2023's Class of 40 Under 40: Hana Ferguson of Wingard

The text lists a group of people who have been honored for their work in various fields.

2023's Class of 40 Under 40: Hana Ferguson of Wingard

The Jacksonville Business, along with its panel of local leaders in business, spent weeks sifting through a record-breaking number of nominations for the 40 Under 40 award to select this year's honorees. This year's class of honorees is made up of young men, women and couples who are shaping Jacksonville not only today but also guiding the city to new heights for the future. These honorees, who come from diverse backgrounds and industries, were chosen based on their impact on their organizations and the First Coast.

Hana Ferguson

Account Executive at Wingard & Cofounder of Ferg Creative

What is your greatest accomplishment in your career? Ferg Creative's biggest achievement was to support small businesses while also expanding our reach beyond the local area. I was hired to maintain valuable relationships with local businesses by organizations such as Downtown Vision, Inc., which enabled the organization and promotion of large-scale, positive events in our Downtown. I am able to provide valuable resources for organizations and individuals who want to organize similar events in Jacksonville. As a result of these achievements, I was able bring my community involvement and experience to Wingard as their new Account Executive where I can continue building great relationships in the community.

What are your involvements in the community (board positions, etc. )? As someone with a background in events, I am always contributing to the various events that are happening around the city. I usually get involved by connecting with another event-minded person and seeing what we can do to ensure that the event organizers have all they need for a successful event. There are many ways to be involved, whether it's through permitting or serving drinks in the bars. Jacksonville is always buzzing with activity, and the best way for me to network and communicate is to attend the big events.

Some of the major events I'm proud to have been involved in

Jax River Jams presented to you by VyStar Credit Union in 2021, 2020, 2022 and 2023

First Wednesday Art Walk, 2014-present

Woofstock Music festival, 2022 +2023

Winterland Presents 2022 + 2023

Florida Fin Festival, 2021 + 2022

Vagabond fleea, 2018 and beyond

Professional Groups I am involved in:

Hightower Fellows Program (year 1)

I was part of the first group for the Hightower Fellowship Program and continue to help them with minor project.

Jax Chamber Downtown Council is an active member

How can you demonstrate leadership in your work? My job as an Account Executive is to work with different companies and organizations in order to provide the services they require. I work with my colleagues to bridge the gap that exists between our clients and the teams that we have. This requires careful organization, meticulous coordination, and open communication.

What is it about the First Coast that you are most proud of? The First Coast has a very supportive creative community. The most empowering part of my life is knowing that people with similar interests are working together to elevate each other, rather than competing. I'm proud to be a member of this community. I appreciate the relationships formed and the bridges that have been built.

You can facilitate connections by joining organizations, volunteering at local events or charities and sharing your past experiences during networking events. The best way to support the next generation is by building relationships with those who are in need of guidance and mentoring them.

What is the most important thing you believe the community can do to help shape the next generation of leaders? When I think back to my early professional development in the community, there were resources I had more access to than others. I was not able to access programs like the Hightower Fellowship and Leadership Jacksonville when I was in college. My first job didn't come until after I graduated from college. There are not enough programs, speaking events, or opportunities that students can take advantage of in high school and college. This is especially true in low-income areas or community colleges. Leadership should begin earlier in the student's career. While there are programs like The Leadership Institute, where I minored, that is not accessible to everyone, it was an opportunity for me. It was important to me that I explored what I could because I knew that I would not get very far if I did not try and ask around. If this information was readily available to students early in their lives, it would increase the likelihood that they will stay after graduation. Students should have the opportunity to meet professionals sooner than later in their chosen industry.

What advice has had the greatest impact on your life? The most significant impact I have had is working with other mentors who are empowering, both men and women. These mentors are the ones that have taught me how to become the leader I am now. It is still the most important piece of advice that I follow today: "You don't have to always say YES." It has helped me to establish healthy boundaries, and know when things become too much.