The Indy Chamber is proud to welcome the leadership of newly elected 2017 Board Chair, Brian Sullivan. Sullivan serves as the Managing Partner at Shiel Sexton and began his year-long term as Indy Chamber Board Chair on January 1, 2017.
To get to know Sullivan better, we asked him a few questions.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given over the years that has helped steer your career to where you are today?
There is no particular sage advice that has guided me but there are a few foundational principles that I am always mindful of.
First is intrinsic motivation. I have always been pretty intentional about spending time and effort on things for which I have great interest or passion. That has led to innumerable connections, blending personal and business worlds.
Second would be empathy. Maybe because I was raised in a very small house with a widowed mother, widowed grandmother, five sisters (and a younger brother) I have had a heavy dose of female influence that I know has served me well.
The third influence is community. I really do love my community and I enjoy working to create a community that will inspire many others to feel the same way.
My career has always benefited from aligning these three things.
You are a busy guy! Of all of your community activities, what drew you to the Indy Chamber?
Being a healthy, vital, growing community isn’t singularly about creating a low cost business environment, though that is helpful. There are many quality-of-life issues that are critical to get right in this very competitive world. The Indy Chamber is an important voice on several of these key issues, education, transit, infrastructure, fair taxation, and anti-discrimination among others. It is that holistic perspective and the Chamber’s respected status that keeps me motivated to spend time, energy and resources in support.
Reflecting on this past year, what has been your favorite moment of 2016?
I see mass transit as a compelling need in Indy for many reasons. The referendum vote proves many others agree.
Imagine you are on a staycation in Indy. What's your plan? (i.e. restaurants, attractions, etc.)
As an avid cyclist, my “visit” would begin with a bike tour along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail taking in the Canal, White River State Park, State Museum and the Eiteljorg. I would end up for dinner at Bluebeard followed by a cocktail across the street at Hotel Tango, then a short walk to a concert at Hi Fi. Day two would be a bike ride from downtown up the Monon to Broad Ripple for lunch at Public Greens and a leisurely ride back taking in a side trip to Ft. Harrison State Park. I would then head back to north end of Mass Ave and have a dinner in the patio of Black Market. Continuing south a few blocks south I would end up in the Rathskeller Bier Garden for pint of good beer and music. Day three would be cycling northwest out of downtown taking the Cultural Trail to the White River Trail up to Indianapolis Museum of Art, starting with a relaxing stroll of 100 Acres then heading across the canal to the Museum and lunch. Head back downtown for a nap before a concert at White River Lawn.
What should business leaders expect to see from the Indy Chamber in 2017?
The Chamber has an ambitious 2017 planned. A great deal of work has gone into planning and organizing a regional economic development strategy. It is now time to launch and execute. This is a fundamentally different approach to economic development in Central Indiana and there is amazing alignment with Indy and all of our regional partners.
Again with Transit, it is show time. After years of planning and failed starts, we have the ability to take a major step forward with the Red Line and creation of sustainable funding.
We will be a clear voice at the State House advocating for early education, anti-discrimination protection, regional mass transit and fair local taxation.