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Which of these describes you?

TJ Wright | 1828 Leadership Project Spotlight

Posted by: IndyHub
Posted: November 18, 2021
Categories: IndyHub

TJ is the proud product of a single mother and no-nonsense grandparents. Over the course of his career, he’s sharpened his knowledge, skills, & abilities through roles in K-12 education, collegiate education, and non-profits where he championed pathways for people who’d otherwise be overlooked. Through both seen and lived experiences, his work has given him a front row seat to countless burnt-out employees, lots of well intentioned (but poorly executed) plans, and chronic use of the term, “that’s just the way we’ve always done it”. From these experiences, he’s emerged a servant leader who places people at the cornerstone of his work; a systems thinker who can see the big picture without losing attention to detail; and a synergy architect who’s keenly skilled at building rapport and leveraging human centered design in his works. Presently, TJ is the Founder & CEO of Whelhaus Co, a social enterprise that generates social capital for Central Indiana’s minority workforce through consulting, products, and community empowerment programming. 

The 1828 Leadership Project, presented 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. TJ is a part of 1828’s Class XI . Learn more about him below.

How do you spend your days?

Most of my days are spent either visualizing a path towards solving problem or being a thought partner for someone else looking to solve a problem of their own. When I’m not working, which frankly is rare, I’m finding time to live in the moment with loved ones, traveling whenever possible, and laughing often.

You’re off the clock, there are no expectations. What are you doing?

Depending on the day – grabbing wings at one of my regular places, sitting on my balcony and watching the sun set, or jumping into a new series to binge.

When thinking about the future of Indianapolis, what are you most looking forward to in the next 5 years and why?

I’m looking forward to Indianapolis redefining itself as an inclusive and safe city for it’s residents, tourists, and commuters; especially those who belong to communities of color.

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

Generally speaking, I support local activism, neighborhood placemaking, and LGBTQ+ initiatives. I’m connected to these causes through my work with local non-profits as an advisor. I’m happy to connect anyone interested in such/similar work directly to the non-profits doing the work.

You have a day off and you’re in Indianapolis. Share the agenda for your perfect Indy day. 

I would start my day at one of my favorite brunch spots, likely Milktooth or Cafe Patachou if I’m feeling cosmopolitan. But lately I’ve been obsessed with Metro Diner. I’d pop over to Holiday Park afterwards to walk off what I’m sure will be a very indulgent breakfast on the paths near the nature center and read in the shade thereafter. After waking up from my accidental nap, I’d be in the mood for good home cooking from Pa & Ma’s Backyard BBQ. Since I’m borderline a workaholic I’d head home to dive head first into some well deserved video gaming, netflix binging, or both but not before grabbing a strawberry shortcake milkshake from Gordan’s.

Indianapolis is a sprawling county, what’s your favorite part about our city?

I love the talent this city creates; hundreds of amazing creatives, innovators, game changers, and leaders.

If you were a superhero what would be your special trait? Why?

Control of all the earth’s elements (i.e. the last Airbender). It requires balance & awareness of one’s self and emotions to be truly a master of all elements.

You’re hosting an Indy-themed dinner party. What three guests are you inviting?

My best friend of 10 years, former (IUPUI) Chancellor Bantz, and Boniface Hardin.

How do you define success?

By the impact I’ve made in the lives of others in present and future generations.

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