The Joys of Being a Rising Star

Last week - on October 8th, 2013 - I was honored at Orange County's Rising Stars event. Thirty-two young professionals between the ages of 21 and 40 were honored at the event held at Anthony's Pier 9 following nominations by a committee supported by Junior League of Orange County, NY, Orange County Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Orange. 

Rising Stars has turned out over 200 awardees to date since the inception of the event in 2005. The idea was dreamed up by then serving Junior League President, Nancy Proyect, in order to create a recognition project for emerging leaders within the community who displayed exemplary leadership in their professional and volunteer activities. 

In addition to having been a power networker at the chamber for the last 6 years—first as an employee and business to business sales person for a local manufacturer, then under the auspices of my own entrepreneurial endeavors—I have found great value and friendships in that time spent with other young professionals who each hold one another accountable at the highest levels.

Nearly 300 people were in attendance at Tuesday's ceremony. With a little detective work I managed to determine my nominator: Tiombe Tallie-Carter. Tiombe is a prominent general practice/entertainment lawyer from the city of Newburgh who is currently operating her practice there. In February 2012, following an effort by Mayor Judy Kennedy to create a collective of motivated city of Newburgh supporters known as the community action teams, I joined hands with other local business professionals—including Tiombe— to help formalize the business c.a.t.

The group landed on a common determinination in wanting to help improve commerce and promote tourism in the city of Newburgh in order to benefit the businesses who are at risk of failure due to Newburgh's persistently negative persona. The Newburgh Professional and Business Association [an almost 501(c)3] is the concerted effort of that group of individuals, myself included, dedicated to the revitalization of our great city. Modeled after the local business associations in neighboring municipalities, the NPBA which kicked off low cost membership in May 2013 holds a monthly general dinner meeting with guest speakers and holds exciting membership events all within city limits. Another of our efforts involved conducting of a survey to help decipher the issues facing city of Newburgh residents, businesses and professionals.  

Tonight (October 16th) we will hold a candidate's forum where we ask those running to address the issues expressed in the results of the survey conducted by the NPBA. I couldn't be prouder of this practicable outcome. I invite everyone to join us this evening to honor the efforts of the NPBA and its board of directors (myself included) for their hard work and persistence, and put these candidates on the platform for real change. 

Pieces of our business plan are helping us outline who are partners in the city are so that we can be good neighbors and fill niches that are not already being filled. Working side-by-side with Tiombe—our board President— I have learned so much about myself and the impact that can come from a solid plan, hard work and genuine intentions.  I'd like to openly thank Tiombe for her guidance and leadership and the nomination which brought me face to face with so many impressive young professionals very deserving of the Rising Stars Award last week. It was so humbling to be introduced by the President of the Orange County Chamber, Dr. John D'Ambrosio. Accepting the designation was a shining moment in my life topped off by a display the NPBA logo next to my name. 

Dr. John D'Ambrosio, Tara Bliss and Karolyn Thompson

I will display my award proudly in my office space in New Windsor, where Happy Hudson Valley is now headquartered. I am sincerely honored, proud of myself and thankful for the business community and leadership surrounding me without which I would have nothing. It really does take a village in every single context. I will hold myself to the highest accountability knowing I carry the responsibility of the Rising Star honor and conduct myself with the utmost professionalism in all of my endeavors. Please visit the events calendar often to see what's happening with business and networking if you yourself wish to become involved in these young professional working groups, and ask me about the NPBA and how to get involved. 



Stefanie Pearl

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