The Indianapolis Chapter was formed in 1990 as an Interest Group. The founders of the group believed the city of Indianapolis was in need of a professional organization for African Americans. The vision was to provide African-American professional community with advanced degrees an opportunity to come together and network as a group. The National Black MBA Association offered such an opportunity and this group of visionaries petitioned the national organization for admittance. A few of the people involved in this effort were Claudia Stephens Maddox, Jerry Johnson, and Emmanuel “Mann” Harris. A great debt is owed the individuals for their foresight. Others playing a prominent role in developing the chapter were Ed Thompson, Sheila Faison, Bill Reynolds, Carolyn Johns (Christian), Darlene Sowell, and Frank Davis.  Much credit should be accorded these individuals as well.

Immediately thereafter, the group was granted Interim Chapter status. As an Interim Chapter, we (the members) worked hard to meet the goals set forth by the national organization that were required to become a Full Chapter. In the summer of 1992, during an Executive Board Meeting in Chicago, the Indianapolis Chapter was granted Full Chapter status! Much is owed to one of our former presidents, Darlene Sowell, and Sheila Faison, an original member, who traveled to Chicago to compel the board to grant this status to our chapter.

Since becoming a Full Chapter with the NBMBAA, the Indianapolis Chapter has continued grow at a steady pace. One of the mainstays of our chapter has always been our Seminar Series, which continues to this day. Attendance at these events has always been strong as we provide excellent speakers who share with us their knowledge on varying subjects. In recent years, our Corporate Reception has also drawn a large audience and continues to grow each year. In October 1999, the Internal Revenue Service granted the chapter 501c(3) status. Much credit is owed to Ken Gregory, Past President and Chapter Treasurer, for his efforts in accomplishing this goal.

The chapter has had the privilege of hosting two (2) Midwest Regional Meetings: in 1993 and 1999. In 2012, the chapter hosted the national conference. This was a wonderful opportunity for us to show our fellow chapters and representatives of the national organization what we have accomplished here locally. It was a pleasure for us to host these meetings as it truly made us feel a part of the NBMBAA family.

This history would not be complete without acknowledging the role Eli Lilly and Company has played in establishing this chapter. Lilly provided the first “seed” money to start the chapter at its’ inception. In addition, they have hosted the Corporate Reception, provided funding for our first Membership/Student Reception and the construction of our website, and been a constant supporter and participant of the Career Fair at our National Conference and Exposition. We will always be grateful to Eli Lilly for their support.

Presidents of the Indianapolis Chapter

Darlene Sowell


Frank Gadzepko


Ken Gregory


Tony Williams


Hortense White


Denise Hughey

2007- 2010

Lori Harris

2007- 2010

Rita Rogers

2015 – 2018

Starla Trigg

2019 – 2022

Catrina Thompson

2023 –Present

Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible.
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