Every business sector has influential players, whether they are in the public eye or wield their influence behind the scenes. In a monthly feature that runs in the first issue of the month through October, IBJ is identifying those players in eight different categories.
The women and men listed here represent some of the key players in the hospitality sector, which we’ve broadly defined to cover arts, entertainment, food service, lodging, recreation and tourism. The names come from our own news staff, peer recommendations and public nominations—a long list, which was peer reviewed and culled to create the list that follows. For a variety of reasons, three individuals who made the final list are not depicted here; they are: Chris Ratay, director of marketing at the Omni-Severin Hotel; Stephanie Schulz, director of conventions and meetings at the NCAA; and Bruce White, president and CEO of White Lodging.
Janet Allen, 55
Indiana Repertory Theatre
As the IRT’s artistic director, Janet Allen oversees the production process and education outreach programs. Along with Managing Director Steven Stolen, she supervises all aspects of the theater, its strategies and its growth––keeping IRT in the forefront of local dramatic organizations.
Allen joined the theater in 1980, as its first literary manager/dramaturge, and was named to her current position, as the fourth artistic director, in 1996. Throughout, she has been passionate about the art and craft of creating plays, helping to make IRT known for fostering budding playwrights. She has never aspired to act or write plays, but she has energetically worked to expand the theater’s reach. Allen has also worked to expand educational programming, which includes the juried Young Playwrights in Process, a program encouraging students in grades six through 12 to try their hands at writing plays.
Allen studied theater at Illinois State University, Indiana University and Exeter College, Oxford. As a classical theater specialist, she has published and taught theater history and dramaturgy at IUPUI and Butler University.
Allen, a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Leadership program, is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Girls Inc. 2004 Touchstone Award for Arts Leadership. She and her husband live in Chatham Arch along with their two daughters.
Maxwell L. Anderson, 54
President and CEO
Indianapolis Museum of Art
Max Anderson was named the Melvin & Bren Simon director and CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2006 and has been a high-profile leader in the arts ever since. During his tenure at the IMA, he has changed the shape of the museum. In 2010 alone, he added more than 125 works to the museum’s permanent collection as part of the museum’s 125th anniversary celebration and oversaw the opening of 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, one of the largest art parks in the country. Under his leadership, the museum secured the donation of Miller House and Garden, the iconic Eero Saarinen’s home in Columbus, which will open to the public later this spring.
Nationally, Anderson has pursued solutions to challenges facing art museums and has championed the rights of artists to receive fair tax treatment when donating works of art to museums. And he launched two consecutive projects to build international libraries of digital media documenting the collections and activities of art museums—one for still images (AMICO), and one for video (ArtBabble). In 2009, the IMA received the 2009 National Medal of Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries that make extraordinary civic, educational, economic, environmental and social contributions.
Anderson has degrees from Dartmouth and Harvard and served as museum director for the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others, before coming to Indianapolis. He is married to Jacqueline Buckingham Anderson, who is also active in the community.
Tanya Bell, 36
President and CEO
Indiana Black Expo Inc.
As president of Indiana Black Expo, Bell oversees Summer Celebration and Circle City Classic, events estimated to generate $40 million in spending for the local economy. Summer Celebration, one of the nation’s largest cultural events, spans 11 days and attracts nearly 300,000 visitors. Circle City Classic, a joint venture with the Indiana Sports Corp., attracts about 200,000 visitors each year. The Classic supports educational achievement and showcases traditionally black colleges and universities. Under Bell’s leadership, the Classic has provided more than $150,000 in scholarships to Indiana students.
Bell works with a staff of 20 and approximately 1,500 volunteers throughout the state to execute Indiana Black Expo’s fundraising events and year-round program and initiatives, which include back-to-school rallies, college-readiness workshops, the Indiana College and Scholars Fair, an internship program, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest, We Can Feed the Hungry, and Commit 2 Quit Anti-Tobacco Campaign.
Bell received her undergraduate degree from Indiana State University and her law degree from Indiana University School of Law. Immediately before joining Indiana Black Expo, she served as an adjunct legal writing professor at IU School of Law Indianapolis and as the assistant general counsel for Community Health Network, a billion-dollar not-for-profit health system. She also worked at the law firms of Ogletree Deakins and Ice Miller.
Bell serves on the boards of the United Way of Central Indiana, the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association and Indiana Sports Corp., and she is a trustee for Indiana State University. Bell is an advisory board member for Key Bank, and she was recently named to the Key4Women National Advisory Board.
Jeffrey G. Belskus, 51
President and CEO
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp.
Jeff Belskus has served as president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. since July 2009. He joined IMS in 1987 and was named vice president in 1991. In 1994, he was named executive vice president and chief financial officer for Hulman & Co., Terre Haute, and its subsidiaries, including the Speedway and the Indy Racing League. The Speedway estimates that its three key events—the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race and the Red Bull USGP motorcycle race—generate an economic impact of $725 million a year for the state.
Belskus serves on several boards, including those of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, where he is the vice chairman; Indiana State University Foundation, where he is chairman of the audit committee; and Morris Plan Co. of Terre Haute. In Indianapolis, he serves on the boards of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, the 500 Festival, the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association. His professional affiliations include the American Institute of CPAs and the Indiana CPA Society, and the Indianapolis chapter of Financial Executives International.
A 1981 graduate of Indiana State University, Belskus and his wife, Debbie, live in Zionsville and have two grown children.