The Kingston Economic Development Corporation (KEDC) is celebrating the talent and innovation of the City’s young professionals.
On Sept. 13, the Kingston Young Professionals network, a KEDC program, hosted a gala to honour recipients of the network’s first 40 Under 40 awards.
“We’ve seen other cities do the 40 Under 40 awards, and Kingston never had one before. Now we have the Kingston Young Professionals Network, we thought this would be a good initiative for the network to host,” said Nour Mazloum, KEDC marketing and communications manager, in an interview with The Journal.
The 40 Under 40 awards seek to celebrate full-time professionals under the age of 40 who are having positive impacts on their industries and Kingston as a whole. KEDC received a diverse pool of nominations, both in terms of industry and individuals.
“If people wanted to write a nomination, but English isn’t their first language, we would offer translation services, and would help businesses or individuals to nominate people,” Mazloum said.
With over 100 nominations received, the reception was beyond what KEDC hoped for. For 2024, the network hopes to select a small group of this year’s award recipients to review the next set of nominations, slated to open in July 2024.
“I think it’s a great way to engage young people in the network and with the program itself,” Mazloum said.
When it comes to this year’s recipients, the Queen’s connection is strong. Half of this year’s cohort are Queen’s University students or graduates, with many currently or previously employed by the University.
The 40 Under 40 award isn’t the Young Professional Network’s only initiative. They continue to host monthly events, with their next one being hosted on Oct. 30 at Daft Brewing.
KEDC has other initiatives, such as the Black Entrepreneurship Ecosystem which supports Black professionals across southeastern Ontario. The Corporation is currently working with Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) to provide programming for Queer professionals in Kingston.
Mazloum hopes this award showcases young leaders who are doing great things in the city and demonstrates to other young professionals that Kingston is full of opportunity.
“Everyone is ready and is very excited for this initiative to grow even more,” Mazloum said.
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