International Women’s Day (March 8) is observed all around the world, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is a day of observance that carries special significance to The International Center. We celebrate the global spirit every day, but on this day, it seems fitting to give a special nod to some of the women who have made significant contributions to The Center’s growth and success over the years.
It all started back in 1973 when The International Center of Indianapolis was formed and its Articles of Incorporation and Application to the Internal Revenue Service were filed. The 26-member board consisted of several notable female community leaders who helped nurture and mold the young organization:
- Lois Cole, Indianapolis Committee for International Visitors (ICIV)
- Mildred S. Compton, The Children’s Museum
- Jeanne Hicks, Indiana Council on World Affairs (ICWA)
- Marie Lagadon, Philippines Association
- Susan Park McKee, The Indianapolis Star
- Gladys Nisenbaum, ICIV
- Sister Marie Pierre Nuttell, OSF, Marian College (who would later be honored as an International Citizen of the Year recipient)
- Marianna Preston, ICWA
- Sandi Slavin, Hadassah
- Winnifred Smith, YWCA
During the ensuing decades, many more female board members have made their mark on The Center in a multitude of ways. And even after their official term of service to the board has ended, many have remained active as volunteers and advocates, helping us work with our community partners to achieve our mission to serve as a catalyst to inform, convene and connect public, private and civic global objectives in Indiana.
Today The Center enjoys the support of an outstanding Board of Directors which includes seven women who are not only true standouts within their respective fields of expertise, but who are also committed ambassadors for The Center and whose contributions to our success are substantial. On International Women’s Day we are honored to recognize and thank these outstanding female International Center board members:
- Maureen Donohue Krauss, Indy Chamber
- Julie Griffith, Purdue University (Governance Chair)
- Jill McKinney, Butler University
- Marcia Stone, Indianapolis Airport Authority (Board Chair)
- Melissa Proffitt, Ice Miller LLP (2018 International Citizen of the Year Chair)
- Prisila Vansetti, Corteva Agriscience (formerly Dow AgroSciences)
- Amy Conrad Warner, IUPUI
Finally, we want to acknowledge that many women have held impactful roles at The Center throughout its four-plus decades of existence, and we owe a debt of gratitude to them all, past and present. In particular, however, we want to recognize two outstanding women, whose names, during their respective decade-long tenures as president and CEO of The International Center, became synonymous throughout the Indianapolis community with The Center. Those two women, about whom people continue to speak with admiration and gratitude for their service and contributions to making The Center what it is today, are Caterina Cregor Blitzer, who led the organization from 1995 to 2006, and Diane Thomas, who served as CEO from 2007 to 2017.
Both women embraced and championed diversity in all forms within our community, as well as on the Center’s board and staff, and served as outstanding role models for all these groups during the time they served The Center. It was largely due to their efforts that The International Center today enjoys rich cultural and gender diversity among its staff, and endeavors to create programming that opens up unique opportunities for men and women alike, especially those who share in The Center’s vision for Indiana as a place that embraces a global economy, values all cultures, and is a vibrant place to live and work.
By Billie Fouts, Vice President of Marketing and Development