Young pros honor peers at Commission event

Grand Rounds Brew Pub was crowded with young professionals and their community supporters Friday night as The Commission hosted its two-year anniversary party and community awards night.

The Commission, a young professionals group with an eye toward business development and local government participation , has grown from its three founders to a membership of more than 40 in its two-year history.

The group gathered Friday to recognize the hard work and enterprises of its members and their peers.

The Commission honored John Wade, Journey to Growth chairman, as its IMPACT award winner, a community leader who personifies the group's values.

Dwell Local and owner Paul Bennett earned the Innovator award; Kristina Hesby, president of the Med City Foundation was presented the Giver award; Go-Rout was voted startup business of the year; and Becca Stiles-Nogosek received the Connector award for networking.


Each award represented a core value of the group: relationship building, community outreach and philanthropy, mentorship and professional development.

"We want to be an incubator for young professionals in the city, and we want to bring light to the young professionals who are doing a good job," said Sankesh "Sunny" Prabhakar, president and co-founder.

The Commission's members are ambitious — they engage in local government and aspire to leadership positions, said P.J. Calkins, who leads the group's relationship building committee. Commission events vary from professional settings to social activities.

"It's just ways to learn more about each other and build those connections so as we grow in this community we maintain those," Calkins said. "When we're put in those leadership positions, like the generation above us right now, we're already family with each other and ready to roll with it."

The purpose that now defines The Commission has grown from its members. The co-founders did not set out with a mission in mind, Prabhakar said.

"That's the biggest asset to our group is that people have been able to build it from within. … We built it all together," he said.

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