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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Chamber recoginizes 15 young professionals
Individuals ages 21-39 honored for contributions to community and success in careers
Published Thursday, February 14, 2013
by Michaela L. Duckett

The Charlotte Chamber recognized 15 young professionals ages 21 – 39 for their accomplishments in their careers and contributions to the community at the first annual Young Professional Awards (The YPs).


“These folks are exemplary individuals, true young leaders and the future leaders of Charlotte,” said Ollie Chandhok, chair of the YPs board of directors.


Nearly 250 people attended the awards ceremony, which was held at the Extravaganza Depot.


The 15 honorees were selected from a list of more than 40 people who had been nominated to compete in four categories: Young Professional Newcomer, Entrepreneur, Nonprofit Leader and Business Leader.


Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison said it is important to celebrate people from the local community who serve as positive role models.


“I always wonder who my students are going to look up to,” he said. “Too often, they look towards athletes or actors or to other areas where they are often disappointed. I want them to look at the stunning array of talent and leadership in this (city).”


Morrison said the honorees served as examples of what students should aspire to be.


“The more we lift you up and start to recognize your success, the more you will be powerful role models for our children,” he told them. “You are the leaders of today and will continue to be the leaders of tomorrow.”


Charlotte dentist Brad Picot was among the honorees. Picot, who fulfilled his goal of becoming a business owner by age 28, said the honor was humbling. His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to learn from mistakes and build upon those lessons. He said at times you may not get it right, but you have got to have faith that you are in your position for a reason.


“You’ve got to hold on tight to your faith,” he said. “You have to know that God has brought you this far, and He’s never going to leave you… It is something that I have to remind myself of everyday.”


Picot said it is also important to help others.


“It’s not about you; it’s about what God can do through you,” he said. “To whom much is given is much required.”


Winners of the 2013 YPs are Johnelle Causwell of International House (Young Professionals Newcomer); Ben Harrison of DealCloud (Entrepreneur); Andrea Stevenson of the Lee institute (Nonprofit Leader); Ashley Hedgecock of Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson (Business Leader) and Stacey B. Randall of HF Financial (Young Professional of the Year).

Fox Charlotte’s Morgan Fogarty emceed the event and Sol Fusion provided entertainment.


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