40 Under 40 billboardThe 2015 “40 Under 40” Sacramento State alumni (clockwise from top left):
  • Kyla Aquino Irving, president, Public Relations Society of America California Capital Chapter
  • Elizabeth Baidoo, manager of customer engagement, VSP Global
  • Veronica Delgado, director of membership development, Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Tim Harris, CEO, Insight Public Relations
  • William Hodges, senior communications specialist , Dignity Health
  • Shiloh London, executive director, California Grocers Association Educational Foundation
  • Rachel Zillner, assistant vice president, SAFE Credit Union
  • Lisa Wrightsman, director and coach, Street Soccer Sacramento
  • Justin Wandro, development director, Sacramento Loaves & Fishes
  • James Shelby II, senior finance manager, Intel Corp.
  • Josh Rosa, senior account executive, Redwood Pacific Public Affairs
  • Katie McConnell, director of recruitment and development, Gallina LLP
Not pictured: Sacramento State staff winners Davin E. Brown, Ed.D, director of student engagement, Associated Students Inc.; and Gloria Petruzzelli, psychologist, Student Health and Counseling Services

Hornets took home a whole lot of hardware at this year's celebration of the capital region’s rising young stars.

The Sacramento Business Journal honored a record 12 Sacramento State alumni and two staff members on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the 2015 “40 Under 40” awards, which each year recognize 40 select individuals under 40 years old. The publication’s ceremony for influential young professionals, hosted at Rubicon Brewing Company in West Sacramento, felt at times like a celebration exclusively of Sacramento State affiliates, who made up more than a third of the total winners.

Every year, the Sacramento Business Journal selects the deserving 40 from a field of hundreds of nominees from the capital region. From entrepreneurs to innovators, philanthropists to public servants, this year’s 40 Under 40 class emphasized Sacramento State’s presence in industries across the capital region.

Towering fermentation chambers, brew kettles, and pallets of barley and hops ringed the transformed warehouse as a veritable “who’s who” of capital region business leaders turned out to toast the winners.

The mood was light and lively as each honoree was announced and took the stage to raucous cheers and plaudits from the crowd. Dean Pierre Balthazard of Sacramento State’s College of Business Administration – a gold sponsor of the event each year – helped read off the winners.

SBJ publisher David Lichtman tasked each member of the 2015 40 Under 40 class with randomly selecting a word from a massive, antiquated dictionary and using it in a personal definition of success.

“The road to success often seems to run parallel to the road to failure,” said Katie McConnell, Sac State alumna and director of recruitment and development for Gallina LLP, after her finger landed on the word “parallel.”

After blindly pointing to “language,” Street Soccer Sacramento director and communication studies graduate Lisa Wrightsman proclaimed: “Success is being able to play a sport that speaks the language of the whole world!” followed by a rousing ovation.

Lichtman noted the energy and feeling of camaraderie that permeated the evening and said the collection of celebrated individuals felt more connected than it had in the event’s history.

For a full list of winners, see the Sacramento Business Journal story. – John Blomster