Green: 40 Under 40 Recognition a Huge Opportunity

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Everyone likes to win. Hell, if I don’t think I have the slightest chance of winning, then I won’t play the game in the first place. When I was informed that I was a nominee for the Young Professionals Initiative 40 Under 40 Awards, I was surprised by this gracious gesture…Until my competitive streak took over. And that, right there, is part of what unites my fellow honorees and me, who were selected to be in the Class of 2017.

Looking around the room at the announcement party last month, I took note of the people being recognized. I heard about how they’re making a difference in their careers and in the community. We are a diverse group across a wide array of industries, but below the surface we have a lot in common — the desire to win being one of them.

That doesn’t just mean public accolades, it can be everything from profit for their business and setting new standards in their particular field, to helping a child reach their educational potential, or successfully promoting the arts in NWLA. But the awards are an outward acknowledgement of that desire to win and commitment.

Speaking of common traits, I’d like offer other young professionals out there one piece of advice the 40 under 40 honorees would probably all agree with: Embrace the grind.

Yes, the desire to win and commitment is vital to success. But in my opinion, where you separate the wheat from the chaff is in those hours where you are working at nights, on a weekend, or a time where everyone else is off playing. In those moments, learn to lean into the work. Don’t get mad at your lot in life, don’t get discouraged about “missing out.” It’s these times where you are making the difference to build a better career, or even life, for yourself. There will always be another mountain to climb in your career, so you need to know that your effort is an investment and just flat out love your work. Be grateful for the opportunity you’ve been given — you can change the world, or at least your corner of it.

Knowing what this Class can accomplish and the intangibles we have within us, being publicly recognized gives us a huge stage. As our country seems more and more divided by the day, and as Shreveport-Bossier seeks a way forward in uncertain economic times, we have eyes on us to illustrate to the world at large that we can indeed unite and make good on our promise to improve our twin cities.

As the next generation of leaders, we have a huge responsibility. Seeing who is there to take up the baton, I feel very optimistic about where we are headed. I look forward to getting to better know my fellow honorees. I am eager to play my part in helping them accomplish their goals.

So thank you to YPI for this honor. I don’t feel deserving but I will embrace it and use it to help my city succeed, to help our businesses grow, to advise the next wave coming up after me, and improve this community.

And if you’re not a member of YPI, visit www.shreveportchamber.org/young-professionals-initiative.html and sign up. You’ll find a group of committed young people who want to make a difference. We would love to have you help us in that mission.

Sean Green is Publisher of BIZ. Magazine