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Press Release: New program seeks to advance Indy women through year-long workshop

Apr 18th, 2019

A new year-long program offered through the networking group Linking Indy Women and two faculty members with the IU Kelley School of Business at IUPUI aims to help Indianapolis women advance in their careers and recognize their potential.

The program, called “Advancing Indy Women: A Year-Long Journey of Professional Development,” will provide skills training to a cohort of Linking Indy Women, which is a group of more than 2,000 professional women in central Indiana who seek to increase their advancement potential. Linking Indy Women has grown organically as co-leaders Sarah Lacey and Ally Brettnacher have offered a way for successful women to share their career journey to inspire other women. Membership is at no cost to participants.

“We say about our monthly events: ‘Inspiration is always free,’ but that also limits what we can do. This opportunity to work with the IU Kelley School of Business at IUPUI allows us to do so much more to help advance women in our community,” said Brettnacher. “We look forward to the tangible impact this program will have on the career trajectory of women in central Indiana.”

This partnership will be free to participants because it is funded by the IUPUI Charles R. Bantz Chancellor’s Community Scholar Award. IUPUI Chancellor Emeritus Charles Bantz firmly believed in the powerof community-engaged research and university–community partnerships to make a lasting impact in central Indiana. Kim Saxton, clinical professor of marketing, and Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow, clinical assistant professor of business law and management, received the award in April 2019.

Through this project, they hope to better understand the barriers women in central Indiana face when trying to advance their careers and to use that knowledge to provide specific training with measurable results.

“Women’s advancement in the workplace is stuck. The needle isn’t moving,” explained Westerhaus-Renfrow. “If women aren’t advancing in central Indiana, the wage gap won’t move either. Indianapolis needs to be a place where the best talent wants to come and stay – and that includes women. Frankly, it’s not just about promoting women because we believe they deserve it, it’s because they DO deserve it.”

Saxton and Westerhaus-Renfrow are routinely asked to present together to women’s groups and at other organizations throughout central Indiana, providing professional development opportunities and resources.

Linking Indy Women aims to provide women with a platform to learn, share and inspire each other throughout their professional journeys through monthly events.

 “I’m always approached by women after our monthly events. They ask: Have you thought about doing more? Could you do more?” said Lacey, who created Linking Indy Women in 2010. “Our members want to connect with women in other industries and to understand how each of us got where we are. The ‘Advancing Indy Women’ program is a tremendous opportunity to provide additional professional development resources to our membership, and we are honored to participate.”

“After working with Linking Indy Women, we knew they wanted to offer more programming, and at the same time, we wanted to take the training we’d been doing around town and systematize it into professional development work so that we could identify a specific impact from it,” said Saxton. “This research-oriented mission we share creates a natural affinity of our partnership.”

To learn more about the “Advancing Indy Women” program available during the second half of 2019 to Linking Indy Women members, email

Teresa Mackin,