Next Up Columbus: Class of 2023

Next Up Columbus 2023

Next Up Columbus 2023


We are excited to introduce the seventh annual cohort of dynamic, innovative, and socially conscious young professionals featured in this year’s Next Up Columbus list presented by the Columbus Young Professionals Club, with support from Discover Financial, Ohio Dominican University and Quantum Health.

The Next Up Columbus awards spotlight emerging leaders serving as connectors and cheerleaders in central Ohio, leaving a positive impact on Columbus’s future. This esteemed group of ambassadors and advocates serves as compelling evidence that our city is advancing in the right direction. The selection committee faced the challenging task of narrowing down an impressive list of nominees to unveil this year’s final roster: 23 trailblazers in 2023 reshaping the trajectory—and the identity—of our city and region for the better. Let’s delve into their stories and accomplishments!

Click the link on each honoree’s name to view their profile:

Aditi Bhatiya, 41
CEO at The Spice Age Group; Founder of Passport 2 Fashion; Business Operations Consultant at The Ohio State University

Alexander Reed, 32
Chief Investment Officer at Envisage Wealth

Alyssa Maldonado, 27
Senior Social Media Specialist at RevLocal

Ashley Burns, 29
Project Manager at The Boeing Company

Ben Bring, 39
Physician at OhioHealth; Medical Director for the Arnold Sports Festival and the Columbus Marathon

Carlos Mendez, 25
Program Manager at the Economic & Community Development Institute (ECDI)

Chevonne Harris, 35
Founder & CEO of ThriveIN; Strategy Director at Ologie

Christina A. Vera, 38
Director of Operations at Femergy®; Vice President at Columbus City Schools Board

Donna Marbury, 41
Account Director at Warhol & WALL ST.

Jared Buerger, 29
Outreach Specialist at A Kid Again

Jurgita Fumo, 45
Founder & Executive Director at Celebrating One

Karim “KJ” Jackson, 38
Assistant Director of Development at I Know I Can; Founder of Jackson Sports & Leadership Academy; Head JV Basketball Coach at Walnut Ridge HS

Kelly Lombardo Matthews, 38
Marketing Project Manager at EASE Logistics

Levi Thies, 26
Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer at SproutFive

Lexi Petrella, 28
Director of Development at Clean Fuels Ohio

Lucy Little, 40
Payroll Specialist at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Marshall Troxell
Assistant Director of Community Affairs at Columbus Mayor’s Office

Michael Wise
Founder and CEO at WiseTECH3D

Nicole Bergman, 36
Vice President of Marketing & Communications for the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI)

Ozshaleek Martin, 33
Postmaster at United States Postal Service; Community Engagement Coordinator with Chosen 4 Change

Perla Martinez, 36
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Program Administrator at Franklin County Board of Commissioners

Simon’e Lightfoot, M.B.A, 41
Chief Operating Officer at Agape Care; Administrator at Simply Plated Catering

Yolanda Jackson, 41
Associate Vice President of Economic Mobility at The Columbus Urban League



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