Indiana 250: Jimmie McMillian

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(IL photo/Eric Learned)

Jimmie McMillian serves as chief diversity officer and senior corporate counsel at Penske Entertainment Corp., which includes IndyCar, IMS Productions and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He’s charged with implementing the Race for Equality & Change, a Penske initiative to provide opportunities for underrepresented women and men in motorsports. McMillian serves on the board of the Marion County Public Defender Agency, United Way of Central Indiana, Indianapolis Urban League and Miracle Ride. He serves as president of 317 Ryders Motorcycle Club and has been chair of The Racing Attorneys Conference.

First job

My first job as a teenager was directing traffic at Northwestern University football and basketball games. The university had a strong DEI program that focused on recruiting inner-city high school students to travel to Northwestern to work games. We were paid $20 an hour and reimbursed for our travel and meals. It was an incredible job! … We were all proud to have the opportunity. I had the chance to see a college campus firsthand as a well-paid employee, and it reinforced my desire to attend college.

Something surprising

I love motorcycles, but I am afraid of roller coasters.

Job swap

Motorcycle tour company owner. I would get paid to take people on motorcycle tours around the world and facilitate the corporate program globally.

Favorite thing about being a leader

Seeing the growth and development of other leaders. Watching someone become older, wiser, more patient and strategic.

Admires most

I admire my mother the most because of the tireless dedication that she invested in me and now her grandchildren despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Her faith in God has paved the way for her children and grandchildren to enjoy an incredible life doing things that she would have never dreamed of.

Favorite device

Apple iPhone. It can do everything!

Toughest challenge

Surviving my upbringing on the south side of Chicago with an alcoholic father in a gang-riddled neighborhood.

Leadership lessons

You are not a leader if no one follows you.

Walkup song

“Black Superman”

Advice for a young person

Never stop believing that you can find true happiness and genuine excitement in your career. The goal should be to merge your passion with your profession.

Favorite civic contribution

Helping my mentees advance their careers or change jobs when necessary.

Worries about

My children, Lance and Xavier, having a better life and more opportunities than I have.

Favorite thing about Indiana

Our corporate community is very supportive and encouraging of young professionals that want to have impact, lead and make positive changes.

Something to change about Indiana

Our unfortunate tendency to get pulled into divisive social issues typically taking the side of regression.•

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