The Gainesville Jaycees’ Young Man and Woman of the Year recipients have a talent for building connections and serving the community.
A crowd applauded Thursday, Feb. 20, to congratulate Katie Dubnik as the Young Woman of the Year and Phil Bonelli as the Young Man of the Year.
The award, which was presented at the Chattahoochee Country Club, has been given by the Gainesville Jaycees to young men in Hall County since 1946, and to women since 2001.
Jenny Floyd, last year’s Young Woman of the Year, took a moment to reflect on Dubnik’s devotion to Hall County before bestowing the honor.
Dubnik served as United Way of Hall County’s campaign chair and has raised over $1 million to help stop poverty in the community. Floyd said Dubnik became the social services organization’s board chair in May 2019 and since then has given a minimum of 20 hours a week to her role.
In addition to her work with United Way and running her own marketing agency, Dubnik has spent time on several boards, including Georgia Mountain Food Bank, Northeast Georgia History Center, WomenSource and Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.
“Keeping connections is one of her strengths,” Floyd said. “She is also good at making connections or, as one person described her, she is a bridge builder. She loves to bridge people or even groups together to work towards a common goal.”
John Simpson, last year’s Young Man of the Year, describes Bonelli as a man “with a servant heart.”
“He thinks about people before himself,” Simpson said.
Bonelli works as the senior vice president of Regions Commercial Banking, where he provides strategic advice and financial services to large businesses across Northeast Georgia.
In 2017, Bonelli was selected as one of Georgia Trend Magazine’s 40 Under 40, which honors the state’s best and brightest in business, government, politics, nonprofits, science, health care and education.
He was also ranked in 2014 as Wells Fargo’s No. 1 business banker in the Southeast and received the 2015 Volunteer of the Year award for Junior Achievement of Northeast Georgia.
When he’s not at his full-time job, Bonelli spends time as a board member of the chamber, Northeast Georgia Health System and Elachee Nature Science Center.
“This guy just loves his community and loves people,” Simpson said. “He’s the definition of service. He is unbelievable.”