Emerald Cassidy, director of public relations, was recognized as one of Abilene’s “Top 20 Under 40.”
Partnering with Abilene Reporter News, Abilene Young Professionals, a sub-group to the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, recognize 20 citizens of Abilene by “Honoring local business leaders under the age of 40 who are excelling in their career field,” the AYP website said.
The requirements to be a recipient of this recognition are that the recipient must work in Abilene, be under the age of 40 by Jan. 1, 2019, and must not have been a previous recipient.
Cassidy said that when selecting for the year’s 20 under 40, AYP looks for those who are going above and beyond what they are required in their field.
“The AYP is focused on the out-of college young person who is looking for professional development. They are looking for the people who aren’t just making a difference in their own workplace, but in the community as a whole,” Cassidy Said.
To honor the recipients, AYP hosted an awards event last Friday at 201 Mesquite where Cassidy and the other 19 recipients were recognized for their service to the Abilene Community.
The event consisted of a small, “cocktail-like” reception and then the actual ceremony after. During the ceremony the recipients were announced and each read off a biography they contributed.
Cassidy said that the event was really nice, considering that it was special to be in a place where she saw many familiar faces and where everyone was celebrating each other.
“It was nice because in the class I knew a majority of the people so it was just really great to be a part of that group.”
Although Cassidy is unsure of who nominated her for the recognition, she said a card left for her at the event from Megan Dobbs, marketing director of the Community Foundation of Abilene, gave her some insight as to why she was recognized.
“Because how has Emerald not been named a “20 Under 40” recipient yet? She needs to get it. She’s committed to contributing to Abilene success,” Dobbs said.
Cassidy has also received recognition outside of this nomination.
In his letter of recommendation to the selection committee of the Class of 2018 Leadership Texas Program, Mayor Anthony Williams said that Cassidy was “extremely effective and an asset to the City of Abilene.”
“Her commitment, dedication to a job well done, and unwavering integrity are exceptional,” Wlliams said.
However, although Cassidy said she appreciates this recognition, she believes that there needs to be equal parts of being humble and receiving affirmation.
“You do the work for yourself because it’s a part of your own mission and how you move forward to work to do things in your life that are important to you,” Cassidy said. “But, when someone puts a seal on it and says ‘Hey, we’re noticing you,’ I think that’s just more affirmation to say that you’re on the right track.”
Even though she said this award means a lot to her, she said that she is excited to continue to grow and get better in her field.
“There’s a lot of momentum happening on campus and so I feel where I am now, there’s just so much opportunity that I think I feel empowered to say ‘be creative and do what you can,’” Cassidy said. “It’s exciting because there’s potential there even when you don’t know what it is, so you’re just open to it.”
Cassidy said she believes that her communication with her parents, her sister and experts within her field and as well as others have helped her to continue to be as successful as she can.
“Other people within my field have been really helpful to me. The circle is small, but it doesn’t mean that not reaching out to other people. If there is a question on a certain topic, then I want to be able to look out for those experts who are the most familiar with those topics so I can seek out their advice, because you always want to improve.”
Expanding on this, Cassidy said she believes that community is integral to someone’s success, that it is in our nature.
“You need a community around you who are going to uplift you and who you can count on whether it’s your school, workplace, club or church.”
For more on Cassidy’s “Top 20 Under 40” recognition, visit https://www.abileneyp.org/20u40-emeraldc.