Future 50 celebrates, connects region's innovators

Katy Smith

Smart, open, progressive: Remember when everyone was saying Columbus had an identity crisis? We're like a teenager who's finally come into their own. 

The evidence is all around us. The city is in the middle of a building boom. People of myriad backgrounds, including lots of millennials, are flocking here from other parts of Ohio and from outside the state, ready to set up shop and launch their Columbus lives. We have a burgeoning startup scene. Upon winning the U.S. government's Smart City challenge in 2016 with the promise of becoming the country's smart mobility leader, Fast Company declared, "The City of the Future Is In Ohio. Welcome to the Columbus Experiment." And none of that even has anything to do with all the amazing food we're cooking in this town.

How did we get here? People. People with great ideas, who want to innovate. People who get energized by change. People who care about their neighbors' well-being.

Stay up to date with the region’s movers and shakers, top employers, philanthropic causes, real estate developments and thriving creative and startup scenes. Subscribe to Columbus CEO’s weekly newsletter.

Here at Columbus CEO, we are looking to identify those people with a new annual program: Future 50.

Who are the Future 50?

These are the people who aspire to make Columbus the great American city of the coming decades. These are up-and-coming professionals, public servants and entrepreneurs whose voices are rising (there is no age limit). They are already making a difference with bold ideas, creativity, altruism and achievements that will define our region as it evolves. 

Does this description remind you of someone? Nominate them as a member of the inaugural class of Future 50! New deadline: Sept. 9.

How do we choose?

Future 50 applicants will be evaluated based on their achievements, generosity of spirit (and deed) and ideas for creating lasting social impact. They may be chosen by a panel of Dispatch Media Group leaders, or, in future years, by the previous year’s Future 50 community members.

Future 50 Annual Project

Each year the Future 50 will work together to complete a project of their choosing. Projects should be specific and achievable within one year. The idea is that the project creates meaningful, quantifiable change in Central Ohio. The project embodies the Future 50 core values—achievement, altruism, boldness, creativity and inclusivity.

Commemorative issue

Each January, Columbus CEO will produce a special 13th issue honoring the year's Future 50. There also may be regular Future 50 stories in the monthly magazine and at ColumbusCEO.com.

Opportunities to connect

Columbus CEO will bring the Future 50 together through the Annual Project, digital channels, an awards celebration and potentially more. (Varies by year.)

Katy Smith is the editor of Columbus CEO.