20 in their Twenties 2022: André Zhang Sonera

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(IBJ photo/Eric Learned)

Deputy Director of Operations and Strategic Partnerships, Indiana Arts Commission

André Zhang Sonera just finished six years working for the city of Indianapolis, most recently as project manager for neighborhood engagement. In that role, he established economic recovery programs, distributing more than $14 million in CARES Act funds in grants to sustain the local economy, provided translation for official governmental communications and strengthened relationships with local Latino organizations. Before that, he was special assistant to Mayor Joe Hogsett, where he staffed more than 1,000 community events, and internship program coordinator in the Mayor’s Office. He joined the city from the Indianapolis Local Public Improvement Bond Bank, where he was project and public affairs manager. He left the city in July for a job as deputy director of operations and strategic partnerships at the Indiana Arts Commission.

Proud moment in your career? During the pandemic, Sonera worked with his communication team to ensure that essential resources and programs had information available in Spanish. He also spearheaded a COVID-19 vaccine registration hotline for Spanish-speaking constituents. 

What have you learned about yourself since you joined the workforce? His resiliency, especially during the pandemic, to keep pushing forward no matter how hard or tough it gets, and his ability to approach problems with creative solutions. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Chief of staff for an elected official, dedicating his time to the betterment of neighborhoods and communities across Indiana. 

Favorite social media platform: Twitter

Favorite podcast: “La Brega: Stories of the Puerto Rican Experience”

 Netflix recommendation: “La Casa de Papel” (“Money Heist”)

Go-to coffee order: dark roast (black and unsweetened)

Morning person or night owl? “Night owl for sure!”•

Check out more 20 in their Twenties honorees.

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