Alumni recognized as rising stars

Butler University alumni are at the top of their class, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list.

Sara Snow and Jeremy Stephenson were recently named to the yearly list, which recognizes the top rising stars in the Central Indiana business community.

Snow graduated from Butler in 1998 and went on to host several television shows about natural, environmentally-conscious living, was a correspondent for CNN. In 2009, she released a book called “Sara Snow’s Fresh Living.”

Snow was born into green living. Her father was in the natural and organic foods industry when she was younger, and she grew up in a sustainable home in rural Michigan. Since that time, she said she has seen the green movement evolve.

“For a while green was fashionable and trendy,” she said. “Today it has finally just become common, mainstream living.”

She said her focus when educating people is on making small steps toward more environmentally conscious living that she said are paramount to health and the environment.

“Our planet is sick and our neighbors, if not ourselves, are sick,” she said. “It’s time for us to make some changes. But I think it’s really important that people not become so overwhelmed by the big picture of everything that could or should be done that they are unable to make simple changes.”

Snow said her time at Butler, where she earned degrees in telecommunications and theater performance, both encouraged and challenged her. While she has currently given up television to raise her daughter, she still writes for publications, runs her website and sits on the board of two nonprofit organizations.

While these projects keep her busy, she said being passionate about what she does makes them enjoyable.

“Whatever it is that you like to do, do that,” she said. “Otherwise, you’ll burn out and you won’t ever feel fulfilled, no matter what accolades get piled on top of you.”

Stephenson graduated from Butler in 1999 and now serves as the executive vice president of REI Real Estate Services, based in Indianapolis.

He oversees real estate development projects and handles the legal aspects of development for projects in Indianapolis and around the country.

“Basically, from A to Z, we’re creating a vision of what we want to see for the urban skyline,” he said.

His most recent project was downtown Indianapolis’s JW Marriott Hotel, which, he said, involved extensive negotiation with the city and contractors but brought jobs and visitors to the city. He said it has been his greatest professional accomplishment.

The company’s future projects are mostly urban projects like the hotel and multi-family housing developments.

While the company is based in Indianapolis, Stephenson said the company is looking at other cities that are ripe for such opportunities.

He said his Butler education, first a bachelor’s degree in political science and then a Master of Business Administration, prepared him well for taking on such projects by giving him a broad education. He said his involvement in different groups and his academics helped him to become a critical thinker and gave him a desire to be a lifelong learner.

“It allowed me to be able to see the big picture of a project,” he said. “It gives anyone a good opportunity in any chosen field to make an impact.”