Success is easy when times are good. When business is booming and life seems rosy, it is easy to be at the front of the line, directing people where to go. But when times are tough, when things are scary, shaky and seemingly impossible, that's when real leadership emerges.
Leaders can be old or young. They can be born into the family business, or they can come out of nowhere with nothing but an idea and determination.
This week, The State Journal highlights its eighth class of Generation Next: 40 Under 40, an annual award designed to highlight the amazing things professionals younger than 40 are doing in West Virginia. This year's honorees show leadership every day. They have created their own companies, helped other companies grow and have assisted community organizations to flourish and change lives. And they've done it through good times and bad.
The members of the class of 2013 have made a commitment to West Virginia and the communities they call home.
"This year's class of Generation Next embodies the essence of getting it done. Each honoree is dedicated to our state and to seeing it grow and prosper," said Jim Ross, managing editor of The State Journal. "These are people who make West Virginia work, and each has a story the next generation can learn from."
This year's class includes car dealers, marketing directors, entrepreneurs and people in the nonprofit sector. Some work for large corporations while others work for family-owned businesses. But all show a common dedication to the state, its residents and local communities.
As West Virginia takes on new challenges, the state will turn more and more to Generation Next — West Virginians who have demonstrated their commitment to building a better state.
The State Journal could not produce Generation Next: 40 Under 40 without the gracious support of its sponsors — Orion Strategies, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP and West Virginia University at Parkersburg.
By being sponsors, Orion Strategies, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP and WVU Parkersburg are helping to highlight and congratulate West Virginia's young leaders who strive every day to make a difference in the state. The three sponsors see the huge role that members of this year's class of Generation Next: 40 Under 40 play now, and they know this year's honorees will be movers and shakers in the state for years to come.
"We are so thankful to Orion Strategies, Dixon Hughes Goodman and WVU Parkersburg for agreeing to be this year's sponsors for Generation Next: 40 Under 40," said Sean Banks, sales manager for The State Journal and WOWK-TV. "Through their commitment to the program, all three sponsors are giving back in their own way to the members of this year's class who have dedicated their careers so far to helping the state, their communities and the businesses where they work."