Diversity in Leadership Program Creates Pathways to Higher Education – First Internet Bank Proud Sponsor

Universities and industry collaborate to create pathways to the C-suite for ethnic minorities and women

INDIANAPOLIS – In an unprecedented effort to foster the professional growth and development of a diverse talent pool, Marian University – Indianapolis has activated a coalition of universities and stakeholders within the state of Indiana to launch a groundbreaking Diversity in Leadership Program (DIL). The program is designed to help close gaps in educational attainment, wealth, skills, and opportunity for minoritized groups and to create more inclusive living, working, and learning communities, enhancing Central Indiana as a thriving regional ecosystem. DIL will help fulfill Indiana’s need to develop a talent pool within the central Indiana by supporting highly qualified and diverse professionals for senior-leadership positions in the public, private, non-profit, and social sectors, while supplementing the region’s talent attraction and retention efforts. The program was created by Dr. Leon Jackson, who serves as the Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives for Marian University.

Barb Singer, CEO and founder of Executive Core noted that, “With over 2.2 million women exiting the workforce during the pandemic, and the slim representation of black and brown leaders at the top of organizations, organizations need the help of universities and their faculties to accelerate diverse talent in the public and private sector. What Dr. Jackson is doing is profound and should be supported by those organizations serious about serious about equity.”

Participating business schools include Butler University’s Lacy School of Business, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business on the IUPUI campus, Marian University’s Byrum School of Business, The University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, and Purdue University — West Lafayette Krannert School of Business. Each partner institution will host the program’s cohorts on their respective campuses one weekend per month, led by faculty and staff from these institutions. Throughout the 6-month curriculum participants will be tasked with developing an understanding of key concepts, tools, and frameworks learned through five courses including business analytics, leadership communication, accounting/finance, organizational strategy, and leading organizations. Participants will work with an executive coach for the duration of the program and will apply their learnings towards a capstone project presented at the conclusion of their experience.

Unique to the Diversity in Leadership Program is its intentionality of removing barriers which prevent women and minorities from entering or advancing within the corporate community. Upon completion, all graduates receive a certificate in Executive Mindset. Those who complete the program enjoy streamlined admission and scholarships to graduate programs at partner institutions. Completers are also able to leverage this experience to gain admission into Marian University’s doctorate in organizational leadership, should they meet the programs entry requirements. A full list of programs for which completers qualify will be provided on the university’s website.

“The time has come for us to strategically elevate our efforts of being intentional about the professional development of ethnic minorities and women. This program looks to wrap the context of learning around real growth experiences, opportunities that are often not afforded minoritized groups, and remove barriers into degree programs that lead to the C-suite,” said Dr. Leon Jackson. “This program will transform passionate, talented and underutilized women and ethnic minorities into agents of impact, ready help central Indiana realize its full potential as a major economic engine in the region,” he added. The program will host two cohorts per year, with the Inaugural cohort starting on July 12, 2021.

“Diverse voices in the c-suite are imperative for central Indiana’s business success, and we are so pleased to take part in this truly collaborative effort with business schools from across the state,” said Phil Powell, associate dean of academic programs at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business at IUPUI.

According to Dr. Robert Hummels, Dean of the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, “The DIL program is a bold cooperative effort providing new pathways for underserved student populations to advance their graduate business education while addressing critical talent needs in the state of Indiana. Purdue and the Krannert School are thrilled to join with our colleagues in great Universities across the state, and we thank Dr. Jackson for leading the way.”

“We salute Marian University and its partners in the Diversity in Leadership Program for their efforts to bring greater inclusion to workplace leadership, adding new voices and perspectives that challenge conventional wisdom,” President and Chief Operating Officer of First Internet Bank, Nicole Lorch noted, “We must invite and embrace a broader range of ideas to better serve our communities. This program is an important first step in a journey that will ultimately benefit us all.”

As a university created by an abolitionist, Butler University and the Lacy School of Business are constantly looking for ways live our founding mission of inclusion and opportunity. The program that Dr. Jackson has fostered is another chance for us to operationalize our DNA. Because of this program, the top schools in Indiana can identify and nurture talented minority graduate students, capable of leadership at the highest levels. – Dr. Craig Caldwell, Interim Dean, Lacy School of Business

All applicants must have earned a bachelor’s degree, 6+ years of work experience, and 2+ years of management (supervisory experience). For more information contact Dr. Leon Jackson at (317) 614-7715 or LJackson@Marian.edu. Program sponsors include One America, First Internet Bank, The Central Indiana Community Foundation, Butler University’s Lacy School of Business, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business at IUPUI, The University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management, Executive Core, Crossroads Education, The Mind Trust, and The Social Lock by Stephanie.