Business leaders tell us frequently that supporting outstanding young people is critical not just to the health of our companies, but to our economy and community. That point was driven home recently when a young businesswoman said that if it were not groups that have sprung up to support her and others like her, she would have left the community to start her career.
Now, for the sixth consecutive year, the winners of these Forty Under 40 awards reflect an inspiring and substantial pool of young talent across the North Bay. It is our privilege to honor them, support them and shine a light on them for the whole community to see. [read more]Young professionals to watch
These 2012 Forty under 40 nominees, though not winners this year, have proven to be successful young professionals to keep an eye on. [read more]Forty Under 40 alumni network on LinkedIn
The Business Journal has created an exclusive forum for winners of its Forty Under 40 awards over the years. [read more]2012 winners
(Listed alphabetically after profiles of three high-profile winners)High-profile winnersAmy Berliner, 24
Co-owner and Marketing Manager, Amy's Kitchen, Inc., Petaluma
With responsibility for marketing, advertising, public relations and packaging sales in the U.S. and the EU, Amy Berliner brings the entrepreneurial spirit of her family to her job. "I always dream of the possible, instead of the barriers to success."
Working with a small team, she successfully launched the company's presence in England. Understanding the UK culture and then adapting Amy's Kitchen's marketing approach to it was her greatest professional challenge.
Single most important event in your professional life: Being instrumental in acquiring the Tesco retail food distribution agreement in the U.K.
Steps the company is taking to sustain the organization and morale in the current economy: "Because we are dedicated to providing high quality food that people value and purchase even when money is scarce, we are still growing rapidly despite the current economy."
Community and nonprofit activities: Amy's Kitchen works with the Redwood Empire Food Bank, gives over $1 million in food donations annually to Kidstreet, provides lunch every Wednesday for an entire school and is involved with a genetically modified food labeling campaign, the Red Cross, United Way and Canine Companions.
In addition, her company sponsors the Amy's College Scholarship Program for employees' children, participates in a school garden program and supports Tomorrow's Leaders Today.
She also finds time to be a voluntary assistant in women's leadership workshops and works with Landpaths: a partnership of landowners and experts in land management and restoration.
Mentor/admired businessperson: "My father, Andy Berliner."
Best advice received: An old Yiddish proverb: The heart sees better than the eye, so listen to your intuition.
First job: Taster of Amy's Kitchen's kid-friendly products at age 5.Ariel Ceja, 28
Owner, Bistro Sabor restaurant; President, "Salud! Napa," a culinary website
"My goal is to be on 'hugging terms' with every guest that leaves our fast, casual-style eatery, Bistro Sabor," said Ariel Ceja.
He sets the overall tone and pace of the restaurant and works closely with his house staff to ensure that all patrons have a memorable experience.
"I collaborate with our chef, Jeff Murphy, on dishes representative of the spirit we wish to convey -- delicious street and comfort foods from all over Latin America."