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Hamilton County Leadership Academy Announces Class of 2019

The Hamilton County Leadership Academy (HCLA), now in its 28th year, has selected 36 individuals who live or work in Hamilton County to take part in its 10-month community leadership program. Founded in 1991, HCLA connects community leaders to issues, causes and opportunities that impact Hamilton County.

Participants are selected through a highly competitive application process based on their involvement in the community and their professional achievement; their understanding of community issues and challenges; and their desire to make an impact through a significant commitment to leading and serving in Hamilton County. "Hamilton County continues to be one of the top counties in the nation. Its success and growth has been driven by strong leaders and community champions who have developed a clear vision and worked collaboratively to achieve it," said John Robbins, Executive Director of HCLA. "Our role at HCLA is to help these incredibly talented individuals gain a deeper understanding of our county, connect them to a network of similarly passionate people and inspire them to make a difference in their own backyard. It helps to ensure Hamilton County will continue to thrive in the years and decades to come." Liz Tate was selected as the Curriculum Dean for the Class of 2019. Mrs. Tate is the retired Vice President for Community Investment of the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF). The position of dean exists to help participants focus on timely topics within Hamilton County, see the connections and common themes within each program day and build strong, lifelong relationships with fellow participants, alumni and community leaders. "As an alumni of HCLA and past President of the Board of Directors, I understand the power of HCLA and the incredible impact it makes within our community," said Tate. "This program has a rich history and tradition. I am honored to be able to serve as dean this year. This new group of participants brings a wealth of knowledge and diversity of experience to the program. It is with great enthusiasm that I get to help them see Hamilton County from a different perspective, understand the issues confronting our communities and identify opportunities to make the county better for all people." HCLA meets monthly from August through June. The program touches on a variety of topics from Government, Public Safety and Education to Business and Arts and Culture. Over 10 months, participants will hear from more than 100 community, nonprofit and business leaders throughout Hamilton County. For more information, visit

For additional information about the program contact John Robbins at or 317.606.0324.

The Hamilton County Leadership Academy helps leaders connect to their communities, so they can make a difference. Everything the organization does is tied to one of their three pillars: learn, connect and lead. The core program and related curriculum helps participants gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of Hamilton County. Its 27-year history in the community and more than 700 alumni provide meaningful connections throughout the county. A commitment to leading in the community challenges participants and alumni to seek out issues, causes and projects that will help to make Hamilton County an amazing place to live, work and play.

Class of 2019

Chelsea Beaman

CEO / Healthcare Consultant

CLB Management Consulting

Brian Bondus

Director of Leasing

ALO Property Group

Andrew Bradford

Vice President & Chief Development Officer

Conner Prairie

Drew Braley

Associate / Project Manager

Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf

Todd Dailey

Director, Information Technology

Liberty Mutual Insurance Group

Michael Daugherty

Wealth Advisor

First Merchants Private Wealth Advisors

Brian Dell

Senior Director, Commercial Real Estate Broker

Colliers International

Laura Denis

Director of Student Services

Noblesville Schools

Megan Earnest

Mall Manager, Hamilton Town Center

Simon Property Group

Leigh Ann Erickson

Director, Development and Alumni Relations

Fairbanks and Hope Academy

Michael Fry

Vice President, Business Development

LUNA Language Services

Justin Furr

Director of Real Estate and Construction

Crew Carwash

Janet Gafkjen

Director, Partnership for a Healthy Hamilton County

Good Samaritan Network

Leslie Gieger

Attorney at Law

Church Church Hittle + Antrim

Dr. Sherry Grate


Westfield Washington Schools

Katie Guerra

Owner / Financial Director

The Play School

Brandy Hill

Director of Marketing and PR

Riverview Health

Carla Hill

Director, Business Development

BSA LifeStructures

Peggy Hogan

HR Consultant

Purple Ink HR

Chris Johnson

Senior Vice President / Corporate Banking Relationship Manager

PNC Bank

Caitlin Karvasky

Business Development, Senior Manager

Moser Consulting

Melanie Lentz

Community Relations & Economic Development Project Manager

City of Carmel

Jennifer Maxwell

Business Development Executive

CleanSlate Technology Group

Rebecca McGuckin


River’s Edge Natural Health

Derek McMichael

Director of Pharmacy

Community Health Network

Whitney Moore

Owner / Photographer

Whitney Moore Photography

Mackenzie Poole


Legacy Fund

Gary Sexton


The Sexton Group

Ann Marie Shambaugh

Managing Editor, Current in Carmel &

Current in Zionsville

Current Publishing

Stephanie Smith


Smith House

Steve Sneath

Community Outreach Coordinator & Volunteer Coordinator

Hamilton County Parks and Recreation

Rachel Sorvig

Vice President

Bose Public Affairs Group

Jeff Steeg

Vice President of Operations

The Center for The Performing Arts

Bob Swanay


Carmel Clay Public Library

Kert Toler

Senior Property Manager

Halakar Properties

Kyle Wise

Sales Operations Manager

Beck’s Hybrids

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