Hamilton County Leadership Academy announces Class of 2019


The Hamilton County Leadership Academy, now in its 28th year, has selected 36 individuals who live or work in Hamilton County to take part in its 10-month community leadership program. Founded in 1991, HCLA connects community leaders to issues, causes and opportunities that impact Hamilton County.

Participants are selected through a highly-competitive application process based on their involvement in the community and their professional achievement, their understanding of community issues and challenges, and their desire to make an impact through a significant commitment to leading and serving in Hamilton County.


“Hamilton County continues to be one of the top counties in the nation. Its success and growth has been driven by strong leaders and community champions who have developed a clear vision and worked collaboratively to achieve it,” HCLA Executive Director John Robbins said. “Our role at HCLA is to help these incredibly talented individuals gain a deeper understanding of our county, connect them to a network of similarly passionate people and inspire them to make a difference in their own backyard. It helps to ensure Hamilton County will continue to thrive in the years and decades to come.”

Liz Tate was selected as the Curriculum Dean for the Class of 2019. Tate is the retired vice president for community investment of the Central Indiana Community Foundation. The position of dean exists to help participants focus on timely topics within Hamilton County, see the connections and common themes within each program day and build strong, lifelong relationships with fellow participants, alumni and community leaders.

HCLA meets monthly from August through June. The program touches on a variety of topics from government, public safety and education to business and arts and culture. Over 10 months, participants will hear from more than 100 community, nonprofit and business leaders throughout the county.

For more information, visit www.hcla.net


  • Liz Tate, Curriculum Dean
  • Chelsea Beaman, CEO / Healthcare Consultant at CLB Management Consulting
  • Brian Bondus, director of leasing, ALO Property Group
  • Andrew Bradford, vice president and chief development officer, Conner Prairie
  • Drew Braley, associate/project manager, Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf
  • Todd Dailey, director of information technology, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group
  • Michael Daugherty, wealth advisor, First Merchants Private Wealth Advisors
  • Brian Dell, senior director, commercial real estate broker, Colliers International
  • Laura Denis, director of student services, Noblesville Schools
  • Megan Earnest, mall manager, Hamilton Town Center, Simon Property Group
  • Leigh Ann Erickson, director, development and alumni relations, Fairbanks and Hope Academy
  • Michael Fry, vice president, business development, LUNA Language Services
  • Justin Furr, director of real estate and construction, Crew Carwash
  • Janet Gafkjen, director of Partnership for a Healthy Hamilton County, Good Samaritan Network
  • Leslie Gieger, attorney at law,Church Church Hittle + Antrim
  • Dr. Sherry Grate, superintendent, Westfield Washington Schools
  • Katie Guerra, owner/financial director, The Play School
  • Brandy Hill, director of marketing and PR, Riverview Health
  • Carla Hill, director of business development, BSA LifeStructures
  • Peggy Hogan, HR consultant, Purple Ink HR
  • Chris Johnson, senior vice president/corporate banking relationship manager, PNC Bank
  • Caitlin Karvasky, business development, senior manager, Moser Consulting
  • Melanie Lentz, community relations and economic development project manager, City of Carmel
  • Jennifer Maxwell, business development executive, CleanSlate Technology Group
  • Rebecca McGuckin, communications, River’s Edge Natural Health
  • Derek McMichael, director of pharmacy, Community Health Network
  • Whitney Moore, owner/photographer, Whitney Moore Photography
  • Mackenzie Poole, coordinator, Legacy Fund
  • Gary Sexton, president, The Sexton Group
  • Ann Marie Shambaugh, managing editor of Current in Carmel, Current Publishing
  • Stephanie Smith, owner, Smith House
  • Steve Sneath, community outreach coordinator and volunteer coordinator, Hamilton County Parks and Recreation
  • Rachel Sorvig, vice president, Bose Public Affairs Group
  • Jeff Steeg, vice president of operations, The Center for the Performing Arts
  • Bob Swanay, director, Carmel Clay Public Library
  • Kert Toler, senior property manager, Halakar Properties
  • Kyle Wise, sales operations manager, Beck’s Hybrids

*Source: HCLA