20 In Their 20s
There’s a lot we can learn from the younger set. That’s why every year, Utah Business awards those twenty somethings who are paving the way as the next generation of business owners, entrepreneurs, and go-getters. Let’s meet this years’ 20 in their 20s picks.
AJ Herold, 26|Digital Marketing Director | Oz Marketing
AJ Herold went from being a savvy car salesman to managing hundreds of thousands of dollars in digital advertising by teaching himself, building his trade, and thinking out of the box. “I am constantly pushing the envelope,” says Mr. Herold, and he is. His strategies have had a major impact at Oz Marketing during his short time as the digital marketing director, including the creation of their social media marketing strategy, which was nonexistent three years ago but now sustains its own department. “Do the things everyone else won’t,” he advises. “With enough patience and dedication, you can solve any problem.”
Allison Brown, 25 |Public Relations Manager | Kodiak Cakes
When Allison Brown first began her career at Kodiak Cakes in 2016, she contemplated quitting. Fresh out of Ohio State University, she was met with plenty of questions and challenges, and felt as if none of her ideas were good enough. Almost two and a half years later, she’s the public relations manager at Kodiak Cakes and couldn’t be more passionate about what she does. Leading their public relations team, Ms. Brown’s innovative marketing tactics have lead to recognition in publications like Forbes and Inc. Magazine. Additionally, her ability to single-handedly plan and execute events has seen more return on investment than any efforts Kodiak Cakes has made in the past. “I tell myself to trust my gut and continue taking chances,” she says. “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
Angela Stander-Ito, 29 | Opioid Prevention Coordinator | Utah Department of Health
Angela Stander-Ito’s career in public health started when she was a little girl, as she started coloring “no smoking” signs and taping them strategically in the trucks of her father’s construction company. Now, all grown up and at the Utah State Department of Health, she helps facilitate and organize opioid prevention efforts across the state, including releasing the first “Stop the Opidemic” campaign. Ms. Stander-Ito strives to spread public awareness of the opioid epidemic, and is working on her Master’s of Social Work. “I am most happy about giving people a voice and helping them to advocate,” she says. Not only does Ms. Stander-Ito strive to stay on top of the prevention of opioid abuse, but to help on the intervention, treatment, and direct care service fronts as well
Axel D. Luna, 23 |Partner & Financial Advisor | New York Life
If Axel D. Luna could go back in time and give his younger self a bit of advice, it would be: “Fail fast. We learn from failure, so the faster I could fail, the faster I could get better.” Entering New York Life at the age of 20, he became the youngest agent in the company to achieve membership in the coveted Executive Council―the top 15 percent of agents―at only 21 years old. He currently holds three of 12 records in Utah within the firm for the number of clients he’s helped, acquiring approximately 400 clients in the four years since he started his career. Mr. Luna plans on continuing his work with New York Life, focusing specifically on the hispanic and Spanish-speaking community. “This is a community that has been overlooked for many years,” says Mr. Luna. “There is so much need out in the community.”
Briana Carr Barker, 28 | Jazz Broadcasting Executive Producer of Content | Utah Jazz
Briana Carr Barker began her career with the Utah Jazz while still attending Brigham Young University, shadowing various positions as a student before moving on to positions with FOX NFL and KTVB. It wasn’t until 2016 that she returned to the Utah Jazz as a producer, and now she can’t imagine being anywhere else. As the Jazz broadcasting executive producer of content, Ms. Carr Barker is eager to welcome the challenges and responsibilities presented before her. In the future, Ms. Carr Barker sees herself taking on additional roles with the Jazz, and one day hopes to be one of its top executive leaders. “I want the Utah Jazz to be the most tech-savvy team in the NBA,” she says, “while also retaining their title as the most generous to our very supportive community.”
Denise Cartwright, 29 | Founder & CEO | CRUDE Personal Care
When Denise Cartwright thinks about her success, she’s most proud of her contribution to helping alleviate America’s inflammatory skin disease problems. A master esthetician of 10+ years as well as the founder and CEO at CRUDE Personal Care, Ms. Cartwright has always been one to dream big. As she developed CRUDE in her kitchen after an experiment with oil-cleansing, within six months she was able to help more people heal their acne with her oil product than she had in six years as an esthetician using the most cutting edge products. Now, five years later, she is following her passion and has helped thousands of customers around the world. “Do the things that make you feel alive,” she advises. “If you hate doing it, it’s not your job.”
Jessica Perry, 24 | Director of Payroll Operations | AmCheck, an iSolved HCM Company
Jessica Perry began her career with AmCheck when she was only 17 years old with no professional work experience. But at 20, she became one of the youngest people in the country to obtain her Fundamental Payroll Professional designation. Now, at 24, Ms. Perry manages the day-to-day operations of internal staff, including creating processes and protocols from the ground up. Her creation of the new client on boarding process has even increased client retention from 94 percent to 98.98 percent. “I am most proud of being such an integral part of a business’s growth,” she says. “It makes me proud to watch our staff grow.”
Kelsey Price, 27 | Strategic Communications Manager | Utah Science & Technology Research Initiative (USTAR)
With more than eight years of experience working in digital media and communications, Kelsey Price, a former Utah National Guard member, is a pro at successful content strategy. Working previously as the marketing director at the World Trade Center Utah, she lead the highest digital engagement rate of all 320 World Trade Center organizations. Now, as the strategic communications manager at USTAR, she has nearly doubled their social media following. Moving forward, Ms. Price hopes to attend grad school and apply her background in Middle Eastern studies to business consulting, using the skills she learned from WTC Utah and USTAR toward building diplomatic and foreign policy bridges at the intersection of government and business.
Kimberlee Carlile, 27 |Director of Talent Ready Utah | Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development
“Bringing industry and education together to fill our talent pipeline in Utah has been one of the most rewarding experiences,” says Kimberlee Carlile, the director at Talent Ready Utah. And helping students feel empowered has been a passion of hers since graduating from Utah Valley University. Her vision for pathway programs has lead to her spearheading many government initiatives, including facilitating the Utah Diesel Tech Pathways program, the Utah Medical Innovations Pathways program, and the Utah Tech Pathways program. She is also playing a critical role in Governor Herbert’s designation of 2018 as the “Year of Technical Education.” “When I look back at my education, I’m very appreciative of the experiences I was able to have,” says Ms. Carlile. “I am thrilled to help work with educators to provide those same opportunities to students today.”
Kwamane O. Harris, 27 |Education Manager | Planned Parenthood Association of Utah
Kwamane O. Harris has dedicated himself to youth development and youth leadership. While still relatively new to the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, he has already started an internship program and plans to integrate a mock legislative hearing component for the Teen Council Peer Education program. He has also initiated contact with the juvenile justice community to develop partnerships that allow educators to reach a critical population with life-saving sex education. Active in diversity training, Mr. Harris attends the national conference for people of color in Planned Parenthood and hopes to establish an internal diversity work group here in Utah. Mr. Harris hopes to continue his work with youth development into the future, and is currently writing a book titled Pushing the Generations Forward.
Landon Ainge, 29 | Associate | Kickstart Seed Fund
Landon Ainge excels because of his drive and desire to learn, and at only 29, he has gathered many diverse skills and achievements. From solely sourcing a $30 million acquisition with Savage Services, to winning an Appy Award for the best retail app of 2018 while working with Overstock.com, Mr. Ainge attributes his success to the diversity of his knowledge. Now, he is able to balance the two worlds he loves most as both an investor and an operator with Kickstart Seed Fund, sitting as a board member for multiple portfolio companies. In the future, Mr. Ainge hopes to be involved with startups, but knows that the future may have other plans in store for him. “It’s okay to not know what you are going to do with your life,” he says, “but go in a chosen direction as if you are going to follow it forever.”
Lisa Fowler, 29 | Marketing Director | Clearlink
Lisa Fowler entered Clearlink as an intern, and now, eight years later, serves as their accomplished marketing director. Since entering the role, she has taken the marketing department by storm, innovating marketing tactics that have resulted in over $2.5 million in revenue. But at the beginning of her career, she had started down a different path. Initially pushed by a colleague to pursue this path at Clearlink, now she has never felt more engaged or fulfilled. “Say yes to the things that make you feel scared,” she advises. “Nothing but positive things have come from me intentionally pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.”
Nicholas Marsh, CFP, 27 | Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch
Formerly a semi-pro football player for the Brooklyn Bolts, Nicholas Marsh, CFP, has a unique personality in the finance industry: he is approachable, genuine, and likeable. In an industry where many are cold, technical, and aloof, it’s helped him build relationships and pursue his passion for helping people. “If I could have started helping others early, I’d be doing even better,” says Mr. Marsh, and he plans to continue doing everything he can to help others moving forward. Mr. Marsh currently serves his community by sitting on the boards of the University of Utah School of Business, the University of Utah Young Alumni Board, as well as the education chair of the Salt Lake City Rotary Club, and as a youth football coach.
PJ Howland, 28 | Enterprise Campaign Manager | 97th Floor
PJ Howland is a young professional with plenty of vision. Starting four years ago with 97th Floor as a digital marketer on small accounts, it took him only four years to become the enterprise campaign manager, where he now oversees his own team of marketers, writers, and designers. He is focused on his future, expanding his roles and responsibilities as the company grows. Mr. Howland continues to challenge himself in his personal life as well. “I’ve lost over 60 pounds in the past three years, completed an ultra marathon, and renegotiated my relationship with food,” he says. “Passion for work is an obvious skill a successful person has, but I believe that passion for the rest of your life gives you greater passion for work.”
Renae C. Cowley, 29 | Lobbyist | Foxley & Pignanelli
Professional barrel racer and former Miss Rodeo Utah, Renae C. Cowley has a unique combination of skills that have catapulted her into the hierarchy of Utah’s top lobbyists. Previously managing political campaigns, teams of interns, and statewide Super PAC races, Ms. Cowley now lobbies on legislation dealing with drones, autonomous vehicles, digital privacy, and Government Records Access Management. And she has a talent for putting her clients at ease. “Being one of very few women in my industry has been a challenge that I have turned into a strength,” she says. “I can be firm and tenacious in fighting for my clients in a way many men can’t.” Outside of lobbying, Ms. Cowley has a large following on social media and her blog for rodeo action and horse training.
Stuart Derman, 27 | Senior Marketing Manager | Blue Raven Solar
Cofounder & Executive Director | Wasatch Mountain Arts
“I’m not sure I’d consider myself successful just yet,” says Stuart Derman, senior marketing manager at Blue Raven Solar. “There is a lot of distance between my current position and the lofty goals that I set for myself.” But at only 27, Mr. Derman has already achieved so much. A graduate of the University of Utah’s Parks, Recreation, and Tourism program, he is also the cofounder and executive director of Wasatch Mountain Arts, a nonprofit organization devoted to reconnecting people with the outdoors through film and events. Featuring 70+ adventure and environmental films over the first week of April, they are an entirely volunteer run organization. “This is a passion project,” Mr. Derman explains. “I want to make my own little dent in the universe.”
Sufhan Majid, 28 |Accounting & Finance Project Manager | Zions Bancorporation
When asked to describe himself, Sufhan Majid, accounting and finance project manager at Zions Bancorporation, says “I am Angela from The Office.” A certified public accountant and senior class president of the graduate banking program at Pacific Coast Banking School, Mr. Majid has served in many different roles across the bank since he started eight years ago. But he is excited to welcome change and growth in his career. Outside of work, Mr. Majid enjoys giving back to his community and is involved with the Young Leader Steering Committee for United Way, as well the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah. Mr. Majid was also nominated in 2018 to attend Harvard Business School for the Young American Leader Program as one of ten city representatives.
Tucker Stoffers, 29 | President| Adduco Media
Tucker Stoffers has always enjoyed building business from the ground up and it started with selling sporting goods online. As he began building his own website and then consulting with others as they started their own businesses, Mr. Stoffers felt like he found his niche. And in 2014, he accepted the director of business development role at Adduco Media as one of their first employees. Four years later, he was named president. “I’m proud of the fact that, when I look back, there are no significant changes I would make,” he says. Under Mr. Stoffers’ presidency, Adduco Media was named a 2018 Utah Business Emerging 8 honoree, and he hopes to continue their success into the Utah Business Fast 50 program.
Zach Johnson, 24 | Cofounder & Chief of Product | WorkSumo
Founding a company is tough, but using that company to help those who are likely to fall off the economic ladder is an exceptional feat. Zach Johnson cofounded WorkSumo less than two years ago and already he has a goal of helping put 100,000 homeless, refugee, and unemployed people to work over the next five years throughout the Salt Lake-Provo metropolitan area. With the on-demand employment platform, Mr. Johnson and his team are helping to remedy a significant issue in the employment space, helping those in need find the work to help themselves. In the future, Mr. Johnson intends to continue his work by helping other entrepreneurs and hopes to get into the nonprofit space.
Zack Shutt, 29 | Founder & Chief Marketing Officer | Xidax PCs
“When we started Xidax, we had a little bit of a chip on our shoulder,” says Zack Shutt, founder and chief marketing officer of Xidax PCs. “Come to think of it, we still do.” After six years, Mr. Shutt and his team of dedicated, nerdy, passionate gamers have worked insanely hard to eclipse competition in the Salt Lake Valley, taking the business from $0 to $10 million in yearly revenue. In an industry where thin margins are typical, Mr. Shutt’s innovation has taken Xidax PCs to become an internationally recognized brand. Mr. Shutt plans to continue business in the gaming space, starting new companies and inspiring other nerds to follow their passions. “Be confident and your worth and your skills; you’re stronger than you think,” he says. “And stop worrying about your age so much. It’s all good, man.”