The Abilene Reporter-News honored its 20 up-and-coming businesses leaders for 2014 at a reception at Hardin-Simmons University Tuesday.
Nominations are solicited based on those who have shown leadership skills and are obviously headed for a future of success in the business industry.
Honorees are chosen out of a pool of candidates that were reviewed by an anonymous committee. Those who receive the award must be under the age of 40 and work in a business in Abilene. This is the seventh year the awards have been presented.
Among this year’s nominees was CaSaundra Johnson, ACU’s mail service manager. Johnson, 34, has lived in Abilene her entire life and graduated from ACU.
Johnson said her biggest influence in business came from the two literary works Never Eat Alone by Kevin Ferrazzi and Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk that have helped her understand the power of relationships and how to tell her story.
“Keep the main thing the main thing,” said Johnson in an interview with the Abilene Reporter-News. “I heard this everyday from my parents and my minister while I was growing up. This has helped me keep my priorities in order as I have worked to balance my spiritual life, family and career.”
Johnson and her husband Terry have been married for 11 years and have three children. She said making an investment in her children each day is something that is important to her in balancing her priorities between maintaining a career and raising a family.
Johnson said the best advice she’s ever received is to make a conscious effort to only pursue career opportunities where she believes God has opened the door.
Twenty years from now, Johnson hopes to be able to generate ideas that will help others realize what their goals in life are and give them a desire to pursue them.
“I consider it an honor to have been chosen,” she said. “I call myself an ‘Abilenian’ because I was born and raised in Abilene. I am grateful to be able to serve and give back to a community that has given so much to me.”