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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

A final farewell

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This is my last column for the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper as president. It is the last column I’ll write as an employee.

The first and last time I didn’t provide my weekly insights to this historic publication was over 15 years ago when I took time off to bury my mother. Only something as life altering as the death of the most important person in my life prevented me from contributing to this historic publication. That was October 2002.

But today is a new day and I am entering a new phase in my professional life as I assume the role of senior vice president of community engagement at The Mind Trust, an education non-profit that works to empower school leaders, launch great schools and ensure that children have access to quality education.

After nearly 20 years at the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper, only an entity that is rooted in educating and empowering the community could take me away from an institution that I love with my whole heart. Only for an entity that I believe in, whose values I hold in high regard and is dedicated to enriching the community — particularly the marginalized community — would I uproot myself and start anew.

The Mind Trust is the only entity in the city that won me over enough for me to leave the Recorder. It is the only entity that simply felt right every step of the way. And in the spirit of truth and transparency, The Mind Trust is the only entity that got me excited about the possibility of the “what’s next” for Indianapolis.

If I were to design a blueprint of what my professional life would be post-Recorder, it would encompass every aspect of my new role at The Mind Trust. Over the years as I was presented with other opportunities, yet passed on all of them, I pondered what would be essential aspects of my next career move. I knew in order to be completely happy, fulfilled and make the best use of my talents, the next role for me would have to include advocacy work because helping others, especially the underserved, is my passion. I knew my “next” would also have to educate people in some capacity and I was fully aware of the need for me to work toward empowering people because I know that empowered people strengthen their families, their neighborhoods, their city and ultimately their country.

Advocating, educating and empowering people is what the Recorder has done for 123 years, it is what I’ve worked to do personally and professionally my entire life. Advocating, educating and empowering is also what The Mind Trust does through its innovation schools, fellowship programs, and talented school leaders. The work of The Mind Trust, a truly transformative organization perfectly aligns with everything I stand for and believe in. There is no better way to enrich the lives of people and ultimately enhance communities than to start with our youth — people we can positively impact early on — so they have access to quality education and are equipped with transferrable skills that will evolve as they grow into their teenage and young adult years. 

At The Mind Trust I will be doing much of what I’ve done throughout my entire tenure at the Recorder, it will just be via a different medium. While the overwhelming majority of people who have contacted me once my departure from the Recorder was announced are happy for me and understand how transferrable my skills will be in my new capacity, there are some people who have flat out expressed their dismay at my leaving the newspaper. I understand the latter’s perspective, as the Recorder is a trusted entity and a lot of the trust of the newspaper comes from the relationships team members such as myself have established within the community. What I told those individuals and I will state now is that the Recorder is still a trusted source. It is still a viable entity in the community and it will continue to do the work it has effectively done for well over a century. The newspaper is bigger than one person or one particular group of people. 

Change can be difficult for most people. I realize I have been with the Recorder for an incredibly long time and not being at the paper will be an adjustment for everyone, including me! However, I would have never decided to enter this next phase of my life at The Mind Trust if I didn’t believe in the organization’s work and my ability to positively impact the community. 

When I started at the Recorder fresh out of college I was a hardworking, but shy young lady not quite sure how to navigate my talents. As I prepare to leave this wonderful institution, I am confident in my abilities and purposeful in my intentions toward helping others and continuing to be a voice for the voiceless.

I’ve been incredibly blessed to learn so much over the years and my gratitude for Carolene Mays–Medley, who has been a wonderful mentor, sister and friend, as well as the late Bill Mays and the entire Mays family is a debt I will never be able to repay. I love and appreciate the dedicated team members at the Recorder; both past and present — who have helped to maintain the credibility and legacy that was established back in 1895. I am also appreciative of José Lusende and Robert Shegog, the two men selected to carry the torch and usher the Recorder into the future. The loyalty and support for the Recorder from community members and business leaders have been paramount over the years and I implore everyone to continue that support.

As I write these final sentences, I do so with crying eyes and a humble heart that is full of delight and pride. Working at the Indianapolis Recorder has been one of the greatest joys of my life and deciding to pursue a new career was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make. But I am a woman of faith and I know the God I serve never leads me wrong. I am optimistic and excited to work for The Mind Trust and more directly impact the lives of children, our most valued treasures. I look forward to educating and engaging the community about the work of my new venture. 

As the elders in the community say, this isn’t goodbye, it’s see you later! 

God bless.

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