Two from CSU named to 40 Under Forty list

Biographies and photos courtesy BizWest Media

Two professionals from CSU have been included on this year’s BizWest’s Northern Colorado “40 Under Forty” list: Audra Brickner, vice president for advancement for Semester at Sea, and Jeremy Podany, CSU’s executive director of corporate and career services. They are recognized as two of Northern Colorado’s best and brightest emerging leaders Nov. 2 at a gala celebration at the Embassy Suites in Loveland.

Those honored had to be younger than age 40 by Dec. 31 of this year.

Audra Brickner

Audra Brickner, center, with 40 Under Forty sponsors Ella Fahrlander of the Community Foundation and Chris Otto of EKSH.
Audra Brickner, center, with 40 Under Forty sponsors Ella Fahrlander of the Community Foundation and Chris Otto of EKS&H.

Developing a “global view” is considered key to advancement in a career. Semester at Sea takes that concept literally, providing students an opportunity to travel the world, visiting 10 to 12 countries in a single semester.

SaS has partnered with Colorado State University as its academic partner, moving its headquarters to Fort Collins and adding a number of longtime CSU employees to its staff.

Among them is Audra Brickner, 39, now vice president for advancement for Semester at Sea and formerly with the development offices for the colleges of business and engineering. She was able to secure a $12 million naming gift for the Suzanne and Walter Scott Jr. Bioengineering Building.

For Brickner, “experiencing other cultures is the key to world peace, ending poverty and better understanding.” To bring that experience to students, part of her job at Semester at Sea is “identifying partners to help us fund scholarships, build buildings and provide programs to educate motivated students.”

She also is an active volunteer in her children’s school, Riffenburgh Elementary, and co-chairs the stewardship committee at First United Methodist Church. She and her family frequently volunteer their time with Faith Family Hospitality to help the area’s homeless population and donate to support the Boys and Girls Clubs of Larimer County, WomenGive and CSU.

“Having worked solely in the nonprofit world for my career, giving back has always been a priority,” Brickner said.

Jeremy Podany

Three people on a stage
Jeremy Podany, center, with 40 Under Forty sponsors Ella Farhlander of the Community Foundation and Chris Otto of EKS&H.

Jeremy Podany loves — and lives — technology innovation.

As executive director of Career and Support Services at CSU, Podany leads two offices: The Career Center and Ascend, which coordinate to serve the needs of students, alumni and outside organizations seeking services related to career education, hiring, and organizational and employee development.

Three years ago, Podany, 39, led the launch of Ascend, which leverages the expertise and intellectual capital of an entire university system to bring customized services to businesses in Colorado and around the nation.

Combined, these offices served more than 800 organizations in person last year and helped 1,500 hire CSU students or alums.

“I believe in having an innovation mindset every day,” Podany said. “In recent years, this mindset has yielded winning two West Coast innovation awards … which spawned two new technology products built at CSU and then transferred into the marketplace.”

The products are The Fairs App, which helps students and others make the most of job fair opportunities, and Career Tools, a personalized career-resource database available through the Career Center that has been adopted by universities throughout the nation.

Podany and his family participate in charitable activities such as running in the Liberty 5K to combat human trafficking, stuffing backpacks for Lincoln Middle School children, or providing resources and encouragement to the Fort Collins Rescue Mission. He also facilitates six- and 12-week leadership growth groups for community leaders who attend his church.

The annual 40 Under Forty list, now in its 13th year, recognizes the best young professionals who make a difference in their companies, industries and communities. A panel of judges composed of 40 Under Forty alumni selected this year’s honorees from numerous nominations.