Three UWindsor grads vying for chamber’s “rising star” award

The Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce named three alumni of the University of Windsor as the finalists for its “Rising Star of the Year” award in advance of the 23rd Annual Business Excellence Awards dinner, to be held April 24 at the Ciociaro Club.

The rising star award recognizes a professional or entrepreneur under 30 years old seen to be “on the rise,” demonstrating potential as a future leader in the Windsor-Essex community. This year’s finalists are all UWindsor grads: John Blanken (BComm 2006), Fabio Costante (BComm, MBA 2008), and Sarah Davidson (BA 2011).

Blanken is a manager with the accountancy firm Hyatt Lassaline and president of the Essex-Kent Chartered Accountants Association. He serves on the finance committee of the Hospice of Windsor and Essex County and works with Allan Conway, dean of the Odette School of Business, to support students interested in joining the profession.

Costante is currently finishing the final year of his JD degree at Windsor Law, and works at McTague Law Firm LLP, where he plans to article next year. He founded the organization Our West End, dedicated to the west Windsor community, and is author of the book Principles of Entrepreneurship: Building a Resilient Windsor-Essex Economy, One Entrepreneur at a Time.

Davidson is manager of youth engagement and new media at United Way/Centraide of Windsor Essex County. She serves as co-chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, and on Workforce Windsor Essex’s Board of Directors, and the Windsor Economic Development Corporation’s Youth Attraction and Retention Task Force.

The 2012 winner of the rising star award was three-time UWindsor grad Gary Kalaci (BSc 2005, LLB 2009, MBA 2009).

Physiotherapist Mary Brannagan (BHK 1983) is a finalist for the chamber’s Professional of the Year award; chiropractor Michelle Prince (BHK 1994) will receive the 2013 Athena Award, which recognizes business and professional excellence, community service, and mentoring and providing a role model to encourage women to achieve their leadership potential.