Published on
Jun 4, 2024

Each year, forty young trailblazers in local business, community, and industry, gather for the honor of being accredited with the Dayton Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 award. This award honors the next generation of business leaders, who have served on local boards, participated in philanthropic or nonprofit work, and dedicated their professional life to making a real difference in the community.  

Parallax Advanced Research’s Devon Stinson, Marketing Manager, is a 2024 Dayton Business Journal Forty Under 40 recipient. We interviewed her to learn more about the milestones she has worked towards throughout her professional journey and how her personal philosophies and values led her to be one of this year’s Forty Under 40 celebrant.


Forty Under 40

Q: Can you tell us about your background and what led you to your current career path?

Devon: Growing up as a biracial woman in the foster care system amidst the challenges of caring for special needs siblings, I developed a resilient mindset and a drive for personal and professional growth. Initially trained in graphic design, I navigated the 2008 recession by transitioning to a role in a local credit union, where I gained valuable insights into business operations and personal finance. Motivated by this experience, I pursued additional education in business marketing in my mid-twenties. Today, I leverage both my creative background and business acumen to serve both professionally and within my community.


Q: What does recognition as a DBJ Forty Under 40 mean to you?  

Devon: Being recognized in the DBJ’s Forty Under 40 list is a significant honor. It acknowledges the challenges I've overcome and affirms my growth as a professional. This recognition encourages me to pause and celebrate my achievements, something I often overlook in the fast pace of my career.


Devon speaking at award ceremony

Q: What achievements or milestones do you credit for this recognition?  

Devon: I credit my recognition to my extensive community involvement, serving as a board member for organizations such as We Care Arts and Dayton Levitt Pavilion. Additionally, my participation in leadership development programs, like Leadership Dayton and the Women's Empower Leadership Program, has been instrumental in shaping my achievements.


Q: How do you define success, and how has this definition evolved throughout your career?  

Devon: Initially, my definition of success was tied to external validation, such as academic achievements and awards. However, as I've matured, I've realized that true success is defined internally. For me, it's about leading a fulfilling personal life and making a positive impact in the communities I serve. This shift has been integral to my growth and perspective on achievement.

Devon at award ceremony

Q: Can you share a pivotal moment or experience that shaped your professional journey?  

Devon: A pivotal moment in my professional journey was realizing that what I thought was my dream job wasn't aligning with my core values and well-being. Despite the anticipation and excitement of finally landing a marketing role at an organization I admired, I found myself facing daily challenges that conflicted with my ideals. This experience taught me the importance of prioritizing my mental health and staying true to my core values. It was a significant turning point that reshaped my approach to my career, emphasizing the importance of personal well-being and fulfillment over external validation.

Q: How do you foster a culture of diversity and inclusion within your organization?  

Devon: As a member of the DEIA committee at Parallax Advanced Research, I actively contribute to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion within our organization. My role involves documenting committee meetings, communicating ideas with senior leadership and human resources, and strategizing initiatives aimed at impacting both the committee and the entire enterprise. Through collaboration with my committee peers and leveraging my lived experiences, I strive to champion diversity and inclusion efforts that promote equality and belonging for all members of our organization.


Forty Under 40 Honoree


Q: How do you stay resilient in the face of adversity?  

Devon: I stay resilient in the face of adversity because it's a skill I've developed over time. When challenges arise, I first acknowledge them and process my feelings. If safe to do so, I address the issue directly or find a suitable time to discuss it. Self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and self-care are key factors that help me navigate tough situations and maintain resilience.


Q: What are your strategies for continuous learning and self-improvement?  

Devon: I employ various strategies for continuous learning and self-improvement, including career coaching with mentors, networking with peers, active involvement in my field, reading books, attending conferences and seminars, and listening to podcasts.

Devon's magazine article page in Forty Under 40

Q: Can you discuss the importance of mentorship in your career journey? 

Devon: Mentorship has been instrumental in my career journey, offering insights into my potential that I hadn't recognized before. It provides a safe space to explore career paths and discuss aspirations. I've discovered that the effectiveness of mentorship hinges on the mentee's initiative in steering conversations. Both mentor and mentee need to actively engage for the relationship to thrive. Having benefited from both formal and informal mentorships, I value the external perspectives they offer immensely.


Q: What legacy do you hope to leave through your work and contributions to your field?  

Devon: I aspire to leave a legacy of community betterment through my work and contributions. Beyond my role at Parallax Advanced Research, my endeavors as an entrepreneur provide avenues for shaping this legacy in ways that continue to unfold.


All the honorees



About Parallax Advanced Research  

Parallax Advanced Research is a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit research institute that tackles global challenges through strategic partnerships with government, industry, and academia. It accelerates innovation, addresses critical global issues, and develops groundbreaking ideas with its partners. With offices in Ohio and Virginia, Parallax aims to deliver new solutions and speed them to market. In 2023, Parallax and the Ohio Aerospace Institute formed a collaborative affiliation to drive innovation and technological advancements in Ohio and for the nation. The Ohio Aerospace Institute plays a pivotal role in advancing the aerospace industry in Ohio and the nation by fostering collaborations between universities, aerospace industries, and government organizations, and managing aerospace research, education, and workforce development projects. More information on both organizations can be found at Parallax and OAI websites.