Welcome to the latest installment of “Leading Questions: Wisdom from the Corner Office,” where IBJ sits down with central Indiana’s top bosses to talk shop about their industry and the habits that lead to success.
Pamela Altmeyer, 63, was the first full-time hire of the fledgling Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana in 1981. As president and CEO, Altmeyer has helped grow the not-for-profit into the state's largest food bank, distributing food and grocery products to a network of more than 400 charitable programs in 21 Indiana counties. In 2009, Gleaners provided close to 24 million pounds of product to Hoosiers, the equivalent of more than 20 million meals.
Feeding Indiana's hungry became a consuming passion for Altmeyer, who for decades juggled the responsibilities of being a single mother with seven-day work weeks. "They didn't ever end," she said. "Even when I'm not working, I'm thinking of things that need to be or could be done."
She married her third husband, Daniel J. Alvey, in 2002. "Dan contrasted my work with the food bank to those women who chose a religious life, and he wasn't the first to make that observation," she said.
In the video below, Altmeyer discusses how her son's death from cancer in 2008 spurred her to reevaluate her priorities. With Gleaners now ensconced in a 297,000-square-foot warehouse facility and the $11.6 million capital campaign to finance the project nearly complete, she found herself at a natural stopping point for her career.
With more free time on her hands, Altmeyer will be able to indulge her other passions: geology and mechanical repairs. In the video below, Altmeyer reveals that her career might have taken a radically different path had her high school curriculum been more flexible.