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Hot 20 Under 40 Reader's Choice: The Top 20 Finalists

You hear that the Bay Area is a hotbed of creativity and innovation a lot. So much, in fact, that it's easy to get a little jaded on the subject. But it's true, we live in a community brimming with do-gooders, entrepreneurs and risk takers, as evidenced by the extremely impressive group of Hot 20 Reader's Choice nominees below. So read their quick stats, get inspired and then vote on who you think we should feature as the Readers' Choice Winner in our October Hot 20 Under 40 issue, an annual celebration of the city's 20 most up-and-coming movers and shakers under 40. (Check out the 2009 Hot 20 Under 40 class here)

We had so many great nominees that we've decided to do rounds of voting (your votes will only be counted once for each round). We completed round 1 last week (see all the nominees here), and below are the 20 nominees with the most votes. Vote on who should be in the top 10.

Voting Rounds:
August 5: 10 Finalists
August 9: 5 Finalists
August 11: Reader's Choice Winner Announced



1. Lisa Lee and Melissa Hung, Publisher and Founding Editor of Hyphen Magazine
Hyphen Magazine is one of the most influential Asian American publications in the country, featuring stories from Asian American culture, arts and politics, many of them right here in San Francisco. Lisa and Melissa both have day jobs (Lisa at Facebook and Melissa at WritersCorps) and run the magazine as a side project (Melissa also curates the annual Slant Film Festival).



2. UCSF's Mabuhay Health Center
This group of renegade UCSF MDs (all under 40) opened a free clinic last December at Bayanihan Community Center in SoMa. Now they're extending their services to the youth of SF by opening a site at Bessie Carmichael Elementary school in October, which will offer health education and free medical and dental care for students.



3. Tae Kim, Design Director at Alite Designs
A former Design Director at both the North Face and Timbuk2, Kim launched Alite with two fellow Stanford alums earlier this year. Alite, which is geared toward young city dwellers and rookie/casual campers, offers affordable and fun outdoor products that help bring more people together outside. You may have seen their sleeping bag for two, which we blogged about earlier this year.



4. Mike Del Ponte, Founder of Sparkseed
Mike Del Ponte's Sparkseed, a non-profit that awards student social entrepreneurs with $10,000 of seed funding, recently won the Financial Times Award for Best Social Investment Strategy, beating out both Gap and McDonald's for the title. This week, Sparkseed's hosting Dangerously Ambitious in Silicon Valley, an annual summit that brings together social innovators and angel investors for four days of sky diving, tea ceremonies, hiking and urban gaming. Del Ponte is 26 years old.



5. Andrew Mariani, Vintner at Scribe
Vintner at "of-the-moment" Scribe winery in Sonoma, 27-year old Mariani is the face of sustainable winemaking.



6. Stephanie Duchaine, "The LG Girl"
Beating out professional models and seasoned actresses in the audition process, former Google employee Stephanie Duchaine recently became "The LG Girl," an addition to the mobile phone company to bring brand awareness through social media. Stephanie blogs, tweets and does video interviews (recently at SF-based Twitter client Seesmic) on the latest and greatest in fashion, sports, tech, and of course, LG phones.



7. Daniel Cohen, Founder of Collective Good
A producer at the Graphic Design Group at Apple, Cohen also heads up Collective Good, an organization that promotes fun events and activities to raise awareness and inspire action. Their next event is August 11 at 111 Minna, where Collective Good will raise money for the Imagine Bus Project, an arts organization for children in underserved communities.  



8. KK Ledford, Yoga Teacher
Certified Anusara instructor KK Ledford teaches at the Hayes Valley Yoga Tree, incorporating Kashmir Shaiva philosophy, astrology, great music, fierce dedication and a quirky sense of humor into classes. She also works privately with clients that have health concerns and therapeutic needs. She can be found in dragonfly pose when she's not teaching classes.



9. Suzannah Scully, Career Coach
Former designer and merchandiser for the Gap and Williams-Sonoma, career coach Suzannah Scully helps San Franciscans "get their butts in gear" and find their true career passions. Weekly, she profiles local women entrepreneurs in her blog "Finding Your Aha Moment."



10. Michelle Hall and Bryan Janeway of Living Greens
Living Greens Organic Juice, which opened for business earlier this year, delivers fresh-pressed, organic juices and offers custom cleansing programs. The company began its journey as a passion for bringing natural goodness to loved ones and has grown to serve the same brand of organic freshness and delicious juices to people all around the Bay Area.



11. Mayka Mei, Blogger and Fashion Hound
Mayka Mei works for Palo Alto-based indie fashion company Moxsie and also runs, a blog that focuses on everything from race and ethnic issues to her love of enormous rescue dogs and the latest fashion trends.



12. Lauren Geremia, Founder and Principle of Geremia Design
Part designer and part curator, Geremia is the visual force behind some of the Bay Area's hottest restaurants and bars, including projects at 330 Ritch, Aventine, Bloodhound and 83 Proof.



13. Trevor Hubbard, Misha Vladimirskiy and Alexandr Vladimirskiy of Butchershop Creative
This trio helms a creative think tank for innovative advertising, marketing, branding, web development and graphic design. Their company, Butchershop Creative, is a wellspring of ideas for the wealth of companies in the Bay Area. Their client roster includes DOT429, Dos Equis and Black Star Beer.



14. Peaches Christ
Peaches Christ is Joshua Grannell, San Francisco drag queen legend. It all began at Landmark's Bridge Theatre (which Peaches managed) in 1998 with her mega-popular Midnight Mass show. Midnight Mass has since gone on a global tour. Peaches Christ writes and stars in short films and has had a retrospective dedicated to her at SF's de Young Museum.



15. Christopher, Peter Doukakis and DJ George "GStav" Stavropoulos of SELECT SF
The SELECT SF men are changing up SF's club scene with a sleek and sophisticated European aesthetic. Internationally known DJs spice up their parties and attract an eclectic crowd to all of their events.



16. Kira Stackhouse, Dog Photographer
Kira Stackhouse captures San Francisco's deep love of dogs in her beautiful photographs of canines in all their glory. Her current project, Project DOG, aims to bring together and photograph all 151 breeds of American Kennel Club dog, both purebred and their rescue dog counterparts across the country.



17. Viola Sutano, Principle at Chewing the Cud
Sutano, who has a business degree from UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, leads design shop Chewing the Cud with a unique perspective in branding, spawning innovative ideas in event design and creating beautiful, witty and eco-friendly products.



18. Brian Hassan and Justin Roberts of BayPoint Benefits
Brian Hassan and Justin Roberts started BayPoint Benefits, an employee benefits consulting firm with a core focus in sustainability and the environment, four years ago. The company is an innovator in an industry notorious for its dearth of creativity. It has quickly grown into a nationally-recognized, award-winning organization that has become the exclusive benefits provider to science and tech giants and has been featured on CNN and Fox Business News.



19. Matthew Cheney, Founder of Mission Bicycles and Chapter Three (A Drupal Development Firm)
Matt started Mission Bicycles in 2009 and also is the co-founder of Chapter Three, a Drupal Development firm in SoMA which (full disclosure), redesigned both and our sister site, Chapter Three does open source web development with Drupal for companies like Oxfam, Kiva, Sanford and the United Nations.



20. Lindsay Siegel, Digital Diva
Lindsay has led the development of groundbreaking interactive campaigns for the NBA, HP and Sprint at SF's esteemed Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. She's also partnered with branding house M2SF and is working on Nut-rients, a company dedicated to fighting child hunger in developing countries.

*Nominations that were emailed to with an explanatory paragraph about the nominee and a photo were published. We did not publish any nominees who were part of past Hot 20 Under 40 classes. All finalists must verify that they will be under 40 years old by October 1, 2010.