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2017 WOMAN OF INFLUENCE: Angela Wessler

Partner, Barnes & Thornburg LLP

October 27, 2017
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(Photo/Eric Learned)

In the midst of a career at a leading law firm, Wessler researched local organizations in search of a group focusing on the professional development of women in general finance. Not finding one, she led the creation of Executive Women in Finance.

Rising up: “I was one of those people who got interested in high school,” Wessler said of her legal fascination, which led to a law degree from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, along with a bachelor’s in political science from IUPUI, and an MBA from IU Kelley School of Business. Even though her father was a police officer, she quickly found that criminal law held no interest for her. “What I really became interested in was business, corporate issues, and accounting and tax,” she said,” During two years of law school, she worked as a law clerk at the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission and, during her third year, she was a summer associate at Barnes & Thornburg. She went full time in 2002 and has been there her entire career.

wessler-box.gifBenefits of a long-term relationship: “I couldn’t just open a storefront and do what I do. I have to be at a large, well-respected firm to work for the clients I work for. There’s been a lot of headhunting, but I’m happy and comfortable here.”

Inspirational moment: Co-founding Executive Women in Finance in 2015. “I staunchly support the mission of this organization, and the organization has allowed me to be able to connect and share my professional journey with an amazing group of talented women who are also working in the upper levels of the field of finance.”

Mentor: “I have been fortunate enough to have a number of different mentors and sponsors over the course of my career. I am hesitant to single out any specific person and fail to name others who arguably have provided advice or support that was just as meaningful and valuable to me.”

Givebacks: Founding member, board member and current president of Executive Women in Finance, Wessler is also a member of IndyCREW, is actively involved with Dress for Success Indianapolis, and was a participant in the United Way of Central Indiana Leadership United program and the Options program in the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana. “I am passionate about supporting and working with non-profit and charitable organizations that serve women and girls, particularly those that aim to empower women to be self-sufficient.”

Inspirational book: “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. “It had particular meaning for me a number of years ago because the principle of self-made success resonates with me.” More recently, “Lean In,” by Sheryl Sandberg, and “Money on the Table,” by Melissa Greenwell, both contain “practical advice for women in a professional setting that rings true.”

Favorite place in central Indiana: Brown County State Park

Click here for more honorees.

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