Young Leaders in Long Beach to be Celebrated Tomorrow Night
Looking to celebrate young adults and their accomplishments in Long Beach, the Long Beach Post is celebrating “40 Under 40” tomorrow night. Taking place at the Hotel Maya in downtown Long Beach at 6:00pm, the winners will be honored and presented with their award by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. The event is open to the public and will feature appetizers and dinner, cocktails, a live DJ, dancing, entertainment and a chance to recognize these winners as leaders in our community.
According to the Long Beach Post, the 40 under 40 were, after an open nomination process earlier this month, selected by a panel of esteemed judges from various sectors of the community, including leaders in business, education, the arts, the LGBTQ community and the non-profit sector from a list of hundreds. 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).
The attendees are very excited about having their efforts being recognized. In speaking with a few of them, it is clear that they are proud about their work and hope to continue working for the betterment of Long Beach. “It’s truly an honor to be acknowledged for my efforts to aid those struggling with severe mental health issues,” said Docton, continuing, “Within this city, I’ve built up a non-profit that has aided in the recovery of over 23,000 people – a feat that took much community effort.” “I am flattered and honored to be considered one of the 40 under 40! I was really surprised to be chosen and I am thrilled to be able to join the festivities,” said Sufrin. “I feel very honored and ecstatic,” said Volkoff. “For me, this is a big accomplishment and I am so very grateful to be representing Long Beach and the Jewish community for my award. For me, this is just the beginning to a life-long career of giving back and I can’t want to see what my future has in store.”
For one example of what these young people are already accomplishing, Docton shows that it’s possible to help other young people:
My most proud accomplishment came from the combination of making a major advance in my own mental health, while also aiding another in theirs. I had the great pleasure of being invited to speak at PAX Prime in Seattle – a 70,000-person annual gaming conference. As someone who has battled Agoraphobia, the fear of leaving home, flying out to Seattle was my first time I ventured outside of my safe zone in over 5 years. It is there that I met with an individual after my panel that was deeply in need of care, who had self-treated their depression for many years, and who had expressed the desire to commit suicide if no relief was to come soon. Thankfully, in overcoming my personal battles, I was able to help them begin their journey towards recovery – a journey they’re making great progress in and no longer thinking of self-harming.
Sufrin’s work is helping young people in developing their identity and her pride shines through:
I am very proud of my work on behalf of the Jewish community here in long beach. I have a real passion for Jewish tradition and history and I am grateful to be able to share that passion with the local community. My favorite part of what I do is creating Jewish experiences for college students and young adults. When I see a spark of excitement in their eyes, it makes all the hard work worth it!
Each of these three are, like many (if not all) of the other honorees in that they aspire to continue doing great work in building up the community around them. “With this great recognition, I’d like to continue championing mental health and empowering others within the city to aid in the recovery of others. Anxiety Gaming and myself would like to continue finding platforms to speak about our cause, find a permanent office to grow in, and work directly with the community to save the lives of the young minds we see each day,” said Docton. “I hope this achievement will open up more opportunities to engage with the larger Long Beach community in order to share the wonderful, rich Jewish heritage that I love,” said Sufrin. “I’m currently attending a leadership program with the Alpert Jewish Community Center and my hope is that I will be able to meet other like-minded leaders in our community who want to help build a better society. At the end of the day, I want to make sure kids don’t have the struggle like I did growing up,” noted Volkoff.
According to the Brown Paper Tickets page (where you can purchase tickets to the event), here is what attendees can expect at the event:
Guests can look forward to a made-to-order taco station, featuring your choice of cilantro-garlic skirt steak or tequila-lime chicken, served with warm corn and flour tortillas, queso fresco, salsa fresca and salsa verde. Hors doeuvres will also be served to satiate any lingering appetite.
A limited supply of complimentary house margaritas will be provided, while two cash bars will be available for those with a thirst for other libations. Outside alcohol and beverages are prohibited.
Live tunage from local DJ Carlos Zavala will set the tone of the evening with a quintessential mix of music, while the Happy Snapp photo booth will be on hand to help guests snap the night away in style.
Complimentary parking will be available.
For up-to-date information, you can also check the Facebook event page.