By: Michael L. Jackson
Following the successful launch of its newly-developed “INvesting in INdiana” professional development series in early February, the Kelley MBA Alumni Council has scheduled its second presentation for Saturday, April 18.
The April series will focus on rebranding and will feature three speakers in a case study format. Guest speakers will discuss a rebranding challenge their business faced and how they created and executed their strategies. Mary Chappell, Kelley Indianapolis Director of External Affairs, will lead a session on Kelley’s new “Moment to Momentum” campaign.
February’s event — “Economic Development and the Impact on your Community” — covered the spectrum of investment and business development in Indiana. Featured speakers included Kent Anderson, VP of Business Development for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, and Ting Gootee (MBA’10), Chief Investment Officer of Elevate Ventures.
During her presentation, Gootee noted that while Indiana has a reasonable number of venture deals, there isn’t a lot of investment capital in the state. She says it’s important to remember that venture funding is a long-term partnership and that investors should “bet on the jockey, not the horse.”
“Technology doesn’t grow a company; people do,” she said.
Kelley finance professor Tod Perry led a discussion on investment trends, including start-up investment, venture capital and institutional investment. Panelists included Michael Cloran (BS’90), managing partner of DeveloperTown, Joe Giordano, Vice President of Graystone Consulting, and Jill Margetts (MBA’07), principal at Centerfield Capital Partners. Following-up on Gootee’s point about the lack of investment capital in the state, Cloran said there’s a “real need to do something in this state to get people off the sidelines.”
Sunny Lu Williams (MBA’08), who helped develop the February session, said she was excited about the turnout for the Saturday morning session.
“It’s always a challenge to predict how people will respond to a new venture such as this,” she said, “but we definitely created a lot of interest out of the gate and it gives us a good base to build upon.”
Williams had previously worked with the defunct Indianapolis group IU Kelley Women’s Advisory Board, where the goal was to recruit more women into the Evening MBA program. While topics of professional development with that organization were more focused on individual soft skills development — self-marketing, social media presence, personal branding — the themes with the “INvesting in INdiana” series are intended to be more wide-ranging and topical.
“This is not only about continuing education for the alumni and others who may attend,” she said, “but it’s also about engagement with what’s happening in our community and the state of Indiana that we as business leaders should be participating in and know of.”
In addition to April’s panel on rebranding, other planned discussions include venture philanthropy, corporate social responsibility, academia, and improvements in Indiana’s workforce.
“So when we look at investing in Indiana it’s not just monetary investment,” Williams said. “As you expand into a well-rounded, holistic business leader, what are the areas and topics that you need to have insight into to ensure that you’re engaging with your community, outreaching with your workforce, and continuously educating yourself on the areas that will have the most impact on your personal and professional lives.”