Last week, Tony Munafo was named a Forty under 40 honoree. The annual award program puts a spotlight on the region’s top leaders who have made an exceptional professional and social impact on their community. The honorees represent a wide mix of businesses, roles and industries, so each has a unique story to tell. Curious about Tony’s? Learn more below.
Fueled by his late father’s dream of owning a business and the rapid pace of his career, Tony and his brother Michael founded ProLink in 2011. With a team of three employees working out of a small basement office, they started out by serving health care networks to place physical, speech and occupational therapists. And just three years after the recession, they faced an uncommonly harsh economic climate on top of the diverse challenges typical to starting a business. Nevertheless, they beat the odds and the move paid off.
Since 2011, Tony and Michael have led ProLink from that 3-person startup based in Cincinnati to a 300-person, $85 million enterprise with a presence in 14+ markets. They have expanded ProLink’s client base to include a wide range of industries, such as manufacturing, engineering, IT and scientific. That client growth is largely due to Tony’s focus on infusing adaptability into the company’s approach to individual client challenges.
From an internal perspective, ProLink’s growth can be attributed to Tony’s dedication to empower his teams to pursue the best version of themselves. He works daily to further ProLink’s vision—to be the vehicle for getting the people it serves where they want to go personally, professionally and financially. That vision has laid the foundation for a culture of accountability balanced with positive energy, empathy and support.
Before founding ProLink, Tony spent the majority of his professional career in national staffing, where he gained industry knowledge and moved quickly through company hierarchy to leadership positions, beginning as a recruiter, then moving on to account management to director positions and further. Those experiences prepared him to create and grow ProLink.
In terms of social impact, Tony has always been committed to making ProLink a positive force in every community it touches, which is why the company is so heavily involved in a wide range of nonprofits and other community-building organizations. The most significant example of community building activities is Dash Bash, an annual 5k fundraiser that benefits 2 or more nonprofits selected by ProLink staff each year. The event raises tens of thousands of dollars each year and significantly increases that figure YOY.
Beyond his contributions to ProLink’s company growth and community footprint, Tony is also personally active in social and professional networks. He serves as co-chair for the Ronald McDonald House's Red Tie Gala, is an Artswave cabinet member on its 2019 campaign and is heavily involved with ProKids, Companions on a Journey as well as with local schools. He is a member and forum moderator of YPO, a global executive leadership organization that helps chief executives tap into a network of the world’s most influential and innovative business leaders.
“I am truly humbled to be a Forty under 40," Tony said. "I believe this really is a testament to the ProLink family—our clients, our talent and our team. My brother Michael and I started ProLink with the goal of creating an enterprise greater than the two of us. This is just another sign that we’ve found the right people to make that intention come to life.”