Natalie Lynn of Counterpart Kombucha Receives 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year Award

More than 300 people were on hand Tuesday to honor the area’s best and brightest at the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce’s third annual Young Professionals Awards.

“It’s very important for the Chamber to get young professionals involved in the community,” said Chamber chief operating officer Lindsay Bezick. “For us, seeing what they are doing and hearing how they are making an impact is important.”

Bezick, who was later surprised with the 2018 Inspiration of the Year Award, added: “People were excited for the opportunity to nominate people who run a business or people they work with and show their appreciation for them.”

Over 40 young professionals under age 40 were nominated for 11 awards during the event at The Room at 900 on Rutter Avenue.

The winners were not announced before the event because the Chamber wanted to showcase every professional nominated and to give everyone some publicity.

Even those who were not nominated had a lot to gain by just showing up.

“This is a great way to network with other young professionals,” explained Wilkes University graduate assistant Kimberly Hein.

The NEPA Influencer of the Year Award, the top honor of the night, went to Dan Landesberg, administrative director of Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center and Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre.

“It was exhilarating when I heard my name called,” said Landesberg, a Queens, New York native. “But I couldn’t help think about all of the employees at the hospital. Without them, this award isn’t possible.”

He continued: “It’s huge for young people to get involved in their community. There were a lot of great innovators in the room tonight.”

“The true test of leadership is mentoring the next generation to help move us forward.”

The Times Leader Media Group was the official media sponsor for the Young Professionals Awards.

Natalie Lynn