2023 Forty Under 40: Ashley Gurvitz

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(IBJ photo/Eric Learned)

CEO | United Northeast Community Development Corp.

Ashley Gurvitz believes in bringing together neighbors, community stakeholders and other decision-makers to improve the housing options, economic opportunities and quality of life for people of northeastern Indianapolis. Her focus on building relationships is the linchpin of that broad endeavor. When Cook Medical was looking for a location to build a manufacturing facility, Gurvitz helped lead the way in persuading CEO Pete Yonkman to select a site near East 38th Street and Sheridan Avenue. But site selection for the 40,000-square-foot facility represented just part of the effort. The entire project was built by minority-owned businesses. And through Goodwill, a partner in the project, the facility also offers services such as mental and physical health support and soft-skills training. “I do what I do simply because I love seeing people achieve their dreams,” Gurvitz said. “Some have yet to see their dreams be fulfilled due to complex social and economic barriers within their communities. My life’s work and purpose has been dedicated to identifying ways of removing those barriers by connecting people with ideas and resources.”

Getting here: She was a senior legislative assistant for the Indiana House Democratic Caucus and a community development manager for Eastern Star Church. She was approached to join the board of United Northeast Community Development Corp., but the organization decided to bring her on staff instead.

First job: She worked for a small catering company in Noblesville. 

Influential moment: During the peak of the pandemic and George Floyd protests, she said, she “discovered how corporations can be a force for good while building strong, vibrant communities.”

Mentor: Cook Group President Pete Yonkman. “As a younger executive stepping into my role, especially at the heart of the pandemic. Pete has been very intentional in affirming that, not my leadership matters, but our entire community matters.”

Givebacks: She serves on boards at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, the Kennedy King Memorial Initiative, the Police Merit Board and the Local Initiatives Support Corp.

Advice: “Always remember that all progress moves at the speed of trust.”•

Check out more Forty Under 40 honorees.

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