Who's Next: Columbus' rising stars

Columbus Monthly staff

The true identity of any city comes from its people, and the best and brightest can become indelibly connected to their birthplaces and adopted hometowns. Detroit is forever the home of Henry Ford and Aretha Franklin. New Orleans is the city of Louis Armstrong, Anne Rice and Emeril Lagasse. San Francisco is Janis Joplin, Dianne Feinstein, Joe Montana. Columbus, then, is the city of Les Wexner, Jack Hanna, Jeni Britton Bauer and Archie Griffin. And for six glorious decades, Colo the gorilla.

That begs a few questions: Who will carry the city's torch forward for the next generations? Who are the talented people living and working in Columbus who will make names for themselves, here and beyond? Who will be our next captains of industry, our groundbreaking musicians, our scorers of touchdowns, our beacons of majestic wildlife? The answers to those questions naturally invite some comparisons, which are helpful for introductions but sometimes limiting as well. Few people have identical skills or roads to success, and as one person told us, it's up to each person to define what success means to them. Who will be the next Michael Coleman? As the former mayor himself would likely tell you, no one.

Still, there will be another set of names attached to our city one day, and we found candidates who are already making waves—or who are primed to. Only time will tell where their paths lead, but they're poised to do big things.