They get it!

Leadership Indianapolis’ board exemplifies diversity in its truest form 

By Grace Michaels

Experts have ingrained the word diversity in our minds for eons, however, for some businesses and organizations, actually applying the principles has been challenging.  

Angela White, senior consultant and CEO of Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates, a philanthropic consulting company, has a solution.  

“It is important to align your board composition with your organization’s mission, values and priorities. If boards clearly define their priorities and foster a culture of continuous learning, greater diversity will lead to a more engaged board.”
Leadership Indianapolis not only understands this philosophy, but they have also applied it, resulting in true diversity.

Leadership Indianapolis, the “parent” of the Stanley K. Lacy Leadership Series, the Lacy Leadership Association, and Civic Boot Camp advocates for diversity in its programming and exudes it from a personnel and board perspective. 

Rebecca King, president and CEO of the leadership training and deployment organization says when it is time to attract new members, the organization is intentional about broadening the skillsets and perspectives represented. 

“We assess what our most pressing needs are based on where we are as an organization.

“Because Leadership Indianapolis supports and interacts with so many community leaders, we know that there isn’t actually a conflict between skillset and diversity. It isn’t a question of whether we need the expertise of a lawyer or the perspective of an African-American man. There are highly qualified African-American male lawyers in Indianapolis and one of them, Joe Smith, currently serves as our board chair. This city is filled with talented professionals in a variety of fields who are also people of color and/or women, who would make tremendous board members. Many of them simply haven’t been given the opportunity.”

King says diversity is a guiding premise of the organization. 

“We have also tried to incorporate diversity as a core value throughout the work of our organization including our staff, the participants in our programs, the speakers we highlight at our events, and our community partners. So, it isn’t an isolated objective of our board, but rather a priority in our larger culture.” 

Of Leadership Indianapolis’ 14 board members, half are women and four are ethnic minorities.