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1828 Spotlight: Susanna Taft

Posted by: Laura Granieri
Posted: October 29, 2019
Categories: Professional Development, IndyHub

The 1828 Project, sponsored by Citizens Energy Group, is a civic leadership tract for Indy’s young leaders with the goal of fostering intentional relationships with a cross sector of Indianapolis’ thought leaders and decision makers. Susanna is a part of 1828’s Class IX– learn more about her below!

How do you spend your days?

I manage the Indy Chamber’s marketing and communications for our Entrepreneur Services division and Develop Indy, the economic development organization for the City of Indianapolis. To put it simply, I promote resources and cool initiatives (ask me about these!) that help grow our business community, serving both entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies.

Where are you originally from?

Indianapolis

You’re off the clock. What are your plans? What do you enjoy doing most when not at work?

I spend a lot of time designing jewelry, going to art shows, renovating my 100 year old house, hosting pancake breakfasts + house shows, and mentoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

When thinking about the future of Indianapolis, what are you looking forward to and why?

I’m really looking forward to the expansion of IndyGo Bus Rapid Transit in our city. When I moved back to Indy after college in 2016, I forced myself to live car-free for many reasons. Between taking BlueIndy, biking, walking, scooting, and riding the existing IndyGo bus routes, it’s been an exciting challenge. However, the Red Line and plans for future BRT lines are totally game-changers for our city’s ability to connect people to places more efficiently. Indy is a big city, so it’s time to move like one!

Are there any local causes that you support? What are they and how might others learn more or get involved?

I volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters which is a phenomenal program that connects mentors with children (usually in underserved areas) to help these kids “find their spark”. 

However, I also believe it’s really important to get involved in your neighborhood. A city is only as healthy as its communities, so find a way to uncover the micro-causes that may need support in your own backyard. Need help? Talk with your local Community Development Corporation (CDC)/Neighborhood Association or host a porch party with neighbors to start.

Do you have a favorite local spot that you love going to? Where and why?

The White River. I’ll never reveal my secret hangout spots, but I encourage everyone to go out and explore our waterways! There’s a lot more beauty to them than you think.

Which is your preferred way to get around our city and why?

I love taking the bus – its a great way to meet neighbors and to gain a better understanding of the people who live in our city.

What’s something underrated about Indy that more people should know about?

I have a fascination with semi-urban strip malls. Specifically, the ones on Keystone Avenue and Lafayette Road. These retail spots hide so many small businesses that make you wonder “who goes there?” and “how are they still open?” Often, these shops are owned by people with a story to tell. They may not be in the mainstream economy, but they add diversity and flavor to our city. So the next time you drive by a strip mall featuring international restaurants, niche clothing stores, or a small grocer, pull over and check it out! You never know what you’ll find or who you’ll meet.

What book has impacted your life most to date?

As a city girl, Wendell Berry’s book Jayber Crow has totally re-shaped the way I think about community, place, and home from the rural perspective.

If you had to remove all the apps from your phone except for 3, which would you keep?

BlueIndy, Instagram, and…… Domino’s (kidding, but only kinda).

Is there something incredibly common that you have never done before?

This is crazy coming from a Hoosier, but I’ve never played basketball!

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

The first song that popped into my head was James Blake’s Limit to Your Love… so we’ll go with that!

Pancakes or waffles?

Pancakes. I host a weekly, open-invite pancakes breakfast with my roommates, so this is an easy one!

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