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News & Media

Austin360: Austin Under 40 Awards hint at who will lead us next

Each year, the Austin Under 40 Awards tell us whom to watch. Who will make a difference in our city? Who will lead their fields into the next decades?

The AU40 ceremony, chaired this year by Bre Brown and Hal Williams, is slated for May 18 at the JW Marriott Hotel. The event benefits the charitable works of the Young Women’s Alliance and the Young Men’s Business League.

Yet just this list of finalists gives one a preview of future civic captions.

Take for instance the Mentor of the Year Award, previously won by Kendra Scott, Andy Roddick and Dan Graham. This year’s finalists compete to follow in their footsteps.

• Alexis Adauto Ferguson, president of the Austin Advertising Federation at 26 and a board member of the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas

• Gayle Reaume, founder and CEO of Moolah U, an organization created to inspire young people to establish habits that build a life of financial stability and independence.

• Jesse Bush Butler, a lawyer at Hajjar Peters, LLP

• Sandra Spalding, Director of Marketing & Community for Twin Liquors

• Robin Emmerich, a life coach and artist

ABJ: Austin Under 40 winners unveiled, including Austinite of the Year

These up-and-comers are turning heads in business, civics, health care and nonprofits

AUSTIN, Texas May 20, 2019 – Dr. Pritesh Gandhi, a pediatrician focused on righting social ills and aiming for a congressional seat, took the top honor May 18 at the 21st annual Austin Under 40 Awards gala by walking away with the title of AU40 Austinite of the Year.

Fourteen other professionals under the age of 40 across a variety of industries — plus a mentor of the year — were honored.

Gandhi is the associate chief medical officer at People’s Community Clinic in East Austin, which is devoted to serving the uninsured and low-income residents. He also is a clinical assistant professor in population health and pediatrics at the University of Texas’ Dell Medical School. In 2020, he hopes to unseat Republican Rep. Michael McCaul in the 10th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“When I was 5 years old I had a severe stutter, and at the time our heath insurance didn’t cover speech therapy, and I couldn’t speak — at all. And so my dad took two jobs to pay for me to go for speech therapy, and my mother commuted back and forth from Houston,” Gandhi told the crowd of more than 700 as he took the award. “Fifteen years later I overcame that, and I promised myself when I was young growing up — I promised, damnit — I would spend the rest of my life fighting for people who don’t have that voice.”

The Austin Under 40 Awards announces call for 2018 Nominations & Applications

20th Anniversary Celebrates Young Leaders in the Austin Community

AUSTIN, Texas – October 25, 2017 – Nominations and applications for the 2018 Austin Under 40 Awards are officially underway. The AU40 Awards Committee encourages anyone in the Austin community to nominate an emerging Austinite who has made a strong impact on both the community and within a specific career industry.

“We are fortunate in Austin to have so many young leaders investing so much in the future of our city and each year we have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate that through AU40,” said Hal Williams, 2018 AU40 co-chair, representing the Young Men’s Business League.

This year’s nominations have grown to include 16 industry-specific categories. In addition to the category-specific honorees, the Mentor of the Year Award will help recognize the men and women who have helped shape young leaders within the Austin community. Nominees for the Mentor of the Year Award can be anyone in the community who is over the age of 40. Additionally, category sponsors for each award group will have the opportunity to interview the category finalists.  

“20 years of recognizing the young leaders in our community through AU40 is a true milestone,” explains Bre Brown, 2018 AU40 co-chair, representing the Young Women’s Alliance, “We look forward to this year’s group of exceptional nominees and hosting a fantastic gala this Spring.”
Nominations & applications will remain open on the Austin Under 40 website,, through December 31, 2017. More news and updates for this year’s event will be shared through social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Austin Under 40

Since 1998, YWA and YMBL have partnered to host one of the city’s premier awards and charity events, the Austin Under 40 Gala. During an evening of prestige and celebration, Austinites are recognized for leadership in their respective industries and solid commitments to serving the community. All proceeds from the event go toward the YMBL Austin Sunshine Camps, which work to engage and empower children through education and outdoor experiences, and the YWA Foundation, which provides scholarships to women and supports GENAustin.  

Awards are given in 16 categories, including: Architecture, Engineering, and Construction, Arts and Entertainment, Civics, Government, and Public Affairs, Culinary Arts, Events, and Hospitality, Energy, Mobility, and Transportation, Energy, Mobility, and Transportation, Financial and Insurance Services, Innovation and Start-up, Journalism, Marketing, and Public Relations, Legal, Medicine and Healthcare, Nonprofit Service, Real Estate, Sports, Wellness, and Fitness, Technology, Youth and Education, and Mentor of the Year.

The AU40 Nominations Advisory Council, which is made up of past winners and industry leaders, selects five finalists in each category, followed by the AU40 Winners Selection Committee determining a winner in each category, along with Austinite of the Year recognition, which is announced during the AU40 Awards ceremony.

Past winners include Colin Pope, editor at the Austin Business Journal; Kendra Scott, accessories designer and entrepreneur of Kendra Scott jewelry; along with Dan Graham, CEO of Austin-based BuildASign.

The 2018 Austin Under 40 Awards Gala will be held at the JW Marriott on May 19, 2018.


For the latest Au40 news and photos, please check out the Au40 Facebook page or Au40 Twitter account.

Media Coverage

Past Austin Under 40 Awards have been featured in local publications such as:

Media inquiries for the 2020 Austin Under 40 Awards should be directed to the Co-Chairs at [email protected]

17th Annual Austin Under 40 Awards
Saturday, March 7, 2015 at JW Marriott

AUSTIN, Texas – January 2015 – The AU40 Nominations Committee has selected more than 75 finalists for its upcoming awards gala. There are a group of finalists for each of the 14 different industry categories – along with a new 15thcategory, Mentor of the Year, which will help recognize the men and women who have helped shape young leaders within the Austin community.

“The finalists represent the best of the best in Austin. They are excelling in their field, leading in their community, and making a difference in the future of Austin,” said John King, past winner and nominations co-chair for the 2015 AU40Awards.

“Whether it’s empowering others or directly engaging in our city, everyone nominated is working to make Austin the greatest city possible,” said Mysha Lubke, nominations co-chair for the 2015 AU40 Awards. “Our nominees are diverse in their experience and background and our Mentor of the Year nominees have dedicated themselves to making the next generation of Austin leaders successful. I could not be more proud of who we will be honoring.”

The 17th annual Austin Under 40 Awards Gala is March 7, 2015, at the JW Marriott. During the event, a category winner will be announced from each industry category, along with Austin’s inaugural Mentor of the Year Award. Out of each of the category winners, an overall winner will be selected and named Austinite of the Year.

“There is no other event like this in our city. It is an evening where the nominees are picked by our generation’s leaders to honor what they do and will do,” said Vanessa Fuentes, 2015 AU40 Co-chair.

Tickets for the AU40 Awards Gala are on sale now! All proceeds from the Gala will benefit the Young Women’s Alliance Foundation, which provides scholarships for women, and the Young Men’s Business League Sunshine Camps, which work to engage and empower children through education and outdoor experiences.

About Austin Under 40

The Austin Under 40 Awards (Au40) event was founded in 1997 by the Young Women’s Alliance and the Young Men’s Business League to recognize young women and men in Austin who excel in their professional fields and make considerable contributions to their communities. All proceeds benefit the Young Women’s Alliance Foundation and the Austin Sunshine Camps. For more information on Au40, contact [email protected] or visit

About the Young Women’s Alliance

The Young Women’s Alliance (YWA) is a professional organization that aims to empower the next generation of female leaders. The organization is here  today for tomorrow’s leaders, specifically women in Central Texas, by aiding in the development of a young women’s personal and professional growth.

With more than 250 members, YWA strives to empower women through our mentorship program, Connect, our educational Speaker Series, our involvement with the Girl’s Empowerment Network (GEN), and our opportunities to volunteer and lead within the community.  YWA is the largest women-lead non-profit in Austin, TX.

The Young Women’s Alliance Foundation (YWAF) was founded in 1998 to support our initiative to provide scholarships for young ladies in the Austin community. Through YWAF, we have provided over $250,000 worth of scholarships to over 70 local young ladies.

About Young Men’s Business League of Austin

Founded in 1913, the Young Men’s Business League (YMBL) is one of the oldest and most respected social service organizations in Austin. For 100 years, the YMBL has built today’s young professionals into tomorrow’s leaders by creating connections, fostering leadership development and serving the Austin Sunshine Camps.

With more than 240 active members and a growing alumni base, the YMBL facilitates the most established network of young businessmen in Austin, providing a platform for members to create connections through a variety of social and service opportunities, cultivating life-long personal and professional relationships.

Founded in 1928, YMBL’s major philanthropic endeavor in time and money is the Austin Sunshine Camp (ASC). ASC serves more than 800 low-income, high potential children every summer and many more through year-round leadership and mentoring programs. The mission of the ASC is to create a better future and stronger community through mentoring, education, and personal development of our low-income youth.