Downtown Indy picks longtime Hogsett official as new leader

Taylor Schaffer

Downtown Indy Inc. has hired one of the top officials in the Hogsett administration to lead the organization.

The not-for-profit on Thursday announced that Taylor Schaffer, chief of staff for Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, will take on the role of president and CEO starting Oct. 3, after six years of working for the mayor in various capacities. Schaffer will be just the third leader in the 29-year-old organization’s history.

Downtown Indy is a private, not-for-profit, civic organization that focuses on downtown Indianapolis’ economic growth, livability and vitality.

“I am thrilled for the opportunity to take on this new role and look forward to ensuring that Downtown Indy, Inc. continues to serve as an advocate and champion for its members, as well as the residents and stakeholders of downtown,” said Schaffer in written remarks. “Our capital city’s downtown is the economic engine for the state and one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in central Indiana–with near-daily news of new investment and transformative change. I will benefit from a legacy of leadership that has brought us to this critical juncture and I’m looking forward to embracing the spirit of collaboration that has been the hallmark of progress in Downtown Indianapolis.”

Schaffer, 33, has been Hogsett’s chief deputy mayor since December 2020, just weeks after helping secure a deal with the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and Elanco Animal Health Inc. for a new headquarters campus on the former General Motors stamping plant site. Prior to that, she led the city’s communications efforts starting in 2016. She also oversaw communications during Hogsett’s initial campaign for mayor in 2015.

A 2021 IBJ Forty Under 40 honoree, Schaffer previous worked as a marketing/communication strategist and account leader at Indianapolis-based advertising agencies Young & Laramore and Bandy Carroll Hellige.

She serves several local not-for-profits as a board member, including Visit Indy, Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center and the Athenaeum Foundation, helping with fundraising, event planning and strategic partnerships.

Schaffer’s hiring comes a little more than four months after Downtown Indy’s former top executive Sherry Seiwert announced her departure. Seiwert succeeded the late Tamara Zahn, who retired after the 2012 Super Bowl.

“Taylor brings her proven leadership skills around collaboration, economic development and civic growth to us at a time when downtown has begun a historic transformation,” said said Downtown Indy chair Bill Browne in written remarks. “Her passion for and knowledge of downtown are further exemplified by the fact that she has worked and lived in downtown since she started her career here. Her vision for Downtown and our organization impressed us during the search process, and we look forward to what lies ahead.”

Interim president and CEO Bob Schultz—previously the organization’s senior vice president of marketing, communications and events—will return to his former position.

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8 thoughts on “Downtown Indy picks longtime Hogsett official as new leader

  1. I sincerely wish Taylor Shaffer the best in her new position.

    Her challenges are many for developing downtown, such as
    – Safety downtown.
    – Cleaning downtown to keep it look8ng nice
    – Bring a more vibrant architectural artistic designs and structures
    – Encouraging developers to coordinate and develop high rise development
    – Bring in more artists and performers
    – Bring in more night life and entertainment
    – run marketing and advertise campaigns touting a bold downtown to lure
    more people, jobs, and economic development.

    We must also start developing our skyline. That is a must for many reasons.
    A growing skyline shows growth, progress, confidence, and pride.

  2. I wish Taylor the best in her new role, Downtown Indy needs a lot of help and advocacy to get back to it’s old self. I am hoping she can accomplish great things Downtown.

    I think it’s helpful that Taylor has a good relationships with the City which is needed to tackle / bring attention to big issues in Downtown Indy including:
    -Security – Residents and visitors need to feel safe. Work with IMPD for their recommendations.
    – Appearance – Downtown is filthy, the whole place needs a good power washing and street / sidewalk cleaning. Bill Hudnut would be rolling over in his grave if he saw the current state of the Downtown he worked so hard to resurrect. The current appearance of Downtown gives visitors a horrible impression of our city.
    – The Canal Area needs a total makeover, broken sidewalks, lack of lawn and public area maintenance, there is no way the Canal should be in it’s current condition.
    – Vacant storefronts need to be filled with something / anything. The stretch of Washington Street from Meridian to Illinois and East Market from Pennsylvania to Delaware feels unsafe and abandoned with multiple empty storefronts.
    – A bold and aggressive redevelopment of The Circle Center Mall that involves residential development and something / anything in the Carson’s / Ayres space.
    – More retail, Downtown residents don’t have access to basic retail stores like Target, Petco and a high end furniture store. I think a lot more can be done to attract strategic retailers, all of these affluent urbanites that have nowhere to shop, that doesn’t make sense.
    – Work with our homeless neighbors and the agencies that serve them to find long term solutions for their housing, mental health, job training etc.
    – Do something with the abandoned City Hall / former State Museum, anything would be an improvement over it’s current state.

    1. Patrick R.
      Completely agree that downtown is dirty and needs a lot of maintenance.
      Out of towners coming in probably are very disappointed with all the
      pandhandlers, dirty side walks and crumbling infrastructure.

      With all the events that we host, do our city officials ever wonder why
      companies are not bringing in economic expansions and development
      after visiting. No one is going to set up shop in a deteriorating
      downtown.

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