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‘18 Under 40’ honors Jewish up-and-comers

Alana Muller

There’s something new happening in the Kansas City Jewish community. Can you feel the excitement mounting? I certainly can! To my knowledge, for the first time, the Jewish community has the opportunity to recognize our up-and-coming young adults, aged 21-39, who are making a difference in the Jewish and/or the secular communities through innovation, involvement and creative input. Whether engaged in the activities or leadership of their synagogues, Jewish agencies, secular charities, companies, universities or the like, their contributions are important and appreciated.


Enter the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City’s new initiative, “18 Under 40.” It’s an award program designed to honor the next generation of top innovative business professionals, academic thought leaders, community activists, philanthropists, and ground breakers in the Kansas City Jewish community.

Personally, I love the prospects for this initiative! While it’s certainly a great honor to be recognized in and of itself, having been the proud recipient of similar honors in the secular community, I know the best part of such recognition is the opportunity to get to know and build relationships with other award recipients. And, in my professional opinion, as my business is all about establishing and nurturing authentic, meaningful connections, it’s my firm belief that through programs like 18 Under 40, honorees will get the opportunity to connect with other young Jewish community members with whom they share a great deal in common, but may not have had the chance to interact with in the past. These are relationships that can have far-reaching, long term, beneficial implications and help to fortify the Jewish community.

In speaking with Andrew Cotlar, development associate with Jewish Federation, he shared the intent behind the program is to “identify and spotlight young Jews doing big things in Kansas City.” He said it is the desire of Jewish Federation “to focus on the successes happening every day in Kansas City.” Furthermore, the program wants to recognize a diverse group of community members from thriving and innovative business professionals to community leaders making an impact. His hope is to cultivate the next generation of leaders while advancing Jewish Federation’s mission to enhance and sustain Jewish life here in Kansas City, across the country and around the world.

Eighteen finalists will be chosen in early spring, and will be recognized at a special event later in the year. Additionally, it is anticipated the honorees will have the chance to work and interact with one another during other programs and activities in the months and years that follow.

Wondering how to get involved? Nominate yourself or another qualified candidate today! Nominees need not be affiliated with the Jewish Federation to participate or to be selected. They need only be Jewish, currently living in Kansas City and be between the ages of 21-39. Submissions are being taken now through March 6, 2016, at www.jewishkansascity.org/18under40. Alternatively, you may contact Andrew Cotlar at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 913-327-8112.  Having already nominated several candidates, I can tell you with firsthand experience that the application process is relatively simple and takes just a few minutes to complete.

Please join me to honor our young up-and-comers and show our appreciation for their commitment to our Jewish community!

Alana Muller, a life-long member of the Kansas City Jewish community, is a networking speaker, workshop facilitator, coach and author of the book, “Coffee Lunch Coffee: A Practical Field Guide for Master Networking” and a companion blog, CoffeeLunchCoffee.com. Follow Alana on Twitter at @AlanaMuller. Learn more about her professional background on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/alanamuller.