Who do you think of as a leader? Often in our society, business executives, government officials, and coaches are called leaders. And they can be. In Central Indiana, there are great examples of leaders in all of those spaces. But visibility, status, and title alone are not what makes someone a leader.
It is important that we cast a broader vision for the word leader. They are also hand-raisers at our neighborhood meetings and those who work on behalf of the community without any expectation of being recognized. They are also elders who have been gathering folks on front porches for decades and young people who don’t have their own front porch yet.
At a point in history when so much is polarized and confrontational, Leadership Indianapolis is committed to the belief that community leadership is at its best when it is multi-generational, multicultural, and collaborative. Leadership is at its best when it is empathetic. Leadership is at its best when it is curious. Leadership is at its best when it is focused on the greater good.
Just a few weeks ago, Leadership Indianapolis hosted our first board meeting of the year. We asked everyone what they love most about Indy. A common sentiment was that this is a place where people interested in getting involved can get stuff done – it’s a place where you can reach out to a potential mentor or collaborator for coffee and more often than not, they’ll happily take that meeting.
We also celebrated our ability to pull off large-scale events, like the Super Bowl and the upcoming NBA All-Star Game in 2024. Hosting these events are an important part of our legacy and shows a commitment to engaged leadership by coming together to make incredible moments come to fruition. (And because we’re Hoosiers, it gets done with a smile.)
We should be proud that doors seem to open more easily in Indy than in other cities. But we also need to recognize that those doors still stay firmly shut for many who have been knocking for a long time. And those doors stay shut for many leaders in our community who haven’t been given a map to even find the doors to knock on.
At Leadership Indianapolis, we don’t just believe this. We don’t just talk about it. We are trying to be about it.
Rebecca Hutton serves as President & CEO as well as the Program Director for the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series at Leadership Indianapolis.