NewsWinter 2014

Professional Edge Center on a mission

UIndy’s new Professional Edge Center made its debut this fall, launching new programs and naming a rising local executive and civic leader to direct its mission of helping students begin and build their careers. Corey L. Wilson is the new associate vice president overseeing the Center, which provides students and recent graduates with opportunities for networking, mentoring, internships, community service, and employment. Based at Stierwalt Alumni House, the Center initiative grew from the Vision 2030 strategic planning process. Constituents pointed to the need for greater engagement between students and alumni and chances for students to connect with potential employers. Wilson will join the senior leadership team in University Advancement, reporting to Vice President Christopher Molloy.

p363251192-3“I really want to hear from faculty, staff, and alumni about what’s working well and make sure I understand and appreciate the perspectives that they have,” Wilson said. “Collaboration is going to be key in the successful implementation and execution of the Center.” Wilson was recognized among Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 community leaders for 2013. After stints with the lieutenant governor’s office and Marion County Health Department, he joined the Indianapolis Airport Authority in 2005, serving as director of supplier diversity and director of IND AeroVision, spearheading economic development efforts in the area surrounding Indianapolis International Airport. He is a recipient of the state’s Sagamore of the Wabash award and a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series. He also serves as vice chair of the Eskenazi Health Center Board of Directors and is a board member with IndyHub and 100 Black Men of Indianapolis.

Wilson already had UIndy ties through his wife, Dr. Nichole Wilson ’02 ’06, a physical therapist who—as director of Rehab and Sports Medicine for Community Health Network—has been featured in UIndy’s “Inspired. For the rest of your life” advertising campaign. Corey proposed to Nicole the night she received her doctoral degree, he recalls. He was still working with the airport when UIndy’s ad campaign started, and he was pleasantly surprised to learn that his wife was the star of one of the wall-mounted advertisements in the terminal.
“It took me two or three weeks of calls from people saying, ‘I saw your wife at the airport,’” he said.

Alumni involvement is vital to the center’s goal of ensuring students a seamless transition from education to career. The staff is assembling eight Professional Edge Teams, one focusing on entrepreneurship and seven others representing business sectors that are academic strengths for the University and vital elements of the Indiana economy: health care, financial services, manufacturing/logistics, communications, public service, nonprofit management, and the arts. Each team will include a lead faculty member, 10 alumni working in the targeted field, and other industry contacts to provide mentoring, networking, and career experiences for the students. The teams will provide crucial feedback on the relevance of UIndy’s curricula, level of student preparedness, and industry trends. The Center’s other programs and services include internship and job fairs, résumé and interview coaching, panel discussions with local professionals, and career exploration and service opportunities in students’ fields of interest.

Professional Edge introduced itself to the campus in October with a week of activities, including the first in an ongoing series of Real Life 101 panel discussions in which successful alumni and other professionals speak and answer questions on career-related issues. The first panelists were Crystal Grave ’99, president and CEO of event-planning service Snappening; Jose Evans ’97, pharmaceutical sales specialist with Sepracor Inc.; Andy Hammond ’06, financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual Financial; and Valynda Laird ’80, director of risk management for IU Health Bloomington Hospital. Another event was a December service showcase that included a panel of local nonprofit leaders discussing how community service experiences can enhance personal and professional growth. The panelists were Marianne Glick, director of the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Family Foundation; Terri Garcia, executive director of Southeast Community Services; David Forsell, president of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful; and Tracy Elliott, CEO of College Mentors for Kids.

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