What makes a Forty Under 40 recipient?

Executives in burgeoning tech fields, up-and-coming real estate moguls and a slew of community-minded young achievers: They’re all set to take the stage at Friday evening’s celebration of the 2019 Forty Under 40 awards, a joint initiative of the Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Board of Trade recognizing accomplished and rising business leaders in the National Capital Region.

More than 160 applications were submitted, and this year’s recipients represent a wide range of backgrounds and industries. From craft brewers to musicians, they are an eclectic and compelling group.

Reading through their profiles in the June edition of the OBJ newsmagazine, you’re sure to come across a few surprises in the crowd. While many of the region’s young business leaders indeed got their starts flipping burgers or as cashiers in a grocery store, there’s also entrepreneurs like Rebel.com vice-president of marketing and culture Jana Dybinski, whose first job was washing horse blankets. The group all shared their favourite pastimes too, and while answers like road hockey and board games were common, StrategyCorp vice-president Danya Vered said she genuinely enjoys small talk.

(If you’re looking for one last surprise, we recommend checking out John Zinati’s favourite song. We love it, but we would never have guessed.)

Between the life lessons learned and tributes to their role models, this year’s Forty Under 40 crew has its share of inspirational stories too.

Take, for instance, Alex Dorward, the youngest of this year’s Forty Under 40 cohort. The chief operating officer of Simple Story told OBJ the biggest obstacle he’s overcome has been a struggle to maintain mental wellness in recent years. When overwork and stress led to further complications in his health, the young entrepreneur set his efforts to tackling his personal challenges while growing his business.

By the numbers

While all members of the 2019 Forty Under 40 cohort are clearly high achievers, it’s not a homogeneous group.

We’ve broken down some of the key metrics of this year’s class to find out just where the recipients stand in terms of age, education level, annual income and more.

Forty Under 40

Business roles:

  • One-third are owners of the firms they work for
  • 35 per cent are executives at their workplaces
  • 55 per cent work for companies with at least 20 employees


  • 48 per cent of this year’s recipients were born in Ottawa
  • One-third were born in other parts of Canada
  • 20 per cent were born in other countries
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If you can’t make it out to tonight’s celebration of the 2019 Forty Under 40 awards at the Hilton Lac-Leamy, read the profiles of our recipients in the OBJ digital edition below. If you’re attending tonight’s event, join in the conversation on social media with the hashtag #OTT40.