Indiana 250: Frank Basile

Keywords Philanthropy
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(Photo courtesy of Frank Basile)

Frank Basile is one of Indianapolis’ premier philanthropists. He retired in 2008 from a 33-year career with Gene B. Glick Co., where he was senior vice president. Since retiring, he’s served as board chair or president of 11 not-for-profits and is on the board of eight, including the Arts Council of Indianapolis, Phoenix Theatre and Eskenazi Hospital Foundation. He also served as interim CEO and president of the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel for 14 months and as interim president of the Heartland Film Festival for nine months.

Favorite part of leading

Serving as a mentor for team members and helping them achieve their potential and grow professionally and personally.

Something surprising

People might be surprised at my path to becoming a professional speaker. A Christian Brother at De La Salle High School in New Orleans saw how frightened and incapacitated I became when it was my turn to speak or read in class. He convinced me that the only way to overcome something I feared was to do it. He cajoled me into joining the debating team. Eventually, my three teammates and I won the Louisiana State Debating Championship. Overcoming the fear of speaking was a defining moment in my life, without which I would never have become a professional speaker or succeeded in other areas in which the ability to communicate was important.


I met my wife Katrina through ballroom dancing, which is still a major recreational habit. We dance at every opportunity. In fact, we have a full-size dance floor and a jukebox in our home.

Admires most

My boss and mentor at the Gene B. Glick Co. for 33 years. I learned about business and philanthropy through what Gene Glick both said and did during my 33 years with the company.

Favorite civic contribution

Encouraging and facilitating Gene Glick’s major contributions to the Cultural Trail.

Sabbatical topic

My work and avocational interests through the years have always been aligned with what I love to do. I was fortunate to be able to build my own ballpark through the years to facilitate this. This included managing property, helping the less fortunate, assisting people in achieving their potential, volunteering for not-for-profit organizations whose mission I believe in, giving back to the community through philanthropy, professional speaking, writing books and articles and traveling.

Walk-up song

In nearly all of my more than 1,400 professional speeches, shortly before each speech, I listened to Frank Sinatra singing, “Come Fly With Me.”

Toughest challenge

The absolute toughest challenge was a personal one—cancer. Here my wife, Katrina, was my caretaker, motivator and my rock.•

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