Award voting for next generation leader begins

Columbus Young Professionals are asking the community to help them choose their NextGen Leader of the Year.

Online voting begins today to choose one winner among nominees identified as community leaders who were profiled monthly through the year in The Republic.

Only one vote per person is allowed through Jan. 9, and the voting link is live on the Columbus Young Professionals website at

Dubbed the Next Generation Leadership Series or NextGen for short, the very first NextGen Leader of the Year will be announced in an awards ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 31 at The Commons, 300 Washington St. in Columbus, said Liz Worthington, the liaison from the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce for the Columbus Young Professionals.

Fifteen nominees are being honored in the categories of work, life and community, including three who were the launch nominees for the series.

At the Jan. 31 event, three community leaders will introduce each nominee by category, with Aida Ramirez, executive director of the Columbus Human Rights Commission, introducing the work nominees; Rick Weinheimer, teacher, coach and author, introducing the life nominees; and Bartholomew Circuit Court Judge Kelly Benjamin introducing the community nominees.

Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop will present the award.

Tickets to the luncheon are $25 for Columbus Young Professionals members and $30 for non-members. The event will be catered by Blackerby’s First Class Catering. Tickets are available at the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce or by calling 812-379-4457.

Tickets are also available online at

How to vote

To cast your vote for the NextGen Leader of the Year, visit

The nominees

Nominees for NextGen Leader of the Year are:

Dr. Brandon Gumbiner, Indiana Podiatry Group

Curtis Hartwell, Bartholomew County Public Library

Elaine Wagner, Cummins, Inc.

Amber Porter, Strand Associates, Inc.

Joshua Sefchek, Toyota Material Handling USA

Dr. Mandy Wyant, Family Chiropractic and Wellness

Mark Schneider, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.

Cassandra Kuczmanski, Cummins, Inc.

Roy Ice, Kemper CPA Group

Joel Philippsen, Columbus Regional Health

Eric Robbins, Edward Jones

Danielle Nickerson, National Youth Advocate Program

Josh Burnett, The Ridge

Leslie Martinez, Trine University

Tyshaun Allen, Taylor Bros. Construction

Author photo
Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.