In 2021, the Impressive 40 Under 40 Equal 42


Alexandria, VA – The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and the Zebra Press are pleased to present The Chamber ALX’s sixth class of 40 Under 40 Honorees. This is a celebration of inspiring young individuals, their successes in various industries, and their impact on our thriving Alexandria community.

In addition to these 40 outstanding young professionals, The Chamber ALX received several nominations of deserving high school students and is honoring two students along with the 40 Under 40 winners. Here are their stories.

1. Amanda Alderson

National Industries for the Blind

Amanda is an accomplished professional who has lived in Northern Virginia nearly all her life. As Director of Products, she oversees product development teams across a nationwide network of associated nonprofit agencies. Amanda is a board member on the Falls Church City Schools Day Care Advisory Board, volunteers with Run Geek Run, and coaches her son’s little league baseball team. Amanda is a graduate of the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech and lives with her family in Falls Church.

2. Morgan Babcock

The Carlyle Council

Morgan Babcock is the Manager and TMP Coordinator for the Carlyle Council, an organization representing property owners in the Carlyle Community of Alexandria. She organizes community events for the Carlyle Vitality Initiative, including Bike to Work Day, PTO’s Community Day & Green Fair, and National Parking Day. Morgan is an active member of Visit Alexandria, Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Small Business Development Center, ATV Stakeholder for DASH, SAG member of AlexRenew, and Board Member of the Eisenhower Partnership. She is a graduate of Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA, where she earned her BA in Business Management, a minor in Social Work, and an Elementary Education Certification.

3. Rachel Baer, Esq.

Family First Law Group

Rachel’s practice, located in Old Town, focuses on estate planning, estate and trust administration, fiduciary litigation, and guardianship and conservatorship. Raised in San Diego, CA, she moved to Virginia to attend university. After graduating from law school, Rachel served as Virginia Assistant Attorney General in the Health Services section for two years. She volunteers with the Alexandria Bar Association’s Senior Law Day and served on the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria board. Rachel lives in Alexandria with her husband and daughter.

4. Jackie Barbarito

Goodwin House

As Administrator of Assisted Living & Memory Support, Jackie provides leadership and management, and has overall regulatory compliance responsibility for the assisted living and memory support households. Advocating for and serving older adults is her passion. She chairs the Dementia Advance Team, which was recognized in 2020 by LeadingAge Virginia with the Dementia Championship of the Year Award. She volunteers for Meals on Wheels with Senior Services of Alexandria. Jackie has a bachelor’s degree from American University and a master’s degree from the George Washington University, where she is also an adjunct professor.

5. Miguel Blancas

City of Alexandria

Miguel was born and raised in central Mexico. He moved to the U.S. in 2013 after meeting his wife while studying abroad. As a career criminologist, he works to reduce delinquent behavior through acculturation presentations in the school system. Miguel has been designated as Best Professor at the Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla and received a merit award from the City of Alexandria. He currently serves as the Documentation Leader of the Emergency Operations Center as part of the response to COVID-19 and as a Deputy Project Manager for the Department of Project Implementation and the Crime and Violence Prevention Coordinator for the Court Service Unit. Miguel has a bachelor’s degree from the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon. He is pursuing his master’s at the University of Birmingham, UK.

6. Taryn Brice-Rowland

National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO Inc)

Taryn Brice-Rowland earned a BA in Political Science and a master’s in Public Administration from Clemson University. She started her career at NATSO 11 years ago as the Government Affairs Assistant and currently works as the Director of Technology & Database. Away from work, Taryn runs an oyster farm in Lancaster with her husband, Aaron, and serves on Lancaster’s Economic Development Authority. She is an ardent supporter of conservation efforts and volunteers with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Friends of the Rappahannock, and Shellfish Growers Climate Coalition. She loves to spend time with family and to be on the water.

7. Alycia Burant

Healthy Minds Therapy

Alycia is a Licensed Professional Counselor with over 12 years of experience providing direct patient care to adults, adolescents, children, and families. She is an experienced independent business owner with a demonstrated history of working in the mental health care industry. She oversees 12 residents, eight therapists, and two administrative assistants serving over 6,000 children, teens, and adults in our area. Alycia received her BA in Psychology from Virginia Tech and a Master’s in Community Counseling from the Argosy University School of Professional Psychology. She completed post-master’s Certification in School Counseling at the University of South Florida.

8. Christina Calloway

The United States Patent and Trademark Office

Christina is an attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. She is secretary of the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association board and was recently appointed to the City’s Commission for the Arts. Christina is a 2019 graduate of Alexandria’s City Academy. She frequently speaks and volunteers with organizations such as the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church and Northern Virginia Urban League Young Professionals Network to educate small business owners and creatives about their intellectual property. She is also the digital content creator of sharpandsound.com, which focuses on local lifestyle and style inspiration.

9. Cynthia Chin

Space of Her Own

Born in Alexandria, Cynthia has spent the last 15 years living and working in and giving back to the city of her birth. She graduated cum laude in 2003 from the esteemed University of Virginia with a BA in Interdisciplinary Media Studies and Studio Art. Since 2004 she has worked at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, being promoted to Primary Examiner in 2010. Cynthia’s most outstanding achievements have come from her selfless work with the local nonprofit organization SOHO. Starting as a mentor, she now serves on the board as its creative Director and leads their annual fundraising campaign. Her work has been instrumental in enhancing and expanding youth programs in Alexandria.

10. C. J. Cross

Hops N Shine

C. J. Cross is a Northern Virginia native and serial entrepreneur. For the past two and a half years, he has been the Managing Partner of Hops N Shine in Del Ray as a part of Creative Bar Concepts Restaurant Group. In addition to Hops N Shine, he is working toward opening Chalkboard BBQ in Tysons, Virginia. Throughout the pandemic, C. J.’s team has served hundreds of meals for underemployed restaurant and health care workers. He volunteers with Bike to the Beach, which supports those affected by autism, by supporting marketing efforts and events execution along the East Coast. C. J. received his degrees from Northern Virginia Community College and James Madison University.

11. Lieutenant Marcus Downey

Alexandria Police Department

Marcus joined the Alexandria Police Department in 2006 and has taken a strong interest in community engagement ever since. Much of this engagement is through the YMCA APYC Camp Kekoka, where he works to improve disadvantaged children’s lives and facilitate positive relationships between youth and law enforcement. Marcus serves as board president and has identified funding to send 500 underprivileged youth to camp. He also fundraises for the Carpenter’s Shelter and volunteers with Rebuilding Together Alexandria to improve homes for the elderly. Marcus is the recipient of the Respect of Law Award and the Social Responsibility Award for the Peninsula YMCA.

12. Cheyanne Dwyer

Building Momentum

Cheyanne is a self-taught welder and robotics expert, a military training programs developer, a disaster response guru, an adjunct professor of prototyping and fabrication at George Washington University, and a bespoke corporate training curriculum developer. In her role as Director of Education and Programing, she runs ticketed community events, empowering locals to learn machine-assisted, tech-enabled trades to expand their minds and skillsets and to gain confidence. Cheyanne has trained 1,800 military members in live and virtual settings. She received her degree from Christopher Newport University.

13. Paula J. Eichenbrenner, MBA, CAE

Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy Foundation

Paula invests in future-oriented research and inspires the next generation of managed care pharmacists as AMCP Foundation’s Executive Director. She has served at the American Society of Nutrition’s Foundation and the Council for Affordable and Rural Housing. Paula is president-elect of the Association Foundation Group and a past committee chair of the American Society of Association Executives. As an undergrad at Tulane University, Paula was educated in and by New Orleans. She completed her MBA at Virginia Tech’s Northern VA campus and holds the Certified Association Executive credential.

14. Kelly Ferenc

Bishop Boutique

Kelly Ferenc, a mother of four, opened the doors of Bishop Boutique 10 years ago. Bishop Boutique, located in the heart of Old Town, is a chic and intimate sanctuary for the fashion savvy. Kelly is a consistent supporter of numerous local charities and schools, including the National Breast Cancer Foundation. There she created and co-chairs Swing to Bust Cancer, the number one fundraiser for the foundation. Kelly is a member of the Old Town Boutique District, Scout Guide, and Old Town Business Association. She served on the board of the OTBD for four years.

15. Claudia Girerd

Freeman Decorating Company

A DMV native, Claudia moved to Alexandria in 2006. She has worked in the events industry at Freeman for the past 12 years. As a leader in the field, Claudia is a trusted partner to some of the largest association customers to deliver creative, on-trend, customized solutions that help her clients showcase their brand. Claudia also donates her time and event planning expertise with The Campagna Center and the Alexandria Seaport Foundation. She helped both organizations launch successful fundraising events. Claudia studied biology at the University of South Carolina and lives in Alexandria with her daughter.

16. Alyson Glick

Aptive Resources

Aly Glick is a proven problem solver and leader with more than 13 years of experience in program management, communications, recruitment and branding, advertising, change management, and strategic planning support to public sector organizations. As the Vice President of Strategic Communications and Marketing at Aptive Resources, she uses her Prosci® Change Management Practitioner and Project Management Professional certifications to deliver proven employee engagement and strategic marketing campaigns. In addition, Alyson gives back to the SCOPE USA, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Capital Area Food Bank in her spare time.

17. Kellie Gunderman

The Social Edge, LLC & VIP Alexandria Magazine

Before launching VIP Alexandria Magazine, Kellie’s marketing and design clients included USA Today and NY Times Bestselling Authors, ABC’s Shark Tank companies, prestigious military-affiliated nonprofit organizations, and many small businesses located nationwide. Kellie is dedicated to the military spouse community, supporting the Military Spouse Corporate Career Networking, Corporate American Supports You, and Blue Star Families. She also donates space in the magazine to feature local charities or goodwill stories deserving of attention. Kellie received her degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

18. Connie Hammell

KWC Certified Public Accountants

In addition to managing overall operations as managing partner, Connie leads KWC’s Client Advisory Services group, which provides outsourced accounting. She also created and oversees the firm’s PPP Assistance team, which assists local businesses with procuring and administering COVID‐19 relief loans from the Small Business Administration. Connie serves on the board of First Night Alexandria and John Marshall Bank’s advisory board. She is an active member of the Rotary Club of Alexandria.

19. Amanda Parker Hazelwood

The Spitfire Club

Amanda is the founder and Executive Director of The Spitfire Club, an innovative nonprofit book club and empowerment community for girls. Amanda launched The Spitfire Club in Alexandria in 2017 and has since built Spitfire to serve over 270 girls in Alexandria and throughout the DMV. Prior to founding Spitfire, Amanda worked as a consultant in nonprofit management, fundraising, and strategic planning. Amanda is also the Chair-Elect of the Alexandria City Children Youth and Families Collaborative Commission. Previously, she held leadership roles in the Alexandria Democratic Committee. She is a graduate of American University.

20. Jenna Hong, MD

INOVA Medical Group

Jennifer “Jenna” Hong is an Inova obstetrician and gynecologist. She has an office in Shirlington and delivers and operates at Inova Alexandria Hospital. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Jenna spearheaded a task force to help healthcare workers best care for pregnant women with COVID-19. She advocated for additional resources to keep workers safe and provided regular guidance for her department. Jenna now serves as the Interim Medical Director for Women’s Services. She is working on quality improvement projects to reduce cesarean sections, address racial disparities in women’s healthcare, and enhance the patient experience.

21. Mary Charlotte Horner

Legal Services of Northern Virginia

Mary works as a Housing Justice Staff Attorney with Legal Services of Northern Virginia, representing low-income, elderly, and disabled city reside clerk for the City of Alexandria Circuit Court. She is a member of the Alexandria Eviction Prevention Task Force and a founding member of the Alexandria Eviction Prevention Partnership. Mary also serves as Secretary of the Alexandria Bar Association Board of Directors and as Regional Board Capital Campaign Liaison for the Dunbar Alexandria-Olympic Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors.

22. Michelle Smith Howard

Smart Beginnings Alexandria

Michelle is an experienced educator committed to addressing the socio-economic disparities affecting underserved communities. She began her career as an early childhood special education teacher and administrator with the D.C. Public Schools. She then served as the Director of Early Learning for the Obama Administration’s DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative. Additionally, Michelle has worked as Director of Early Childhood Development and Intervention with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington and as Coordinator of Early Childhood Programs with Alexandria City Public Schools. Michelle credits her love for education to her mother, a retired public-school teacher.

23. Lorraine Johnson

Alexandria City High School Student

Lorraine is a 2021 graduate of Alexandria City High School. While pursuing her secondary studies, she co-led or participated in seven student organizations, including the Superintendent’s Advisory Group, Student Government, Minority Students Achievement Network, and the Leadership program. Lorraine also founded and became President of the Black Student

Union, during which the group grew its membership five-fold. She served as one of two ACPS School Board Student Representatives, advocating for the student’s perspective and voice. Lorraine volunteers with RunningBrooke and as a greeter at COVID-19 vaccination clinics. She plans to study communications and film when she starts undergraduate courses in Texas this fall.

24. Nicole Jones

Stomping Ground, Bagel Uprising & Mae’s Market & Café

Nicole hails from a nomadic military family but spent her formative years in the American South and attended the University of Georgia. Following a career in public radio, Nicole started her culinary education at L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg. Her experience grew as a line cook at Blue Duck Tavern before opening Stomping Ground in 2015. The fast-casual eatery garnered community support and outstanding reviews, with features on the Cooking Channel, PBS, and The Washington Post. She has gone on to open Bagel Uprising and the hotly anticipated Mae’s Market and Café and Virginia Darling. Nicole prides herself on prioritizing her employees, providing a livable wage despite industry standards.

25. Harrison C. Lee

Cotton & Company LLP

Harrison joined Cotton & Company LLP in January 2009 as an Information Assurance (IA) staff auditor. He was elected a partner with the firm’s Advisory group in January 2020. Harrison has experience managing Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) audits and reviews, financial statement audits, performance audits, and IT consulting engagements for multiple federal clients. In addition, Harrison’s passion for diversity and inclusion led him to youth mentorship programs with at-risk and underprivileged children. He holds a BS in Business Information Technology from Virginia Tech, and he is a Certified Information Systems Auditor, Certified Information Systems Manager, Certified Information Systems Security Professional, and Project Management Professional.

26. Lizzie Liu

The Campagna Center

As the Director of Secondary and Adult Education, Lizzie maximizes every student’s educational potential. Since joining The Campagna Center in 2018, she has implemented innovative strategies to improve the program’s operation. After one year as the Director for the New Neighbors ELL program, she was appointed to take over the secondary education program, Building Better Futures. Lizzie earned multiple degrees in China before pursuing her master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh. In addition, Lizzie is training to become a Licensed Professional Counselor to bring therapeutic benefits to people who often cannot afford mental health services.

27. Sarah Locke

Old Town Tax Consultants

Sarah is an Alexandria native and small business enthusiast with an unbridled determination to grow and learn each day. She is an experienced and dedicated tax consultant who cites her father’s experience helping clients as the impetus for starting her firm. Over the last seven years, Sarah has prided herself on helping her clients thrive financially. She is engaged in multiple events through ALX Community, fundraising through Spring2Action for the Carpenter’s Shelter, Animal Welfare League, and New Hope Housing. She provides complimentary tax services to low-income individuals and overworked frontline personnel. She served as President of Prosper Alexandria and Vice President of Action Referral Forum.

28. Drew Marks

Mark-Woods Construction Services

Drew is originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, where he graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in Management & Society. As Partner and Operations Manager, he develops and implements all project processes and standards for the leading residential design-build firm. Drew also co-owns Braemar Cabinetry. He is a recipient of the national 2020 Professional Remodeler’s 40 Under 40 award. In his free time, he volunteers for the Arlington Babe Ruth youth baseball league and supporting small businesses for The Scout Guide’s Mother’s Day fundraiser. Drew lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and two sons.

29. Jennifer N. Masi

Children’s Law Center

Jen has made a career of advocating for children since graduating from the University of Virginia. Before attending the George Washington University School of Law, she taught school in Charlottesville, Virginia. After law school graduation, she clerked for the Honorable Hiram E. Puig-Logo of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Two years later, in 2011, Jen joined the Children’s Law Center, first as a staff attorney and then as a supervising attorney representing children in the District’s abuse and neglect system. In 2017, Jen was named their Pro Bono Director, where she is a power advocate for more than 1,000 of the 5,000 children and families they serve.

30. Cody Mello-Klein

Alexandria Times

As the editor of the Alexandria Times, Cody has brought his passion for storytelling and his commitment to pursuing the truth to the weekly paper. Originally from the Boston area, he joined the Times in late 2018 as a reporter before assuming the role of editor in late 2020. He launched the Times’ first podcast, “Speak Easy,” in 2020, where he hosts one-on-one conversations with political and business leaders. Cody received first-place recognition by the Virginia Press Association for his seven-part investigative series on the arrival of e-scooters in Alexandria. He received his degrees from Northeastern University.

31. Morgan C. Middleton

United States Senate Federal Credit Union

As the Retail Branch Manager, Morgan provides leadership and management to retail staff to ensure that a strong member service atmosphere exists and is practiced. She is responsible for branch operations and profitability while functioning as a Business Development Officer to foster relationships with select employee groups. Morgan is the Governmental Affairs Crasher Program winner and was selected as a runner-up for the Miriam Rivera Lieb Emerging Leader Award. She is pursuing a degree in business administration and has completed numerous certifications and trainings on leadership, workplace training, and communication.

32. Ashley Sanchez-Viafara

Alexandria City High School Student

Ashley is a 2021 graduate of Alexandria City High School. She began serving as a student liaison for the Parkland and Recreation Commission and the Children, Youth & Families Collaborative Commission, where she discovered her passion for community engagement. Ashley served as a student leader of the Minority Student Association Network and a student representative of the ACPS School Board. Ashley prioritizes amplifying student voices by creating spaces where they can speak their unapologetic truth. She is involved with The Identity Project, is Secretary of the Black Student Union, and is an Ambassador of Justice for Black Girls. Ashley was a panelist for the American University Women and Girls of Color Discussion and received the Harry F. Byrd Jr Leadership Award for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District. She will be starting undergraduate courses at The George Washington University this fall.

33. Oliver N. Schipper, MD

Anderson Orthopaedic Clinic

Oliver completed his medical education at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, followed by his residency at the University of Chicago and training at the OrthoCarolina Foot & Ankle Institute. He has authorized book chapters and papers on replacement and minimally invasive surgery practices. His work was the first to link early replacement osteolysis to implant wear particles, for which he was named a Leonard J. Goldner Award finalist. Oliver is among the first in the U.S. to use advanced patient-specific instrumentation to perform ankle replacements. Beyond these procedures, he specializes in minimally invasive Achilles repair, complex deformity correction, and was the first to perform minimally invasive bunion surgery in the DC/MD/VA area. Oliver teaches and lectures nationally and runs monthly labs to train surgeons from around the country. Oliver was recognized as the Foot and Ankle Surgery Educator of the Year by Inova Fairfax Medical Campus.

34. Robin Shultz

INOVA Health System

As the Director of Geriatrics for Inova Health System, Robin expands care access and enhances quality for aging patients throughout Northern Virginia. Following a stint on Capitol Hill and a Master’s in Clinical Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Robin administered programming for families and youth in Prince George’s County before joining Inova. She now brings 15 years of experience to care for patients and teams across the healthcare continuum. Robin helped launch and now sustains the first regional nonprofit model to deliver in-home primary care to geriatrics patients in Northern Virginia, serving over 11,000 patients since the model’s inception.

35. Faith Spillman

Alexandria Police Department

As the Youth Services Coordinator at the Alexandria Police Department, Faith collaborates with other agencies to connect families to resources, lead outreach and prevention initiatives, develop and runs programs, and facilitate trainings. Before joining APD, Faith worked in the nonprofit and education sectors, primarily in homelessness prevention and mental health. Born in Alexandria, she received a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) from George Mason University, a BA from the University of Mary Washington, and an AA from Northern Virginia Community College. Faith resides in the West End.

36. Jacobson Truex

McLaughlin Ryder Investments

Jacobson is a Vice President/Investment Advisor at McLaughlin Ryder Investments, where he focuses on financial planning and investment management. He grew up in Northern Virginia and, at 18, founded his own business that focused on the mental and physical development of young teens. Jacobson earned a BS from Northeastern University, where he competed in international competitions on the Management Consulting Case Team and was an all-conference, all-academic linebacker on the Boston Club Football team. Before Covid-19, Jacobson was a volunteer youth coach throughout Northern Virginia. He has lived in Alexandria since 2019 with his partner and their rescue dog, Boone.

37. Jaqueline Tucker, Esq.

City of Alexandria

Jaqueline is an innovative servant leader deeply involved with civic engagement, community uplift, policy, and inclusive multi-racial democracy. Jaqueline is the City of Alexandria’s first Race and Social Equity Officer. She comes to the role as a former educator who witnessed the injustices of systemic inequity firsthand in her Houston, TX classroom. Tucker leads the City government’s race and social equity commitment, “All Alexandria,” and is building a framework to ensure policy decisions advance race and social equity for all Alexandria residents. She collaborates with City departments, employees, and community stakeholders to ensure Alexandria becomes a more equitable community.

38. Lauren H. Waldron

Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS)

Lauren is the Director of Marketing of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), where she manages the marketing and communications strategy for the association’s programs. Lauren serves on the Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Society board and as Executive Vice Chairman of the Alexandria Republican City Committee. She has a Digital Media and Marketing certificate from Duke University and a BA, cum laude, in Political Communication and American Government from George Mason University. Lauren resides in Old Town Alexandria with her West Highland Terrier, Mr. Henry, and three guitars.

39. Natasha Walters