An acquaintance asked me why his nominee wasn’t selected for this year’s class of 40 Under 40 honorees, and I sent him a cellphone photo of the inches-thick binder of nominees from which our internal committee was forced to choose. It is not an easy task, nor have I ever been confident that we hadn’t overlooked nominees at least as accomplished as the final list.
I am confident that this 26th class — the 20th I’ve had a hand in selecting — will have its intended effect: You will meet 40 impressive young business and community leaders who will give you confidence that our state will be in good hands for decades to come.
When committee members dig into the binders full of women and men, we are looking for professional accomplishments and community service. We are also looking for the potential to do great things in the future. We keep in mind that Arkansas is much more than just the Little Rock and Fayetteville MSAs, even though more nominees come from the places where more people live. In these pages, you’ll see plenty of people from central and northwest Arkansas, but you’ll also see the kind of talent being plied in Magnolia, Mountain Home, Morrilton and Marianna — and a few other places that don’t start with “M.”
We also look for a variety of industries, and we look for diversity in gender and race — which has become easier than it was in the early years of this project. Above all, we look for leadership, that elusive character trait that never grows old and will never go out of style.
A luncheon recognizing this year’s honorees will be held at the Embassy Suites in west Little Rock on Wednesday, June 19. The luncheon is open to those of us who never made the cut. For more details, go to ArkansasBusiness.com/40Lunch.