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Top 10 Under 40

We searched Tampa to bring you 10 of the community’s brightest rising stars in business, entrepreneurship and philanthropy. These young professionals are all leaders in their fields yet still find the time to give back to their community in meaningful, impactful ways. Meet this year’s Top 10 Under 40 on the following pages, and visit tampamagazines.com/8th-annual-10-under-40 to read the full interviews.

 

Kevin Tydlaska-Dziedzic

Co-founder & CEO, BKN Creative

Hometown: Berthoud, Colorado

Alma mater: Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design

At the office: As the CEO of the boutique marketing and creative agency he co-owns with his husband, Brandon, Tydlaska-Dziedzic does a little (read: a lot) of everything. “My biggest role is to be a leader for our agency, our team, and our community,” he says. His career began at 18, when he found himself out on the street after coming out. A winding road from bank telling and community college to a management internship at Disney World and a marketing job with Whole Foods led to working in New York fashion photography and ultimately a degree in commercial photography. Tydlaska-Dziedzic and his husband then moved to Florida, eventually settling in Tampa, where BKN (an abbreviation for “Brandon and Kevin’s Network”) Creative was born in 2018. “I think it’s safe to say that my profession may have chosen me,” Tydlaska-Dziedzic says.

Giving back: Tydlaska-Dziedzic is on the board of directors of the Heart Gallery of Tampa, which helps connect local foster children to adoptive families. A former foster child himself, Tydlaska-Dziedzic first became involved as a volunteer photographer to support kids in the foster system, especially to help LGBTQ+ kids find loving homes. “As a former foster child, child of a failed adoption, and an adult who truly understands what it’s like living in foster care, joining this organization and working on behalf of the incredible kids currently living in foster care is an initiative that lives very close to my heart” Tydlaska-Dziedzic says. He is also a member of the local LGTBQ Chamber of Commerce and donated BKN Creative’s services pro bono to help the chamber rebrand last year.

My secret talent or skill is…

One of the talents I don’t share too often is that I can sing. If you dive into my social media enough, you’ll see a little hidden gem from a time when I performed in Les Miserables.

The best piece of entertainment I saw this year was… 

I recently went to [the Tampa] Lab Theatre Project’s world premiere of my friend Hector Melendez-Figueroa’s show called The Wendy House. It was directed by Owen Robertson, who I have worked with on several occasions. This show was absolutely incredible and the theatre, cast and crew were phenomenal. Seeing a friend of mine, who I have gotten to watch grow in his writing, succeed by premiering his very first play is a moment I will never forget.

Meghan Parsons

 

Meghan Parsons

Senior Marketing Manager, Lutheran Services Florida

Hometown: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Alma mater: Appalachian State University

At the office: Parsons helps Lutheran Services of Florida — which offers services including early education, youth shelters, foster care, and substance abuse mental health services — get the word out about their programs, which impact one in 50 Floridians each year, she notes. She started with the organization as a volunteer, assisting with refugee resettlement. “LSF is the only organization in the area that settles refugees and so it was an easy choice to start volunteering with them,” she says. This summer, she joined the organization full time. “When I found out LSF was looking for a Senior Marketing Manager I knew that position had to be mine.”

Giving back: Parsons still tutors refugee children in English each week through LSF. Locally, she is also on the board of the Hillsborough Arts Council, which promotes arts and culture around Tampa, and the Tampa Athletic Club, an adult rowing club for rowers of all abilities and skill levels.

When I’m not in the office, you can find me…

Rowing on the Hillsborough River with the Tampa Athletic Club (TAC). When I moved to Tampa I wanted to make new friends and be on the water. A friend of mine was into rowing, and it looked like fun, so I tried a learn-to-row class, and I was hooked.

My secret talent or skill is…

I’m a pretty good addition to a bar trivia team. I play bar trivia every Tuesday with a team made up of friends and family.

The best piece of entertainment I listened to this year was…

I love The Florida Orchestra, and it was so nice to see and hear live music again when things started opening back up after all the closures due to COVID. We are so lucky to have the largest and best orchestra in Florida here in our community!

Jay Malone

Jay Malone

Market Research Associate/Consultant, Orchid Black

Hometown: Tallahassee, FL

Alma mater: University of South Florida;

University of Tampa, MBA

At the office: In addition to running his own consulting firm, Malone also conducts market research for clients at Orchid Black. “Once I complete my internal and external research, I help my clients achieve whatever [their] goals [are], such as growth services, go-to-market strategies and capital raises by synthesizing that information in novel recommendations. I have always loved solving complex problems, and consulting has given me the opportunity to solve the most challenging problems with data-backed novel solutions.”

Giving back: Malone is a ministry leader at Tampa’s Northwest Church of Christ, where he primarily works with teenagers, guiding them through some of life’s toughest years. “Helping teens adjust their trajectory for the positive is one of the most fulfilling things that I do,” he says. Malone is also involved with Habitat for Humanity, participating both in local builds and donating pro bono marketing services to a chapter in his hometown of Tallahassee, and organizations including Junior Achievement and the Carter G. Woodson Museum in St. Petersburg.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, and who gave it to you? 

Decide the friends, mentors and leaders you want in your life, in your inner circle, and court them with emotional generosity. Make it matter. One of my mentors [told me that].

My favorite thing about Tampa is…   

The champion spirit. In Tampa, we are winners and always will be.

What is your dream vacation?

My dream vacation is for my wife and I to climb Mount Denali.

Valeria Obi

Valeria Obi

Staff Counsel, Midland Credit Management, Inc.

Hometown: Sarasota

Alma mater: Florida State University (B.S.);

Stetson University College of Law (J.D.)

At the office: With a lifetime love of reading and writing, Obi made the decision to pursue law early on in her life. “I’ve wanted to be an attorney since middle school,” Obi says. “[Then] I participated in a Law Academy program at my high school and thoroughly enjoyed it, and I decided that’s what I would focus my career on.” Today, she serves as corporate counsel for Midland Credit Management, providing the company legal advice and ensuring it remains compliant with laws and regulations governing debt collection and related activities.

Giving back: Obi is passionate about furthering the legal field and ensuring it is accessible for the next generation of students. She is the treasurer of the Hillsborough County Bar Association, president-elect of the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association, co-chair of the Pipeline Subcommittee of The Florida Bar’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and a member of the executive board of the George Edgecomb Bar Association (GEBA). She is the immediate past president of GEBA, an organization she was drawn to because of the scholarship it awards disadvantaged students. “I was one of those students in Sarasota, and if it wasn’t for my community, I wouldn’t have gotten all the scholarships I [did], which paid for my entire bachelor’s degree,” Obi says. “I felt as though I had an obligation to be a part of an organization that gave back in this way.”

When I was a child I wanted to be… 

A librarian because of how much I liked to read.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Everyone’s journey is different. Don’t compare yours to anyone else’s.

My secret talent or skill is…

I can draw.

Travis Jennings

Travis Jennings

CEO & Founder, Finance C.A.P.E.

Hometown: Hollywood, Florida

Alma mater: University of South Florida

At the office: Jennings founded Finance C.A.P.E. as a concierge that helps affluent investors plan for their long-term financial goals. “[I chose this profession] through the passion and dedication I have for helping others reach their full financial potential,” Jennings says. “People simply don’t know what they don’t know. I am happy and proud to provide that education and service to them.”

Giving back: “Since neither my wife or I work in the medical, education or emergency response fields, we made it our personal mission to serve those who stand on the front line serving others — the individuals who have a unique insight as to the greatest needs of those right here, in our own backyard,” Jennings says. As such, they’ve become deeply involved with Florida Medical Clinic’s Foundation of Caring, hosting two of the organization’s charity golf clinics and co-chairing their annual gala this year. Jennings is also a board member of TiE Tampa, where he mentors and supports up-and-coming entrepreneurs, a member of the American Cancer Society’s “CEOs Against Cancer” group and a sponsor of the Children’s Cancer Center.

When I was a child I wanted to be… An F4 Phantom fighter pilot. I got as far as serving in the U.S. Air Force, but I decided cyber systems operations were more my speed.

My secret talent or skill is… 

I am an Eagle Scout! I really enjoy working with my hands to build and create new things. In quarter 1 of 2020, I built a 16’x24’ outdoor living space, which ultimately turned into my pandemic sanctuary when we transitioned to working remotely.

What is your dream vacation?

My ultimate vacation would include my wife and children and a series of beaches throughout Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. A full month to disconnect from everything with them would be a dream come true.

Parker Homans

Parker Homans

Principal, SIXTYDESIGN

Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Alma mater: Loyola University Maryland

At the office: From simply helping a friend design their Bayshore home in 2014, Homans found his niche, grew his book of business and eventually launched SIXTYDESIGN, specializing in residential remodels. “I immediately fell in love with the process and the one-on-one relationship with clients,” he says. “We work with local contractors, architects and fabricators to bring a client’s dream to reality.”

Giving back: Homans grew up in a family that loved rescuing animals, and that has developed into his work on the Advisory Council and event steering committees at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. “My late grandmother and my parents alike always found themselves pulling over to save a dog or a cat,” he says. “Two of our dogs are products of our successful attempts at saving [them] from the streets after long chases. Rescuing and the love of a pet have been huge parts of my life since the day I was born.” Additionally, he is on the board of commissioners at the Tampa Housing Authority, the Board of Trustees at the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, the board of directors at the Tampa Bay LGBT Chamber of Commerce, is the co-chair of Equality Florida’s Tampa Gala this year and an annual member of the event’s steering committee, and is an Honorary Deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

The biggest lesson I’ve taken away from my pandemic experience is…

Life is short, and relationships are precious. Unfortunately, like many, I lost several friends to COVID-19 and wish I had been able to spend more time with them before their passing.

My secret talent or skill is…

I am fluent in Spanish!

The best piece of entertainment I watched/read/listened to this year was… 

Dolly Parton’s America, a podcast by WNYC Studios.

Ashley Bauman

Ashley Bauman

Senior Vice President, Mercury Public Affairs

Hometown: Naples, Florida

Alma mater: University of Florida

At the office: Bauman helped make Mayor Bob Buckhorn hip as the city of Tampa’s director of marketing and communications (a position she also held during the early Jane Castor administration). She says she was a news junkie from a young age. “When I was younger I was fascinated by current events — whether it be the Olympics, Iraq war, presidential elections or the death of Princess Diana, the events as they were unfolding captivated me and led me to take a more active interest in politics. “The rest is history,” she says. She recently made the switch to Mercury, a high-stakes public strategy firm. “You’ll likely find me behind the scenes advising influential leaders on communications, digital and social strategy,” Bauman says.

Giving back: Bauman is a board member of the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts and the Tampa Foundation, which helps connect artists with blank canvases (like street corners and parks) around the city. “Both GFA and the Tampa Foundation play a huge role in Tampa’s identity by enhancing not only our community by providing a vibrant backdrop to some iconic locations but offering a destination for artists to flock from around the globe.” She is also the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida’s camp CEO.

When I was a child I wanted to be… 

An astronaut. Most days I still want to be an astronaut.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, and who gave it to you? 

While putting together a chair at the Florida headquarters for the Obama campaign in 2008, Karen Thurman, a former member of Congress and chair of the Florida Democratic Party, looked at me and said, “There’s no task too small.” I’ve lived by that ever since.

The biggest lesson I’ve taken away from my pandemic experience is…

The company you keep and the community you build will help keep you sane during some of the most difficult days.

Katie Glaser

Katie Glaser

Vice President of Real Estate, Smith & Associates

Hometown: Tampa. “I am proud to be the third generation in my family from South Tampa.”

Alma mater: University of Massachusetts Boston

At the office: Glaser’s family has been in Tampa real estate for nearly 50 years, but she’s made a name for herself as part of Smith & Associates’ Stephen Gay Group. Most notably, Glaser was one of the listing agents on Derek Jeter’s $22.5 million Davis Islands mansion — the biggest residential real estate deal ever in the Tampa Bay area. “My high school and college summers were spent in the Smith & Associates office, learning the various parts of the business from accounting to marketing to title service work,” she says. “These formative years established the foundation of learning for what it takes to operate a $1 billion-plus luxury real estate agency.”

Giving back: Glaser oversees the Smith & Associates Real Estate Foundation, which has given over $1.2 million to local charities and nonprofits over the past six years. “I feel that the measure of a successful company is not just found in revenue but also by being deeply embedded in the communities we serve,” she says. She is also on the board of directors of DACCO (Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Office) Behavioral Health and is the committee chair for its annual “Night of a Thousand Thieves” event. “I have been in recovery for 11 years and was given a second chance at life, and I want to make sure everyone has an opportunity for that same chance,” she says.

When I’m not in the office, you can find me… 

At a country music concert in my cowboy boots.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, and who gave it to you? 

If you make a mistake, just be honest and come clean. You can’t fix anything you are not honest about. My real estate partner, Stephen Gay, told me this when I first got into sales, and it has held true.

The best piece of entertainment I watched/read/listened to this year was…

The TV series Yellowstone is a favorite, as it’s a family land-ownership drama series, a no-brainer for me being from a real estate-focused family.

Nicholas Glover

Nicholas Glover

Vice President of Advocacy, Tampa Bay Chamber

Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina

Alma mater: College of Charleston

At the office: With the Tampa Bay Chamber, Glover advocates for the Tampa Bay region’s economic interests, leading the chamber’s government affairs and public policy efforts. “My role represents the perfect blend of government and commerce — two functional areas I have quite a bit of experience in,” he says. “I’m passionate about figuring out the sources of problems upstream and then building coalitions and partnership to find solutions.”

Giving back: Glover is serving his second term as the chairman of the Urban League of Hillsborough County, an historic organization he helped bring back to Tampa after a long absence. He’s also on the board of directors for Metropolitan Ministries and onbikes and involved with Alpha Phi Alpha, the 100 Black Men of Tampa, the Transportation Planning Organization’s Citizens Advisory Committee, Hillsborough County’s Citizen Advisory Committee and the City of Tampa’s Citizens Budget Advisory Committee. “I try to seek opportunities to serve with organizations that know the communities they serve and/or who have completed a needs assessment to be sure that their offerings are in alignment with the community’s needs,” Glover explains.

Do you have a motto or philosophy you live by?

I don’t think I can say it any better than Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

My favorite thing about Tampa is… 

The history of each of our unique neighborhoods. Tampa is lucky to have community leaders and historians like Judge E.J. Salcines, Fred Hearns, Del Acosta, Maurice Harvey and many others to keep the stories of our neighborhoods alive.

My secret talent or skill is…

Cooking. I spent a lot of time watching my aunt, Queen, cook during summer vacations when I was younger.

Jane Alkire

Jane Alkire

Associate Director of Philanthropy, Southeastern Guide Dogs

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

Alma mater: University of South Florida

At the office: Philanthropy called so strongly to Alkire that she made it her career. “I made a few detours along the way, but when I landed my first nonprofit job with the American Heart Association, I knew I had made the right decision,” she says. Now with Southeastern Guide Dogs, she helps connect donors with a similar interest in philanthropy to the organization’s mission to provide service, guide and companion dogs to people with vision loss, veterans with disabilities and children with significant challenges. “Every day looks different for me,” Alkire says. “I might be touring a prospective donor around our beautiful campus. I might be speaking at an event. I also work on our largest fundraiser of the year, the annual Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathon. Whatever it [is], I’m doing it all with the intention of raising funds to support the financial wellbeing of our organization.”

Giving back: “[Before I found Southeastern Guide Dogs], I was looking for an organization that I could really stand behind and connect with the mission. I wanted something you could touch and feel; I wanted to be able to show my donors the fruits of their labor. I wanted something with a tangible ROI. And I think I hit the jackpot. Is there anything in the world more tangible than a puppy?”

When I was a child I wanted to be… 

An architect.

My favorite thing about Tampa is… 

The zoo! I’ve gone to Lowry Park [Editor’s note: Now ZooTampa] since I was a little girl, and now I get to take my 3-year-old there. It’s the best! And of course, our diverse food scene. Our city has the best Cuban food.

My secret talent or skill is… 

I have a black belt in tae kwon do.

The post Top 10 Under 40 appeared first on Tampa Magazine.

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#tampabaymortgage #tampbaymortgagerates #tampamortgage #tampamortgagerates, Ashley Bauman, Features, Jane Alkire, Jay Malone, Katie Glaser, Kevin Tydlaska-Dziedzic, Meghan Parsons, Nicholas Glover, Parker Homans, People, Travis Jennings, Valeria Obi

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