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LEADING QUESTIONS: Goodwill boss on lessons learned

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Leading Questions

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

Jim McClelland has been a fixture in the city's not-for-profit world since 1974, when he became president of Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana Inc. He has piloted the organization from $2.8 million in revenue when he first took the helm to $72.8 million in 2009, reinventing its business model a few times along the way.

An industrial engineer by training, McClelland became interested in service work while tutoring inner-city children in Washington, D.C. He was offered a position in Goodwill Industries' executive training program, which he accepted after some reluctance.

"I didn't want to be an executive; I never aspired to be a leader," he said. "What I've been able to do here is exercise my entrepreneurial instincts but at the same time get the same satisfaction I was getting from that volunteer experience."

McClelland, 66, is a big fan of lifelong learning, both from traditional paper-and-ink sources and nose-to-the-grindstone experience. In the video below, McClelland picks his favorite book on management and details a tough lesson learned on his own about nurturing the support functions of his organization.



McClelland's entrepreneurial instincts haven't always led Goodwill in the best direction. In the video below, he discusses how he tried to handle the economic downturn of the early 1980s and what happened when the group started several small business to provide employment for its own training graduates. The experience led to an important epiphany.

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  • Wonderful Stewardship
    I just became a part of the Goodwill organization as a full time employee and I did not realize what a fabulous and well run organization I have had the opportunity to become a part of. There are so many wonderful things they offer to the community; the slogan should be Goodwill - GREAT CAUSE! I encourage everyone to visit the website in order to find out everything Goodwill does for the people of central Indiana. Please visit www.goodwillindy.org I consider working here a privledge.
  • Great guy
    Jim McClelland can be credited for so many visionary strategies for Goodwill Industries and the city of Indianapolis. We are blessed to have him continue to be so active in our community. Thanks, IBJ, for spotlighting a man with such integrity and dedication.

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  1. I think the poster was being sarcastic and only posting or making fun of what is usually posted on here about anything being built in BR or d'town for that matter.

  2. Great news IRL fans: TURBO the IMS sanctioned movie about slugs running the Indy 500 has caught the Securities and Exchange Commission because Dreamworks had to take a $132MILLION write down...because the movie was such a flop. See, the Indy/IMS magic soiled another pair of drawers. Bwahahahahahaha! How's CARTOWN doing? HAHAHAHA...Indy is for losers.

  3. So disappointed in WIBC. This is the last straw to lose a good local morning program. I used to be able to rely on WIBC to give me good local information, news, weather and traffic on my 45 minute commute.Two incidents when I needed local, accurate information regarding severe weather were the first signs I could not now rely on WIBC. I work weekend 12 hour nights for a downtown hospital. This past winter when we had the worst snowfall in my 50 years of life, I came home on a Sunday morning, went to sleep (because I was to go back in Sunday night for another 12 hour shift), and woke up around 1 p.m. to a house with no electricity. I keep an old battery powered radio around and turned on WIBC to see what was going on with the winter storm and the roads and the power outage. Sigh. Only policital stuff. Not even a break in to update on the winter storm warning. The second weather incident occurred when I was driving home during a severe thunderstorm a few months ago. I had already gotten a call from my husband that a tornado warning was just southwest of where I had been. I turned to WIBC to find out what direction the storm was headed so I could figure out a route home, only to find Rush on the air, and again, no breaking away from this stupidity to give me information. Thank God for my phone, which gave me the warning that I was driving in an area where a tornado was seen. Thanks for nothing WIBC. Good luck to you, Steve! We need more of you and not the politics of hatred that WIBC wants to shove at us. Good thing I have Satellite radio.

  4. I read the retail roundup article and tried Burritos and Beers tonight. I'm glad I did, for the food was great. Fresh authentic Mexican food. Great seasoning on the carne asada. A must try!!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

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