JJ Sheffer has made her presence known around York City.
After serving as director of programming for Downtown Inc, having a son, going back to school for her degree and juggling three jobs, she co-founded CoWork155, a shared workspace that businesses and employees can use to do their work. The business opened last June and has a lot of regular members, Sheffer said.
She lives just outside York City but spends all her time and money there, she said.
"So I really think this is home," she said.
Sheffer also serves as president of New Muse Entertainment, is alumni relations coordinator for Leadership York, freelances for music-related publications and helps plan events downtown. She's worked with Martin Library, York Young Professionals and the York County Community Foundation.
That kind of service is why the York County Economic Alliance has named her this year's Ignite Award recipient.
The alliance gives the award to young business leaders in York County between age 21 and 40 who are both involved and influential in their community.
But for Sheffer, who will be 35 in June, it's simply about giving back.
"It's a really nice surprise," she said. "I'm really very honored, but I was also initially a little bit sheepish."
Sheffer said she doesn't work hard for the community because she wants to be recognized — rather, she wants to set an example for others, especially her son.
"I'm really pleased to use (the award) as an opportunity to encourage other people to do what they can for the community, too," she said.
Other winners: The alliance also announced attorney Jane Schussler as this year's ATHENA Award recipient. The award, presented by the alliance's ATHENA Committee, honors female leaders who contribute to York's business community.
"It's a great honor," Schussler said. "There have been so many outstanding women in the community who have received the honor in the past."
Former winners include former YWCA York CEO Deb Stock; Coni Wolf, vice president of business development for York Container; and Lynda Randall, founder of York College's Women's Business Center Organization.
Schussler heads the family law section of Stock and Leader and works with several community organizations. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Byrnes Health Education Center and Turning Point Women's Counseling and Advocacy Center. She's mentored high school girls interested in legal careers, as well as new female attorneys.
The Spring Garden Township resident said that since she's been lucky to have the benefits of education and law school in her life, she wants to pass her experiences along and help others.
"It's important for me to give back some of the things that I've been able to achieve and acquire," Schussler said.
The alliance also gave the Small Business of the Year Award to DOCEO Office Solutions LLC, which is based in York City. Founded in 2004, the office equipment dealership helps businesses streamline information workflow and control document-related expenses.
The alliance will honor award recipients at its annual dinner from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on Friday, March 14, at the White Rose Event Center at the Holiday Inn, 2000 Loucks Road in West Manchester Township. The event will feature a performance by The Capitol Steps, a political satire group.
Tickets are $75 for members, $100 for non-members. Visit www.ycea-pa.org to purchase tickets.
— Reach Mollie Durkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.