Recent Forty under 40 award winners take on judges’ role

Awards selection committee carefully weighs business accomplishments, community contributions of this year’s winners

Business in Vancouver celebrates B.C.’s best and brightest young leaders annually with its Forty under 40 awards.

The awards pay tribute to budding entrepreneurs, executives and professionals making a name for themselves in the province’s public, private and non-profit sectors.

This year, five judges were tasked with choosing the top 40 out of more than 120 applications from a cross-section of nominees representing a wide range of industries. They looked for nominees demonstrating excellence in business, judgment, leadership and contributions to their communities.

Except for Kirk LaPointe, BIV’s editor-in-chief and vice-president, editorial, for Glacier Media, judging the awards was a new experience for all. But for new and seasoned judges alike, it was no easy task narrowing down the field of contenders.

“As judges, we continue to see how much great talent there is in British Columbia to build a better future,” LaPointe said. “The true challenge is to choose the best 40 among the excellent nominees.”

As founder of the Key Group of Companies and president of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Vancouver chapter, Cam Good was drawn to nominees who are “solving the world’s biggest problems.”

“I also got really excited about women breaking stereotypes or crushing it,” said Good, who won a 2011 Forty under 40 award. “Also, happy to see the winners accurately reflect the ethnic diversity of our population.”

For Good, the judging process went beyond nomination forms and references and included checking out candidates’ websites, LinkedIn pages and online searches.

“We considered what each of the competitors accomplished in context of where they are from, their start in life, challenges they have had to overcome, the good they have done society,” he said.

Natalie Cartwright, co-founder and chief operating officer of Finn AI, said she found the nominees an “incredibly diverse” group, making it difficult to pick the top 40.

The 2016 Forty under 40 winner said judges focused on actual achievements and sought to avoid being swayed by the quality of nomination writing or overall presentation.

“I was looking for people who have had a tangible impact in their field,” said Cartwright, who began by considering financials and the number of employees in the nominees’ companies. “Sometimes the data included projections, which I did not take into account in my ranking. I wanted to judge on what the nominees had already accomplished to earn the award.”

Chastity Davis, principal of Chastity Davis Consulting, was among Forty under 40 winners last year. She said she found being a judge an “enlightening” experience.

“It was inspiring seeing all of the leaders and all of the work they are doing in our community and beyond,” said Davis, who focused on advocacy, volunteerism and philanthropy. “To be a really successful, well-rounded individual, part of that is giving back.”

Hao Min, CEO of Bold Properties Inc., was impressed with the diverse backgrounds of nominees representing various industries.

Min, an award winner last year, said he found one of the challenges was separating nominees’ achievements from their organizations’ successes, requiring him to learn more about individual roles to determine how they contributed to collective successes and nurtured new leaders.

“I was looking for achievements made by people who have a clear vision and follow the vision to succeed,” he explained. “The contribution has to be for the benefit of the local community.”