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Institute To Honor Area’s Emerging Black Leaders

Awards spotlight “Top 10 under 40.”

— On Tuesday, May 7, the Virginia Leadership Institute will hold its “Top 10 Under 40” awards, to honor 10 of the region’s rising young African American leaders in business, community involvement and politics. According to Arlington resident Krysta Jones, the founder and president of the Virginia Leadership Institute, the event will help raise the profile of achievements made by black young professionals in Northern Virginia.

“I just think it’s amazing that we have this opportunity to really bring this out,” Jones said in an interview prior to the awards. “It’s amazing to think about the achievements we are making, and I think it says a lot about what we’re able to do in the future if we just keep at it.”

Founded in 2006, Virginia Leadership Institute’s primary mission is to increase the number of blacks serving in elected offices across Virginia to 500 by 2026. According to Jones, events like the “Top 10 Under 40” awards help showcase the diversity of leadership within Northern Virginia and increase name recognition for individuals who have what it takes to run for office some day. “We want to bring attention to leaders and the organizations that they are a part of,” Jones said.

Award winners were selected based on their professional achievements and community involvement by a selection committee. All of the selected honorees have been residents of Northern Virginia for at least five years.

Arlington honorees include:

*Terron Sims, II, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point who served in Iraq from May 2003 to July 2004. During both Obama campaigns, Sims was the director of Virginia Veterans and Military Families for Obama and served on the defense and veterans policy teams. Sims is president of the Northern Virginia Black Democrats, chairs the Democratic Party of Virginia’s Veterans and Military Families Caucus and is on Virginia’s 8th Congressional District steering committee.

*Dana Taylor, CEO & chief strategist of Intelligent Ethos, Inc., which serves small businesses in fields such as cyber security, data consulting, market research, and other technology and technical services areas. Taylor also leads the Executive Circle Dinner program for the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce and launched a mastermind group for early-stage women-owned businesses that meets monthly at the City Club of Washington.