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Dave Phillips

Age: 42
Hometown: Detroit
Cause: Career support for technology professionals

An Internet systems architect, Phillips was sick of the pitches he endured from sponsors and salespeople at industry networking events. So in 2001 he helped set up Detroitnet.org — since renamed IT in the D — as a free, low-key forum for information technology workers wanting to talk shop and socialize over a beer. Phillips, who also informally coaches peers seeking employment, threw the group's first Pink Slip Party in 2009 to connect laid-off IT professionals with recruiters; since then, more than 1,000 people have found jobs through IT in the D. And in 2013, the group launched an internet radio show, covering careers and other technology issues, that draws thousands of listeners in all 50 states and 41 countries.

Says Phillips: