Alumni Spotlight: Jackie Kelly

“Don’t be afraid to be involved. Find places to serve that feed your soul.” – Jackie Kelly, LEAD 2015 and OI 2015

Jackie Kelly participated in LEAD 2015 and OI 2015, and serves as Supervisor of the Community Engagement Team at Central Library.

What were your biggest take aways from OI and LEAD?

I loved that OI presented us with a behind the scenes glimpse into a variety of organizations and city agencies. During LEAD, civic leaders shared real talk about what worked and what didn’t in their community engagement endeavors; even for experienced professionals there is sometimes a learning curve, and I appreciated the honesty.

What impact has your participation in OI and LEAD had on your work in the community?

OI and LEAD gave me the confidence to get involved on many different levels.

What leadership quality has been most useful in your work?

Passion. I choose to give my time and energy to organizations whose missions resonate with me.

What board, committee, or other community leadership role have you had recently that was particularly important to you?

Why did you choose to serve in that capacity? I’m involved with a group called Back on My Feet Indianapolis. Back on My Feet, a national organization operating in 12 major cities, combats homelessness through the power of running, community support and essential employment and housing resources. As social chair of Team Wheeler Mission, I’m part of a group who brings a sense of camaraderie to our members and makes them feel part of the larger community through monthly social activities.

What piece of advice would you offer to other community leaders?

Don’t be afraid to be involved. Find places to serve that feed your soul. Above all, take advantage of as many of the alumni events and activities offered by Leadership Indianapolis as you can.

Alumni Spotlight: Blake Roebuck

“I leveraged the information gained from Leadership Indianapolis to identify my interests in economic empowerment, public transportation, and mentoring.” Blake Roebuck, OI 2016

Blake Roebuck participated in Opportunity Indianapolis 2016 and serves as Foundation & Marketing Manager for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation… A State That Works!

What were your biggest take aways from Opportunity Indianapolis?

There are a myriad of organizations in Indianapolis tackling a wide-range of issues from public safety, education, hunger, transportation, etc. These issues share complexities which call for adequate resources — funding, vision, and engaged leaders.  Opportunity Indianapolis empowers you to be that leader.

What impact has your participation in Opportunity Indianapolis had on your work in the community?

I leveraged the information gained from Leadership Indianapolis to identify my interests in economic empowerment, public transportation, and mentoring. I attended Indy Transit Referendum meetings and gatherings to inform myself about the issue and advocated for the cause. Last December, I became a BIG with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana. Finally, I participated in Ball State University’s Center for Community Economic Development course for continued education. I’m always looking for opportunities to get plugged in.

What leadership quality has been most useful in your work?

Listening – I’m fortunate to work with many of the city and state’s business leaders, decision makers, and elected officials. They’ve played a huge role in my professional development the last few years.

What board, committee, or other community leadership role have you had recently that was particularly important to you? Why did you choose to serve in that capacity?

I’ve recently joined the Goodwill Industries Business Development Advisory Group. Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana does incredible work by empowering people to increase their independence and reach their potential through education, health, and employment. I encourage everyone to request a tour of Goodwill’s Tremont facility on the near west side.

What piece of advice would you offer to emerging community leaders?

Seek mentors who are vested in your development. These proven leaders who make time to pay it forward are exemplifying the embodiment of leadership.

SKL Alumni Spotlight: LeRoy Lewis III

“These classmates have taught me lessons on leadership styles, humility, cultural sensitivity and most importantly acceptance.” — LeRoy Lewis III, LEAD 2007, SKL Class XXXIX

LeRoy Lewis III, MBA, serves as Manager of Provider Relations at Eskenazi Medical Group. He participated in both LEAD 2007 and SKL Class XXXIX.

What were your biggest take-aways from LEAD and SKL?

My biggest take away from my time with LEAD and SKL are the relationships. I have learned long ago that I have a strong personality. Some see that as a hindrance, but it would provide me with the opportunity to not be shy in getting to know my fellow classmates. These classmates have taught me lessons on leadership styles, humility, cultural sensitivity and most importantly acceptance.

What impact has your participation in LEAD and SKL had on your work in the community?

The impact that LEAD and SKL has had on my work in the community is being able to accept people for who they are and not try to change them to what I believe they should be. Being in classes with intelligent individuals that all have strong values and perceptions, allowed me to see firsthand that people who can, will and have support for each other, come in all forms and from many different backgrounds.

What leadership quality has been most useful in your work?

The leadership quality that has been most useful in my work is the quality of communication. Being able to articulate my position and tell my story, while at the same time being able to listen to understand the position of others is a skill and trait that all good leaders must possess.

What board, committee, or other community leadership role have you had recently that was particularly important to you? Why did you choose to serve in that capacity?

The current role that I have as a board member of IndyHub is a role that I hold very dear. Anyone that knows me knows that I love my city. This organization is one that is focused not only on equipping future leaders and new residents with knowledge of community happenings, but it is also an advocate for those same individuals in making sure their future here looks and feels the way they want it. And that it looks the same for everyone.

What piece of advice would you offer to emerging community leaders?

If I was to offer any piece of advice for future leaders, it would be to push and pull to make sure you are at the table. We have so many bright individuals that never get an opportunity to be heard, because they were not at the table with the individuals that make the decisions. Just think of how much we may have missed out on, due to the exclusion of certain voices. Those voices may be youthful, cultural, masculine or feminine. But if those voices are not heard, then our world, and my beloved city, will fall into a homogenous demise.

Alumni Spotlight: Allen McClendon

“I choose to check in the game and contribute to the solutions.” – Allen McClendon, LEAD 2016

Allen McClendon, who serves as the Corporate Partnership Manager at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, went through our LEAD program this year. We asked him to reflect on what he learned and his role as a community leader.

What was your biggest take away from the LEAD program?

My biggest take away from LEAD is there is always room for improvement. There is a lot of science and research behind being an effective leader. LEAD helped me to identify areas that I should continue to work on in order to evolve as a leader in my community.

What impact has your participation in LEAD had on your work in the community?

My LEAD experience has helped me to really appreciate the volunteer roles I choose to
accept. No matter how big or how small my role may be, LEAD has refocused my desire to do the best job I can do 100% of the time.

What leadership quality has been most useful in your work?

Time Management has been the most useful quality in my work.As a result of my LEAD participation, I take more time to prepare for meetings which allows me to optimize my productivity.

What board, committee, or other community leadership role have you had recently that was
particularly important to you? Why did you choose to serve in that capacity?

Donating my time to a local Parks Friends Group. This particular park has always been near and dear to my heart. I have chosen to donate more of my time to this cause because I notice a need for community help in local parks. Instead of standing on the sidelines complaining about issues, I choose to check in the game and contribute to the solutions. I have also recently committed to serving on a Jewish Community Center committee because this is my family’s local community center.

What piece of advice would you offer to emerging community leaders?

I would suggest being intentional. Ensuring that you have passionate and relevant reasons for why you choose to help your community. A lot of service takes place in a thankless environment. At the end of the day you have to be happy with simply giving back.