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The Hot 20 Under (and Over) 40: The Top 20 Finalists

Jamie Kutch, The 2009 Hot 20 Readers' Choice winner. Photo by Erik Almås

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. After going through hundreds of submissions, we narrowed down the nominees to this list of 49 finalists. Below is who you voted as your top 20 of the bunch (listed alphabetically by first name). 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 (and Over) 40 issue, an annual celebration of the city's 20 most up-and-coming movers and shakers. The Readers' Choice winner will join the 19 other Hot 20 honorees chosen by 7x7 editors. (Check out the 2010 Hot 20 class here).

Voting Rounds:

July 13: 7 Finalists

July 20: Readers' Choice Winner Announced

1. Anna Weinberg, Owner of Marlowe

As the whirling dervish behind Marlowe restaurant and the forthcoming Park Tavern, Anna Weinberg is San Francisco's up-and-coming restaurant mistress.  At her 16-month-old Marlowe, Weinberg applies her winning formula for an eatery that serves all the senses and feels as casual as it does sophisticated.  The boisterous 33-year-old is poised to build on that success with her next venture, Park Tavern, which opens this fall in a North Beach space that has proven problematic for other restaurateurs — though it's no surprise that challenge doesn't scare Weinberg.  

2. Becky Tarbotton, Director of Rainforest Action Network

Becky Tarbotton is the director of the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), which was dubbed one of "the most savvy environmental agitators in the business" by the Wall Street Journal. RAN uses hard-hitting marketing campaigns to align the policies of multinational corporations with widespread public support for environmental protection. Headquartered in San Francisco, RAN works to create a world where each generation sustains increasingly healthy forests, where the rights of all communities are respected and corporate profits never come at the expense of people or the planet. 

3. Beth Spotswood, Writer, Blogger, Video Host

A fixture in the local media scene, Beth Spotswood pens SFgate's Culture Blog and Tourist Trapped column, chronicling the city's local events and soirees with humor and wit. She works in the CBS 5 newsroom and  also co-hosts the hilarious 70s news spoof Necessary Conversations with SF Examiner contributor Melissa Griffin.

4. Edgar Blazona, Founder of TrueModern

Edgar Blazona is a modernist American furniture designer who founded the prefab backyard structure company Modular Dwellings and the modern furniture brand TrueModern. He just built a 400-square foot portable home with a full bathroom, kitchen, master bedroom, foldable bunk beds and a pop out room that houses a Murphey bed and flat screen.  Before starting TrueModern and Modular Dwellings, Edgar designed for Pottery Barn. 

5. Eric Woods, CEO and Founder of Switchboard

Eric is the CEO and founder of the newly launched Switchboard, a non profit that uses mobile phones to network health professionals in developing countries.  Their main program, MDNet, has nearly all of physicians working in Ghana and Liberia, allowing every doctor in the country to call or text any other doctor for free. More than 2.5 million calls have been made thus far. MDNet has also provided the doctors in Ghana and Liberia with a printed countrywide directory of physicians so that doctors can expand their social networks and consult with new colleagues.  Using their upcoming MDNet bulk SMS platform called Ensembl, the government will be able to leverage the MDNet physician directory to send critical information straight to doctors' mobile phones and collect data in real-time.

6. Eye Heart SF

Eye Heart SF includes Crawl SF, Nate Mezmer presents and 1M Entertainment. The team has worked at virtually every top venue in San Francisco and has produced large-scale events, including Streets of San Francisco 2011 featuring Steve Aoki.

7. Garrett Camp, CEO of StumbleUpon

In 2001, Garrett Camp embarked on a project to increase serendipity and that aha moment of surfing the web.  That grad school project is now known as StumbleUpon, with more than 15 million registered users.

8. Jill Dailey, Founder of the Daily Method

Jill Dailey McIntosh is the founder of the workout class The Dailey Method, a unique combination of ballet barre work, core conditioning, stretching and orthopedic exercises. After studying Pilates for nine years, she started the Dailey Method as a way to help people reshape their bodies in a more assertive manner while still maintaining proper alignment and structure.

9. Jonah Ward, Artist

California College of the Arts graduate  Jonah Ward creates original art that uses molten glass and fire to burn wood and paper. He was the first visiting artist selected to show his artwork at 12 Gallagher Lane and has his next show there this September.

10. Kai Hasson, Nate Houghteling, Zach Blume of Portal A Interactive

Kai Hasson, Nate Houghteling and Zach Blume are the team behind digital media and video production company Portal A Interactive. Their Don't Stop Believing anthem for the San Francisco Giants was the most watched YouTube video in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2010 and was featured on ESPN, CNN and Yahoo sports. Lately, they've made a splash with their White Collar Brawler web series and Wednesday Was a Good Day video for Jawbone, poking fun at SF's start-up scene. 

11. Katherine Priore, Founder of Headstand

Katherine Priore puts her yoga skills and public school-teaching background to use at Headstand, the non profit she founded and provides yoga and wellness classes for over 1,000 at-risk youth.  Headstand teaches breathing exercises, yoga postures, and stress reduction techniques to K-12 students in Bay Area public schools, in which more than 60 percent of kids are eligible for free or reduced-priced lunch. 

12. Kim Goldfien and Anjelika Deogirikar Co founders of Infusion 

Infusion is a young professionals group that is a part of the UCSF non profit Partners in Care. It's devoted to raising awareness and funds for patient care and family services at UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital through social events and fundraisers. Anjelika Deogirikar and Kim Goldfien launched Infusion this past fall and have been moving full-speed ahead with events at California Academy of Sciences, Tipsy Pig and Cinta Salon. 

13. Liz Caruana, Photographer

Liz Caruana is a fashion, beauty and lifestyle photographer. She has shot for Elle and Italian Vogue. She does the majority of her work in San Francisco, for local businesses like Nooworks, Fluffy Co, Gama-Go, Sofie Olgaard, Red Haute, Frolick, as well as SF interior designer, John K Anderson of John K Anderson Environments, vocalist Jimmy Kansau, and Dolby Laboratories. She has a book in the works that features only Bay Area Fashion and Jewelry Designers.

14. Mac McClelland, Journalist

Mac McClelland is the human rights reporter at Mother Jones magazine and author of the book For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question: A Story from Burma's Never-Ending War. She won several awards for her BP oil spill coverage and in 2010 was recognized as an Outstanding Emerging Journalist by the Society of Professional Journalists.

15. Matt MacInnis, CEO of Inkling

After an eight-year stint at Apple helping schools put technology to better use, Matt MacInnis was inspired to create a better textbook that was dynamic, more engaging and taking full advantage of a new generation of mobile devices. His start up Inkling brings some of the world's best textbook content to the iPad with interactivity, social collaboration and simple ease-of-use. 

16. Megan Swoboda, co Director of the Ruckus Society

Megan Swoboda is the co director of the Ruckus Society, the Oakland organization that has trained and assisted thousands of activists in the use of nonviolent direct action. The Ruckus Society holds classroom-style instruction for action planning, communicating with the media, building leadership and political analysis, and nonviolent philosophy and practice. 

17. Michael Fertik, Founder of

Regarded as the pioneer of online reputation management, Michael Fertik started to help customers control, manage and protect their online reputations and privacy.

18. Punsri Abeywickrema, CEO of

Punsri Abeywickrema is the founder an CEO of Bay Area-based, one of the leading person-to-person rental and sharing sites. With a goal to help reduce our carbon footprint and help people save and earn money, Rentalic's platform connects people who need things with people who have things.

19. Susan Sarich, Owner of SusieCakes

Combining her business savvy with her grandmother's  4x6 recipe cards, Susan Sarich created one of California's top destinations for satisfying the sweet tooth, SusieCakes bakery.  

20. Wendy MacNaughton, Artist

Artist Wendy MacNaughton documents the minutia of daily San Francisco life with her paints and pens. Her artistic style captures everything from riding Muni to the bars and bartenders of the Mission to the Market Street chess players.