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20 Under 40

Being young has its benefits. A pulse on new trends. Big hopes and dreams. Endless amounts of energy and enthusiasm.

“We live in a global society with change and innovation all around, and only through a willingness to try to think and be different can we truly evolve,” says Susan Bartel, dean of the School of Organizational Leadership and Strategic Communication at Stephens College. “This [is a group of] effective multitaskers with a focus on getting the job done more than counting hours.”

With a record-breaking number of nominations, we’ve selected 20 rock stars on the Columbia business scene — all under the age of 40 — who exemplify a desire to grow professionally and personally and help Columbia grow, too. Congratulations, class of 2014!

Name: Izzy Leatherman

Age: 29

Occupation: HR manager at CNW Management LLC

“Utilize your connections and resources. Never be afraid to call someone and ask. If other people have the knowledge and expertise, use it.”

Name: Andrea Benna

Age: 31

Occupation: Assistant director of compliance for the University of Missouri Department of Intercollegiate Athletics

“Athletics can be exciting but also high stress. I’ve had to learn how to always carve out some ‘me’ time, even at my busiest times and with looming deadlines, so I can make sure I’m always at my best.”

Name: Amanda Signaigo-Owens

Age: 32

Occupation: Owner of Tiger Family Chiropractic

“If I weren’t working where I am, I would still be a chiropractor — but I would probably be on the beach, trading adjustments for coconuts.”

Name: Rachel Holman

Age: 31

Occupation: CEO of Les Bourgeois Vineyards

“In my work environment, I’m pulled in a lot of different directions. Being able to change with that has served me well.”

Name: Sean Siebert

Age: 37

Occupation: Founder and CEO of Invent Yourself LLC

“I was a challenging student growing up because I thought outside the box. I challenge people to step out of their comfort zones to be the person they were created to be.”

Name: Beau Aero

Age: 33

Occupation: President of Columbia Safety & Industrial Supply

“My most significant accomplishment has been founding our company’s not-for-profit organization, the”

Name: Monica Pitts

Age: 33

Occupation: Chief creative director of MayeCreate Design

“Being a leader doesn’t always mean everyone is going to like you or the decisions you make. But no one wants to follow a leader who can’t stand up for what’s right or make a decision.”

Name: Brian Cunningham

Age: 26

Occupation: Business development coordinator at Moresource Inc.

“I feel like I’m still growing up, but like any other kid, I wanted to be an astronaut, cowboy and president.”

Name: Matt Kitzi

Age: 39

Occupation: Partner at Armstrong Teasdale LLP

“I have endeavored to establish Armstrong Teasdale as the first and most prominent large law firm to engage Columbia’s growing business community with actual ‘boots on the ground.’”

Name: Joel Sager

Age: 33

Occupation: Owner of Joel Sager Fine Art and PS Gallery

“I always surround myself with people whose opinions I respect and admire.”

Name: Caleb Rowden

Age: 31

Occupation: Missouri state representative

“Make anything you do about people and relationships. Successes are shallow and short-lived without people to celebrate with you.”

Name: Katelyn Jones

Age: 25

Occupation: Vice president of business development for 3 Interactive

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without hard work and perseverance. In any sales or business development role, you can’t take no for an answer. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing hard work pay off.”

Name: Jennifer Bukowsky

Age: 36

Occupation: Founding attorney at Bukowsky Law Firm

“I got the first acquittal on a Boone County murder in 47 years last year. And stay tuned for big things in my pro bono innocence work in 2014.”

Name: Peter Stiepleman

Age: 38

Occupation: Assistant superintendent of Columbia Public Schools

“I wanted to do something that was creative, unpredictable, reform oriented and geared toward making the world a better place. I definitely landed in the right job.”

Name: John Meyer

Age: 33

Occupation: EVP of customer experience with Veterans United

“Just being a part of Veterans United through our growth phase has been an amazing experience. Just being able to keep up with all the great people around me is accomplishment enough.”

Name: Emily Holdman

Age: 26

Occupation: Co-founder of The Remarkables

“My most significant accomplishment has been surrounding myself with people who are smarter than me.”

Name: Dale Wright

Age: 37

Occupation: Executive director for advancement at the Trulaske College of Business

“My most significant accomplishment has been having the opportunity to lead the fundraising efforts for one of the nation’s top business schools and to directly work with donors who are creating wonderful applied experiences for future business leaders.”

Name: Kari Laudano

Age: 30

Occupation: Owner and project manager of Logistique Studio

“Recognize your shortcomings, and seek assistance from others. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your success.”

Name: Lily Dawson

Age: 27

Occupation: Owner and designer at Lily Dawson Designs

“Once I jumped into this business full time, I was able to really devote the time necessary to make it what it is today.”

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