CLEVELAND — Honoring the brightest young stars and contributors to the community — that’s what one Cleveland organization is doing through its Movers and Shakers Awards. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club is the largest and longest running association for young professionals in northeast Ohio

  • The top 25 under 35 Movers and Shakers Awards recognizes young leaders with a record of excellence in work, civic engagement and philanthropy

  • Melinda McNutt, a former award recipient, is now the president-elect of the club

Melinda McNutt walks along Edgewater Beach, which is one of her favorite spots in Cleveland. 

"Edgewater Beach definitely feels like the heart of Cleveland. I mean, it’s one of the busiest places for people to gather, especially during COVID,” said McNutt. “I actually live just a block up the street, and I come here as much as I can. I really love it here.” 

The Ashtabula native moved to Cleveland four years ago and has been happy to call the city home. 

"What I like about Cleveland is there is something for everyone. Any hobby that you have, or anything that you want to do, you can find it here, and there is just diversity in the amount of things to do," said McNutt.

One of the ways McNutt has gotten involved is through the Cleveland 20/30 Club, the largest and longest-running association for young professionals in Northeast Ohio. It’s been connecting young professionals through networking opportunities for the last 20 years, and it's been a great resource for now President-elect McNutt.

“As someone who’s new to Cleveland and moved here about four years ago, I needed a way to meet people and get involved, and 20/30 Club provided opportunities for me to get to know the city, meet young professionals and make friends.” 

Every year, the 20/30 Club honors the best young leaders in the area through the Top 25 Under 35 Movers and Shakers Awards, which recognizes young leaders with a record of excellence in work, civic engagement and philanthropy. 

“I was excited. I wasn’t sure if I was going to get accepted because I know there’s so many competitive applications, but I was so excited when I found out I was a recipient last year, and I'm just so grateful for the honor," said Marisa Sergi, who is one of last year’s Movers and Shakers.

The 27 year old is the CEO of L’uva Bella Winery, and started her own RedHead Wine brand when she was just 19 years old. She’s happy to be recognized for her accomplishments. 

“Just really being able to reflect with all the hard work I've done in the past and being part of a group that has had just the amount, just the same amount of struggle and other hard work ethics to just really go after goals that seem to be very unachievable. And being able to kind of reflect on all that all at once with receiving the award was very special.” 

Nominations for the Movers and Shakers awards are due Friday, but applications are open until the end of January. You must be between 21-35 to be eligible.