SFNet's 40 Under 40 Awards are back in 2020

The nomination deadline has been extended until February 12, 2020. To submit your nomination, download the form by clicking the link below. Be sure to read the rules and FAQs lower down on this page.


The Secured Finance Network is once again looking to recognize young talent poised to impact the future of our industry.

Do you know a future leader? Are you impressed by a dedicated young professional? Is there a true go-getter in your office? Nominate them for the 2020 SFNet 40 Under 40 Awards. It’s an affirmation that their hard work is noticed—and a career-boosting professional achievement as well.

SFNet's 40 Under 40 Awards celebrate the achievements of young professionals in the secured finance industry—movers and shakers who exemplify true excellence in their careers and demonstrate commitment to their communities as well to as the industry.

Online nominations are now open. Winners will be honored in the June 2020 issue of The Secured Lender and celebrated at our 40 Under 40 Awards event at The Plaza Hotel in New York City on June 11, 2020.

We thank Kate Lepak of People’s United Business Capital and Stewart Hayes of Wells Fargo Capital Finance for graciously volunteering to be Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, of the 2020 SFNet 40 Under 40 Awards Committee. 

We also thank Betty Hernandez of North Mill Capital and David Kurzweil of Greenberg Traurig for serving as judges, and Katherine Bell of Paul Hastings LLP who will chair the 40 Under 40 Awards Leadership Council. 


SFNet 40 Under 40 Awards Committee Chairs

Kathleen Z. Lepak
Kathleen Z. Lepak
Senior Vice President, Market Manager, People's United Business Capital

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Stewart Hayes
Managing Director, Wells Fargo Capital Finance

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40 Under 40 Awards Leadership Council

Katherine Bell

Paul Hastings 


William D. Brewer

Winston & Strawn LLP 


Cheryl Carner

Crystal Financial 


Paula Currie

PNC Business Credit


Tim Eichenlaub

Regions Business Capital 


Larry Flick

Blank Rome 


Jon Helfat

Otterbourg PC 


Marc Heller

CIT Commercial Services 


Brad Kastner

MidCap Financial Services 


Richard Kohn

Goldberg Kohn 


David Koshenina

Wells Fargo Commercial Capital – Lender Finance 


Robert Meyers

Republic Business Credit 


Sam Philbrick

U.S. Bank 


Karen Sessions

Bank of America Business Capital 


Michael Sharkey

Fifth Third Business Capital



Nominees must not turn 40 before May 1, 2020. Nominators must be the direct supervisor or manager of the nominee. Nominees and nominators must be employed by either an SFNet member organization or a Secured Finance Foundation contributing organization at $2500 level or above.


For information on becoming an SFNet member organization, please contact James Kravitz at jkravitz@sfnet.com.


2020 Categories

  • Business Consulting/Turnaround
  • Business Development
  • CPA Firm
  • Credit Insurance
  • External Field Exam
  • Internal Field Exam
  • Investment Banker/Advisor
  • Legal Services
  • Liquidation/Appraisal/Auctioneer
  • Loan Documentation/Advice on Deal Structure
  • Operations
  • Portfolio/Risk Management
  • Software
  • UCC Services/Background Investigations
  • Underwriting


When will SFNet announce the 2020 class of 40 Under 40 Award winners?  
The SFNet 40 Under 40 winners will be announced in the June 2020 issue of The Secured Lender. Winners will be notified by April 1

When do nominations begin?

Nominations open November 20, 2019. The deadline for submissions is February 7, 2020.

What are the qualifications for an SFNet 40 Under 40 Awards nominee?

We are looking for people who are making an indelible impact on our industry. We are also interested in those who exemplify true excellence in their careers and who bring a strong voice and commitment to their profession and to the industry at large. Community service, as well as participation in trade groups, etc. should also be included in the nomination information. Nominees must not turn 40 before May 1, 2020, and must work full-time.

Who chooses the SFNet 40 Under 40 Award winners?

Winners are selected by a panel of SFNet member industry leaders.

Can I call you or send you an email with the name of the person I'd like to nominate?

No. You must submit a competed nomination form, including contact information for the person you are nominating. A nomination letter as well as the nominee’s resume or LinkedIn profile is also required.

I want to nominate someone, can I remain anonymous?

No, we need to know who you are. However, we do not share nominator information.

Can I nominate myself?

No, we do not accept self-nominations.

I want to nominate my boss but would it be better if someone higher up nominated him? Can I nominate a family member?

A nominator must be a senior leader or manager in the same SFNet member organization or Secured Finance Foundation contributing organization ($2,500 level or above), or a SFNet volunteer (such as a Chapter leader or education program instructor) as the nominee. All nominations must provide clear, business-oriented reasons for the nomination, regardless of the relationship between nominator and nominee.

Does it help if many people nominate the same person?

No. In fact, evidence of an organized campaign to send many nominations is viewed negatively.

Will more than one nominee from the same company be accepted?

Yes, all qualifying nominations will be accepted.

I would like to nominate someone, but they will turn 40 before May 1, 2020. Can I still nominate that person?

No. Nominations for anyone not meeting the age requirement are discarded. We will verify the birth dates of our finalists.

How does the process work?

After we receive the nominations, SFNet’s panel of judges will hold a series of meetings to determine which candidates will be chosen. We aspire to have a list of winners that represents the diversity in our industry.

What is required of those who are selected?

Winners must provide a photo and profile (see last year’s profiles HERE). We encourage all winners to attend the ceremony.

Can I contact you to see how my nominee is doing in the judging process?

No. We will not provide status reports. Should we need any additional information, we will contact the nominee or nominator.

I was not selected for an SFNet 40 Under 40 Award. Can you tell me why?

With just 40 slots and a large industry, many nominees will not be chosen. Nomination itself is a form of recognition and an honor. We encourage nominators to re-nominate if their candidate was not chosen.

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