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Topeka’s Top “20 Under 40” 

Topeka’s Top “20 Under 40” award honors members of the Topeka/Shawnee County Community for their commitment and contributions both professionally and personally.  Each spring, members of the greater Topeka community are invited to submit nominations for the “20 Under 40” award and then nominees are sent an invitation to formally apply for the honor.  After the application deadline close, a selection committee of more than 20 Topeka community leaders spend countless hours reviewing every submission. Each year the program receives more than 200 nominations and over 100 applications, including two letters of recommendation per submission - a new requirement for applicants in 2014.  The decision to select only 20 honorees out of such a large pool of worthy candidates each year continues to become an increasingly difficult task. 

The 2017 Honorees were recognized at a banquet on Thursday, November 16th, at the Ramada Downtown Convention Center. to make a donation in there honor visit our Donation Page


2017 Honorees are:

Zach Ahrens, The Topeka Capital-Journal

Lisa Brown, Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds & Palmer, LLP

Ben Broxterman, Stormont Vail Health

Kevin Christiansen, Barnabas Movement, Inc.

Ryan Fickel, Advisors Excel

Jillian Fisher, United Way of Greater Topeka

Sean Frost, Washburn Univ. Alumni Association and Foundation

Elizabeth Gerhardt, Stormont Vail Health - Emergency

Michael Kagay, Shawnee County District Attorney's Office

Missty Lechner, American Heart Association

Travis McKinley, Capital Insulation/TRAK Roofing & Construction

Marshall Meek, Washburn Univ. Alumni Association and Foundation

Susana Prochaska, Kansas School Counselor Association (KSCA)/USD 437 Washburn Rural High School

Jared Rudy, Westar Energy & The Norseman Brewery

Aaron Scott, Certus Structural Engineers

Sarah Sharp, USD 501 - State Street Elementary School

Robert Simmons, Topeka Police Department

Amanda Vogelsberg, Henson, Hutton, Mudrick & Gragson, LLP

Janice Watkins, Topeka Habitat for Humanity, Inc.

Sara Wilhelm, Stormont Vail Health - Pediatrics


Click to see a full list of past honorees.


How the Program Works:

Community members and leaders nominate individuals who will be over the age of 18 but under the age of 40 at the time of the banquet. Nominations will close in late May. Visit our Nominations page for more information on who to nominate.

Once nominated, individuals are invited to apply for the honor. At the time of notification they are also informed of an information session with past honorees and past selection committee members who speak about best practices and offer tips that helped them with their application. 

Applications must be received by the Jayhawk Area Council in late June each year (date varies). 

Applications are then distributed to the Selection Committee members for evaluation. Following a meeting in early August, announcements of the new class of honorees are made the second or third week of August. 

E-mail Erin Aldridge, Development Director, at for more information.

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