Though Indiana boasts the official state motto of “Crossroads of America”, the reality is more far-reaching. Our landlocked state is experiencing a big global impact and unprecedented international growth. Indianapolis recently celebrated a year of success with its nonstop flight to Paris; West Lafayette attracted investment from Swedish company Saab; the state as a whole is home to 950 foreign-owned businesses that create 190,000 jobs for Hoosiers.

From travel, to development, to workforce creation, Indiana is becoming the crossroads of an increasingly globalized world. That’s why now, more than ever, it is important to lead with an international mindset – no matter the industry.

The next generation of leaders is already putting this into practice. In 2018, The International Center honored three young finalists with its inaugural Global Impression Award, celebrating emerging Indiana leaders who are directly impacting the global community within Indiana. Though the finalists’ industries are vastly different, their impacts on Hoosier and international development are similarly impressive.

Dr. Rachel Vreeman

2018 Global Impression Award recipient, Rachel Vreeman, MD, MS, served as Director of Research for the IU Center for Global Health and North American Director of the AMPATH Research Network. AMPATH is an Indiana-led partnership of healthcare institutions seeking to improve the health of the Kenyan population. Today, AMPATH is western Kenya’s first system of sustainable care and empowerment for an entire population.

Now based in New York City as the Vice Chair for the Department of Health System Design and Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Director of the Sinai Global Sites Network for the Arnhold Institute for Global Health, Dr. Vreeman still supports the efforts with AMPATH as she continues her research with her Kenyan and Hoosier colleagues.

Dr. Brooke Kandel-Cisco

Dr. Kandel was an Associate Professor of Education and Director for the METL and International Baccalaureate Programs at Butler University. A global advocate, Dr. Kandel teaches courses in English as a second language for Butler students and current teachers in Washington Township and serves as the President of the Indiana Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Said team member and nominator Dr. Kelli Esteves, “Dr. Kandel is a tireless advocate for international communities in Indiana. Whether it is her work as an educator, writer, speaker, curriculum developer, or documentary creator, Dr. Kandel works hard to make our state a welcoming place for all.”

Dr. Kandel was named interim dean of the Butler University College of Education in May 2019 and hopes to introduce new global opportunities for students and faculty in this role.

Jennifer Pearl

An economic development and global strategist, Pearl worked with the Indy Chamber as its Director of International Programs as part of the effort to increase metro Indianapolis’ foreign direct investment and regional exports. Before her role at the Indy Chamber, Pearl brought her Hoosier education and values to Bejing, China in public affairs for clients conducting and seeking business in Asia.

Joe Pellman, Pearl’s 2018 nominator, spoke highly of her efforts in global trade and international affairs, saying, “She has made it her life’s work to connect the dots between local business and global opportunities. I have no doubt that she will continue to be impactful in this arena for many years to come.” Indeed, this May, Pearl transferred these international skills and passions to Bloomington, IN, where she serves as president of the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation.

As The International Center accepts nominations for the 2019 Global Impression Award, we look forward to showcasing and encouraging emerging Indiana leaders and celebrating the diversity in where and how they make a difference.

Martin Baier is president and chie executive officer of The International Center.