ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque native is featured on Forbes’ 2020 ’30 Under 30′ list. The list celebrates the top young businessmen and women making a change around the world.

Taylor Stern is only 27, but the Albuquerque native and University of New Mexico grad is already considered a top innovator in the sports world. She says early on, she wondered if she was at a disadvantage not attending a Big Ten school, but now, she sees her New Mexico experience as one setting her apart from the rest.

“One of my first reactions, obviously, was like, ‘Wow, it all works out,’ and I remember thinking, I went to the University of New Mexico after growing up there and I kept thinking, ‘Oh, I’m disadvantaged because I’m not at a Big Ten school or going to these big-time program schools,'” said Stern. “But it also impressed me because I don’t know how many people out of the 600 people would have University of New Mexico as their college on there.”

The Forbes list is compiled of 600 innovators under 30. They’re spread across 20 categories like education, finance, law and sports.

“I was very, very surprised because if you’ve seen the list, it’s almost silly because it’s like Bobby Wagner, who’s a linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks, these people who are creators and co-founders of amazing, incredible companies, and then, little ol’ me,” said Stern. “It’s fun to be part of that group but it’s even cooler to me to know my roots and where I came from, that it’s different from other people. I took my own path there.”

Stern says she thinks her experience working with the Dallas Cowboys and being a part of an Emmy-winning documentary on Dak Prescott put her in the running. Stern also helps lead the Cowboys’ social platforms with more than 20 million followers and reports on-air for digital and radio broadcasts.

“Some of the highlights they had put in there was my Emmy win, and that was last year on a documentary I did on Dak Prescott, and we were really fortunate to go to Mississippi State and interview some of his old coaches and things like that. It truly was one of the best projects I’ve been a part of while I’ve been here. I’ve been so grateful, but I think that, of course, is what set me apart,” said Stern. “I do radio, television, writing, analytics, anything and everything, so I think that sets me apart where maybe some of these other people have been on their different tracks, which is great and unique to them, but I think that’s what pushed.”

Stern says she’s encountered a number of New Mexicans while working for the Cowboys. She says the hometown support has been a big driver in her career.

“Coming from Albuquerque, everyone was so supportive of everyone. It definitely has such a family culture and atmosphere throughout the entire state. When I posted it on Facebook, I was seeing high school teachers that I had and kindergarten teachers that I had that were commenting on it, and people that I worked with at UNM. They were proud of me and I haven’t talked to them in years,” said Stern. “It’s that family feeling. I even see it now. I’ll get tweets from Cowboys fans who say, ‘Oh, I’m from New Mexico.’ There’s a special understanding because really, there’s not a lot of us out here in Frisco, Texas, or Dallas or wherever. It’s always like you understand, red or green, Frontier, so I think what molded me is the support I got being from Albuquerque.”

Stern says you also have to be your biggest cheerleader, in addition to hard work. She says self-confidence and believing in yourself goes a long way.

“We have to be our biggest advocates. People forget you have to be your biggest fan,” said Stern. “Sometimes I think we give ourselves our own boxes to live in and that’s not the case. It doesn’t have to be the case. We’re comfortable in the situations that we’re in and we don’t really want to put ourselves out there or take those risks because it’s a little bit scary to be vulnerable.”

Forbes says this year’s class of ’30 under 30′ works an average of 66 hours per week. A majority consider their young ages to be an advantage in their careers.