Meet Juice’s 2013 YP of the Year award finalists

Meet Juice’s 2013 YP of the Year award finalists

Take a look at the finalists for Juice Magazine’s 2013 YP of the Year Award and you’ll find five young professionals who together wear a head-spinning number of hats.

Among them: art adviser, origami expert, Ankeny advocate, donor specialist and leader of a state department. Combined, they held more than 35 volunteer positions last year on boards, panels and committees in Iowa and beyond.

Now in its fifth year, the Juice YP of the Year Award honors central Iowans under 35 years old who made substantial contributions to Des Moines’ quality of life through social, charitable, civic or entertainment efforts in the previous year. The winner and finalists are chosen by an independent panel of community leaders.

This year’s five finalists will be honored later this month at a private reception. The winner named that night will join previous award recipients Lauren Burt (2012), Tiffany Tauscheck (2011), Chris Diebel (2010) and Andrew Allen (2009). The winner will be on the cover of the Feb. 5 issue of Juice.

We’re proud to announce these five finalists for the 2013 YP of the Year Award, in no particular order:

Mary Cownie, 32

Resides in: West Des Moines

Job: Director of Cultural Affairs, State of Iowa

Gov. Terry Branstad appointed Mary Cownie to direct the state’s Department of Cultural Affairs in 2011, a role in which the 32-year-old has helped promote Iowa’s cultural history while ensuring its future engagement with the arts.

Cownie helped create the state’s Celebrate Iowa Gala, an annual event that in its second year in 2013 drew nearly 600 attendees and raised more than $150,000 for the State Historical Society while offering Iowa cuisine, artists and entertainers.

Cownie also held volunteer positions with several organizations in 2013 including Character Counts, the Des Moines “I Have A Dream Foundation,” the Mercy Foundation and the Borlaug Statue Committee. She also sat on West Des Moines’ Plan and Zoning Commission and co-chaired Capital Crossroads’ Cultural Capital initiative.

Lincoln Dix, 34

Resides in: West Des Moines

Title: Area Sales Manager, Staples

In 2013, Lincoln Dix pursued philanthropy both in and out of his workplace, including ventures in student mentoring, home building and the arts.

Dix, 34, works as an area sales manager for Staples, overseeing work in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. Through Staples, Dix serves on his company’s community relations council that helps bring monetary grants to nonprofits in Staples communities. The council helped Big Brothers and Big Sisters — an organization he’s mentored with since 2011 — receive $5,000.

Dix also launched Origami Floral in 2013, a business in which he uses the origami skills he developed as a young boy to produce a variety of hand-folded paper flower bouquets. A portion of all sales go to nonprofit groups. Dix also served with other groups including Habitat for Humanity, the Animal Rescue League and Young Professionals Connection last year.

Gabriel Glynn, 31

Resides in: Ankeny

Title: Chief Marketing Officer, Slash/Web Studios

Gabriel Glynn, chief marketing officer for Slash/Web Studios has planted his flag firmly in his employer’s hometown: Ankeny.

The 31-year-old in 2013 graduated from the Ankeny Leadership Institute before serving on the Ankeny Young Professionals Board and helping run Art for Ankeny, an initiative to bring public art to the city. He’s also a member and volunteer for the Uptown Ankeny Association, a group that works to promote and develop the city’s uptown district.

Outside of his Ankeny endeavors, in 2013 Glynn joined the most recent Leadership Iowa Class, served on a committee for the Iowa Association of Business and Industry and on a selection board for the Boy Scouts of America. He’s also a member of the Ankeny Rotary Club.

Liz Lidgett, 28

Resides in: Des Moines

Job: Self employed, Liz Lidgett Fine Art

2013 marked a big year for Liz Lidgett’s efforts to promote art in central Iowa.

The 28-year-old fully launched Liz Lidgett Fine Art last year, an advisory company that commissions, divests, appraises and catalogs fine art in collections, among other services. She also completed a two-year term as president of Art Noir, the Des Moines Arts Center initiative aimed at engaging young professionals in arts and the center.

Outside of the arts, Lidgett joined the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute’s 2014 class. Through that organization, she is co-chair of a project that will help develop a high-tech play center for Courage League Sports, an area athletics facility for challenged youth.

Lidgett also served last year in positions with Ballet Des Moines, the Junior League of Des Moines and 100-plus Chicks for Charity, a group that unites the giving power of area women for charities.

Sunni Swarbrick, 29

Resides in: Des Moines

Job: Corporate and Donor Relations Specialist, Simpson College

Sunni Swarbrick, corporate and donor relations specialist for Simpson College, let her skills at support-raising shine last year for many Des Moines-area charities and nonprofits.

Variety, the Children’s Charity, named her its “2013 Rising Star” in honor of her fundraising work on the Sweethearts Charity Date Auction. She also graduated in the 2013 class for the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, where she served as fundraising co-chair as it raised more than $150,000 the Amanda the Panda Family Grief Center.

In 2013, Swarbrick also served with the Young Variety Board, the Des Moines “I Have A Dream Foundation” and as executive board member for the Young Nonprofits Network Association, among other organizations.

See all of the past winners and finalists here.

About the Author

covers young professionals for The Des Moines Register. Josh can be reached at or on Twitter via @joshhafner.

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