The 1828 Leadership Project, offered by IndyHub and presented by Citizens Energy Group, is a program designed to convene cross-sector groups of young leaders and change makers in Indianapolis. Early Learning Indiana’s Development Director, Emily Nelson, was nominated by her peers to take part in the 10th cohort of the project, which began in September 2020.
Carefully curated and structured to foster intentional conversations and relationships with Indianapolis’ community leaders, 1828 jump starts participants’ civic impact by connecting them with the resources to help them identify how they can make an impact and shape the future of the city.
“I am a part of the 10th cohort of the project, and we are the biggest group they have ever had,” Nelson said of the group’s makeup. “Group members have diverse backgrounds. There are people from nonprofits, government, the private sector, education, and even some law students. Some people are Indy natives, and some people grew up in different states or countries. It’s a really great cross section of the city.”
Individuals in the project are ready to lead and have ideas they are implementing or working toward. The project seeks to assist in developing these projects and passions by connecting cohort members with resources and people who can help them fully connect in their community and make a difference.
“We meet all together every month and focus on a specific topic or issue facing the city,” Nelson said, describing the goals of the project. “For example, we had a meeting about local music, and we went to the HI-FI and talked about what resources Indy and its local musicians have in making a mark in the music industry. We had a meeting about the barriers immigrants face, and learned more about the local immigrant communities around the city. Most recently, we had a meeting about local journalism, the role it plays and how it shapes our understanding of where we live.”
The 1828 Leadership Project brings together both traditional and non-traditional leaders in an effort to diversify Indianapolis’ unique civic ecosystem. Relationships across sectors – from nonprofit leaders and entrepreneurs to artists and educators – result in a more inclusive vision for the city’s future.
“In normal years, the cohorts get together outside of the monthly meetings,” Nelson said of the how the group interacts. “That’s been harder this year, but we have been doing virtual one-on-one meetings or small group outdoor activities. Honestly, my favorite part of this program is getting to learn from my cohort. Everyone has such a unique perspective and they are all rock stars. It seems like every week, one of the members is speaking on a panel or has been nominated for an award.”
The project is an initiative of IndyHub, which seeks to get Indy’s 20- and 30- somethings involved and making an impact in Indianapolis.