Chamber Corner

The Chamber ALX Presents 2024’s 40 Under 40 Honorees


Alexandria, VA – The Chamber ALX’s 40 Under 40 Awards, started in 2016, recognizes emerging business leaders working or living in Alexandria. An anonymous committee of past winners selects applicants based on their professional accomplishments, scholastic achievements, community impact, and personal stories. This year, over 100 applicants were considered for the 40 spots.


The Chamber ALXs 40 Under 40 Awards Celebration, presented by the US Senate Federal Credit Union, will be hosted on Thursday, July 18th, from 6-8 PM at the American Physical Therapy Association headquarters in Potomac Yard. Tickets are available at

  1. Lauren Augustine

Virginia Tech

As a Director of Government and Community Relations for Virginia Tech, Lauren is the connection point for Northern Virginia elected officials and community leaders to engage with the university. She also helps advance the university’s federal priorities on Capitol Hill. Before joining Virginia Tech, Lauren had a decade of service as a lobbyist for several veteran nonprofit organizations, helping shape significant legislation such as the Forever GI Bill. She began her career as an unmanned aircraft systems operator in the Army and served in the Iraq War. Lauren is a proud graduate of Virginia Tech and Georgetown University.

  1. Taylor J. Barnes

Barnes Real Estate Company

Taylor was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia. He is a third-generation real estate broker with Barnes Real Estate Company in Historic Old Town Alexandria. After attending Bishop Ireton High School, he went to The University of Mississippi, graduating in 2017 with a BBA in Real Estate. He began his Real Estate Career in 2017 as a licensed salesperson. He is now the Principal Broker of Barnes Real Estate Company, the firm his Grandfather established in 1957. His passion for real estate and people carries over into the community of Alexandria, which he strives to serve in all aspects.

  1. Lauren Bealore

Prosperity Now

Lauren’s experience in policy and advocacy has built a career that spans across areas of political strategy and policy implementation. Lauren holds a BA from Michigan State University and an MPP from New England College. Throughout Lauren’s career, she has made strides in leadership in democracy, environmental, and economic policies. Currently, Lauren is the Associate Director of Policy for Prosperity Now, where she leads the work at the state and local level to support championing economic opportunity to build power for communities. Lauren’s voice has been included in several media outlets, including CNBC, Forbes, and Newsweek.

  1. Brian E. Bender, CPA, CAE, MBA


Brian is passionate about helping charities and other nonprofit entities in Alexandria and the Washington, DC, region advance their goals by ensuring operational efficiency and effectiveness. As a Partner at Withum, the Nation’s 22nd largest public accounting firm with an office in Alexandria, he is committed to harnessing his knowledge of financial budgeting and reporting, internal controls best practices, and policy and procedure development to contribute to advancing these organizations’ missions. Brian lives with his wife and three daughters in Northern Virginia. He dedicates his free time to volunteering for causes he supports through various board positions.

  1. Lauren Elaine Brown

Lauren E Brown, L.L.C.

Lauren is a licensed professional counselor who practices in Alexandria, VA. She has been an Alexandrian for almost ten years and serves on the leadership of the Alexandria LGBTQ+ Task Force. With over 14 years of experience in the field, Lauren is a member of the LGBTQ+ community and specializes in supporting individuals and families as they navigate LGBTQ+ life transitions. She obtained a BA in English from Gardner-Webb University, an MA in women’s studies and gender studies from Loyola University Chicago and a MA in clinical mental health counseling from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Lauren opened the doors to her practice in February 2023.

  1. Amelia Chassé Alcivar

Hilco Redevelopment Partners

Amelia joined Hilco Redevelopment Partners (H.R.P.) in 2023 as Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs. Amelia leads HRP’s external affairs and communications efforts across the company’s nationwide portfolio. She is based in Alexandria, where HRP is sustainably redeveloping the former Potomac River Generating Station site into a vibrant, mixed-use development. Before joining H.R.P., Amelia spent 15 years in strategic communications, public affairs, and senior management roles in diverse states nationwide, most recently serving as chief of staff to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. She lives in Old Town with her husband Lenny and rescue cat Lucky.

  1. Kate V. Comfort

The Comfort Family Foundation

Kate is the Executive Director of the Comfort Family Foundation (CFF), established to help improve the lives of local communities in need. CFF seeks to address intergenerational poverty through education and family support initiatives. Before her current role, she spent over a decade supporting the federal government in defense and security. After completing her M.B.A., Kate worked on evaluating strategy, policy, and organizational risk. She studied and worked overseas in Belgium, China, Egypt, Iraq and Italy. Kate actively volunteers, supporting the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium, Carpenter’s Shelter, Campagna Center, and Senior Services. She serves on the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra board. Kate lives in Alexandria with her husband and three children.

  1. Sara Crifasi

Levine, Blaszak, Block & Boothby L.L.P.

As an Information Communications and Technology (ICT) lawyer, Sara counsels businesses through complex negotiations, procurements, and policy issues so they have the communications solutions they and their customers need. Her passion for equity and opportunity in ICT drives her volunteer engagement. Sara volunteers with the Alexandria Commission on Information Technology as Vice Chair. She moved to Alexandria in 2013 to work as a legal fellow for the Federal Communications Commission. She shortly thereafter joined the firm Levine, Blaszak, Block & Boothby, L.L.P. Sara received her JD from Case Western Reserve University and her BA from the University of Michigan.

  1. Tiffany Smith Deans


Tiffany wakes up daily with gratitude for what she’s placed here to do. As the Founder and CEO of GroundingWork, a company that provides human-centered HR to organizations, she gets the opportunity to impact someone’s life each day. She’s certified in Human Resources [SPHR and SHRM-SCP], Design Thinking [Harvard University], and Digital Marketing [Georgetown University]. With 20 years of people experience, a new adventure awaits her daily. But her best adventure? Being a wife and mom to her two young daughters. She and her family love living in Alexandria.

  1. Erika Dyer

Curley Company

Erika is a skilled project manager who creates compelling written, visual, and digital content, uses her earned and digital media capabilities, and provides strategic counsel to several Curley Company clients. She has extensive experience in digital campaigning, public affairs, strategic communications, and thought leadership. Before joining Curley, Erika served as the Communications Director for Congressman Robert Wittman (VA-01). She was an account executive for Ketchum, a global communications consultancy, where she managed day-to-day account activities for various public affairs clients. Erika serves on the Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic Leadership Council as an Event Chair.

  1. Caitlin Feehan


Caitlin serves as the Chief Administrative Officer for AlexRenew, where she is responsible for the utility’s finance, procurement, and communications departments. She also oversees the $615 million RiverRenew program — the largest infrastructure project in Alexandria’s history — that will prevent millions of gallons of combined sewage from polluting Alexandria’s waterways yearly. Before joining AlexRenew, Caitlin played an integral role in planning, designing, procuring, and constructing wastewater-focused projects in the DC and Chicago metro areas. She is a licensed professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia and a LEED-accredited professional.

  1. Jeanine Finch

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

Jeanine is an External Affairs Manager for Northern Virginia at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst). She excelled for the first ten years of her career in local government constituent services for residents, businesses, and process improvement. In her current capacity as an External Affairs Manager, Jeanine works with jurisdictions in Northern Virginia to improve health equity and accessible, affordable, high-quality care. She serves on the Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria, the Alexandria Department of Health’s Healthy Homes Initiative, and The Chamber ALX’s Government Relations Committee in Alexandria. Jeanine holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from George Mason University.

  1. Patrick Ford

G.I. Johns

As a first-generation American born to Irish and English parents, Patrick’s life bears the hallmark of a proud citizen, deeply committed to community and national service. After graduating from Fordham University, Patrick’s career path took him from the financial sector to military service and now small business ownership with an altruistic mission. Patrick co-founded GI JOHNS, a portable sanitation company with a two-prong mission of employing Veterans and supporting this Nation’s Gold Star Families. Patrick has set his roots in Alexandria, calling it home since 2016. His journey embodies service, patriotism, and a relentless pursuit of making a difference.

  1. Roberto Gomez

Even Scale, L.L.C.

Roberto, a resilient small business owner, leads a thriving home remodeling company in the City of Alexandria. Despite facing hardships in his youth due to limited opportunities, he now empowers at-risk youth aged 12-18, sharing his experiences and guiding them toward a brighter future. Balancing his business responsibilities, Roberto spearheads a construction trade-based pre-apprentice program, offering mentorship and support to teenagers facing similar challenges. Committed to community service, he actively participates in Alexandria’s Gang Prevention Task Force, Sheriff’s Community Advisory Board, and Alexandria Community Safety Forum, advocating for a safer and more inclusive environment for all.

  1. Julian Gonsalves

City of Alexandria

As Assistant City Manager with the City of Alexandria, Julian leads the City’s P3 initiatives, oversees the departments of General Services, Climate Action, and Performance Analytics, and supports local small business initiatives. Previously, he worked as an investor advisory manager at an engineering consulting firm and as a Habitat for Humanity India consultant. His career includes due diligence and financial advisory, alternative project delivery, sustainability, and construction experience in North America, India, and the UAE. Julian earned a master’s from Stanford University. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a Clean Energy Leadership Institute Fellow, and holds a LEED AP.

  1. Randy Gore

Campagna Center

For over 18 years, Randy has dedicated his career to creating high-quality enrichment experiences for Alexandria City youth during the hours they are not in school. Serving as Senior Director of Out-of-School Time Programs for the Campagna Center, he leads the organization’s largest programming division. He guides youth development programs, from the performing arts to robotics teams and youth workforce development. Randy studied Youth Theatre at the University of Mary Washington and has focused his programming efforts on ensuring that Alexandria’s youth have equitable access to quality arts education programs and post-secondary opportunities.

  1. Erica Gouse Bledsoe

Junior League of Northern Virginia

Erica is President of the Junior League of Northern Virginia (JLNV). Committed to JLNV’s mission of advancing women’s leadership for impactful community change through volunteerism, collaboration, and training, Erica brings a wealth of dedication and expertise to her role. Beyond her contributions to JLNV, Erica serves as a Mortgage Advisor for McLean Mortgage, where she assists individuals and families navigating the home-buying process, further demonstrating her commitment to empowering others in various facets of life. A devoted mother to her daughter and dog, Erica balances her professional endeavors with the joys of marriage and family life.

  1. Joyvell D. Henry

Neighborhood Health

Joyvell’s commitment to Alexandria is evident through her work and volunteer efforts. At Neighborhood Health, a nonprofit community health center focused on health equity, she has risen from AmeriCorps intern to Quality Manager overseeing projects to close clinical care gaps. As a volunteer at Alfred Street Baptist Church, Joyvell has participated in multiple youth-focused ministries. During the pandemic, she ran community vaccine clinics at Alfred Street, with over 3,000 vaccines provided to under-resourced individuals. She is a proud Alexandria City High School graduate with a BA in Sociology and African American Studies from the University of Virginia.

  1. Jackie Huelbig

Basis Technologies

Jackie is the VP of Client Development at Basis Technologies, a global automation software provider for enterprise marketers. With a career in political advertising spanning two decades, Jackie has been named a Campaigns & Elections’ Rising Star and a 40 under 40 by the American Association of Political Consultants. Dedicated to her Alexandria community, Jackie serves as the current Board of Directors Chair for Volunteer Alexandria. She also served on the Alexandria Jaycees Board of Directors from 2010 to 2017, holding several leadership positions, including President, VP of Membership, VP of Management, and VP of Activation.

  1. Ashley Nicole Kempczynski

Legal Services of Northern Virginia

Ashley has dedicated her life and career to helping some of the most vulnerable members of her community. Presently, she represents low-income and elderly survivors of domestic violence and other crimes in Alexandria through her role as Managing Attorney at Legal Services of Northern Virginia. She joined the Alexandria legal community in 2016 and became a City resident in 2020. Ashley is also an active member of the Alexandria Bar Association and serves on its Judicial Screening Committee. Ashley received her JD from Georgetown University Law Center and her BA in Psychology and Government from Georgetown University.

  1. Ally Kirkpatrick

Old Town Books

Ally is a reader and writer passionate about all things literary. She opened Old Town Books, a general interest independent bookstore, in 2018. She focuses on connecting readers via author events, book clubs, and writing meet-ups. Old Town Books has grown to serve Alexandria area readers and beyond, including supplying books to local health centers and classrooms and providing free and low-cost arts programming. Her goal is to inspire everyone to pick up a new book because she believes reading is how we best connect with our world and each other.

  1. Cameron Lew, MBA, BSN, RN, CEN

Inova Alexandria Hospital

Cameron has dedicated his nursing career to fostering a culture of excellence and delivering top-tier care in the Emergency Department (ED) at Inova Alexandria Hospital. His commitment has led to a remarkable transformation, significantly enhancing throughput and operational efficiency. With a foundation in nursing, Cameron’s journey began on the ED floor, where his passion for patient care evolved. He earned his initial BSN from George Washington University. He furthered his education during the Covid lockdowns, obtaining a Master’s in Business Administration from Longwood University. This educational endeavor has reshaped his leadership approach, ensuring equitable and high-quality care for every patient.

  1. Melissa A. Little, Esq., CDP.

Melissa A. Little Consulting & Mediation Services LLC.

Melissa, a lawyer and champion for diversity and systemic change, dismantles barriers to equity. Her firm, Melissa A. Little Consulting & Mediation Services empowers individuals and organizations through mediation and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) services. She fights for inclusion through policy change, educational programs, and impactful initiatives. Melissa is the author of “Protecting Our Children Together: Minimizing the Psychological Harms of Racism,” which equips adults to navigate crucial conversations about race with youth. Recognized for her leadership, Melissa has received prestigious awards for her unwavering commitment to justice.

  1. Carrie Masich

Tanger National Harbor

Carrie has been a marketing professional with Tanger, Inc. since 2011. She is dedicated to driving retail revenue and enhancing the shopping experience for local guests and domestic and international visitors. Carrie transferred from Tanger Hilton Head, SC, to Tanger National Harbor, MD, in 2018 and was promoted to Marketing Director in 2021. Carrie serves on Tanger’s Core Values Council and the Board of Directors for Experience Prince George’s. She also volunteers with The Campagna Center, the Accokeek Foundation, and Food & Friends. Carrie is a proud resident of Alexandria.

  1. Amber Mason

Aptivate Educational and Psychological Solutions

Dr. Amber is a child-adolescent psychologist who founded Aptivate Educational and Psychological Solutions to continue and expand upon her helping foster children’s development and growth mentally, emotionally, academically, socially, and behaviorally.  She earned her Ph.D. and M.Ed. degrees in School Psychology from Pennsylvania State University and her BA in Psychology and Visual Arts from Duke University. Amber has lived in Alexandria since 2017. She began her career here as a school psychologist working in local schools and has since transitioned to working in her own private practice and educational services company as a clinical psychologist.

  1. Rachel Miller

American Physical Therapy Association

Rachel has a passion for creating healthy communities across the country. In her current role, she advocates for improved access to physical therapy services for individuals across their lifespans, focusing on expanding coverage for individuals with disabilities. Previously, she studied Medicaid expansion and health reform. Before moving to Alexandria, Rachel received a Master of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Public Health from the University of South Florida. She resides and works in the City of Alexandria and can be found frequenting Alexandria’s numerous Little Free Libraries.

  1. Tarrence Moorer

City of Alexandria

Tarrence is the Assistant Director of the City of Alexandria’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES), which helps plan, operate, and maintain the City’s transportation, public works, and environmental programs and infrastructure. As the department’s Assistant Director, he leads its communications, HR, fleet, facilities, ITS, finance, budget, and solid waste services. Tarrence joined the City in 2014 as a consultant and has served in several roles within T&ES, including Division Chief of Strategic Management and Principal Planner for Transportation. Before joining the City, he spent eight years as a Business Operations Manager with a multi-state specialty healthcare provider.

  1. Imani Myers

Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation

Imani is a community advocate, STEM educator, and visionary leader committed to catalyzing meaningful change. With a focus on equity, she champions initiatives ensuring overlooked students access vital resources for success. Imani’s dedication to cultivating a diverse STEM pipeline is evident in her impactful work as a Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation project manager. Armed with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Spelman College and a Master of Art in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education, Imani drives innovation and inclusion, orchestrating transformative STEM activities and events in partnership with organizations throughout the National Capital Region.

Amber Phillips ’08 is a political reporter for the Washington Post. She is in the Televsion Studio of the Washington Post posing for a portrait
  1. Amber Phillips

The Washington Post

Amber is a political reporter for The Washington Post, where she authors a popular political newsletter, The 5-Minute Fix. The newsletter, combined with Amber’s social media presence and appearances on national, international, and local media, is aimed at helping people better understand what’s happening in US politics and why in just a few minutes a day. Amber has reported from the US Capitol, state capitols around the country, and as far away as Taiwan. Amber lives in Alexandria with her husband and three young children.

  1. Liz Ray

Burke & Herbert Bank

Liz Ray is the Manager of Burke & Herbert Bank’s Consumer Lending department, where she leads a team that supports loan origination and portfolio management of the Home Equity Line Of Credit product. Liz worked as a web design and video production specialist before joining Burke & Herbert Bank over a decade ago. Liz holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Mass Communications with a Public Relations concentration and a Psychology Minor from Virginia Commonwealth University. She recently graduated from UVA’s Darden Business School of Bank Management and received the Faircloth Family Award of Excellence.

  1. L’Allegro H. Smith

Public Knowledge

As a Government Affairs Policy Advocate, L’Allegro advocates on issues such as free expression, content moderation, platform regulation, and artificial intelligence. He is the Principal/Owner of Aberdeen Strategies, L.L.C., a community and public relations firm, and a Senior Associate of Apollo Consulting, a political consulting firm. L’Allegro received a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from The College of William and Mary and worked for Congressman Bobby Scott. He serves as Board President of the Virginia Air and Space Science Center, a member of the Old Point National Bank Southside Regional Board of Directors, Alexandria’s Economic Opportunities Commission, and the Departmental Progressive Club Board of Directors.

  1. Simmi Kaur Sran

Route 66 Ventures

Simmi, Controller at Route 66 Ventures, finds fulfillment in supporting those around her, professionally and personally. She humbly embraces the opportunity to manage Route 66’s Alexandria real estate portfolio, nurturing direct tenant and partnership relationships. Her attention to detail, patience, and calm presence vitalizes her passion for community engagement and process enhancements. Simmi lived in Alexandria for five years, through 2023, and works in Old Town Alexandria daily. Simmi received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Bucknell University.

  1. Maya Sukkari

Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group

Dr Maya is a board-certified Family Medicine physician with Kaiser Permanente’s Mid Atlantic Medical Group (MAPMG) in Alexandria. She completed her residency training at VCU-Bon Secours’ St. Francis program, where she was appointed Chief Resident. She holds a Master’s in Public Health and a Bachelor’s in Molecular Biology from the University of California Berkeley. She is mentoring new physicians and medical students and has been recognized for her work, receiving awards such as the MAPMG NOVA 2022 Outstanding Rookie Award. Dr Maya resides in Alexandria with her husband and young daughter.

  1. Suzanne Thibeault, CMP

Visit Alexandria

As Destination Sales Manager for Visit Alexandria, Suzanne influences Alexandria’s visitor economy through strategic sales initiatives, expanding market reach, and leveraging tourism to enhance the City’s competitiveness. Her work contributed to the team’s record-breaking numbers, generating $10.6 million in booked meetings for FY23. Due in part to this work, Visit Alexandria received the 2023 Smart Meetings Platinum Choice Awards. Suzanne was recognized as an Association Headquarters Star Performer. She was named a “20 in Their Twenties” honoree by the Professional Convention Management Association. Suzanne serves on the Northern Virginia Tourism Partnership Tour and Travel Committee.

  1. Dominic B. Turner

Alexandria City Public Schools

Dominic is the Chief Financial Officer for Alexandria City Public Schools, joining in August 2017. With over 15 years of experience in budgeting, accounting, finance, procurement, and public policy, he supports the superintendent and oversees seven offices. Previously, he served as the capital improvement program budget manager and procurement supervisor for the Department of Parks and Recreation, Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission. Dominic earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from the College of William & Mary and his Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland College Park.

  1. David L. Ulloa, MS.

City of Alexandria

David is the Nation’s sole municipal Mentoring Coordinator, dedicated to enhancing mentorship through innovative ideas, strong community engagement, and robust partnerships with youth, families, and local youth-serving programs. His work elevates mentorship programs, forging vital connections with government and businesses, aiming to transform Alexandria into the Mentoring Capital of the US. David’s initiatives focus on matching mentors with programs, providing resources and training, enhancing program effectiveness, and supporting new mentorship programs. With deep experience and a passion for community service, David is committed to filling the mentorship gap ensuring support and encouragement for all involved.

  1. Eduardo Villanueva

US Senate Federal Credit Union (USSFCU)

Eddie has accomplished a great deal since coming to the US at 12. His enthusiasm and professional excellence can be demonstrated through his seven promotions in just ten years. In his current role with USSFCU, Eddie directs all events and projects that create exposure with staffers, Senators, and community groups. Eddie serves as the Youth Department Director of his church, encouraging a positive lifestyle for adolescents. He volunteers as a Senior Project Advisor at Wakefield High School and created the Healthy Hour Club, encouraging families to pursue healthy habits. Eddie graduated from Northern Virginia Community College with an IT Boot Camp certificate.

  1. Philip L. Wilkerson III

George Mason/Positive Philiter L.L.C.

In his role at George Mason University (GMU), Philip liaises between employers and patriots to share jobs and internships with students, faculty/staff, and alums. He has been honored with many distinctions, including GMU’s Employee of the Month, Leadership Center for Excellence’s Pillar Award, and 40 Under 40 lists for both GMU. Black Alumni and Northern Virginia. Philip is the faculty advisor for the Iota Alpha Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and GMU’s NAACP chapter. In his free time, he hosts a podcast called Positive Philter, which focuses on well-being and Toastmasters. Philip and his wife Maggie have two boys, Bennett and Miles.

  1. Kirk Wilson, Jr

1799 Prime Steak & Seafood

Kirk is a fine dining manager passionate about creating unforgettable guest experiences. With almost a decade of experience in the industry, he knows how to deliver exceptional service and exceed expectations. His love for his job is evident in his meticulous attention to detail in every aspect of the dining experience. He takes pride in curating menus, training staff, and ensuring every guest leaves with a smile. Kirk mentors high school students in his free time, providing guidance and educational resources to prepare them for the future.

  1. Aaron Zajdel

Goodwin Living

Aaron has dedicated his career to working with the aging population. He has been a medical social worker at Goodwin Living since 2017. In 2022, Aaron created and implemented Goodwin Living’s Care Connections program, an innovative social work-based palliative care model for people with chronic conditions. Focused on client-driven goals for medical care and advanced care planning, Care Connections serves Goodwin Living residents and patients of Goodwin Living Home and Community-Based Services throughout Northern Virginia. Aaron is a proud graduate of Florida International University, earning his master’s degree in social work with a concentration in social work with the elderly.

  1. Zahra Rahimi

Alexandria City High School.

Zahra, a 2024 ACHS graduate, came to the US to escape the impending Taliban regime. As a child in Afghanistan, she was a recognized poet and hosted a large Children’s Day event. Zahra started ACHS’s Heart of Asia Club and a tutoring program. In celebration of International Day of the Girl, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden honored Zahra as one of 15 young women who are leading change and shaping a brighter future in communities across the US She was also honored by the Virginia House of Representatives for her work and will be attending the College of William & Mary on a full scholarship from the Posse Foundation.

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