By Sandy Deneau Dunham
PLU Marketing & Communications
TACOMA, Wash. (Aug. 6, 2015)—Every year, the Business Examiner selects outstanding South Sound business and community leaders for its prestigious 40 Under 40 program—and this year, five of those are Lutes.
On Aug. 4, the honored Lutes joined the rest of the 40 Under 40 roster at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma for the recognition program.
Here’s a look at the honorees—and the amazing things they’ve done already:
- Molly Hill ’05, Director of Operations at Summit Financial Group. Hill moved from Montana to attend Pacific Lutheran University, and it was through a PLU internship that she found Summit, and Summit found her. As an intern, she impressed the principals and staff of the firm with her integrity, follow-through and dedication to quality; in the meantime, she discovered her passion for finance. After graduating with a PLU Business Administration degree, she was offered a position at Summit as a financial assistant and advanced quickly to become director of operations—and, in full-circle fashion— to assume responsibility for leading Summit’s internship program. Hill is life- and health-insurance-licensed in Washington and Montana, is a registered sales assistant of Commonwealth Financial Network® and has FINRA Series 6 and 63 securities registrations. In 2009, she received Commonwealth Financial Network’s national Staff Person of the Year award.
- Mary Holste ’00; Co-Owner and Creative Director, Side x Side Creative. Holste first came to the South Sound as a PLU student, where she worked for Impact and studied away in Scotland, Paris and London. She earned her degree in Fine Arts-Graphic Design before working (and teaching) for the university and then worked as marketing director at the Grand Cinema, where she co-organized the first Tacoma Film Festival. Later she added her creative touches to community projects and nonprofit organizations before opening her own business, Side x Side Creative, eight years ago. “I already feel successful and like I’ve ‘made it’ because I am my own boss,” Holste told the Business Examiner. “I get to call the shots about my projects and schedule.” Handy, since Holste also is a hands-on mom of two toddlers, and she can donate time to creative jobs for nonprofits. She also told the Business Examiner she’s already learned a profound, Lute-like life lesson: “Go with your gut. It’s often a lot more helpful than your brain.”
- Zach Powers ’10, Media & Content Manager, PLU. The Business Examiner cited Powers’ passions for communication, outreach and creative programming, along with his “all-in” engagement with local politics and government, arts and culture, athletics and education. Plus, he coaches youth basketball teams and builds community connections through steering-committee roles with political campaigns—you know; in his spare time. “At the core of what I do, both professionally and in service to my community, is communicating information about opportunities, services and resources,” Powers told the Business Examiner. And now he’s looking forward to even more connections. “I’m excited for the opportunity to connect with other honorees,” he said. “There are folks in this year’s class from so many different industries and walks of life; I’m sure we could all learn a ton from each other.”
- Matthew Simon ’03, Financial Advisor at Edward Jones. Simon grew up in Kent, Washington, and attended Kentridge High School before coming to PLU and earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. He holds a Life Accident and Health Insurance Agent License and FINRA 7 and 66 registrations, and an AAMS® designation. “The ability to impact lives has always been my goal,” Simon wrote on his LinkedIn profile. “I strive to serve clients in an unbiased fashion with the support of a strong team of home-office professionals. I focus on helping a select group of entrepreneurs and families develop and implement comprehensive financial strategies.” Outside the office, he coaches youth baseball and serves on the boards of the Tacoma Pierce County Chamber of Commerce and Soundview Little League.
- Rachel Young ’06, ’13, Marketing Communication Supervisor, Cascade Regional Blood Services. Young earned her undergraduate degree in Communication and a master’s in Business Administration at PLU, where she was a founding member and one of the first managers of MediaLab and served on the MBA student advisory council. She worked as a reporter at the Northwest Guardian and as Marketing and Communications Coordinator at the Physical Therapy Association of Washington before joining Cascade. One nominator described Young a a true servant leader, noting her work with United Way of Pierce County’s Project U, along with chairing the associate board for YWCA and serving on its events and civic-engagement committees. Even more personally, in the aftermath of her late husband’s military-related PTSD struggle, Young helps other families rallying around their soldiers and has become an engaged advocate for increased support for them.