The 20 of 2020 Awards Ceremony takes place virtually Thursday to celebrate a select group of business and non-profit leaders who rose to the COVID-19 challenge in innovative ways to support the community’s needs while sustaining their businesses.
Much well-deserved attention has been given to medical personnel, first responders, and other essential workers who have formed the frontline of this state’s response to the pandemic. And the selection of these 20 should in no way diminish the recognition of the pervasive importance of the contributions of all those essential workers.
But the intent of the creators of the 20 of 2020 was to celebrate those in business who recognized they suddenly had to assume a community responsibility along with their continued business challenges.
During my 24 years as publisher of the Business Journal, I had the good fortune to launch many of the events that annually celebrate segments of the business community. Thus 40 Under 40, Women of Influence, 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies, and Minority Business Awards ensure that new groups meriting recognition will emerge each year.
But when it occurred to me that a special group of individuals would emerge from 2020 and that they should be sought out for special honor, it was clear there was no intent for this to be an annual award. Rather the hope was that the passing of the pandemic would ensure this would be a one-time honor.
But the likely long-term impact of the COVID on business and the economy could produce a new breed of business outliers, in essence helping create a new definition of business success.
And the measure of their model going forward could well become, in relation to their roles as community leaders, “how much did you care and how did you show it?"
And the best indication that the 20 we are honoring are the only representative of a wide array of business and non-profit leaders who could be equally honored was a comment made to me by one of the honorees.
Joan Wallace, longtime Bellevue business leader, and philanthropist explained to me her view of what has gone on across her community and the region is “loving and caring people intersecting at the crossroads of need.”
Stories on each of the honorees are contained in a special print publication and a digital version that is being produced by marketingnw.com, a creator and partner in the event.
The digital publication for the event is available without charge. So view the honoree's stories
The print version of Marketing, under publisher Larry Coffman, was for decades the information source for the marcomm industry of Advertising, Public Relations, Creative Arts, Direct Marketing, Out-Of-Home Media, and Digital Media.
Prominent local broadcast personality Pat Cashman, best known for Almost Live!, the long-running television comedy program and his Pat Cashman radio show, will emcee the 20 of 2020 Thursday.
Cashman is presenting each honoree a plaque commemorating his or her selection to this esteemed and diverse group. They also will be feted at a reception in the Columbia Tower
Club when the COVID restriction on in-person gatherings has been lifted.
This event was originally scheduled as a live event at the Columbia Tower Club and thus the club is a sponsor of the virtual event and is providing the virtual platform.
Katrina Eileen Romatowski of Katrina Eileen Real Estate brokerage in Seattle chairs the Columbia Tower Club events committee and in that role helped create the concept for this event, for which her firm is also a co-sponsor.
"The 20 for 2020 will recognize leaders and innovators who have demonstrated an uncanny ability to tap into what the human spirit truly needs in these most challenging of times," she said.