Blank Slate Media’s 40 Under 40 honors young Nassau professionals

Blank Slate Media’s 40 Under 40 honors young Nassau professionals

For a group of young professionals – all under the age of 40 – who were honored for their achievements by Blank Slate Media Thursday, the next step is to continue the momentum that has already been felt across Long Island.

“My goal for this speech was that you would walk away inspired to make a difference on Long Island each and every day,” Stacey Sikes said. “That’s difficult because you already have. You have all touched the lives of so many people and made them better.”

But keynote speaker and honoree Sikes, vice president of Government Affairs for the Long Island Association, also challenged her fellow honorees to push forward by tapping their creativity and imaginations to find new ways to innovate their fields in a reference to the sentiments of Chef Julia Child.

“So if we live by what Julia said in our own lives, if we seek learning our craft while being inventive just like a culinary masterpiece, the possibilities are limitless,” Sikes said.

Blank Slate Media’s annual 40 Under 40 Thursday night celebrated 40 honoree recipients, singling out notable young professionals from 16 to 40 who have achieved high accolades and made a lasting impact in just the early stages of their careers.

The youngest honoree was Shayna Blumenfeld, 16, a youth ambassador for Kyra’s Champions – a charity that advocates for policy and legislative actions to protect children from violence within the home.

“Tonight we are celebrating a diverse and talented and committed group of people who will help lead Nassau County in the future if they’re not doing that already,” Blank Slate Media Publisher Steven Blank.

The event was emceed by Antoinette Biordi, reporter and anchor for News 12 Long Island, who was also among the honoree pool.

Sikes said the honorees exemplified a diversity of expertise, occupations and accomplishments, calling the group of 40 an “immensely talented” collection of young professionals.

While she said they have already made strides in their careers, it doesn’t stop there.

“Long Island is an amazing place to live and work,” Sikes said. “But Long Island is not without our challenges. So who is going to ensure that Long Island has the momentum to keep moving in a positive direction? You. You are the leaders of today. Not tomorrow, but right now.”

Sikes offered the group one piece of advice: “By taking the time to think about our focus, we can become more effective at our jobs, more dynamic professionals and continue our momentum.”

Lawrence Lessing, chief operating officer for Lessing’s Hospitality Group, said receiving the award was an honor and he found it humbling to be surrounded by so many other accomplished young professionals,

Being under 40, Lessing said, is a dynamic moment in which you’re celebrating your accomplishments while still seeking ways to continue climbing the ladder and acquire more learning.

“It’s definitely an age where you’re working hard,” Lessing said. “It’s a nice boost to get an award and re-energize.”

Jacob Dixon, founder and CEO of Choice For All – a nonprofit advocating for equity and justice in education, health and income for children and families – expressed a similar sentiment to Lessing’s, agreeing that the award is a reminder of past accomplishments at a time of looking forward to make progress.

“I believe in the power of intergenerational leadership,” Dixon said. “So I think it’s important to recognize not just the legends who have done this work for a number of years but also the people who are up and coming.”

A full list of the 40 honorees can be found at

The event was sponsored by Lessing’s Hospitality Group, Webster Bank, MMP Capital, Northwell Health, Choice for All, NYU Langone Health, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation, and Harmony Health Care Long Island. The photo booth was sponsored by Jaspan Schlesinger Narendran LLP.

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Cameryn Oakes is Blank Slate Media's Brooklyn-based reporter who covers the Great Neck, Manhasset and Port Washington areas. She hails from Sacramento, California and previously reported at The Stockton Record as a summer intern. Cameryn graduated from California Polytechnic State University with two bachelor's degrees in journalism and political science. She served as the managing editor of her university's student newspaper, The Mustang News, which was named as the best college newspaper in California under her supervision.

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