We’re officially two weeks out from IndyVolved 13 presented by Indianapolis Power & Light Company, so we sat down with two of our dear friends and board members, Lesley Gordon from the Indiana Civil Rights Commission and Justin Sufan from Indianapolis Power & Light Company– who also happen to be our IndyVolved Co-Chairs this year! Learn more about their involvement and the event itself below.
If you had to describe IndyVolved to someone in 30 seconds, what would you tell them?
Lesley Gordon: IndyVolved is one of IndyHub’s premiere events and one of the best networking opportunities I’ve attended in the city. It allows you to connect with some of the most effective nonprofits around Indy and see where your individual mission aligns to give back to your community.
Justin Sufan: Show up and you’ll quickly discover that IndyVolved is a low commitment, high impact experience where you can learn and collaborate with over 100 local nonprofits. If networking is your thing, jump in and mingle with the over 2,000 new friends you’ll make while engaging with relevant organizations which make our community more vibrant.
How many years have you attended or been a part of the event?
LG: My role with this event has come full circle. I’ve been a attendee, an exhibitor, a volunteer and now a co-chair over the last 5 years.
JS: Over 10 years, which means my young professional affiliation is quickly reaching its expiry.
What is your favorite thing about IndyVolved?
LG: I love being around people. This event is like speed dating with nonprofits. The energy is always great and the connections I have made have allowed me to volunteer my time to events and groups that are truly fulfilling.
JS: My favorite part is the people. When you consider the committee members, the countless volunteers, and the 2,000+ attendees, there is an undeniable energy surrounding this event. And even after the night concludes, the ongoing interactions and relationships that are created during this event will continue to yield great things for our city.
Any tips for someone who hasn’t been before?
LG: Before you attend, think about how you would like to get involved and how much time you are looking to give each month. If you have some idea you can have meaningful conversations with the exhibitors. I like to start at the top and work my way downstairs and work against the crowd, that way I get to see as many exhibitors as possible. Last but not least, be yourself! These groups want to get to know and connect with YOU, so grab a drink and introduce yourself.
JS: The experience is designed to maximize return on attention for attending YPs and nonprofits. Introvert or extrovert, first-time volunteer or seasoned veteran, there is something at IndyVolved for everyone. Approach the event at your own pace and if you have time, research the exhibiting organizations to understand where your interests can be aligned to find the most impactful opportunities.
Do you have any fun stories about serving on the committee?
LG: Oh the ice breakers! Most meetings, it’s my job to plan the ice breaker and I try to find some off the wall topics. We didn’t do it as much this year but last year we planned theme meetings around holidays and our May meeting was at the track. We have such an engaging and fun group that comes back year after year to plan this awesome event!
JS: As co-chair, I was initially impressed with the amount of returning volunteers and committee members. Everyone knew their assigned responsibilities far better than I knew my own. Because I found myself late to one too many morning meetings, I ran a successful campaign to move our planning meetings from 8am coffee chats to 4:30pm happy hours. Another fun item of note includes our various icebreaker topics, which will remain confidential.
At minimum, what’s the one thing you’d like attendees to walk away from IndyVolved 13 with?
LG: I think this year’s shirt says it best, “People Make the City”! Indy is full of opportunity and this event showcases all the potential and passion our city has to offer young professionals.
JS: I want attendees to walk away knowing the great sense of purpose in our city, and how that purpose is stimulated, nurtured, and thriving because of Indy’s young professionals.