Gabriel O'Shea
Gabriel O’Shea

Gabriel O’Shea, a participant in the trio intern program at Advisors Excel, has been named executive director of Fast Forward, the community’s young professionals organization. Fast Forward’s primary mission is to attract and retain young talent and to develop Topeka’s next generation of leaders.

Matt Pivarnik, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce and GO Topeka, said Fast Forward, formed in 1999, is one of the oldest organizations for young professionals in the country and will be a key driver in helping grow the community.

“The Fast Forward executive director position will be pivotal in the community’s efforts to attract and retain young talent,” he said. “Gabriel will bring expertise and enthusiasm to the role as he builds relationships with young professionals and complements the efforts of our corporate partners to provide engagement programs to build our regional workforce.”

Mayor Larry Wolgast, said, “We are doing many innovative things in our community right now to create an environment that will entice young professionals to stay in or move to Topeka. Having a young professional familiar with the area and the opportunities available for involvement will help accelerate our progress in this area.”

Jeff Lolley, Bartlett & West project manager and chair of Fast Forward, said, “Fast Forward is a great organization for bringing individuals together to collaborate on community initiatives and facilitate professional and personal relationships. Gabriel grew up in Topeka and has been involved in numerous Fast Forward and Heartland Visioning initiatives. We are excited to enlist his expertise and experience to move our organization forward.”

Sean Frost, development director of the Washburn University Foundation and chair-elect of Fast Forward, said, “I am excited that the importance of retaining young professionals in our community has remained a focus and believe having a new executive director of Gabriel’s caliber will enable Fast Forward to expand its capabilities and its membership.”

O’Shea’s previous work experience includes positions as a customer service representative for Community Bank and as senior district manager for College Works Painting Midwest Division. He earned a bachelor of business administration in marketing and finance from Washburn University in 2016 and served on the Dean’s Student Advisory Council and as president of the Washburn Sales Executives. He is an Eagle Scout, a 2016 graduate of Leadership Greater Topeka and a core member of NOTO Anonymous. O’Shea serves on the Heartland Visioning steering committee and the Valeo Behavioral Health Care board of directors.

Fast Forward facilitates opportunities for young professionals to engage with one another across industries through community service, networking and professional development and mentoring opportunities.

Matt Lara

Matt Lara

Matt is the resident social media guru and website guy, working on the marketing and communications team. He supports GO Topeka, the Topeka Chamber of Commerce, Entrepreneurial & Minority Business Development, Forge and Heartland Visioning.
Matt Lara