2021 Women of Influence: Sally Bindley

(IBJ photo/Eric Learned)

School on Wheels Corp.
founder and CEO

Achievements: Bindley founded School on Wheels 20 years ago when she became aware of an unmet need in the community. The organization’s mission is to provide one-on-one tutoring and educational advocacy for school-age children impacted by homelessness. “Children who were experiencing homelessness did not have anyone focused exclusively on the one thing that could break them out of homelessness—education. Members of the community were looking for meaningful volunteer opportunities and the connection was made,” Bindley said. “I owe my gratitude to the community of Indianapolis for providing human, financial, intellectual and emotional support to School on Wheels.” The organization has marched on through many tough times, including the pandemic. What she’s most proud of is her staff. “I have consistently hired well,” she said.

Career track: When Bindley founded School on Wheels, she was looking for a way to connect several of her passions—teaching, social work, kids, philanthropy. She had spent several years as a corporate trainer, school social worker, family counselor and charitable-giving adviser but felt something was missing. So she started the not-for-profit on the side. “My intention was to continue working and serve as an advisor to School on Wheels, but it became a bit of a calling, so I decided to stay for a little while until we were established in the community,” she said. “That was 20 years ago.”

Giving back: Her community involvement includes board service on the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Klipsch Educators College of Marian University, The Patachou Foundation, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School and Family Advocacy Center.

Mentors and mentoring: “I think mentoring and influence can be intentional and structured or happen more organically,” she said. “In my life, my mentor approach was born out of vulnerability, honesty and accessibility. I have had more success as a woman of influence by discovering my passion, committing to living it, and sharing it with others.”

Work/life balance: “My goal isn’t making the scale equal but knowing where my attention and energy needs to be at a specific time. Life isn’t a scale. It is a pendulum.”•

Check out more Women of Influence honorees.

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