a brief description about them was read off by Commander Randy Allen (far left).
Pictured here is Deni Volkoff.


It was announced at the event that each of the forty honorees would be written about in the Long Beach Post in the days to come, so that is something to check out for those interested in reading more about the honorees. The honorees are, in alphabetical order by last name: Deena Abuyounes (Community Outreach and Operations Manager, The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach), Brian Addison (Communications Manager, Downtown Long Beach Associates), Arturo Aguayo (Director of Financing, University of Southern California), Cory Allen (Chief of Staff, Office of Long Beach Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez), Samantha Argosino (Owner, The Brass Lamp Bar), LaDawn Best (Board Chair and President, The LGBTQ Center Long Beach), Jeff Boulter (President, Sir Brilliant LLC), Lisa Mae Brunson (Founder, Wonder Women Tech), Elaine Buckner (Owner, Le Bijou Boutique), Ben Camp (Director of Community Ministries, Belmont Heights United Methodist Church), Jason Docton (Director and CEO, Anxiety Gaming), Marcelle Epley (President and CEO, Long Beach Community Foundation), Jessica Foults (State Director, Best Buddies California), Katie Fraser (Co-Founder & Owner, Roe + May, LLC), Kehau Fujikami (Associate Director, Long Beach BLAST), Emily Ann Ghosh (Founding Partner & Chief Executive Pawfficer, Live Love Animal Rescue), Noel Hacegaba (Chief Commercial Officer, Port of Long Beach), Brian Hagens (CEO, Dreamdads), Jeremy Harris (Senior Vice President, Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce), Caitlin Hogan (Owner and CEO, GYM NO. 4 / Fourth Street Annex), Daryl James (Executive Director, Rebuilding Together Long Beach), Yair Katz (Chief Financial Officer, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center), John Keisler (Director, Bloomberg Innovation Team), Katie Rispoli Keaotamai (Founder and Executive Director, We Are The Next), Whitney Leathers (Executive Director, Long Beach Day Nursery), Jason Lehman (Long Beach Police Officer, Founder/President, Why’d You Stop Me), Jackie Loughery (Co-Founder & Owner, Roe + May, LLC), Sanjin Malesevic (Filmmaker), Ashton McKeown (Goalkeeper, Long Beach State Women’s Soccer; National Representative, Student Athlete Advisory Committee), Stacy R. Mungo (Fifth District Councilwoman, Long Beach City Council), Alex Naticchioni (Founder and CEO, Long Beach Jerky Company and The Wine Bar), Brenda Rivera (Director of Special Events, Lola’s Mexican Cuisine), Christine Robbins (Photographer, Willow Fields Photography), Kyle Schroeder (Co-Founder, Cremo Company), Griselda Suárez (Executive Director, Arts Council for Long Beach), ChayaLeah Sufrin (Education Director, Shul by the Shore), Maura Velasco (Chief Financial Officer, Long Beach Police Department), Deni Volkoff (Entrepreneur, Banker, and Non-Profit Board Member), Brian Walsh (Athletic Director, St. Anthony High School), and Howard Wu (Principal, Urban Commons).

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