Chamber Staff Comings and Goings

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is just a few years away from celebrating 100 years (the organization was founded in 1922). Over nearly a century, there have been countless staff changes and evolutions to help move the organization forward.

Janet Boston

Today, we say “thank you and farewell” to Janet Boston, who is retiring as executive director of the Indiana INTERNnet program, which is managed by the Indiana Chamber. Boston has been in the role for seven years and caps off an outstanding career in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Read more about Boston’s impact with the organization here. The Indiana Chamber and Indiana INTERNnet Board sent Boston out in style – with a luncheon and office celebration, and presented her with a custom necklace in appreciation of her taking the program to new heights.

Mark Lawrance, who has most recently been advocating in the economic development and technology areas, will replace Boston as interim executive director of Indiana INTERNnet, starting June 1. Lawrance will be retiring later this year and is expected to stay in the interim role until the fall.

Additionally, as previously announced, the Indiana Chamber has partnered with the Wellness Council of Indiana and Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration to help combat the state’s opioid epidemic. The new Indiana Workforce Recovery initiative is a joint effort among the groups and is led by Jennifer Pferrer, executive director of the Wellness Council. The initiative provides employers with resources and guidance on how to help their employees who are impacted by the opioid epidemic. Allyson Blandford has come on board at the Wellness Council to support the initiative as project manager.

Also at the Wellness Council, Madie Newman has joined as program coordinator for the Indiana Healthy Communities initiative. The role has been created to support the organization in helping communities coordinate wellness efforts, ensuring healthier citizens and acting as a draw for economic development opportunities.

Abbi Espe rounds out our membership team. She was hired this spring as the manager of member services for northeastern Indiana and will focus on bringing new companies into the fold.

On the education front, the grant-funded college and career readiness position, held by Shelley Huffman, ends today. Lobbyist Caryl Auslander, who handled education and workforce matters, has left for new endeavors.

Greg Ellis, vice president of energy and environmental policy, is now responsible for federal lobbying. Members of the Indiana Chamber’s advocacy team are assuming Auslander and Lawrance’s other policy committee duties on a temporary basis until new staff is hired later this summer.

We wish everyone well and good luck in their future activities and look forward to the contributions of our new team members to continue the important work and mission of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce in “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity for the people of Indiana and their enterprises.”

For our complete staff listing, visit the web site at:

Interns and Mentors Invited to Five Summer Events

*Editor’s note: This post originally appeared at

Interns and internship supervisors from organizations throughout central Indiana are invited to events at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (May 31), Fountain Square Theatre Rooftop Garden (June 1), Indianapolis Zoo (July 10), Indiana State Fair (August 3) and [email protected] (August 23). Each will offer professional development and networking opportunities in addition to time to explore the venues and have fun.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis event will begin at 9 a.m. with an interactive workshop. Prior to that, check-in will be held at 8:30 a.m., and interns will be invited to participate in a networking game. Following the workshop, attendees will be free to explore The Children’s Museum until it closes at 5 p.m. Guests will have access to The Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience. Lunch will not be provided, but attendees may bring their own or purchase at the museum. Capacity is limited and online registration is required.

Indy Intern Connection, hosted in partnership with the Indy Chamber, will begin at 5:00 p.m. at the Fountain Square Theatre Rooftop Garden. Network with local professionals and enjoy the festivities of First Friday with drinks, duckpin bowling, food and open artist galleries throughout Fountain Square. Online registration is required.

The Indianapolis Zoo event will start at 1 p.m. During the day, interns will participate in networking and a panel discussion with representatives from various career fields. They will also have the chance to compete in a scavenger hunt for prizes while exploring the zoo. The newest exhibit of long-tailed macaques will be open! Food will not be provided, but guests are welcome to eat beforehand or purchase something from concessions. Due to capacity restrictions, a maximum of two intern supervisors per company may attend.

The Indiana State Fair event will begin at 9 a.m. (check-in: 8 a.m.) with a welcome and networking activity. During the programming, interns can compete in a trivia contest to win prizes. After that, guests will be able to explore the Indiana State Fair at their leisure.

Indiana INTERNnet is partnering with the Indiana Sports Corp to host an intern networking event called “[email protected]” during the cycling time trial leg of its Corporate Challenge. Interns are invited to enjoy food, drinks, games and networking with Young Professionals groups at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The event will run from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Register online by August 17.

Capacity is limited, and registration is required. The reservation deadline is June 22 for the Indianapolis Zoo and July 12 for the Indiana State Fair. For more information or to RSVP, contact [email protected] or (317) 264-6852.

The purpose of these events is to increase talent retention in Indiana. A feeling of community connectedness is a significant factor in a young professional’s decision regarding where he or she lives and works.

“Talent retention is at the core of Indiana INTERNnet’s mission,” emphasizes executive director Janet Boston. “To complement the real-world experience interns gain on the job, these engagement events provide an opportunity for interns to build relationships through networking and develop community pride.”

Indiana INTERNnet: Video Interview Tips

Video interview

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Indiana INTERNnet blog.

Step aside in-person interviews, video interviews are becoming increasingly popular in today’s workforce. This technologically-advanced method is a time and cost saver for interviewers and interviewees. You should treat it as a traditional in-person interview, but with a few variations for before and during the meeting.

Tech Test
In preparation, you should test the technology you’re going to use for the interview far in advance (at least a few hours before). The interviewer will send instructions for joining the meeting, this may include a phone number in place of using computer audio. There are many different options for video conferences, so familiarize yourself with the correct one and download the necessary software installation or updates. If you choose to use your computer’s audio or a headset, be sure to test the microphone and speakers.

Image is Everything
In addition to testing your computer’s microphone and speakers, you should check the functionality of the camera. If using a laptop, you may need to prop it up so the camera is more level with your face. Try setting a few books underneath the laptop to reach the appropriate height. Be sure to dress professionally (this is still an interview). They may only see from your shoulders and up, but your outfit could affect your attitude. Pajamas, while comfy, may make you sound too casual and unprofessional.

You should also be mindful of your surroundings. Find a quiet place without potential interruptions. A child or cat running into the room could be a big distraction.

Eye of the Interviewer
This is one of the most important and (somewhat) difficult pieces of the video interview. While the camera is usually located at the top of the laptop, the interviewer will be shown on the screen below forcing your eyes downward. It’s an unnatural feeling to focus your eyes on the camera instead of the person you’re talking to. You can try practicing with friends/family before the interview, or place arrows on either side of the camera as a reminder.

Note with Caution
Another benefit of video interviews is note taking without the interview seeing what you’re writing. Be sure to use caution, as you don’t want to appear too distracted. Come up with a few questions you want to ask about the position or company, and write it down. This way you won’t panic when it’s your time to ask questions.

(Still) Under Pressure
While you may feel more comfortable interviewing in your own environment, you should still do the normal prep work as you would for a traditional interview; research the company and its products/services, practice answers for typical interview questions, review the position description, etc.

Struggling to come up with your weaknesses is just as awkward in a video interview as it is in person.

IMPACT Awards Nominations Now Open

Get your pens (or keyboards) ready! Nominations for the 12th annual IMPACT Awards are now open.

Indiana INTERNnet’s awards luncheon is an annual celebration of internship excellence. The 2018 event will be held at 11:30 a.m. on February 7 at the Ivy Tech Corporate College and Culinary Center in downtown Indianapolis.

Indiana INTERNnet, the free online internship matching service managed by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, will accept nominations for outstanding interns, employers and career development professionals through 5 p.m. on October 20.

Check out these frequently asked questions about the nomination process and the program:

Q. What are the awards categories?

A. Intern of the Year (3): high school, college and non-traditional

Career Development Professional of the Year (1)

Employer of the Year (2): non-profit and for profit

Q. What advice do you have for applying for an award/honor?

A. Each category has specific criteria that judges will reflect on as they are choosing winners. We encourage you to include stories, facts, measurements and the significance of your nominee’s impact. The narrative should be 1,000 words or less. You should double check to make sure everything is spelled correctly.

Q. Who judges the awards?

A. A panel of impartial judges review and score the nominations. Most of the judges are Indiana INTERNnet Board Members, however it is not a requirement.

Q. Where can I find a list of past winners? 

A. The list of past winners can be found here.

Q. What will nominees/winners receive?

A. Each nominee will be announced during the program, receive a nomination certificate and will be photographed with the keynote speaker (if attending the luncheon). Certificates will be mailed to those who are unable to attend.

Winners will be announced during the program, and will receive an engraved award and a digital badge to display on websites, marketing materials, social media sites, etc. The winners will also be featured in a press release, blog posts, nominations webpage, newsletter and BizVoice Magazine.

Q. How much does it cost to attend the luncheon?

A. Individual registrations are $50 per person. Sponsorships are available, starting at $750.

Q. How can I submit a nomination?

A. Fill out the online nomination form at the Indiana INTERNnet web site and contact Karissa Rector for more information.

Photo: Tamika Catchings, four-time Olympic gold medalist, WNBA All-Star and founder of Catch the Stars Foundation delivered the keynote address to the crowd at the 2017 IMPACT Awards luncheon.