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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

2017 Champions of Diversity: 13 honored in fight for Hoosier equality

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The Indiana Minority Business Magazine (IMBM), which is published quarterly by the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper, will recognize 13 individuals, organizations and institutions that have demonstrated tremendous effort in the areas of diversity and inclusion.

The 12th class of Champions of Diversity includes pioneers in the areas of education, medicine, law, entertainment, business, finance and more, who have dedicated their careers to creating a more inclusive Indiana.

“I am in awe each year at the great men and women we recognize for this award,” said editor-in-chief Ebony Chappel. “These award recipients are doing the work needed day in and day out to make our state one of the greatest places ever, and I am so proud. Each of them is very deserving.”

Recorder and IMBM President Shannon Williams said it’s an honor each year to recognize the new group of Champions.

“When paired, the words ‘diversity and inclusion’ reflect equality,” Williams said. “Our honorees have made it their practice to exhibit these ideals by looking at existing systems, noticing a lack of equity and finding ways to serve the underrepresented. These actions cannot go unrecognized. It is a privilege to honor them in this way.”

Read on to learn more about this year’s Champions of Diversity:

Courtney Cole and Monica Peck — co-owners, Hare Chevrolet of Noblesville (William G. Mays Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award recipients)

Sisters Courtney Cole and Monica Peck, natives of Noblesville, Indiana, own and operate Hare Chevrolet and Hare Truck Center, the largest volume GM store in the state. In addition to being one of Noblesville’s largest private employers with more than 250 full-time employees, the company is the fifth-largest woman-owned business in Indiana. While finding success in a male-dominated arena, the so-called Sisters of Savings have been involved in their community. Peck has served on the boards of the Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville, Noblesville Chamber of Commerce and the Riverview Foundation, and is actively involved in many other Hamilton County philanthropies, and Cole is on the board of the Lung Cancer Association of Indiana.

Marco Dominguez — director of community relations, Financial Center First Credit Union

In his role at Financial Center First Credit Union, Marco Dominguez helps the organization serve Indiana’s growing Latino population by providing free financial education workshops at the Consulate of Mexico and for businesses with largely Hispanic workforces, and by sitting on the credit union’s Latino Advisory Council to the Board of Directors. In the community at large, Dominguez has been heavily involved in several Latino cultural initiatives, including the Association of Venezuelans in Indiana, Indiana Latino Expo, Hispanic Day at the Indiana State Fair and more. Dominguez has served on the City of Lawrence Redevelopment Committee, the City of Indianapolis Latino Round Table and boards of many organizations, including the American Heart Association, the Indiana Minority Health Coalition Latino Advisory Board, Manage Health Services and Crime Stoppers of Indianapolis.  

Dress for Success Indianapolis

Since 2000, Dress for Success Indianapolis has supported disadvantaged women in their journeys toward self-sufficiency and socioeconomic advancement. The organization offers three programs to support its mission: Suits for Success, which provides women with professional attire; Career Development, to help women advance their skills and enhance their employment opportunities; and Professional Women’s Group, which provides additional support and resources. In working toward the goal of economic empowerment for local women, Dress for Success Indianapolis has been deliberate about creating a staff, board and committees that reflect the diversity of the community they serve. 

Gregory S. Fehribach — founder, The Fehribach Group (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Award recipient)

Gregory S. Fehribach, an attorney who uses an electric wheelchair, founded The Fehribach Group in 1995 to advise clients on creating accessible environments. The firm has consulted on projects at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis International Airport, Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse, among a long list of other projects, including museums, hotels, restaurants and more, to ensure visitors with disabilities can equally share in all Indianapolis has to offer. In 2009, Fehribach founded Ball State University’s Disability Project, which educates students, civic leaders, businesses and policymakers building inclusive strategies into their communities. Fehribach has also served on numerous boards and commissions in central Indiana. Under his guidance, Indianapolis has been named a top accessible city since 2004 by the National Organization on Disability and was named most accessible city in 2009. 

Honda Manufacturing of Indiana

Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, which began production in October 2008, has continuously focused on creating an inclusive environment for its almost 3,000 associates by working intentionally to prioritize inclusion and diversity in its business practices. The company has established hiring practices that attract a qualified, talented and diverse workforce that’s representative of the overall community. HMIN also fosters diversity through regular trainings, monthly heritage celebrations and external relationships with suppliers and community partners.

Mid-States Minority Supplier Development Council

For more than four decades, the Mid-States Minority Supplier Development Council (Mid-States MSDC) has worked to address and support the development of Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) in Indiana, central Illinois and eastern Missouri. Mid-States certified MBEs have a $6.8 billion economic impact, employ more than 36,000 individuals and contribute more than $198 million to the tax base in the three states. The Mid-States MSDC serves as an advocate for the economic well-being and growth of certified MBEs, while also providing a direct connection for corporations who are committed to purchasing products and services from those MBEs.

The PourHouse Inc.

The PourHouse, founded in 2004 by executive director Andrea De Mink, supports individuals considered to be chronically homeless who are coping with addiction and serious mental illness. With its unique peer advocate approach, The PourHouse has helped more than 275 people find permanent housing in the past two to three years. De Mink sits on the board of directors for the Reuben Engagement Center in Indianapolis and is a member of the Community Outreach Task Force, Homeless Death Review Committee and is a panel member for IMPD’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training. De Mink also serves as a relief worker for the National Presbyterian Disaster Relief Team.

Purdue University

In its mission to serve all citizens of the world, Purdue University seeks to not only provide equal access, equal employment and equal educational opportunity for all, but also seeks to create a campus climate that is open, welcoming and nurturing to everyone. To that end, the university’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion coordinates several diversity offices in colleges and schools campus-wide, offers the peer-to-peer BoilerMENTOR Program, sponsors the Youth Leadership Summit at the annual Indiana Black Expo and more.

Dr. George Rawls — president emeritus, The Aesculapian Medical Society (Rosa Parks Trailblazer Award recipient)

Dr. George H. Rawls is a retired surgeon and professor, an author and a highly involved member of the Indianapolis community. Rawls practiced surgery for 34 years and was a clinical professor of surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine, eventually taking the role of assistant dean at the school. Rawls has been president of the Aesculapian Medical Society in Indianapolis, which aims “to advance the art and science of medicine for people of African descent through education, advocacy, and health policy to promote health and wellness.” Rawls has served on the boards of the Children’s Museum, Urban League, Flanner House, Goodwill and Indianapolis Zoo, and he was chair or co-chair of the life membership committee of the NAACP for 30 years.

Terri Roberts- Leonard — director of diversity and inclusion, Franklin College

In her role at Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana, Terri Roberts-Leonard has spearheaded the creation of several programs to bring attention to issues diversity and social justice, including Safe Zone 2, an upper-level LGBTQ education training course; the B.O.S.S. Mentoring Program, which pairs underrepresented Franklin College students with professionals in the community; Brother to Brother, a peer-led role-modeling program for minority male students; and the Diversity Lunch and Learn Series, which provides faculty and staff the opportunity to learn more about various dimensions of diversity. Beyond Franklin College, she serves on the board of directors for Windrose Health Network and the United Way of Johnson County, as well as the Turning Point Domestic Violence Services Johnson County Community Coalition. She also serves as a professional mentor for several individuals in the field of higher education.

Max Siegel — CEO, USA Track and Field

Nationally renowned sports and entertainment executive Max Siegel has been a leader in diversity for more than 20 years, across a range of industries. In his current role at USATF, Siegel has doubled the organization’s budget and added a dozen new sponsors, including a 23-year deal with Nike. Siegel has brought a deliberate and thoughtful approach to cultivating diversity within USATF. More than 57 percent of USATF’s C-level executives are minority, and 43 percent are women; 58 percent of USATF executives and 54 percent of all staff are women. As the owner of Rev Racing, Siegel also oversees NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program.

Spencer Pride Inc.

Fueled entirely by volunteers, the nonprofit Spencer Pride Inc. works to educate the public about rural lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people and issues and cultivate a community of compassion and celebration for all people, regardless of gender expression or sexual orientation. Spencer Pride runs an LGBTQ+ community center, a certified Safe Place making Spencer, Indiana, the smallest town in America with an LGBTQ+ center. The organization coordinates two major annual events to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, and provides a variety of free services to the community, including diversity education panels that conduct diversity training sessions for employers. 

Ellen Wu — director of Asian American Studies, Indiana University 

As associate professor of history and director of the Asian American Studies program at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ellen Wu researches and teaches topics relating to Asian/Pacific America, race and immigration, sharing her insights in published works and with national media. As an undergraduate at IU, she co-founded Kappa Gamma Delta Asian interest sorority and the Multicultural Greek Council. As a doctoral student at the University of Chicago, she served on the Provost’s Initiative on Minority Issues and the student advisory committee for the restructuring of the Office of Minority Student Affairs. She actively participates in the Ford Foundation Fellowship program — which aims to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties. Wu sits on the Indiana state advisory committee for the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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