Top 4 Under 40 – Partnership Lake Houston

The Top 4 under 40 Awards were established in 2016 to recognize young professionals in Lake Houston who have risen to the top of their respected professions as C-Level executives, entrepreneurs, business owners or accomplished professionals.

To qualify, nominees must have worked at an organization located in the Lake Houston Area for the past 12 months and they must be under the age of 40 at the time of the awards ceremony.

Nominees go through a lengthy application process by which they are evaluated on their specific business accomplishments within the last 12 months, how they have displayed leadership and mentorship, their ability to overcome adversity and their service on community, professional and industry boards. 

After they were selected, the winners were treated to a professional photo shoot by master photographer Christa Elyce McCourt of Houston Studio and will be featured in the upcoming Business Matters magazine.

In addition to their framed Top 4 Under 40 award, all of today’s honorees will be receiving proclamations in which two have declared today the award recipient’s day:

Emily Rae is the Owner & Creator of Era Beauty Lounge. With a relentless spirit and an unwavering commitment to excellence, Emily Rae Arbogast has not only carved a niche for herself but has also become a beacon of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs in the Lake Houston area. A journey that began in 2010, fresh out of cosmetology school, Emily embarked on a path that epitomizes the essence of resilience and determination. From humble beginnings as an assistant at Toni&Guy, Emily ascended through the ranks, immersing herself in every aspect of the industry. Her tenacious spirit and passion for change in her industry & love for her clients, led her to establish Era Beauty Lounge, a sanctuary that transcends the conventional salon experience. Through Era Beauty Lounge, Emily has not only redefined standards but has also fostered a nurturing environment for budding stylists, providing them with mentorship and guidance.

Emily’s dedication and vision bore fruit swiftly, with Era Beauty Lounge achieving remarkable success, crossing the million-dollar mark in sales within its 1st calendar year. Her journey has been punctuated by accolades, with features in Houston magazines & invitations to speak at prestigious events like the Kingwood Business Women, ‘Business & Brunch’ panel.

However, Emily’s impact extends beyond the realm of entrepreneurship. As a fervent advocate against domestic abuse and bullying, Emily channels her own experiences into a powerful message of hope and empowerment. Her unwavering commitment to creating a community of support and camaraderie echoes in every aspect of Era Beauty Lounge, where women uplift each other and clients are welcomed with warmth and hospitality. From the smile at the door, to the mimosa in your glass while you get pampered to of course the stunning carefully crafted custom cut, color or extensions you receive when you visit Era, it is all done with you as the priority. 

Born and raised in Cypress, Texas, Emily’s journey is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Despite facing adversities, she found solace and purpose in the Lake Houston community, where she has not only found her footing but has also established roots of compassion and inclusivity. Era has also become an avid sponsor for many of our local schools, sports, dance & cheer teams, as well as innumerable events in this amazing community she now proudly calls home with her husband William.

As Emily prepares to accept the prestigious ‘Top 4 under 40’ award, she embodies the epitome of success intertwined with empathy. Her story serves as an inspiration to all those who dare to dream and defy the odds. With Era Beauty Lounge as her canvas, Emily continues to paint a portrait of empowerment and excellence, leaving an unforgettable mark on the landscape of entrepreneurship and beyond.

Tiffany Venekamp is a dynamic leader in Northeast Houston’s non-profit scene, balancing her passion for community service with the joys of family life as a devoted wife and mother of five. Armed with a BS in Communication Studies from Sam Houston State University, Tiffany has honed her skills in communication and leadership to excel in her career. With eight years of professional social service experience under her belt, Tiffany is currently serving as the Executive Director of Family Promise of Lake Houston. Tiffany leads a dedicated team in providing essential services to families in need. Her role involves not only managing day-to-day operations, but also implementing innovative programs to support the organization’s growth and meet community needs.

Under her leadership, Family Promise of Lake Houston has seen significant increases in community engagement. Tiffany’s passion for public speaking has led her to present at various events, where she shares her expertise on topics ranging from engaging businesses with non-profit organizations to communication in relationships.

Outside of her professional pursuits, Tiffany lends her time and leadership to organizations like Lean In Ministries, Inc., Safe Kids Greater Houston, and WC Trading Co. Additionally, she has served as a foster parent, Bible Study Leader and Cub Scout Den Leader, embodying her passion for serving others and shaping the next generation.

With a diverse skill set, Tiffany is well-equipped to tackle the challenges of her professional and personal life with grace and determination. Above all, her unwavering faith in God, dedication to her family, and commitment to her community serve as guiding principles in all her endeavors.

Congratulations again to all our 2023 Top 4 under 40 recipients, the Lake Houston communities’ future is incredibly bright in large part due to these 4 incredible leaders!

A driven, passionate businesswoman, Houston-based photographer Christa Elyce has a gift for developing creative and compelling content for her clients that complements their goals; During the past two decades, she has established herself as a storyteller, using imagery and art, working with brands to successfully develop and promote their unique stories and goals. As a mother and professional herself, Christa especially enjoys collaborating and connecting with fellow female entrepreneurs – equipping her clients with captivating images to help build or reach an audience in a unique and interesting way is a rewarding aspect of her industry profile.

For over 15 years, Christa has captured images through her studio-style photography – initially gaining distinction in the industry as an award-winning photographer – she has learned to incorporate ‘heart’ into her work. Christa now translates this same passion and heart into working closely with Kingwood Business Women members on promotional, branding, commercials, and marketing.

When reflecting on the work she has accomplished throughout her career, Christa is immensely proud of the relationships she’s built. Fiercely loyal to her clients, she only produces work she feels immense joy and accomplishment about – her images speak towards the respect she holds for her clients, treating each photography project as if the products and brands were her own. “I take great pride in each project, every project receives the same dedication and passion – I’m always driven to come at it from another angle to make sure the images speak to the audience and pair well with the brand, making sure that the final product is not only done right, but done well.” Her clients would agree, noting in testimonials the precision, care, and attention she gives each aspect of the process of her work, from initial planning discussions, understanding branding needs and goals, to adding and capturing the finest details during photoshoots.  

The mother of 3 children, Christa is also passionate about music and the arts for today’s youth; she has been heavily involved in the PTO programs at her children’s school, and has previously co-chaired a benefit gala for the non-profit organization, Young Audiences of Houston, a program that funds art programs in local schools. “I would love for my kids to have the same opportunities that were afforded to me when I was young, opportunities to creatively express myself and help foster my love of photography,” said Christa, who is also a classically trained violinist and cellist.  Her own professional journey and life experiences has motivated Christa to devote her talent in helping others build their businesses – equipping her clients with images and content to succeed is her passion; “see a need, fill a need,” is the motto that renews her energy each day to help brands create impactful content that will resonate with others through the emotion of art.

Driven by exciting experiences, smiles on children’s faces and a love for families, Megan Styron is the driving force behind the excitement at Kanga’s Indoor Playcenter. Megan and her husband, Eric, opened their franchise of Kanga’s in February 2023. Eric and Megan work as a team to manage the day to day operations but Megan’s main focus is community involvement, marketing, and special events.

Eric and Megan were brought to the area by Eric’s corporate job soon after getting married in 2013. Since moving to Atascocita, Megan’s involvement in the community has always revolved around families – teaching preschool at a local mothers day out and also serving on staff at their local church. Serving the local church has always been a high priority in Megan’s adulthood and includes involvement in Women’s Ministry, disaster relief following Harvey, serving as directors of their Bible Study Class for many years and also teaching in the preschool. As a mother of 2, soon to be 3, Megan is deeply invested in creating a better future for her children and the community they grow up in. This parental perspective drives her commitment to initiatives that support families, children’s education and community wellbeing.

Whether it’s through her involvement in educational programs, community events or business ventures like Kanga’s, her goal is to create spaces and opportunities where families can thrive and feel supported. Megan believes that by focusing on God, love, empathy and service, we can create a more inclusive, supportive and vibrant community for generations to come.

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