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Mike Mendenhall

As the 47th mayor of Spanish Fork, Mike Mendenhall is known as a leader who cares about his community and can listen without offense, compromise without destruction and is trying to leave his city better than he found it. Before his mayoral efforts, he was already community-minded, serving on the city council for eight years, being president of the Spanish Fork-Salem Chamber of Commerce and president of the Spanish Fork Rotary Club. He’s also been the president of the Utah League of Cities and Towns. When not working to improve his hometown, he’s offering the same care and consideration in his own financial advising business or spending time with his wife, Amber, and three kids.

Fully Booked Up for a 5:30 a.m. workout (only because my son is up at 4:30 for the gym, so I’m trying to keep up). At the office by 7:30 a.m. for the market open (9:30 a.m. on the East Coast). Appointments until noon, lunch, afternoon appointments, city emails and city committee meetings at 3 p.m. Try to be home with the wife and kids by 7 p.m. Do it all over again the next day.

Hero’s Journey My mom passed away in 2022 from cancer. She was too young. It was the biggest challenge of my life so far. I learned a different level of grit, love and selflessness from her. I’m still learning from it.

New Chapter After 15 years of banking entrepreneurs, I decided to become one in 2019. It was a risk to leave a comfortable job and take tests to become a financial advisor, which were harder than anything I did in college. It was a calculated risk that has changed me for the better.

Vital Title “Love Your Enemies” by Arthur Brooks. Everyone should read before they attempt to debate differences in the modern political age.

Tired Tropes Loud opinions aimed to make someone feel less than others.

Character Backstory I’ve ridden my Harley in the Sturgis motorcycle rally.

Life Genre Non-fiction. I spend little time day dreaming. If it can be accomplished and is worthy of being, let’s get it done.

The Sequel No longer the mayor of Spanish Fork. But helping my clients, colleagues, and community in other impactful ways.

Author’s Note I try to live by a saying in business and politics — SW-SW-SW. “Some will, some won’t, so what.”

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Danny Kenny

Danny Kenny blew up on social media for a song he wrote and performed at his high school graduation from Lone Peak in May 2023. The video of his “tribute to parents” song is currently sitting at 17.9 million views and 2.5 million likes. What a jumpstart into adulthood! This viral video spurred Danny’s growth as an artist. Danny regularly puts out new songs, while also using his musical gifts to help others around him. In 2022, he organized a benefit concert with other local artists (Paige Fish and Reese Olivera – a past Fab 40 in 2018) for suicide prevention. Danny’s musical exploits know no limits. Catch him as Lucas in The Addams Family at Hale Centre Theatre Sandy this fall, where his real life mother, Claire Kenny, will play his mother on stage.

Plot Twist One of the best surprises in my life was when I was contacted by American Idol to audition for the show. It was a super fun experience getting to know the other people that were there, and I’ve definitely made some bonds that will stay with me my whole life.

Hero’s Journey On Oct. 24, 2021, my friend, Caleb Banta, took his own life. I still struggle with trying to come to terms with the fact that he’s gone, even after almost two and a half years. This motivated me to do a benefit concert for suicide prevention, and we raised over $1,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I was able to make a personal connection with the audience that night, and talked about my experience with the loss, and played a couple songs that I wrote about him. After the concert, I talked with his family and realized the impact that music can have on people. This was the moment I knew I needed to do music for a living. (Before this, I really thought I was going to go into orthodontics.)

Tired Trope I really dislike it when people talk bad about other people.

Daily Underscore Ben Folds and Clinton Kane.

Vital Title I’m a bit of a nerd so when I read, I usually read manga which is basically just Japanese comics. My favorite manga though is “Berserk” by Kentaro Miura.

The Sequel Realistically, I see myself graduating college with a degree in commercial music and then going on to produce other peoples’ music as well as doing my own music and performing on the side. Ideally, I’d be doing my own music full-time and performing while producing other peoples’ music on the side.

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Gavin McMahan

Gavin McMahan has grown up with his music throughout his whole life. The McMahan family is full of professional musicians, so Gavin is a composite of compositions. Classical and jazz trained, Gavin uses his mastery to compose and produce music for clients such as TravisMatthew Apparel, BYU, Warner Chappell and Amphibious Zoo. He’s arranged for Take 6, Jordin Sparks, Jordan Smith and more. After receiving his bachelor’s in film scoring and audio from BYU — where he also worked composing the music for BYU Sports Nation — he decided that it wasn’t enough formal training for him. So, for the past year and a half, he’s been pursuing higher education in a composition program that aims to bridge the gap between a master’s in composition (more classical) and a master’s in film scoring (more Hollywood). 

Hero’s Journey The biggest challenge for me in the music industry has been a lack of community. I’ve learned to rely on the music itself for support. Music has become the friend I can always count on. It’s always there, eager to help.

New Chapter A turning point for me was taking film scoring and orchestration classes in college and switching from an aspiring artist to a composer.

Daily Underscore Earth, Wind & Fire — without a doubt. I grew up on EWF and have listened to them consistently throughout my adulthood.

Vital Title I’m a big reader, but in the end, I come back to Middle Earth enough to recognize its grip on me. I have an affinity for folklore and mythology in general, but my favorite book is probably “The Fellowship of the Ring.” I love its vast sense of adventure and wonder.

Tired Trope When I have to compromise the artistic integrity of something I made to please a client’s wishes. That’s so hard for me. Music is much more than a paycheck for me.

Just My Type Hruska’s Kolaches is a favorite food spot! 

The Sequel My wife and I hope to start a family soon, spend as much time outdoors as possible, and travel more. Career-wise, I hope to be working exclusively on projects where I can really “do my thing” at the highest level. Whether that’s producing songs for artists, scoring to picture, or orchestrating someone else’s music, I just want to be in a place where I’m only hired for “me” — when someone wants to see what I can do with nothing in my way. I don’t want to feel like any of my work is being compromised in any way.

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M Kim Nelson

Hey, batter, batter! M Kim Nelson is a 10-time winner of the Baseball Coach of the Year, and the 2023 winner of the National Federation of State High School Associations National Baseball Coach of the Year. Kim has been the head baseball coach for the Timpanogos Timberwolves since the school opened in 1996. Before catching the job of coach, he had his own career filled with home runs and grand slams. While playing baseball at BYU, Kim became a 2-time All American in the four years he played (1974-1978). After that, he was the 3rd baseman for the USA All Star Team at the international cup in Nicaragua in 1977, competing in the gold medal round — taking silver against South Korea. He spent two years at the Minnesota Twins Organization, and was the TOPPS Minor League Player of the month in July 1978. His biggest accomplishment? His sweetheart, Leslie, his eight children and 20 grandchildren.

Fully Booked A day in the life begins with a 4:15 a.m. wake-up call, 5 a.m. gym workout. At 7 a.m., classroom life begins teaching anatomy/physiology and sports medicine. At 2 p.m., baseball begins with either practice or games until the sun goes down. Kiss my wife goodnight. Repeat.

Plot Twist That my wife, an artist and musician, said yes to a lifetime on the bleachers. 

Hero’s Journey Life is full of challenges. They come frequently and with full force. We’ve faced life threatening situations with several of our children, losing one to SIDS when he was almost 5 months old. I am sure of the things that matter most. My faith has deepened and been refined with each trial. I know where peace is found. 

New Chapter I played under the tutelage of Coach Glen Tuckett at BYU. He was my mentor and friend. He instilled in me a deep love and respect for the game of baseball and my teammates who played it. As a coach, I find myself constantly saying and doing the things he said and did. His influence helped mark my way personally and professionally. 

Life Genre “Cheaper by the Dozen”!

Vital Title A recent favorite would be “Boys in the Boat.” I love history, sports and cheering for the underdogs.

Character Backstory Most people wouldn’t know, but I’m really just a big teddy bear.

The Sequel In 5-10 years, I see myself riding off into the sunset in a golf cart.

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Sarah Sun

Miss Utah, reporting for duty! Sarah Sun was crowned Miss Utah in June 2023 and is finishing out her last months serving the beehive state. Sarah was the first Miss Utah in history to also win Miss Congeniality, the first Asian American Miss Utah and the winner of the Overall Evening Gown, Overall Instrumentalist, Preliminary Talent and Preliminary Evening Gown awards at Miss Utah. Beyond the gowns and crowns, Sarah is incredibly passionate about reducing recidivism through art education, and works to make arts education available to inmates at the Utah State Prison. Sarah has given keynotes and firesides to share messages of faith with tens of thousands of youth, and will be speaking at the BYU Women’s Conference this May. While still a student at BYU, Sarah has been involved as a singer and dancer with the Young Ambassadors, Director of Inclusion for the BYU Student Association, and is an active member of the Finance Society and Investment Banking Association.

Fully Booked I often feel like Miley in “Hannah Montana,” living a double life. When I’m not wearing the Miss Utah crown, you’ll find me on BYU campus, looking like a gremlin, studying at the library or the Tanner Building. My traveling companions Dawn Meeves and Julie Edwards drive me to my Miss Utah engagements, so I’ve become an expert at putting on fake eyelashes in a moving vehicle. I’m also involved with a time-intensive project through the BYU Student Association and spend many hours collaborating with my teammates to plan events, organize volunteers and create social media content. Before going to bed, (usually around 3 a.m.), I’ll always spend a few hours studying for my finance class and catching up with friends and family.

Life Genre Historical fiction. I often think about the legacy I will leave behind for my posterity and the themes they can pull from my story and narrative.

The Sequel I hope to work in either high finance or consulting for a few years before obtaining a JD/MBA. I would love to start my career in NYC, but I believe in blooming wherever I am planted. I love serving in my church and in my community, and no matter where I end up geographically, that tenet of my life will stay constant. 

Vital Title “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi because of its beautiful writing and the way it elucidates what really matters in life.

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Randy Garn

When Randy Garn was running for student body president at Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho), his slogan was “The Little Man with a Big Plan.” He won the election and continues to be a giant in the world of people-building and networking. After starting a successful business with his best friend and writing a New York Times best seller, he continues to be a people person, working to help people find success in their dreams. For the next three years, he will spend his time supervising missionaries in the Houston, Texas area. While he’s a little surprised by the call, he thinks it’s a pretty good plan!

Fully Booked I work farmers’ hours. I’m up by 5:15 a.m., and the first 45 minutes are devoted to personal prayer and scripture study. Then, I work out and spend some time with my family before the kids head for school. Next, I address my calendar, which I’ve packed with fun meetings, relationships to nurture, and growth opportunities. My most successful habit is to spend time each night to journal and reflect on the day. I plan and prepare for the next day so I can hit the ground running.  I try to do everything I can to go to bed at the same time every night — no later than 10:30 p.m. 

Plot Twist A plot twist was when we were told by the doctor that we were going to have our second set of twins — my first boys after four girls.

Hero’s Journey I was hit by a car while preparing for the Kona Half-Iron Man. I should have been seriously injured, but I was completely protected. I recovered and participated in the race. This challenge was an opportunity for growth. I learned that we can see the miracles in our lives and witness God’s hand if we keep our minds in the right perspective. I like this quote from Albert Einstein: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” I believe in miracles.

New Chapter My turning points have been key relationships I’ve made. Relationships are everything since people are more important than things. I’ve learned to treat the Uber driver and the CEO the same.

Storybook World I most resemble Samwise Gamgee because I’m loyal and do everything I can to cheer my friends and colleagues on to success!

Audiobooks or Physical I do both simultaneously. I listen as I read and annotate. It helps with cognition and memory. This is how I engage, and books come alive. 

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Eugene Tapahe

Ten years ago, Eugene Tapahe left his secure job — with  its predictable pay and beneficial benefits — and set out to tell a story through photography. He bought his first digital camera and set out for the perfect shot. But, after numerous frustrations, he took the advice of his wife, Sharon, to stop trying to take photos of what he thinks others would like, and to instead listen to his own heart and tell his story. That is when the Tapahe story began to unfold. His work has been juried into notable art markets, museums and galleries such as the Santa Fe Indian Market, Cherokee Indian Market, Heard Museum, Eiteljorg Museum, and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Now, Eugene listens to his heART.

Plot Twist Recently, I began a photography series “Art Heals: The Jingle Dress Project,” to promote healing and hope during Covid. The project gained global attention and has also been featured in Vogue fashion magazine. 

Hero’s Journey Living in two worlds is not a new concept for Native American people. Despite the contradictory nature of these two realms, both traditional teachings and modern existence are essential to us. It’s a constant struggle for Native Americans to maintain their identity.

Character Backstory I have been dealing with hearing loss in my left ear for the past four years. It has completely changed my life. I have learned to adapt to my new world of distortion by being patient and trusting that people will be patient with me, too.

The Sequel After completing my graduation (Master of Fine Arts from BYU), I aspire to pursue my career in galleries and museums and expand my work to various communities worldwide. My aim is to create awareness about Native American culture and emphasize the significance of our relationship with the land. I believe that when individuals are exposed to diverse perspectives and backgrounds, it enables them to better empathize and understand one another.

Author’s Note As a member of the Diné community, I learned to respect, preserve and protect the sacred elements of nature at a young age. These elements include the land, trees, plants, water, sky and animals. My grandma taught me the importance of nurturing this connection and relationship with the land. This philosophy has had a profound impact on both my life and my art. It has kept me grounded, humble and grateful for all that I have.

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Mardi Sifuentes

Born outside of New Orleans during Mardi Gras (hence the name), Mardi Sifuentes is as full of energy as her namesake celebration. She’s constantly on the go, whether it’s being a literal “soccer mom,” a city council member of one of the fastest-growing cities in the country or as the artisan baker of her own growing bakery, Vineyard Bakery. She’s fab for how she finds a chance to improve people’s lives, and she jumps in with her whole heart. 

Fully Booked Juggling life as a mother, baker and city council member is pretty non-stop, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. A regular day in my life usually includes city meetings, reading long agendas and contracts, running my boys to soccer practices and games, supporting them in school projects, prepping and baking bread, helping to run a small family-owned construction company, catching up on Marco Polo messages from my closest friends, cooking, cleaning, and all while listening to a book in my ear any chance I get. To sum up, I love to work hard and I hate to sit still — so much so that even when I’m sitting, you’ll likely find some cross stitching supplies in my hands. That’s right. I said what I said. I crochet, boondoggle and puzzle, too. 

Plot Twist Motherhood. I continually surprise myself — and others — at how well I can rock it or how terribly I can screw it up on any given day. 

Hero’s Journey Just recently I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which seems to be God’s way of telling me it’s okay to sit sometimes. He and I still disagree on that one, so I guess you could say I haven’t fully learned it yet. 

New Chapter After my husband lost his job during Covid, there were many unknowns. I had to take action. One of my favorite hobbies was baking artisan sourdough bread and sharing it with neighbors. So,  I decided to start selling it. I was shocked at how much my community supported me. My business has just continued to grow ever since. 

Storybook World I hate to be cliche, but this girl would head straight to Hogwarts. Sign me up to learn some magic, fight Voldemort and hang out with Harry, Ron and Hermione. 

Vital Title I love the “The Lady Janies” series by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. The mix of fantasy, history and comedic humor just hits all the marks for my great escape into the book world.

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Dr. Stephen White

Dr. Stephen White, PT, DPT, GCS, is a classic story of local boy made good. Growing up in Mapleton and graduating from Springville High, Stephen moved to Oregon and Colorado to become a well-trained, multi-certified physical therapist. After 10 years away, an opportunity to teach at Rocky Mountain University and run the school’s Community Rehabilitation Center in Provo gave him and his family a chance to reconnect with their Mapleton roots and move back. Now, he spends his work time training the next generation and meeting the physical therapy needs of numerous low-income and uninsured community members. He can also be found at his children’s games or running in half marathons. 

Plot Twist After leaving Utah Valley several years ago, I was not sure we would ever come back. We were very surprised and excited when the opportunity came our way to return home to Utah Valley.  

Hero’s Journey When I graduated, I was stressed about paying off my student loans. Physical therapy school is not cheap and the stress weighed on me daily. We moved our family to a rural area in Colorado near the Kansas border. We were far from family, friends and city luxuries. We would travel more than three hours to get things we needed for our home, activities or for medical appointments. I took on additional jobs to make additional payments and spent a lot of time working. With time, I repaid my loans and we came to love the area and the people who live in the area. 

Character Backstory I am a certified BBQ taste-testing judge through the Kansas City BBQ Society.

Storybook World Unashamedly, I’d pick Harry Potter. We are big Harry Potter fans in our family and I would love to attend Hogwarts. I guess I could not be a PT anymore if I did, though. I’m sure I could find a good magical job. Working at Fred and George’s joke shop sounds pretty fun.

Life Genre “Choose Your Own Adventure.” I don’t feel tied down by anything specific at this point in my life. I am eager to find where I can become the best healthcare provider, father and community member I can. It’s exciting making new decisions each day as they are presented and seeing what life has to behold — the good, the difficult and the unknown.

The Sequel In five to 10 years, I hope I am still doing new things. The spice of life for me is novelty and change. This is one of the reasons I love teaching!

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Susan Stratton Harding

101K people follow @healwithmelissa on Instagram. Melissa Taylor is a two-time cancer survivor and is helping her followers heal and thrive with natural health — with a little dancey-dance on the side, thank you very much. Melissa is an international presenter and trauma-informed healing facilitator, and holds a degree from the University of Utah in sociology and psychology. She authored her first book, “Heal With Me,” to help others healing from cancer. She also launched an online cancer healing course with

Susan Stratton Harding grew up working the family orchards and farms in Orem. That work ethic is what has kept Susan working deep into her seventh decade of life. While she had never had plans to run a rafting company, a crucial conversation with her father changed her plan. Susan’s parents wanted to serve a mission, so her father asked her if she would take over running Tour West, a river-rafting company that arranges adventures for people from around the world on the Colorado River in Utah and the Salmon River in Idaho. While her oldest son manages the river operations, Susan continues to run the company “six steps” from her bedroom and enjoys the ups and downs of running the rapids. You can say that she’s one that goes with the flow.

Fully Booked Usually get up by 6 or 7 a.m. Walk if the weather permits. Answer phones, do bookkeeping work, discussing river rafting stuff with our employees, government requirements, park service requirements, etc. Close up around 5 p.m. Sometimes, I find myself driving to one of our three warehouses (in Arizona, Moab or Salmon Idaho). If I’m lucky, I could find myself on a river trip — hopefully next summer. 

Plot Twist That I would end up with a river rafting company. When I first started at BYU I was going to study history.

Hero’s Journey There have been a lot of work-related challenges. In 1983, we had a huge amount of water and there were many accidents. We had a 33-foot raft flip full of passengers. Also, when we went through the pandemic, the Park Service completely closed access to the river. Much of the money had been collected. We decided to give all our customers the option of a refund or hold their money over the next year. We refunded lots of money. We lost quite a bit of money, but many of the people that took a refund came back to do trips  making the years after the pandemic much busier.

Character Backstory I finished my degree from BYU at age 65!

The Sequel In five to 10 years, I hope I am still around, retired, and living days filled with family, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Dream Storybook World A world full of peace, honesty, kindness, generosity, etc. 

the same name. Melissa’s online healing community is called The Thrive Hive – where she helps others learn how to not only survive, but to thrive. As if that wasn’t enough, she also started “Seasons,” a group life-coaching program to facilitate self awareness and discovery of individual purpose through astrology. Hashtag – she does it all!