Okay, okay. That title is a bit snarky but if you’ve never heard of the Rare Under 40 Awards, you might be a bit surprised about what the under 40 set is up to these days. Pleasantly surprised. Like I was.
I’m not one of those Gen Xers that thinks all hope is lost with the upcoming generation but I’ve heard the stereotypes about Gen Y or Millennials. They’re lazy. They’re spoiled. They don’t care about owning cars or houses. They feel entitled. And we’ve read plenty of stories to support that.
But if you believe stereotypes, you’d believe my generation is boring and full of negative cynics. And that’s a bit true. (I mean, you have read my blog before, right?) But many of us don’t see generational gaps. We see a change in perspective and a change that can inspire the things we do to make a difference.
I’m willing to go on record as the voice of my generation embracing the voice of the next generation at the Rare Under 40 Awards that I’m all set to attend next week in Washington, DC.
What are the Rare Under 40 Awards?
Rare.us celebrates individuals between the ages of 18 and 39 who inspire others through their convictions. Recipients of the Under 40 Award represent a cross-section of America’s passions and accomplishments, while spanning professions, interests, degrees, geographies and nationalities.
Admittedly, this year is the first I’m aware of the awards and the first I’m aware of many of the 2015 recipients being recognized next week. So I took this opportunity to get to know a few and was pleasantly surprised by the passion, diversity, and conviction of so many of these award winners. And I’m pretty excited to interview some of them at the actual awards event next week.
Standouts from the Rare Under 40 Awards
This year, there are 24 recipients from across the nation representing everything from nonprofit work to musical creativity to beer. Yes, beer.
While I haven’t read up on every single person yet, I checked out the awards page and found myself drawn to a few individuals based on their mini description as I moused over.
For example, Ariel Winter from “Modern Family” has made an impact with her messages of body positivity. But some of the recipients that caught my eye were a bit further down.
Like, Seth Jordan who is being honored for “brewing gratitude for service members.” Seth, formerly of ESPN, left his job in New York for a career in the Marine Corps. He spent ten years of service before he decided to combine his love of beer with a way to honor his fallen brothers with the Dog Tag Brewing Co.
Or, George McGraw who is being recognized for changing views on simple luxuries. The luxury in question is water and he’s founded the only global water nonprofit working in the U.S. In the U.S.? Yes, the Navajo people are just one of the groups he’s working with to ensure regular, healthy, and safe access to water.
It’s interesting that these are the first two biographies I was drawn to and you might be feeling a little snarky or skeptical. You might be thinking, Of course. A couple of white guys.
I continued reading and my selection diversified as much as the recipients. In fact, the next person I read about blew my mind. An Arab-American Muslim Republican. I didn’t even know someone like that existed. But Mohammed Shaker‘s dedication and service to this country is unshakeable (no pun intended). And his military service gives him a unique perspective on the political landscape (including, yes, Donal Trump).
And finally, I stumbled across Tulsi Gabbard, a congresswoman from Hawaii. What makes her remarkable isn’t her background of being the first American Samoan elected to Congress. Or the fact that she was one of two female combat veterans that joined Congress in 2013. It’s that she’s a woman of conviction who, while a rising star in the DNC, resigned from her position to back the candidate she felt was right to lead this country.
Wow. I feel almost like an underachiever. Almost. Because many of the men and women are positive role models teaching others that you can be true to yourself, be dedicated to your passions, and make a difference in the world. That’s a message that can cross any generation.
If you’re as impressed as I am, I encourage you to read about the other twenty recipients that I’ll be meeting next week at the awards event in DC. And stay tuned to all my social channels as I’ll be on the “red carpet” interviewing some of these amazing Rare Under 40 winners and hoping I picked out the right dress for the big event!
This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Rare.US; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.