Memphians are gearing up for another night of black excellence at the Hilton Memphis, as some of Memphis’ top leaders in entrepreneurship and business will be celebrated at the “Top 40 Under 40 Urban Elite Professionals Awards Gala.”
Now in its third year, the gala is presented by Cynthia Daniels, the powerhouse event promoter behind Memphis Black Restaurant Week. In fact, it was while preparing for MBRW that the seed of the Top 40 gala was planted in her mind.
“I was looking around as my peers were assisting me one day, and I realized I was friends with some amazing professionals that did amazing things. However, they didn’t receive credit for their hard work,” she said. “I wanted to change that.”
An off-the-cuff dream that’s become a highly anticipated reality, Daniels reflects on how the support for Top 40 Under 40 has been an overwhelmingly awesome experience.
“The first year we had a little over 350 individuals in attendance,” Daniels said. “Now, it’s year three, and we have well over 700 attendees.
“That’s how I knew that this was a need for Memphis,” she continued. “I’m just blessed that it’s growing and that everyone is so excited about it.”
“Besides growth in attendance numbers, Daniels has added a healthcare and civil engagement category. “We also included a ‘change agent’ that focuses on principals and owners of non-profit organizations as well,” she added.
Cedric Brooks, a previous honoree, vouched that the gala was an experience of a lifetime considering he was right at the age cap of just 40-years-old.
“It was a really great experience meeting all the people that were being honored within the first year,” he said. “A lot of people in the community do a lot of great things, but don’t get recognition for it, so kudos to Cynthia for doing something so amazing.
And not surprisingly, it’s also become a networking platform.
“It’s like a fraternity with us now,” Brooks said. “We all do business with one another in addition to working with new people as well. The visibility is unmatched.”
Not only has Daniels won support from her peers, corporate sponsors have taken note as well. FedEx, Ampro and Methodist Lebonheur Healthcare are just a few new organizations who have joined her mission to highlight Memphis’ best.
This year’s gala is set for Saturday, Nov. 17 at 6:30 p.m., followed by an after party with the honorees.
“We’re going to have fun, it’s going to be fly,” she grinned. “It’s like a party and celebration all in one!”
(For more info, visit Top 40 Under 40 Urban Elite Professionals on Facebook)