Next Up Columbus: Class of 2022

Next Up Columbus Class of 2022

Next Up Columbus 2022


It’s often said that it’s not what you know, but who you know. This is true in business, in life, and in Columbus. With that in mind, we present our sixth annual group of bold, creative and socially conscious young professionals you should know who made this year’s Next Up Columbus list presented by the Columbus Young Professionals Club, with support from Discover Financial, Ohio Dominican University and Spectrum.

The Next Up Columbus awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and cheerleaders in central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. This group of ambassadors and advocates are proof positive that our city is headed in the right direction. For this year’s list, our selection committee narrowed down another tremendous list of nominees. The final product: 22 revolutionaries in 2022 changing the course—and the face—of our city and our region for the better. Let’s get to know them!

Click the link on each honoree’s name to view their full profile and interview!

Andrea Wilkins, 34
Senior Manager, C&I Sales, IGS Energy

Brittany Stricklen-Hillyard, 36
Development Director, Star House

Brooke Arent
Director, Global Stock Options Operations Project and Change Management, Morgan Stanley

Cheyenne Lenhart, 26
Housing and Community Services Manager, Star House

Chris Moscato, 38
Senior Project Manager, Mid-Ohio Food Collective

Derek Wholihan, 34
Community Relations, City of Columbus

Donte Cook, 30
Founder, Inner City Studios

Erika Gullick, 37
Owner, The Cheer Institute

Ernest Levert Jr., 31
Founding Director, The Royal Oak Initiative (ROI)

Esther Salata, 31
Owner/Founder, Benesafe Solutions LLC

Hilary Stone, 34
Senior Advisor for Donor Services, The Columbus Foundation

Jackie Merkle, 31
Diversity, Inclusion & Community Relations Consultant, Grange Insurance

Jake Marrah, 28
Family Outreach Pastor, Columbus Dream Center

Jesse Taylor, 39
Senior Associate, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP

Keira Chatman, 38
Director of Operations, African American Male Wellness Agency; Realtor, Coldwell Banker Realty; Owner, By The People, LLC

Lexi Campbell, 25
Manager, People & Culture, Gifthealth

LoLo, 29
Co-founder and VP of Equity & Inclusion, The U (Urban Business Development Center)

Niyah Walters, Esq., 31
In-House Counsel and Legal Analyst, Columbus City Council; President, Columbus Urban League Young Professionals

PJ Gamble, 39
Senior Director of Development, SproutFive

Rena Shak, 33
In-House Counsel and Assistant Policy Director, City of Columbus, Office of the Mayor

Yasmeen Quadri, 21
CEO, ServUS; Student, The Ohio State University

Zeenia Kaul, 37
Co-founder, CEO, and Chief Scientific Officer, ReHeva Biosciences



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