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Achieving Greatness in West Central Indiana

Have you read the book “Good to Great” by James Collins? I find myself re-reading the context and my scribbles within the pages on a regular occasion. The highlighted notations remind me that great is hard. Passion is what fuels my will for greatness, but even passion can be tested. "When [what you are deeply passionate about, what you can be best in the world at and what drives your economic engine] come together, not only does your work move toward greatness, but so does your life. For, in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. Perhaps, then, you might gain that rare tranquility that comes from knowing that you’ve had a hand in creating something of intrinsic excellence that makes a contribution. Indeed, you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions: knowing that your short time here on this earth has been well spent, and that it mattered." — James Collins. As advocates for the West Central Indiana region and specific clients that range across different sectors, we’re positively faced with people who are striving to live meaningful lives. The people we work with have passion for greatness. Although they have different needs, the bottom line is they want to be great. So, we’re asked to help move the needle. It is within those conversations we have to determine how far they are willing to go and how hard are they willing to push. Remember, great is hard. I also believe it is “great” that keeps us standing through a storm – like the most recent layoff announcement from Sony. The diversity of our greatness makes the storm less daunting. Kristi Cundiff, CEO of the newly formed nonprofit, Indiana Foster and Adoptive Parents (IFAAP), serves as an advocate liaison for over 6,000 foster and adoptive families in Indiana. Recently, she was invited by Governor Eric Holcomb to serve as a voice for Region 8 of the Department of Child Services. She has testified in support of SB233 (authored by Senator Jon Ford), which would create a Foster Parent Bill of Rights, giving foster and adoptive parents a voice. This bill passed out of Senate. On February 14, it also passed to the floor on the House side 10-0. Kristi and her team of over 6,000 families are making a difference in West Central Indiana. The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce announced their launch of three important task forces that will advance our region’s advocacy efforts at both state and national levels. 1) Their work to build a team around expanding the federal penitentiary has obvious, positive ramifications like building new infrastructure, creating more federal jobs, and increasing the overall census of Vigo County. 2) They’ve launched a Defense Development Coalition to aggressively pursue development opportunities (in partnership with the state’s Defense Development Director, Danielle Chrysler) around the defense sector, including opportunities to grow our 181st Intelligence Wing and the 81st Troop Command. 3) Understanding the need to form collaborative partnerships, the Chamber is also working with other Chambers in the six-county region (Vigo, Clay, Putnam, Vermillion, Parke, Sullivan) to form West Central IN 2025, meant to develop an asset inventory and find collaborative points of interest for quality of life programs and economic stimulus. Harsha Behavioral Center is hosting the West Central Indiana Drug Symposium on Friday, March 16, and it’s free and open to the public. The event will be held at Ivy Tech Community College located on South US HWY 41. Seeing the real effects of the opioid crisis consuming families in West Central Indiana, owners Dr. Paras and Roopam Harshawat wanted to partner with local leaders to advance the dialogue and start working on meaningful solutions together. Roopam stated, “Localizing the problem might help us understand the tools we all bring to the table to start fixing the rooted issues in our communities.” You can register for the symposium here. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College opened a new health clinic, in partnership with Union Health Network, to serve its students, faculty, staff, and Sisters of Providence. Soon they will be serving the community of West Terre Haute, offering a more accessible option for health care. This vision was developed by President Dottie King through their strategic planning process in 2014-15 and is now coming to fruition. The ribbon cutting for the clinic is scheduled for Friday, February 16, at 10 a.m. It is located on the west side of Rooney Library. The owners of the Meadows have a new vision for the retail space. After purchasing the property, they began immediately reaching out to nonprofits, offering their available spaces for community events at no cost. In addition, they’re taking on a new approach for occupying the retail center. Their vision is a retail and community center that draws everything/everyone from mall walkers, to special events, to shoppers, to small business and nonprofit affordable leases. We’re excited to say there’s more at the Meadows. The hustle and bustle of the holiday spirit will soon fill the halls and make a more vibrant destination for Terre Haute’s east side. More coming soon. TransCare recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. Russell Ferrell started this company independently, from the ground. In 1992, TransCare began as a one-van operation in wheelchair transport with Russ behind the wheel. Always a visionary in technological advances that would ensure the best use of time in those precious moments, Russ had a cell phone in a time when they were cutting-edge technology so that he could be as efficient as possible in transporting patients. Fast forward to today, where Russ operates a full-fleet ambulance service with a dispatching unit using GPS and internet call technology. Thanks to Senator Ford, the Vigo County Food and Beverage tax has made its way to the House (Ways and Means Committee). Members of Vigo County community leadership worked together by writing letters of support and testifying in front of the Tax and Fiscal Committee. We appreciate the trust of the Vigo County Commissioners to advocate on behalf of this important initiative to bring tourism development to West Central Indiana. The RJL Solutions team will be working with house members, Representatives Heaton, Morrison, Kersey, and Baird to keep the bill moving forward. Let’s not forget announcements this past week made by Tredegar and Allura. Tredegar is expanding, and Allura is reopening its Terre Haute plant. Thanks to the Terre Haute Economic Development Corporationfor advancing their efforts. People often ask me why I opened up my company in downtown Terre Haute and drive to Indianapolis multiple times a week. My first answer was easy, “because I love my community/region.” Cliché answer, right? I wanted to see West Central Indiana pushing for more, expecting more, and offering more. After some reflection over the last few months working with our various clients and leaders across the state and nation, I’m encouraged by people wanting greatness. It is no surprise to anyone reading this we often get in our own way. I see a difference in people – those who strive for meaningful lives are achieving greatness. A witness for Collins’ writings. Those who are striving for something which seems less meaningful are achieving goodness. They’re not bad, they’re just not great. The best fireworks come from doers who are great, living meaningful lives. We are proud to call our clients friends. We consider you partners in all we do. We strive to help you achieve “great.”

Rachel Leslie is partner of RJL Solutions, an advocate for ambitious organizations, equipping them to make connections, foster relationships, and evoke change.

Feb 5th Blog Post
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