12 Outstanding Young Hoosier Leaders to be Recognized

The recipients are: David Allison, Christina Clark and Matthew Morrow of Indianapolis; Paul Musson and Alisa Pearson of Fort Wayne; Kent Castleman of Monroeville; Daniel Kent of Carmel; Joshua Lybolt of St. John; Greg Martz of Springport; Liddy Romero of Lafayette; Brad VanVleet of Richmond; and Therese Williams of Bloomington.

updated: 12/15/2008 5:01:10 PM

12 Outstanding Young Hoosier Leaders to be Recognized

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

The Indiana Humanities Council and the Office of the Governor will honor 12 recipients of the sixth annual Governor's Award for Tomorrow's Leaders. During a ceremony Tuesday, the honorees will receive $1,000 to use as educational scholarships or donations to charities of their choice. The program recognizes Hoosiers ages 19 to 29 who strive for and attain excellence as entrepreneurial leaders, volunteers and scholars.

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Press Release

December 15, 2008

On Tuesday, Dec. 16, the Indiana Humanities Council and the Office of the Governor will honor 12 recipients of the sixth annual Governor’s Award for Tomorrow’s Leaders.

Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman will recognize the recipients and present them with $1,000 cash awards to use as educational scholarships or donations to charities of their choice.

The recipients are: David Allison, Christina Clark and Matthew Morrow of Indianapolis; Paul Musson and Alisa Pearson of Fort Wayne; Kent Castleman of Monroeville; Daniel Kent of Carmel; Joshua Lybolt of St. John; Greg Martz of Springport; Liddy Romero of Lafayette; Brad VanVleet of Richmond; and Therese Williams of Bloomington.

“I applaud the 12 honorees who inspire those around them as they help move Indiana forward,” said Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman. “Without their investment of time and talent in Indiana, we would not enjoy the success we have today.”

Established in 2003, the Governor’s Award for Tomorrow’s Leaders honors Hoosiers ages 19 to 29 who strive for and attain excellence as entrepreneurial leaders, volunteers and scholars. Nominations for the award are sought each year from around the state.

“In a way, this award is misnamed,” said Indiana Humanities Council President Keira Amstutz. “These aren’t Indiana’s future leaders. They’re out there working hard, making connections, reaching out, mentoring youth—really leading the way right now.”

The 2008 Governor’s Awards for Tomorrow’s Leaders program is supported by Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO).

“NIPSCO is pleased to continue its role sponsoring these important awards recognizing the wonderful work of these leaders,” said Colleen M. Reilly, director of communications and public affairs at NIPSCO. “We congratulate the recipients and wish them well as they generously contribute their considerable talent to the betterment of our communities.”

The Indiana Humanities Council understands leadership is a skill and a talent that must be cultivated. Part of that cultivation process is letting young leaders know their work is being noticed and appreciated, in the hopes that they will continue dedicating their skills, talents, and ambition for stronger Hoosier communities—leading the way for the next generation of leaders.

A distinguished jury of leaders from around Indiana selected the recipients. Chaired by Perry Hines, President of Truth@Work, the jury included, Beth Archer, Executive Director of the Indiana Agricultural Leadership Institute; Dr. John Contreni, Justin S. Morrill Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University; and J. Guadalupe Valtierra, Chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana-Northwest.

“Civic engagement and thoughtful leadership have been at the core of our programming for all the IHC’s 36 years,” said Amstutz. “The Governor’s Awards for Tomorrow’s Leaders is one of our most important programs. The awards are designed to highlight and reward the hard work of Indiana’s young leaders.”

The Indiana Humanities Council celebrates, encourages and facilitates the thinking that leads to innovation and action. As a convener, leader and partner, the Council supports the sharing of ideas, promotes the public humanities and engages Indiana’s community of minds to examine and improve the human condition.


David Allison, 29, is the experience manager at Conner Prairie, where he recently led the process of redeveloping Conner Prairie’s living history experience. His work has been recognized nationally as a groundbreaking approach for a museum.

A Terre Haute native, Allison received a B.S. from Taylor University in 2001. After teaching high school history and government, he joined Conner Prairie’s staff as an interpreter.

Also active in his community, Allison a Sunday school leader at Faith Church and was co-leader of his men’s ministry’s relief trip to New Orleans offering support to victims of Hurricane Katrina. He also traveled to Southeast Asia to assist with community development last year. He plans to complete a master’s degree in U.S. History from IUPUI in 2009. He will use his $1,000 award to help with tuition.

Kent Castleman, 30, was born and raised in Monroeville, Indiana, just outside Fort Wayne. While pursuing his college education, Castleman remained a part of the Monroeville community, volunteering in a variety of youth ministry roles. It was during those years that he envisioned a place where youth and families could go as an alternative to destructive activities and for social services help.

After earning his B.A. in business management from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in 2001, he began the process of making that vision a reality by founding Cornerstone Youth Center.

As executive director, Castleman has seen Cornerstone expand from a three-day-a-week operation to a six-day-a-week operation. Youth visits grew to more than 9,000 in 2007, and Castleman has diversified the organization’s financial support by attracting grants as well as private donations.

Castleman is a Leadership Fort Wayne graduate and was named an Executive Journey Fellow for Experienced Youth Workers. Awarded the East Allen Educators Association Gold Apple Award for Friends of Education, he serves as president of the Southeast Allen Cooperative Ministries and vice president of the Monroeville Chamber of Commerce. He also serves as vice chair of the Drug and Alcohol Consortium of Allen County and is a member of the New Allen Alliance Economic Development Group. He will donate his $1,000 award to Cornerstone.

Christina Clark, 26, recently graduated magna cum laude from the Michael Maurer School of Law at Indiana University, where she was awarded several scholarships. She was an editor of the Indiana Law Journal, one of the most prestigious law journals in the nation, and she served as a Student Affairs Fellow and vice president of the Women’s Law Caucus.

Clark raised more than $10,000 through a benefit auction for Middle Way House and the law school’s Protective Order Project, which provides free assistance to victims of domestic violence seeking protective orders. She also serves as an advisory board member and publicity co-chair for the Protective Order Project.

As an undergraduate at IU, Clark graduated with highest distinction, served as a CommUNITY Educator and was elected floor president and then floor governor at two residence halls.

Now a judicial law clerk on the Indiana Court of Appeals, Clark remains active in her law school community, recently volunteering as a moot court judge. She also is a featured contributor to the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division “So you want to be a lawyer” video project, aimed at helping high school students consider legal careers. After her clerkship, she will return to practice law at Baker & Daniels, where she was a summer associate in 2007. She is donating her $1,000 award to the Michael Maurer School of Law at Indiana University Protective Order Project.

A sophomore at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, 20-year-old Daniel Kent has been active in Student Council, and he co-founded the Rufus M. Jones Institute for Leadership. He has interned at the White House and Community Development Law Center.

When he was a 14-year-old middle schooler in Carmel, Kent founded Net Literacy, a nonprofit created to increase computer access to all. He funded the organization with $4,000 he had saved to buy a car. Five years later, Net Literacy had attracted more than $1 million in grants and in-kind donations, increased computer access to more than 90,000 individuals, refurbished thousands of computers, and engaged more than 1,000 student volunteers. It has expanded into dozens of Hoosier communities and helped 90,000 Hoosiers cross the digital divide. Kent recruited U.S. Senators Bayh and Lugar to serve as honorary co-chairs, and successfully lobbied to pass Indiana’s Net Literacy Resolution.

Kent has served on local and national youth boards, including the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, America’s Promise Alliance, the U.S. Public Service Academy and Do Something, Inc. He has received numerous awards, including being twice named a National Point of Light honoree. He is donating his $1,000 award to the Net Literacy Project.

Joshua Lybolt, 29, is the regional director of the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC). He has started five successful businesses, recruiting more than $1 million in angel financing and nearly $7 million in loan financing to support the growth of these companies.

An ambitious entrepreneur since grade school, Lybolt, 29 has dedicated himself to helping others learn from his example. Since 2001, Lybolt has taught a variety of courses as a visiting faculty member at Purdue University-Calumet. His proudest accomplishment is the development of two undergraduate real estate courses that are now offered annually.

A lifelong resident of northwestern Indiana, Lybolt grew up in Munster and now lives in St. John. He serves on several boards of directors, including the Lake County Advancement Committee, Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly, Partners in Contracting Corporation, Hammond Innovation Center and Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service.

Lybolt earned a B.S. in Finance and an M.B.A. from Purdue University-Calumet. He is pursuing a C.B.A. from the University of Toledo. He is donating his $1,000 award to Kids Alive International in Valparaiso.

Greg Martz, 27, is simultaneously one of Central Indiana’s most promising young entrepreneurs and a dedicated humanitarian. His academic past – graduating high school with a 4.0 and summa cum laude from Ball State University – foreshadowed the life he’s led since graduation. After five years as a Regions Bank Branch manager, where he was an active community volunteer, he is now the Business Development Director for Keystone Construction. Some of Keystone’s recent projects include the Six Over Meridian condominiums, the Majestic Building, 3 Mass condominiums and Carmel Arts Lofts & Shoppes.

A Muncie native, Martz serves on several boards including the Jackson Center board, Habitat for Humanity (where he also serves on the Finance Committee), the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, King Park Community Development Corporation, and the Near Northside Community Development Corporation. He is pursuing an M.B.A. and will use his $1,000 award toward tuition.

Matthew Morrow, 25, joined nearly 200 Indiana University students on a week-long Hurricane Katrina relief trip to Pass Christian, Mississippi in December 2005. After witnessing the immense devastation and human suffering, and realizing that recovery efforts would take years, Morrow knew he could do much more.

In spring 2006, Morrow and several other students established an organization at IU called Youth Advocating Leadership and Learning (Y’ALL). Y’ALL organizes student-led services trips to natural disaster areas.

In the three years since its founding, Y’ALL has opened chapters at IU, IUPUI and Purdue campuses. Morrow himself has led eight relief trips to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and New Orleans, taking more than 1,000 volunteers with him and contributing more than a half million dollars in construction-based manual labor to the area.

In one success story, Morrow’s team was able to completely re-plumb in only three days the home of a family whose copper pipes had been stolen by looters—a feat that likely saved the family from another devastating theft.

An Auburn native, Morrow is scheduled to earn a master’s degree in health administration from IUPUI in May 2009. He applying half of his $1,000 award toward tuition and donating the other half to Youth Advocating Leadership and Learning.

Paul Musson, 26, was born in San Antonio, Texas, but calls Fort Wayne his home. After studying computer science at DePauw University, Musson returned home to start his career as a software engineer at Nothrup Grumman. While working full time, Musson completed his master’s degree in computer science at Purdue University.

In 2006, Musson was appointed by the City Council to Fort Wayne’s Public Transportation Corporation board of directors. In addition to being an advocate of public/mass transit, Musson contributes locally to the American Cancer Society and other social services programs aiding the inner city, started a program to encourage recycling in the workplace and created a holiday family adoption program. He is donating his $1,000 award to the Indiana Development Council.

Alisa Pearson, 30, is a Fort Wayne native with strong community connections. An associate attorney with Barrett & McNagny, she represents a variety of corporate clients and devotes pro bono time to counseling nonprofits on governance and tax issues.

Pearson’s community involvement includes serving on the board of managers for the Old Fort YMCA and volunteering with the Alpha Rae Entrepreneurship Program, helping young entrepreneurs realize their dreams.

She has also served on the board of the Black College Club, where, in addition to helping develop marketing and fundraising materials, she worked directly with college-bound youth to understand their goals and guide them toward future success.

Pearson earned an undergraduate degree from Tennessee State University and a law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law. She will donate half her of her $1,000 award to the Black College Club of Fort Wayne and the other half to Glory to God Church.

Liddy Romero, 27, graduated in 2003 with degrees in economics and psychology from the University of Notre Dame, where she gained business insight for her future Latino-focused marketing company, LatinMente Communications. A graduate of Leadership Lafayette, Romero focuses her servant-leadership on immigrants to Indiana.

Romero supports equal opportunity for Lafayette’s Latino population as a member of the Immigration Census Committee for the Lafayette League of Women Voters and the Resource Committee for Family Services Inc. In 2008, she chaired a “World Café” event in which community leaders and business leaders gathered to openly discuss the effect of immigration in Indiana on the humanities. The event was supported by a grant from the Indiana Humanities Council.

Romero works in workforce development as an operations assistant and data administrator at Tecumseh Area Partnership Inc. A native of Edinburg, Texas, she was awarded a “Top 10

Under 40” honor in Leadership and Entrepreneurship by Lafayette’s young professional’s organization, Tippy Connects. She is donating her $1,000 award to Food Finders, Food Bank, Inc.

Brad VanVleet wanted to make a difference in his hometown of Richmond, Indiana. At the age of 29, he has already done that. He created a local Youth Football League and is the founder of the Richmond’s Young Adult Professionals organization. Under his leadership from 2005 to 2007, YAP grew from the handful of founders to 350 enterprising leaders. He is also the youngest member of the Richmond/Wayne County Chamber of Commerce Board, is on the Chamber Action Team, is vice president of the Richmond Independent Insurance Agent’s Association and is a mentor at Test Middle School.

A graduate of the University of Dayton, VanVleet has won several athletic honors. As an entrepreneur, VanVleet is leading a charge into the 21st Century for his family-owned insurance company. He is donating his $1,000 award to the Richmond Young Adult Professional Task Force.

Tess Williams, 25, is a lifelong contributor to improving her surroundings through civic action and volunteer work. A Fort Wayne native, Williams lives in Bloomington, where she works as an AmeriCorp VISTA Volunteer Management and Fundraising Associate. Before joining AmeriCorp, she worked and volunteered at a variety of organizations including the Foster Grandparents Program, the People and Animal Learning Service, Girls Inc and IU’s Habitat for Humanity. Her work in streamlining the Red Cross’s volunteer process has been invaluable, since 97 percent of the Red Cross’s workload is performed by volunteers.

Williams graduated with highest distinction from Indiana University in 2006, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society and Phi Eta Sigma, an honor society for first-year college students. She earned a B.S. in biology with a minor in leadership, ethics and social action. She is attending the Michael Maurer School of Law at Indiana University in Bloomington, and will apply her $1,000 award toward tuition.

Source: Indiana Humanities Council and Office of the Governor

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