2017 Distinguished YP Award Finalists

Jul 06, 2017 · wyoungpros

Congratulations to our Distinguished YP Award finalists, sponsored by Wesley Medical Center! They include: Amanda Brown, Cargill Protein Group; Ebony Clemons-Ajibolade, Westar Energy; Christina Long, CML Collective, LLC; Keith Marshall, Kansas Air National Guard; Rachel Steiner, Friends University; and Daniel White, Allen, Gibbs and Houlik L.C. This award is presented to two YPW members who have reached personal and/or professional achievements in their career, have positively impacted our community, and show promise for continued success. Learn a little more about our finalists below.


Amanda Brown, Senior Food Scientist at Cargill Protein Group

Follow: @cargill

What is your number one restaurant recommendation in Wichita?

Life is about celebrating! Moments of celebrations with my family have and will always be done with desserts. Thus, there is no better place to go in Wichita to celebrate desserts than Milkfloat. The Elvis Cake has been one of my favorites but you really cannot go wrong with any of Milkfloat’s delicious desserts. Piatto’s never disappoints either with their food and experience. The ‘Nduja followed by the Saltimbocca con Nutella treat is the best way to go. Finally, for an adventure and memorable outing, Grace Hill Winery leaves a lasting impression. Their tastings, tours, and customer service makes for a pleasant afternoon. Be sure to pick up their “Fruit Bomb” wine to use with their Sangria recipe.

What is the best event/show you’ve seen in Wichita? 

One of my favorite events of the year is running the Old Town 10K. Celebrating the joy of running with the Wichita community is always a blast. The route from Old Town and along Riverside is a great reminder of the diverse, scenic, and supporting environment we live in.

What was your first job as a kid?

Had many small jobs growing up but my first official job was as a Sales Associate at Bel-Aire Pharmacy. It was through this role that my love for Hallmark greeting cards developed. To this day, send dozens of cards a year as a small token of appreciation, support, and love to others. As Maya Angelo put it so eloquently, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


Ebony Clemons-Ajibolade, Community Relations Manager at Westar Energy

Follow: @clemons_s | @westarenergy

What was your first job as a kid?

Creating a neighborhood newsletter.

What was your favorite college memory? 

Playing the piano at Auntie Mae’s on Thursday nights in Aggie Ville.

If someone were to ride in your car, what would they hear? 

Kendrick Lamar.

Christina Long, Owner, CML Collective, LLC


What has been your favorite YPW experience? 

I enjoyed attending and presenting at the 2016 YP Summit! The energy through the entire summit was incredible. It was great seeing so many YPs in one location learning from one another.

Who is the person you would most like to go to lunch with and why? 

Michelle Obama. Her intellect and ability to navigate through challenging circumstances and still emerge with such poise and grace is remarkable. She is an incredible inspiration. Plus, people say we have the same cheeks when we smile. I need to see if this is true.

What is your number one restaurant recommendation in Wichita?

AVI hands down. The food is delicious. The service staff is friendly and personable and the atmosphere is perfect for any meet-up from a spontaneous lunch date to professional business lunches.

Keith Marshall, Kansas Air National Guard

Follow: @keithmarshallks  | @ksang_184th_iw

What has been your favorite YPW experience?

Being involved with Community Engagement has been my favorite and most rewarding experience. As young professionals we can network and socialize, which is great, but if we’re not here to first and foremost make an impact on the community and serve those less fortunate, then what are we here for? I was able to connect through YPW speed networking with a terrific nonprofit that allowed me to pursue my passion and make a difference. Then, a couple of years later, I had the opportunity to go back and share my experience with other YPs as a member of a panel discussion on board membership. It has been very rewarding!

What was your favorite college memory?

My favorite college experience was camping out for KU basketball games. We would sleep around the clock at Allen Fieldhouse, and then on game mornings Roy Williams would bring donuts for all the campers. It was a lot of fun, but I probably took it too seriously because I missed a lot of classes and ended up losing my academic scholarships! As an alternative way to pay for college, I joined the Air Force Reserve, which ended up being a career- and life-defining moment. You could say that I am in the Air Force and have the great career I do today because of KU basketball!

What is the most recent book you’ve read? What did you like/learn from it?

The Brothers by Stephen Kinzer. It’s about John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles, and the enormous power they wielded worldwide during their time as Secretary of State and CIA Director, respectively. They, more than probably anyone else, drove America into global interventionism, the repercussions of which we are still feeling today. In my opinion, much of US foreign policy since World War I has been at least misguided, if not a disaster. I would argue that since the 1950s it has been much too reliant on military force to achieve dubious objectives. This book gave a piece of that puzzle much greater clarity.

Rachel Steiner, Director of Graduate and Professional Studies Recruiting at Friends University

Follow: @steiner_rachel | @friendsu

What is your number one restaurant recommendation in Wichita?

District Taqueria

What was your favorite college memory?

Although I have many great memories from college my favorite is getting the opportunity to play tennis in Greece the summer after my sophomore year.

What has been your favorite YPW experience?

Going through Leadership Academy in 2015. I learned a lot about my leadership skills and our great community as well as made many lifelong friends from my class.

Daniel White, Organizational Development Consultant at Allen, Gibbs and Houlik

Follow: @dw_white | @aghlc

Who is the person you would most like to go to lunch with and why?

I would love to go to lunch with Bono. I actually have a recurring dream where Bono rides by on a bicycle and then we hang out – so who knows, maybe it’ll happen one day! I love his music, I admire him as a person and his work in the developing world, and he just seems like an interesting guy!

What is the best event/show you’ve seen in Wichita?

I would have to say it is a toss-up between “Les Miserables” at Music Theater of Wichita (MTW), and The Flaming Lips’ recent show at Riverfest. Both were great in different ways. MTW is a hidden gem in the Midwest and they did an amazing job with “Les Mis,” an already amazing musical. The Flaming Lips treated the audience to an EXPERIENCE, complete with balloons, glitter, and a giant hamster ball – it was just plain fun.

What is the most recent book you’ve read? What did you like/learn from it?

I recently read The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni, which explores the three virtues exemplified in the best team players: Humble, Hungry, and Smart. He argues that people with these three virtues are best able to get along with others, get more done, and contribute the most to their team and their organization. It’s a really practical book and gives you tools to improve personally as well as hire and develop ideal team players.


Find out what YPW members will win the Distinguished YP Award at Founders’ Day on July 28 at The Hudson Venue. 

Purchase your tickets here.

Thank you to Wesley Medical Center for sponsoring the Distinguished YP Award.

Founders' Day Members