Flourish Conference Agenda

Celebrating our 5th Year Anniversary – Flourish Together: Engaging Our Male Allies!

Flourish Conference Agenda
April 24, 2020: 8:30am – 4:30pm

8:30am – 9:00am Registration and Breakfast
9:00am – 09:15am Opening Ceremony

The Science of Flourishing: Exploring the Six Dimensions of Flourishing and the trends and insights regarding the impact of women in leadership.

Morning Keynote: Power of Collaboration

9:45am – 11:45am Executive Fireside Chat: Intimate discussions in assigned small groups with the top executives and entrepreneurs in their industries. This is a unique element of the Flourish Conference Day.

11:45am – 12:00pm Break

12:00pm – 1:30pm Luncheon Keynote and Flourish Awards Ceremony: Flourish Keynote Conversation: Flourish Together:  Engaging Our Male Allies. We also recognize our outstanding Flourish awardees.

1:30pm – 3:00pm The Art of Flourishing: Women will either join the Flourish Forward group for those who have participated in Flourish to design their 3-year plans, or first-time participants join together to understand the domains of flourishing.

Collaborative exercises. Career and Work-Life Assessments. Continuing through Flourish 100-Day Action Plans™ while working with Executive Coaches and Flourish Accountability Partners.

3:00pm – 3:15pm Break

3:15pm – 4:30pm The Mastery of Flourishing: Leveraging insights learned throughout the day for positive impact in the future. Participants strategize their top three (3) professional and personal priorities – and the impact these will have on their lives over next 100 days.

4:15 Closing Ceremony

4:30 – 6:00p VIP Champagne Toast: Featuring special guests, champagne and a Flourish Spa Experience (makeovers, massages and mingling).

Welcome to Flourish Indianapolis!

We know that when women flourish, we change the world….Well, this will be the resounding mantra of the powerful women executives who gather at the Alexander Hotel for the Flourish Conference for Women in Leadership. Women leaders from public, private and nonprofit sectors will join forces to learn the art and science of flourishing, helping them attain the highest levels of excellence in their careers, businesses and lives.

Each conference is focused on the region it serves. So the Flourish Indianapolis is focused on issues related to the advancement of women in the Crossroads of America, and the Indianapolis surrounding area.

    • Indianapolis is growing! Meetings & Conventions magazine recently wrote, “If there were a competition among cities for the title of overachiever of the decade, the winner would be Indianapolis.”
  • In just the last decade, we’ve opened a major new international airport terminal. We’ve vastly expanded our convention center, which—coupled with Lucas Oil Stadium—now offers 745,000 square feet of exhibit space, making it one of the largest convention facilities in the United States. It all comes together to make ours a natural, top-pick convention city.

The Facts about Flourishing Women Leaders:

You are a leader who values the advancement of women – for your organization’s culture, its brand, and importantly, its bottom line. You’re in great company, recent research suggests that when examining the financial returns of companies with three or more women on the board, those companies outperform companies with homogenous boards by 60 percent in return on invested capital, 84 percent in return on sales, and 60 percent in return on equity.

About Indianapolis

The largest industry sectors by employment in Indianapolis are manufacturing, health care and social services, and retail trade. Compared to Indiana as a whole, the Indianapolis metropolitan area has a lower proportion of manufacturing jobs and a higher concentration of jobs in wholesale trade; administrative, support, and waste management; professional, scientific, and technical services; and transportation and warehousing.

Many of Indiana’s largest and most recognized companies are headquartered in Indianapolis area employers include Indiana University Health, Sallie Mae, Cook Group, Rolls-Royce, Delta Faucet Company, Ice Miller, Raytheon,Carrier and General Motors.Indianapolis, including pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly and Company; wireless device distribution and logistics provider Brightpoint; health insurance provider Anthem Inc.; retailers Marsh Supermarkets, Finish Line, and hhgregg Inc.; Republic Airways Holdings (including Chautauqua Airlines, Republic Airlines, and Shuttle America); and REIT Simon Property Group. The U.S. headquarters of Roche Diagnostics, CNO Financial Group,

Indianapolis area employers include Indiana University Health, Sallie Mae, Cook Group, Rolls-Royce, Delta Faucet Company, Ice Miller, Raytheon,Carrier and General Motors.

Indianapolis is a prime center for logistics and distribution facilities. It is home to a FedEx Express hub at the Indianapolis International Airport, trucking company Celadon, and distribution centers for companies such as Amazon.com, Foxconn, Finish Line, Inc., Fastenal, Target, and CVS Pharmacy.

Before Detroit came to dominate the American automobile industry, Indianapolis was also home to a number of carmakers, including Duesenberg, Marmon Motor Car Company, Stutz Motor Company, American Motor Car Company, Parry Auto Company, and Premier Motor Manufacturing.[ In addition, Indianapolis hosted auto parts companies such as Prest-O-Lite, which provided acetylene generators for brass era headlights and acetylene gas starters.

ATA Airlines (previously American Trans Air) was headquartered in Indianapolis prior to its collapse.

Indianapolis Business Climate and Real Estate

Forbes magazine ranked Indianapolis the sixth-best city for jobs in 2008, based on a combined graded balance of perceived median household incomes, lack of unemployment, income growth, cost of living and job growth.[ However, in 2008, Indiana ranked 12th nationally in total home foreclosures and Indianapolis led the state.

The National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo ranked Indianapolis the most affordable major housing market in the U.S. for the fourth quarter of 2009. That year, Indianapolis also ranked first on CNN/Money’s list of the top ten cities for recent graduates.

In 2010, Indianapolis was rated the tenth best city for relocation by Yahoo Real Estate, and tenth among U.S. metropolitan areas for GDP growth.

In 2011, Indianapolis ranked sixth among U.S. cities as a retirement destination, as one of the best Midwestern cities for relocation, best for rental property investing, and best in a composite measure that considered local employment outlook and housing affordability.

A 2013 analysis by site selection consulting firm The Boyd Company, Inc. ranked Indianapolis as the most cost competitive market for corporate headquarters facilities in the United States. Also in 2013, Indianapolis appeared on Forbes’ list of Best Places for Business and Careers.

In 2014, a report by Battelle Memorial Institute and Biotechnology Industry Organization indicated that the Indianapolis-Carmel Metropolitan Statistical Area was the only U.S. metropolitan area to have specialized employment concentrations in each of the five bioscience sectors evaluated in the study: agricultural feedstock and chemicals; bioscience-related distribution; drugs and pharmaceuticals; medical devices and equipment; and research, testing, and medical laboratories.

Municipal and state government agencies offer incentives to startup firms and other small businesses in Indianapolis. Four facilities designated as Indiana Certified Technology Parks are located in the city: CityWay and Downtown Indianapolis Certified Technology Park/Indiana University Emerging Technologies Center, both in the downtown area; Intech Park, in Pike Township, Marion County; and Purdue Research Park of Indianapolis – Ameriplex, in Decatur Township, Marion County.

Source: Wikipedia.com

Previous Conference Speakers

Brian Lamb

Dr. Francoise Adan

Medical Director

UH Connor Integrative Health Network and University Hospitals

Dr. Sue Ellspermann


Ivy Tech Community College

Dr. Una Osili

Associate Dean, Research and International Programs and Professor of Economics and Philanthropic Studies

Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

Jennifer Pope-Baker

Executive Director

Women’s Fund of Central Indiana

Marlene Dotson

President and CEO

Indiana Latino Institute

Melissa Greenwell

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Finish Line

Natalie Schneider

Vice President Consumer Experience


Rafael Sanchez



Sandra Sims-Williams

Chief Diversity Officer

Publicis Groupe

2017 Co-Chairs

Tavonna Harris Askew

Chief of Staff and General Counsel

Health & Hospital Corporation

Scenario B. Adebesin

Senior Vice President, Community & Economic Development

Fifth Third Bank

Michele Howell

Vice President


Angela C. Cooper

CEO / Executive Designer

InnerG Consulting

Deseri Garcia


Vida Aventura

Erika Parsons

CWO, Chief Writing Officer

Erika Parsons School of Creative Writing

Dr. Francoise Adan

Title: Medical Director

Company UH Connor Integrative Health Network and University Hospitals

Dr. Francoise Adan is a medical doctor with and entrepreneurial spirit. With degrees in family medicine and psychiatry, she launched a successful practice years ago to help patients heal both body and mind.

Today, she is the Medical Director of the UH Connor Integrative Health Network at University Hospitals in Cleveland.

Dr. Adan has been a keynote speaker at the Chautauqua Institute in New your and with the Anxiety Disorder Association of America. She also has made numerous radio appearances and been quoted in nation publications.

As a divorcee and breast cancer survivor, Dr. Adan is familiar with the stresses life can bring. She believes strongly in the power of meditation and has recorded the meditation CD “Let My Words be Your Words,” which has sold thousands of copies and is frequently used by large corporations and organizations such as University Hospitals. She is also a yoga instructor.

Born in Italy and raised in Belgium, Dr. Adan earned a medical degree in family  medicine from the University Libre de Brussels. She immigrated to the United States with her family in 1987 and earned a degree in psychiatry from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She completed her residency at the Cleveland Clinic in 1996 and received her board certification a year later. In 2008, she became a U.S. citizen.

Dr. Adan joined University Hospitals in 2009 when she was appointed to her current position as Medical Director of the UH Connor Integrative Health Network. She is also an Assistant Professor at CWRU’s Medical School, where she is a member of the Steering Committee for the Medical School Women’s Faculty. In 2011, she received the local YWCA Women of Excellence award.

Dr. Adan is the mother of two children and is fluent in French. She is a gourmet cook who enjoys skiing and dancing.

Dr. Sue Ellspermann

Title: President

Company Ivy Tech Community College

Sue Ellspermann became Ivy Tech Community College’s ninth president on July 1. She now leads the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving over 170,000 students a year. Dr. Ellspermann has more than 30 years of experience in higher education, economic and workforce development, and public service.

She most recently served as Indiana’s 50th Lieutenant Governor from 2013 until March of this year. As part of that role she served as President of the Senate and Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, as well as overseeing six agencies. As the vice chair of the Indiana Career Council she led efforts to align Indiana’s education and workforce development system to meet the needs of employers. Her public service began in 2010 when she was elected as the State Representative for District 74.

Ellspermann formerly served as the founding Director of the Center of Applied Research and Economic Development at the University of Southern Indiana and also owned and operated Ellspermann and Associates, Inc, an independent consulting firm licensed in the training and facilitation of Simplex Creative Problem Solving.

Early in her career she spent time with Frito-Lay in Dallas, Texas. During her tenure at Frito-Lay, Ellspermann served as a production and shipping supervisor and plant industrial engineer followed by a promotion as a corporate industrial engineer where she was responsible for corporate productivity initiatives. She also spent time at Michelin Tire Corporation in Greenville, S.C., where she completed an extensive industrial engineering program including pace rating, plant layout, work design and material handling.

She is highly engaged in the community and was recently named to the OneAmerica board of directors. She also serves as Indiana Honorary Chair of the Million Women Mentors, Advisory Board of the Indiana Conference for Women, and has served on numerous committees and nonprofit boards, including the Evansville Chamber of Commerce Board and Executive Committee, Diocese of Evansville Strategic Planning Committee, Indiana HomeTown Competitiveness Steering Committee, Tri-County YMCA Capital Campaign Advisory Board, Little Sisters of the Poor Advisory Board, and Good Shepherd Catholic Church Pastoral Council.

Ellspermann holds a Ph.D. and M.S. from the University of Louisville in Industrial Engineering and a B.S. from Purdue University also in Industrial Engineering.

She is married to James Mehling, a recently retired high school principal.  She has a blended family of four daughters, three sons-in- law, two grandsons and two granddaughters.

Dr. Una Osili

Title: Associate Dean, Research and International Programs and Professor of Economics and Philanthropic Studies

Company Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 317-278- 8908

Dr. Una O. Osili is an economist with significant experience in research and policy in the fields of household behavior and economic policy. She is also Associate Dean for Research and Internal Programs at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the world’s first School dedicated to increasing the understanding of philanthropy and improving its practice worldwide.

An internationally recognized expert on economic development and philanthropy, Dr. Osili speaks across the globe on issues related to national and international trends in economics and philanthropy. She recently testified at the U.S. Senate subcommittee on the role of philanthropy and remittances in foreign aid and has been quoted by international and national news media outlets such as The New York Times, Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. She has served as a member of several national and international advisory groups, including the African Development Bank, Social Science Research Council, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the United Nations Development Program.

Dr. Osili leads the research and publication of Giving USA, the annual report on American philanthropy. Beginning in Fall 2016, she has led the research and publication of Index of Global Philanthropy and Remittances and Index of Philanthropic Freedom. She has pioneered new approaches to using data to better understand global and national trends in philanthropy with the Million Dollar List and the new Generosity for Life project. She directs the School’s research program with its partners including Bank of America, United Way Worldwide, Coutts Inc, and National Collegiate Athletic Association. She has served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of African Economies and Guest Editor of the Journal of African Development.

She earned her B.A. in Economics at Harvard University, and her M.A., and Ph.D. in Economics from Northwestern University.

Jennifer Pope-Baker

Title: Executive Director

Company Women’s Fund of Central Indiana

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 317-634- 2423

Jennifer Pope Baker, Executive Director of Women’s Fund of Central Indiana since 1998, has dedicated her career to creating transformative and sustainable change for women and girls. Under her leadership, Women’s Fund has become the expert resource for issues impacting women and girls in central Indiana. Jennifer is recognized nationally for the innovative and transformational NEXT Initiative – an incubator created to attract the most talented, visionary leaders to Indianapolis to develop solutions to measurably improve the lives of emerging adult women. As a strategic leader who effectively mobilizes action and resources, Jennifer helped guide the Women’s Fund launch of NEXT in 2014, which led to an invitation for Women’s Fund to join the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative.

Jennifer is directly fostering the next generation of philanthropists and community leaders through the development of unique philanthropic educational programs. GO: Give Back and OPTIONS are recognized as premier models for engaging people in thoughtful community leadership and philanthropy.

Jennifer is a sought after speaker and is a regular guest on Inside Indiana Business and has been a featured speaker at The White House, the Clinton Global Initiative, MCON14 and National association of Commissions for Women Conference..

She has led the Fund’s endowment growth from $3 million to its current total of nearly $15 million and has implemented a “best-practices” grant-making process with a focus on research that has resulted in distributions of over $5 million to 110 effective women and girl serving organizations.

Jennifer's community knowledge and efforts to increase economic self-sufficiency opportunities for women and girls led to her participation as a founding board member of Grameen America Indianapolis Advisory Board and member of Grameen America National Advisory Board.

Jennifer received a degree in Communication from DePauw University. She is married to Christopher Baker and has two children, Catherine and Charlie.

Marlene Dotson

Title: President and CEO

Company Indiana Latino Institute

As a bilingual executive-level public service and non-profit professional, Marlene Dotson holds more than 17 years of experience in a wide range of roles, both in the public and nonprofit sectors. For the past seventeen years, Mrs. Dotson has dedicated her time to working with the Latino community of Indiana, focusing on education, women’s issues and immigration policy.

Presently, she serves as the President/CEO of the Indiana Latino Institute (ILI). Her vision, commitment, and passion for engaging the Indiana Latino community has energized ILI, which creates opportunities and helps break down barriers by focusing on advancing education and improving health in the Latino community through statewide advocacy, research and culturally responsive programs.

Mrs. Dotson served as President & CEO of the National Latino Tobacco Control Network (NLTCN). Under her leadership, the NLTCN provided collaborations, trainings and technical assistance to empowers Latinos to engage in tobacco control and build capacity to achieve health equity across the nation.

Mrs. Dotson also worked as the Immigrant Affairs Liaison for Indiana’s Seventh Congressional District for eleven years. First, for the late US Congresswoman Julia Carson, and later for US Congressman Andre Carson. She worked closely with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the US Department of State and the US Embassies across the world. In this position, Mrs. Dotson became the first Latina to assist a Member of the Indiana Congressional Delegation of the United States Congress.

Committed to volunteering her time and talents to various causes and organizations, Mrs. Dotson founded the Indiana Latino Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence (Latino Coalition) and served on the Board for seven years. She has also served on the committees, task forces and boards of: the City of Indianapolis – Commission on Latino Affairs, City of Lawrence – Fiesta of Lawrence, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana, Indiana Latino Expo, Marion County Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, Financial Center, Congressional Latino Advisory Council, Indiana State Department of Health – Office of Women’s Health, Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, National Latino Task Force on Cultural Competence, National Policy Advisory on Domestic Violence – Casa Esperanza National Latino Alliance Against Domestic Violence (ALIANZA), National Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco, Nuestras Voces – The National Alliance for Hispanic Health Advisory Committee, the Indiana State Department of Health – Office of Women’s Health, and others.

Mrs. Dotson has received recognitions from UNIVISION Television and the Mexican Consulate of Indiana for her support of and dedication to the Latino community. She has also received the City of Lawrence’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2006, the 2013 Leadership Award from the Latino Faith Based Community of Indiana, and a 2015 Indy Eleven Leadership Award. In 2013, the Indianapolis Star published the article “Marlene Dotson: Helping make life better for Latinos in Indianapolis”, and the 2017 Indy Chamber Conexion Five 500 Award.

Mrs. Dotson earned her Masters of Public Affairs from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University Federico Villarreal of Peru.

Melissa Greenwell

Title: Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Company Finish Line

Melissa Greenwell, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, leads supply chain, information and technology, leadership development, corporate communications and legal at The Finish Line, Inc., a national specialty athletic retailer. Melissa was previously Chief Human Resources Officer for The Finish Line. Melissa has applied her expertise in the design and development of organizations in many industries to help create high performance companies. Her career includes senior leadership positions with The Finish Line, JP Morgan Chase, Sallie Mae, Brightpoint North America, Alcoa, and Made2Manage Systems.

Melissa is the author of the new book “Money On The Table, How To Increase Profits Through Gender-Balanced Leadership.” She is also a certified executive coach who helps men and women understand how they can leverage natural strengths and identify and affect behavioral changes that will help them succeed as senior leaders.

Melissa was a recipient of the Indianapolis Business Journal’s 2013 Women of Influence Award and recognized as the 2012 Human Resources Professional of the Year by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Melissa has served on various community not-for- profit boards and currently serves as a director of The Finish Line Youth Foundation, as a director of the Indianapolis 500 Festival and as a director of Pass the Torch For Women Foundation.

Natalie Schneider

Title: Vice President Consumer Experience

Company Anthem

Natalie is responsible for Improving the company’s bottom line by creating distinctive consumer and provider experiences that reduce churn and lower the cost to serve; she is also responsible for consumer & provider experience design, consumer culture, the consumer PMO and driving consumer innovation.

Natalie is a nationally-recognized healthcare consumer experience thought leader and practitioner. Having spent over 20 years working for companies like Anthem, McKinsey and Company, Ford, Sallie Mae and GMAC, Natalie knows how to design and implement award-winning consumer experiences by cultivating buy-in across the enterprise. She has assembled a cross-functional team to research, design, prototype and pilot experiences – all while fostering a consumer-first culture.

Natalie was recently named one of the top CX Experts for 2016 by the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA); honored as a 2016 CXPA Consumer Experience Top 10 Innovator and a finalist for the 2016 CX Impact Award. Today, she serves on the Board of the CXPA and Kelley School of Business Life Sciences Board (and is also a guest lecturer). She has also served on the Board of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, American Lung Association and Super Bowl. As a respected CX expert, she has addressed conference audiences including AHIP, NBGH, Google, Merck and also contributed to various media outlets such as C-SPAN and the Wall Street Journal.

Natalie received her MBA from Duke University – Fuqua School of Business, Durham, NC and a Health Sector Management Certificate also from Duke University

Rafael Sanchez

Title: Reporter/Anchor

Company RTV-6-ABC

Rafael Sanchez is a Murrow & multiple Emmy award winning reporter/anchor who joined RTV-6-ABC in 1998. This past April, he was honored with the Indiana Associated Press Broadcasters "Best Metro Reporter for 2016" award.

Every year, Sanchez enjoys participating in about 40 charitable events that raise money and awareness for organizations around Central Indiana. In June, he wrapped up his responsibilities as co-chair of Community Engagement for the United Way of Central Indiana and assisted in raising millions of dollars to support education, workforce development, and empowerment efforts that will benefit thousands of families across our region. Beyond traditional speaking engagements, he is always up for a Latin ballroom competition that will benefit a charity.

Rafael Sanchez came to Indiana from the Bronx, New York to attend Franklin College. He graduated with a triple major in Journalism, Political Science, and Spanish. He currently is also a proud member of his alma mater’s Board of Trustees.

His joys are his wife of 24 years, who is a Kindergarten teacher, and their two children.

Sandra Sims-Williams

Title: Chief Diversity Officer

Company Publicis Groupe

Sandra Sims-Williams is the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) for Publicis Groupe, a global leader in marketing, communications and business transformation employing some 22,000 people in the US alone. The areas of expertise within the Publicis Groupe portfolio are numerous, as are its many well known brand holdings which include Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, Razorfish, DigitasLBi, Sapient, MSLGROUP, Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia to name but a few. As Publicis Groupe’s CDO, Sandra is responsible for developing and sustaining talent engagement and inclusion strategies, initiatives, tactics and tools in support of all Publicis Groupe’s agencies. In support of this mission, Sandra chairs the Publics Groupe Talent Engagement & Inclusion Council help move forward Publicis Groupe’s talent engagement and inclusion strategy.

As an extension of her role as Publicis Groupe’s CDO, Sandra oversees all of Publicis Groupe’s business resource groups and serves as the lead voice for VivaWomen!, Publicis Groupe’s business resource group for women and their allies.

Prior to being appointed as Publicis Groupe’s CDO, Sandra was responsible for structuring the D&I strategy across VivaKi’s agencies – primarily media and digital – as Director of Diversity for Digitas. During her tenure with VivaKi, Sandra’s tenacious efforts to underscore principles and policies of diversity and inclusion became widely known, both within the Publicis Groupe family of agencies, and throughout the industry at large.

In addition to serving as a member of YW Boston and the 4A’s Diversity Committee, Sandra also currently serves as a member of the New York Ad Club and works with the New York Department of Education to increase the visibility of advertising as a viable career option to high school students through the “I’mPart” initiative. Previous tenures have included serving as a member of the Women’s Executive Committee of the Boston Chamber, member of the Diversity and Advisory Committees for the Boston Ad Club, member of the Executive Council for both WGBH (Boston’s PBS station) and the Woodward School for Girls, and supporter of The Partnership, an organization whose aim is to attract and retain people of color who relocate to Boston.

Outside of the business world, Sandra is an involved member of her community. She has conceived and developed two transformational women’s groups which both revolve around fellowship, peer mentoring as well as professional and personal growth.

Her contributions and successes have earned her many recognitions and awards which include: Howard University’s School of Communication “Global Visionary” Award; the 15 th Annual Rosoff “Mentor” Award; Boston YWCA “Academy of Women Achievers” , The New York Ad Club President’s Award and a 2014 ColorComm Award. Sandra was also featured in the April/May 2013 issue of Black Enterprise in an article titled “The Feedback You Need” and again in the summer edition of SAVOY magazine in an article titled “Diversity in the Advertising Industry—Cracking the D&I Code.”

Sandra has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and a Master of Arts degree from Hunter College in New York.

Tavonna Harris Askew

Title: Chief of Staff and General Counsel

Company Health & Hospital Corporation

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 317-221-2005

Tavonna Harris Askew is Chief of Staff and General Counsel for The Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County.  She plans and directs the administrative and operational activities for the organization’s President and CEO, as well as Board of Directors. As Chief of Staff, Mrs. Askew acts as a primary point of contact between top management, employees, and other stakeholders. She provides oversight and guidance to projects of high importance and directs the workflow of other individuals within the organization.  Mrs. Askew also assists in the fiscal oversight of the corporation by providing direction to the Grants Department that manages over $38 million in local, federal, and private grants yearly.  Additionally, Mrs. Askew serves as the President and CEO’s designee on day to day operations including dispute management and community relations.

As General Counsel, Mrs. Askew serves as the corporation’s chief legal officer.  As such, she manages a team of attorneys and is responsible for protecting the corporation’s legal interests, maintaining the corporation’s compliance with the law, and providing risk management services.

Mrs. Askew’s civic activities include the Mind Trust/UNCF Education Champions, the MDWise Inc. Board, the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana Advisory Board, and the Cancer Support Community Board.  She is a member of various bar associations, The Links, Incorporated, and a Diamond Life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is also a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series, Class XXXIV.   Mrs. Askew is the 2015 Junior Achievement of Central Indiana’s Best and Brightest in the field of law, the 2015 Marion County Bar Association Community Service Award recipient and she is a member of the Indianapolis Business Journal’s 2014 Class of Forty Under 40.

Mrs. Askew is married to Charles Askew and is the proud mother of four children.

Scenario B. Adebesin

Title: Senior Vice President, Community & Economic Development

Company Fifth Third Bank

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 317.383.2491

Scenario B. Adebesin is Senior Vice President of Community & Economic Development at Fifth Third Bank for the Greater Indiana Region which includes operations in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. As a member of the Executive Management Team, Adebesin manages the company’s community reinvestment programs and initiatives and develops strategic community partnerships to transform the lives of individuals and communities through philanthropic investment, financial empowerment, workforce development, small business and neighborhood development. Under her leadership, Adebesin has leveraged millions of dollars in charitable giving and equity investments directly benefiting underserved communities and individuals throughout the region. Adebesin also chairs the Fifth Third Bank Inclusion Council.

Adebesin is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Program (Class 38), and serves as a mentor to many while regularly volunteering countless hours on various community boards and committees. Current community service includes: Recent appointment by Governor Mike Pence to the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) Board of Trustees, Marian University 21st Century Board of Visitors, Co-Chair of the Greater Indianapolis CRA Council, Indianapolis Public Schools Business Alliance, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC-Indy) Loan Review Committee, Southside Quality of Life Plan Steering Committee, and Great Places 2020 Vitality Committee.

Among her many distinguished awards and honors, Adebesin was recognized from among the top 300 company leaders as a 2016 “Community Commitment Finalist” by Fifth Third Bank, recognized as a 2015 “Woman of Influence” by the Indianapolis Business Journal, 2015 “Commercial Partner of the Year” and the 2014 “One Bank Team of the Year” award as recognized by Fifth Third Bank.

Adebesin is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Indianapolis Chapter of Links, Inc., and the National Black MBA Association. Adebesin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Chancellor University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Cleveland State University.

Michele Howell

Title: Vice President

Company Aon

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 317-447-4326

With over twenty years professional industry experience and various Board engagements, Michele Howell has created both market and community impact. Michele presides as VP Business Development, Aon Cornerstone, leading business development efforts across the US central region.  In this role, Michele is responsible for creating innovative three-way partnership opportunities between: minority / small business firms, private / public sector entities and Aon’s risk and human resource solution experts.  Michele’s efforts foster expanded visibility and economic gains for under-utilized diverse firms in the professional services arena while enabling clients to engage suppliers in a new spend vertical with high-value outcomes:  utilization of top talent diverse firms, project savings / efficiencies, economic impact to local communities and enhanced social sustainability.

Michele has maintained a long-standing commitment to driving a cultural shift that embraces diversity and inclusion.  Prior to joining Aon in 2014, Michele held senior management roles across both private sector and non-profit organizations, including Johnson Controls, Bristol Myers-Squibb and the Indiana Minority Supplier Development Council. Michele’s leadership activities resulted in expanded supplier participation, meaningful supplier / procurement programs, greater organizational and marketplace engagement through diversity education / training, the creation of new markets / channels, and increased revenue potential through expanded industry relationships. Through a business approach centered on integrity and a “partnership win-win” strategy, Michele has implemented forward-thinking joint venture models, exceeded business targets and consistently delivered strategic and operational value within a national and global framework.

Angela C. Cooper

Title: CEO / Executive Designer

Company InnerG Consulting

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 317-374-9389

Angela C. Cooper is CEO and Executive Designer of InnerG Consulting operated out of Indianapolis, Indiana since 2000.  InnerG Consulting is a full service event and design management company that focuses on form, function and the natural senses to execute vision.  InnerG Consulting offers consulting services and design elements into any space or event.  Angela C. Cooper attended Indiana State University and is ISEOS certified in wedding planning/design, event planning/design, floral design, color design and hospitality management.

Deseri Garcia

Title: President

Company Vida Aventura

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 317-362- 4898

Deseri Garcia is a dynamic coach, facilitator, and multisport adventure athlete. She focuses on transformational coaching, team building, and leadership development. Her goal is to genuinely connect with people and identify with them to improve both team and personal effectiveness. She works with top-level executives, directors, managers, and business owners.

Deseri began her coaching and leadership development work in 2006. Before that she spent nearly 20 years in international business development, operations and sales, where she gained insight into the value of relationship building and communication within organizations. She also studied business at Ball State University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in small business and entrepreneurship.

Deseri is Association for Challenge Course Technology certified, is an accredited facilitator of The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive team, and holds a certificate from The Coaching Clinic–Corporate Coach U. She is a board member with the nonprofit Back on My Feet. In her spare time, she combines her coaching and athletic excellence to train runners and walkers to prepare for charity race events.

Erika Parsons

Title: CWO, Chief Writing Officer

Company Erika Parsons School of Creative Writing

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 317-494- 2031

Erika Parsons is Editor-in- Chief of Culturatti Ink, an indie publishing house that works to create a platform for new, unheard authors. She is a ghostwriter of bestselling novels, personal memoirs, and celebrity biographies. As a ghostwriter, she has also penned numerous lifestyle columns and arts & entertainment articles for some of the biggest names in publishing.

Erika is a co-author of the book, Locked In. In 2010, her childhood memories gave birth to Hoppa’s Big Move, the first in a collection of children’s books on cultural and social diversity. Hoppa’s Big Move served as a platform for several school-wide diversity initiatives. Erika has toured the country speaking with students about the joys of reading, writing and the beauty of being different. She remains passionate about inspiring children to find and nurture their inner author. Erika is a contributing author of the book It’s Not All About You and the recipient of three Detroit Free Press writing awards. In 2015, she founded the Erika Parsons School of Creative Writing. She currently writes about women’s issues for Pryme Magazine.