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LEADING QUESTIONS: Pugnacious DeLaney seeks simpler life

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Leading Questions

Welcome to the latest installment of “Leading Questions: Wisdom from the Corner Office,” in which IBJ sits down with central Indiana’s top bosses to talk shop about the latest developments in their industries and the habits that lead to success.

Up until September, 64-year-old Ann DeLaney maintained a professional pace that would tire the most ambitious of go-getters. She essentially maintained three offices as executive director of The Julian Center; a partner in the family law practice of DeLaney & DeLaney LLC; and trustee of Chapter 13 bankruptcies filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana. That doesn’t count the role for which she is likely best known in central Indiana: the pugnacious Democratic voice on the political-events public TV show “Indiana Week in Review.”



“I needed to simplify my life,” DeLaney said. “It was too complicated.”

Something had to give, so after 15 years at the helm of The Julian Center, DeLaney decided to step down. The not-for-profit group providing support to survivors of domestic violence had transformed over her tenure. Its annual budget was less than $1 million in 1996; today it’s more than $4 million. The group formerly was squirreled away in a small building with an undisclosed location, but now boasts a high-profile campus of shelter, support and administrative facilities at 2011 N. Meridian St.  The latest addition is 34 North, a 71-unit affordable housing complex at 34th and Meridian streets that provides long-term lodging to victims of domestic violence.

The metamorphosis can be traced back to DeLaney’s aggressive approach to fundraising, which itself was honed over many years as a leader in state politics. A former deputy prosecutor for Marion County, DeLaney was a candidate for lieutenant governor in 1984. She was campaign manager for former Gov. Evan Bayh’s re-election campaign in 1992, and served as state Democratic Party chairwoman from 1993 to 1995.

Julian Center supporters resisted staging a capital campaign when DeLaney took the reins in 1996. Defying the findings of a feasibility study, DeLaney embarked on a $7.5 million campaign that ultimately reshaped the organization and its services.

In the video at top, DeLaney reveals the high-profile political position she turned down in the 1996 presidential election to stay with The Julian Center.

“I had made a commitment to try to get The Julian Center in the black,” she said. “And I had just had my first grandchild and wanted to stay pretty close to home. If you’re in a presidential campaign, you have no life for six months. … If they had called me a few months earlier, I don’t know what the answer would have been.”

She also explains her decision to leave the Julian Center after 15 years, motivated by family concerns that included the brutal attack on her husband, state Rep. Ed DeLaney. The failed attempt on his life on Oct. 31, 2009, left him with fractured ribs and a broken eye socket.

“We’ve been thinking about things that we’ve wanted to do, and needed to do. So, sure, it puts [life] in perspective,” she said.  

In the video below, DeLaney provides an inside glimpse at the workings of “Indiana Week in Review,” which has featured her as a panelist for nearly all of its 20 years on the air. She also describes a pivotal episode in her early career as a political activist, giving birth to her first child between the assassination and funeral of Robert Kennedy in 1968.




 

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  • Service well Done
    Ann DeLaney is one of the most classy women in the state. Although I have disagreed with some of her positions, one has to admit that she is honest and you know and understand where she stands. As a result, she has made Indiana a much better place, something more than one can say about dozens of elected officials at the state level. Trust she continues to find time for IWR.
  • IBJ Article
    FYI - Barb

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  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

  3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

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