2023 Women of Influence: Salena Scardina

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Painting: “Clothed in Strength and Grace” by Mirvia Sol Eckert (IBJ photo/Eric Learned)

Executive Vice President, External Engagement, Indiana Economic Development Corp.

Achievements: As a marketing leader for Indiana’s economic development arm, Salena Scardina has elevated the message that the Hoosier state is good for business. As one example, the Indiana “For the Winners” campaign spanned the United States and more than 70 other countries. As another, she said, her efforts have helped the IEDC achieve record levels of earned media on a global scale. She has doubled the size of the external engagement team and taken large steps toward cross-departmental collaboration. “I am responsible for leading IEDC’s marketing and communications functions,” she said, “elevating Indiana’s storytelling in a way that helps attract and retain more business and talent to the state.”

Career track: She worked at Sweetwater Sound, Vera Bradley, McDonald’s Corp. and Herff Jones before taking on her current role at the IEDC. She also founded a management consulting firm, whose clients included Hanesbrands and Crate & Barrel. “The day I decided to venture out of Fort Wayne to work at Herff Jones and then IEDC really expanded my scope of this great state,” she said.

Giving back: She has served on the boards of the Greater Fort Wayne YMCA, the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals in Business and Northeast Indiana Public Radio. “I’m most proud of my volunteer service through Junior Achievement Latinos Count,” she said.

Mentors and mentoring: She credits Terri Capatosto, a former Marine and communications leader, as her most influential mentor. “She taught me early on how to have command and control of a situation through verbal communication during formative years at McDonald’s Corp.,” Scardina said. Tips for others: “Do the job you are in well, even if it’s not the job you ultimately want. Exceptional work will open doors. Be curious about even the mundane.”

Work/life balance: She said she strives for a “blend” rather than a balance, and she compartmentalizes activities to stay “in the moment.” “Also,” she said, “carrying two phones has been a godsend. This is the first job where I’ve done so.”•

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