Of course, if this is the only thing you’ve read so far, you’ll wonder if I flushed my meds.
Along with our annual section devoted to telling stories of breast cancer survivors in this community, today’s newspaper also includes something new to our area – something The Leader has never done; something we hope to do for a long time going forward.
Today’s edition has reserved a few pages to offer you what I believe is a wonderful compilation of biographies of young people who live and work in our community. We’ve called it “The Leader’s 30 Under 40,” and as the name would suggest, we’re spotlighting 30 people who live or work in our neighborhoods who happen to be under the age of 40.
We announced this edition more than three months ago and, originally, it was scheduled to publish the second week of September. A storm and an empty office later, and we’re finally able to compile all of these outstanding men and women into one place and share them with you.
As I mentioned, don’t send us any congratulations for this idea. Publications all over the country have done “Some Number Under Some Number” editions like this before. Locally, the Houston Business Journal does a masterful job of selecting the city’s top 40 Under 40.
But here’s what I realized, and here’s why we pulled this edition together for our readers: Whether it’s the HBJ or the Chronicle or whatever other publication does something similar to this, those companies pick their winners from a population of about 6 million people. They span from Conroe to Clear Lake, from Baytown to Brookshire. Meanwhile, in the weekly pages of The Leader, you usually read about folks who have lived here a while, owned businesses here for a couple of decades, sent their grandchildren to the same schools they attended.
While I believe The Leader does a good job of telling you about the news of our community, and while I think we do a decent job of spotlighting the people who make this area tick, we’ve never done a great job of telling the stories of the up-and-comers, the people who will one day run our companies. We haven’t told you about the men and women who will become CEOs of our hospitals or officials in our government.
This, I believe, is a way to change that. If you’ll take the time to read this compilation – submitted completely by people like you – you’ll learn about doctors and lawyers, promoters and artists, educators and entrepreneurs. The people who were nominated by you and, ultimately, selected by us are the change-makers in our community. They are the ones who have invested themselves here. They are the ones who, in a decade from now, will be leaders of the next generation.
But let me tell you one other reason this edition is special to me, and it has nothing to do with any of the 30 men and women you’ll find on our pages today.
One afternoon, while sitting in my office planning new and special things we could do in The Leader, I found myself thinking about my wife. Maybe it’s the picture she strategically placed in my office, letting me know she’s always watching (kidding, of course). Actually, it’s because of what I see my wife do day-in and day-out that made me want to publish this edition.
My wife is an attorney at a wonderful law firm in Houston, and she deserves every bit of success she has obtained so far. Besides being smart and beautiful, she is the hardest working person I have ever known. She rises long before the sun and reads discovery in the wee hours of the morning, yet she insists on going to get our youngest out of his crib the moment the baby monitor moves.
She stays at work until the last possible moment, but she almost always makes it home in time to play with our young boys and put them to bed.
Meghan and I both have high-stakes careers. She’s tasked with representing businesses that depend on her expertise. I am tasked with running four businesses. Together, you’d think we pass by each other in the wind.
But my wife is nothing short of spectacular when it comes to having a home that is full of love, full of trials and always full of solutions. She is a better wife than she is an attorney, and she cares a thousand times more about her children than she does her clients.
Meghan happens to be under the age of 40, and as I thought about her one afternoon, it made me realize that there are a lot of people just like her in our community. There are husbands and wives who both work, but who both raise wonderful children and still find time to be invested in the neighborhoods where they live.
These young people – the ones in their 30s – are different from any generation our nation has known, at least in my opinion. We don’t have many stay-at-home moms or dads anymore. We’re all out there making a living, trying to pay bills, trying to afford healthcare, and trying to provide for our children and families the best way we know how.
As generations pass, we tend to think the last one was a little harder working, a little more responsible, than the one that follows. But I’m not so sure about that.
It’s an honor to be able to spotlight the young men and women who have willfully embraced positions of leadership in our community. For me, you can bet it’s an honor to see a woman like my wife who never lets the enormous responsibility of her career impede on the growth and love of her family.
People like Meghan are everywhere. I hope you enjoy reading about 30 of them.