In 2021, I had the incredible honor of being nominated for the prestigious annual top 40 under 40 Vision Group award. This recognition involved a rigorous selection process, with numerous nominations sent to the organization in 2021. A three month process that resulted in me emerging as one of the victors at just 19 years! becoming the youngest nominee to ever receive this award. Like all things it definitely did not come easy, as Vision Group initially expressed skepticism regarding the viability of my position. There was a prevailing belief that young individuals like me couldn’t have accomplished much at such a young age!
The top 40 under 40 award, as defined by Vision Group, is given to individuals who demonstrate ingenuity, make a significant impact in their communities, and possess that special X-factor. The winners hail from diverse professional fields such as the arts, technology, academia, and finance.
I remember that at the time of my nomination in late 2020, I was preparing for my first co-op experience in Canada. You can read about my journey in the article titled “My First Co-op in Canada.” Over the course of 3-4 months, around 40 exceptional individuals were nominated in their respective areas of expertise. The climax of this process occurred in January 2022, when all nominees underwent vetting, leading to the selection of the victors. In March, during the announcement, I was concluding my work-term as an International Relations Analyst at Waterloo International. Additionally, the Young Eye YouTube show, had officially launched a month before this and was striving to make positive strides in line with its vision – something that is now taking a totally different look.
Throughout my journey and career up until that point at the tail end of 2021, I was trying to make a difference in whatever capacity that I could, taking small but significant steps whenever possible. However, there had been little recognition, both locally and internationally, for the work I had accomplished by 2022. This entailed the work done with the now – Young Eye Foundation. When the news of my selection as one of the top 40 under 40 came, it was a great feeling but it began to illuminate a path I had not seen before and opened doors I never imagined I could access.
Top 40 Under 40
The title “Top 40 Under 40” served as a validation of the relentless effort, unwavering dedication, and innovative thinking that characterized my work over the preceding two years. This recognition acknowledged the contributions made by different young professionals who displayed outstanding skills, leadership, and achievements. Like any award, this one definitely bolstered my confidence, reaffirmed my sense of purpose, and assured me that my efforts had not gone unnoticed. However, I recognized that this accolade was merely a stepping-stone, and there was still more to be done.
The designation of being named one of the “Top 40 Under 40” professionals immediately enhanced my credibility and reputation. It set honorees apart as emerging leaders and industry experts and taught me that despite all actual hustle of trying to get things done, there are a handful of people that genuinely believe in what you are trying to do and are watching carefully. This recognition opened doors to a plethora of new opportunities, including career advancements, partnerships, speaking engagements, and mentorship roles. Moreover, it provided me with a platform to inspire others and serve as a vessel of hope and a tangible example that if you put your mind to something you can achieve it.
How it Helped?
While being selected as one of the “Top 40 Under 40” is an extraordinary achievement, for me, it signified an ongoing journey towards success. It served as a reminder that success is not merely a destination but a lifelong pursuit. The winners are encouraged to continually strive for personal and professional growth, embrace new challenges, and foster innovation in their respective fields. This recognition become a driving force because it set the pace for all my other initiatives and my second job at Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundation.
The recognition personally gave me hope at a time when things did not seem like they were going to work. Whether it was one person following my journey, at that point it was enough, I was grateful and that validation gave me extreme confidence. Yes, at the time it was a good dose of dopamine, but I realized that this is not the essence of what I was doing and figured that in order to keep at it, I needed to stay consistent and keep working. Ultimately, the recognition served as a testament to the remarkable potential of young people have and the profound impact that we can make in your industries and beyond! Don’t give up, give it your best shot and it will all workout!
The full article of the winners can be found here: Top 40 Under 40 Winners.