Women MVPs Stand Out at 25 Under 35 Ceremony

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – After more than 50 applications were reviewed and 25 young professionals in the Mahoning Valley were selected, three MVP Award-winning women took the stage for a second time.

Among the 25 Under 35 honorees, who were recognized in front of 230 people at Stambaugh Auditorium Thursday night, Danielle Adams, associate content manager for FactSet Research Systems; McKinley Birthplace Museum director Amber Beall Farris; and Youngstown State University psychology professor Ying (Joy) Tang were called up to receive their MVP Award trophies. The event was presented by the Mahoning Valley Young Professionals. 

“I was surprised,” Adams said. “I was overwhelmed with joy and excitement. I don’t do this work to get recognized, but it feels great when you do and I just appreciate it.”

Adams, who lives in Farrell, Pa., works in FactSet’s downtown Youngstown office and volunteers with United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley. She enjoys working in Youngstown, she said. 

“It’s culturally diverse and it’s a great place to spend your day,” Adams said. “It’s had so much improvement over the past few years.” 

This wasn’t the first time Adams found herself at the 25 Under 35 ceremony. Last year, she was one of the 25 honorees, but she did not receive the MVP Award.

“Getting this award is especially important because I think it inspires other young people to want to work harder for their community,” Adams said. “They want to get more involved, do more community service and work harder at their jobs.” 

The 25 Under 35 awards program has been a part of the Mahoning Valley for 18 years, said Cara Mia Gatti, chairwoman of the event alongside co-chair, Abby Patterson. The honorees, as well as the three MVP winners, are \involved in their community, she said. The judges selected the three top-prize winners based on their professional and volunteer work, how long they’ve been in the Mahoning Valley and their experiences.

“It’s a ceremony to honor everyone for their hard work in the community and their dedication to making this place a wonderful place to live, have a family and grow,” Gatti said. 

A common perception of Youngstown is that there is nothing to do and there are no jobs available, but the ceremony brings young professionals in the Mahoning Valley, who are choosing to stay in this area, together, said Rose Saborse, former president of the Mahoning Valley Young Professionals.

“In the past, we were industrial based and now we’re moving into new horizons with technology and revitalization, and all of our young professionals are having a hand in that,” she said. “They’re choosing to stay in this area and it’s important that we honor those people.” 

When she first came to Youngstown, YSU’s Tang thought of Youngstown as a “half-dead town, she said. She recalled when her friends drove her into the city. 

“They were like what is this place? There’s no one,” she said. “But after that, I have come to know the people here more and I realized that although this place has a reputation of being half-dead or being depressing, people here have an amazing spirit.” 

When she was selected as an MVP Award winner, Tang, a native of China, said she felt a sense of encouragement as contributions to the community and her students were recognized. 

Tang has been at YSU five years and she plans to get tenure so she can continue to call Youngstown her home, she said. After coming to the United States at age 18, she attended Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga. and Syracuse University, she said. 

“I look forward to making this place my home and seeking a next chapter in my academic career,” Tang said. 

The other 25 Under 35 nominees are: Renee Amacher, Meridian HealthCare; John Brkic, Great Trail Council, Boy Scouts of America; Anne Coleman, FactSet; Lena Amad Esmail, Mercy Health-Youngstown; Amanda Fehlbaum, YSU; Tabitha C. Fitz-Patrick, Hope & Healing Counseling Center; Nicole Fond, Junior Achievement of Mahoning Valley; Brian Garcar, Struthers City Schools; Jake Gebhart, HBK CPAs & Consultants; Bob Gratz, AmeriFirst Home Mortgage; Linsey Gray, The Anderson-DuBose Co.; Dr. Hayah Kassis-George, St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital/Mercy Health; David M. Kehoe, Pharmacy Data Management; Joe Lovell, Fresh Experience; Kristen Olmi, Mahoning County Department of Sanitary Engineering; Jordan Pennell, regional representative for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown; Terry Duane Pitts, Plant Fitness of Boardman; Paige Rassega, Meander Hospitality Management; Cara Reynolds, Identiti Resources; Megan Wagner-Buckley, Vallourec USA; Jason Walker, YSU; and Tanisha Wheeler, Inspiring Minds of Youngstown.

Pictured: Amber Beall Farris, Ying Joy Tang and Danielle Adams were selected as the MVPs of the 2020 class of the 25 Under 35 nominees.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.