Recorder Media Group, home to Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper and Indiana Minority Business Magazine, will honor 10 individuals who are Rising Stars in their chosen careers during the Golden Laurel Professional Reception 5:30-7 p.m. May 16 at Mid-State Minority Supplier Development Council, 2126 N. Meridian St. The Rising Stars, listed below, represent minority role models.
Bunmi Akintomide, systems specialists manager at Sales force
As manager for the marketing automation team at Salesforce, Bunmi Akintomide oversees projects, initiatives and system maintenance to ensure work is completed according to quality standards and in a timely manner. Akintomide is also a liaison between the business and IT application development organization departments to identify issues and recommend resolutions.
Akintomide, an immigrant from Nigeria, has worked at Salesforce in different roles since 2016 and has developed analytical, troubleshooting and project management skills in that time.
He is president and founder of Indy Black Millennials; social committee liaison for Indiana Urban League Exchange; a mentor for Big Brother, Big Sister of Central Indiana; and is a member of Boldforce Indy, Equality Council Business Technology Indy, Indy Site Council Employee Engagement Subcommittee, all of Salesforce.
Ebony Chappel, multicultural
community relations coordinator at Indiana Donor Network
In her role as multicultural community relations coordinator at Indiana Donor Network, Ebony Chappel educates people of color, the LGBTQ community and faith groups on the importance of saving lives through the gift of organ, tissue and eye donations.
Along with her work at Indiana Donor Network, Chappel, former editor of the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper, volunteers with organizations such as 100 Black Men of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Public Library and Indianapolis Press Club Foundation. Chappel is an award-winning journalist and radio host. She hosts a weekly radio program, "Eye on the Community," which airs Sunday mornings on Hot 96.3 FM and is one of the top three shows in its time slot.
Taylor Fitzgerald, pharmaceutical sales representative at Eli Lilly
Taylor Fitzgerald serves as a pharmaceutical sales representative for Eli Lilly's east region, where she is responsible for advancing care for people with diabetes.
Outside of her work at Eli Lilly, Fitzgerald is a writer, singer and author. In November 2018 she co-authored the book, "The Journey to Joy: 5 Generations Share Stories Every Woman Needs to Hear," with her mother, Joy Fitzgerald and Sa Phillips. She and her co-authors share different generational perspectives on issues such as dating, marriage and motherhood.
Fitzgerald is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Club and the Salvation Army.
Juan Gonzalez, Central Indiana market president at KeyBank
With more than 18 years of experience in the banking and financial industry, Juan Gonzalez is the Central Indiana market president for KeyBank and also serves as the business banking sales leader in Indiana. Gonzales works with the company's Corporate Responsibility Group to develop lending and investment strategies that allow Key-Bank to not only be good stewards of its resources to meet its corporate and social responsibilities.
He is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series.
Gonzalez, who has a master's degree in business administration and finance from Butler University, is on numerous boards of directors, including the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation and the 500 Festival. Gonzalez is also on the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, chairs the Indiana Latino Scholarship Fund and is president of Dynamo F.C. and treasurer of Employ Indy. He has received numerous awards for his community involvement including the 2016 La Plaza Outstanding Community Award.
Ashley Gurvitz, community development manager at Eastern Star Church
Thanks to her adoptive parents, Ashley Gurvitz has known the importance of serving your community since early childhood. However, following the murder of Trayvon Martin, Gurvitz decided she needed to do more to strengthen her community. That desire led her to become the community development manager for Eastern Star Church's ROCK Initiative, which includes resources such as a grocery store and financial literacy services.
Before joining Eastern Star Church, Gurvitz worked as a senior legislative aide and internship director for the Indiana House Democratic Caucus.
Gurvitz is also involved with other community organizations such as the Emerging Leaders Project, Kennedy King Memorial Initiative, Northeast Community District Resource Council and the Damien Center. She is part of Indianapolis' Citizens Police Complaint Board and is president of the Indianapolis chapter of the Democrat African American Caucus.
Jordan Rodriguez, director of the Office of International and Latino Affairs for the mayor's office in Indianapolis
As the director of the Office of International and Latino Affairs, Jordan Rodriguez frequently engages and supports minority communities in Indianapolis. One of his largest responsibilities is managing the city's outreach efforts to Latino populations.
Born to Colombian and American parents, Jordan Rodriguez lived in Guatemala, Mexico and Spain before moving to the United States. Rodriguez's passion for Hispanic communities defines his career in local government. He began working for the city of Indianapolis in 2014 as a bilingual constituent services representative at the Mayor's Action Center. In 2016 he received a promotion to neighborhood advocate for Wayne, Decatur and West Center townships. He was promoted to his current position in 2017.
Rima Shahid, executive director of Women4Change
Rima Shahid is the executive director of Women4Change, a nonprofit that equips and encourages women to engage in civil conversation about political and civic issues. Her job involves overseeing the daily operation of the organization while fostering its growth and engaging its volunteers. Shahid is the organization's first executive director.
Shahid, a native Hoosier who lived in the Middle East for more than a decade, previously worked as a trade development officer at the Pakistan Embassy in Bahrain.
Adrianne Slash, senior employment program specialist, talent management-human resources at Community Health Network and president of The Exchange at Indianapolis Urban League
Adrianne Slash serves as senior employment program specialist, talent management-human resources at Community Health Network. Slash worked at every department at United Way except finance and was named among United Way's 100 Heroes in 2018. She is president of The Exchange at the Indianapolis Urban League and is also a board member of the local chapter. She is a board member of Visit Indy, the Jewish Community Center and a member of the Marion County Judicial Selection Committee and Indianapolis Cluster for CEOs for Cities. Slash is a Indianapolis Foundation Fellow and an Exchange Leadership Fellow and was named a 2018 Breakthrough Women in Public Policy by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Indianapolis Chapter.
Amy Titus, owner and CEO of Rooted Scales
After studying herbalism for 10 years, Amy Titus was introduced two years ago to cannabidiol (CBD oil) to ease some of her medical issues — chronic pain, anxiety and insomnia — without any side effects. Her experience led her to starting her own hemp-focused lifestyle and wellness company with friend Jaimeson Wright. The name Rooted Scales was chosen to reflect Titus and Wright's desire for the company to be rooted in health and bring balance to the community.
Before becoming a business owner, Titus held managerial positions in several local restaurants including Milktooth, Garden Table and Nourish.
Sean Washington, entrepreneur and motivational speaker
Local entrepreneur Sean Washington began Excelevate Development Group, a real estate development group, in December 2018.
Before starting his own business, Washington held various positions at Indiana State University. In addition, he is a mentor with the Bloom Project, participates in homeless outreach, speaks at local schools and teaches about entrepreneurship.
A former athlete and graduate of Indiana State University, Washington served as a graduate assistant for the football team and a mentor for freshmen student-athletes in the Academic Enrichment Center.