White River State Park director Mays-Medley stepping down


Carolene Mays-Medley plans to leave her post as executive director of the White River State Park Development Commission to pursue a career in inspirational public speaking and create a mentorship program for black leaders.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Mays-Medley’s decision Tuesday. She was appointed to the position in 2016. Her last day will be Oct. 15.

While executive director, Mays-Medley, 60, oversaw the development of the permanent amphitheater at White River State Park, a project Holcomb said would be her legacy as director.

“From design to construction to opening day, Carolene was there every step of the way, and the result is a beautiful space that elevated the park, the city and our state,” Holcomb said in a written statement. “It will forever be a destination for Hoosiers and visitors to our state the very best we offer. We can all be proud of Carolene’s leadership and what came from it.”

Also under her leadership, the park commission focused on safety measures for park guests through infrastructure and garage improvements, an improved security system and better training for staff. Mays-Medley additionally implemented new family friendly and free events at the park.

“I have been extremely blessed and honored to serve under Governor Holcomb,” Mays-Medley said in a written statement. “He has been very encouraging and supportive, which has allowed me to not only successfully accomplish and complete a lot of endeavors in White River State Park, but also to flourish and soar as a leader. I am grateful for his trust, consideration and leadership.”

Prior to leading the commission, Mays-Medley served in a number of different roles over the years. In 2010, she was appointed by former Gov. Mitch Daniels as a commissioner for the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.  And before that, she was president of the Indianapolis Recorder newspaper and Indiana Minority Business Magazine. She also served three terms as a state representative from 2002 to 2008.

She is the niece of the late Bill Mays, owner and founder of Mays Chemical Co.

Mays-Medley has won a number of honors, including being named “Indy’s Most Powerful” and one of “Indiana’s Most Influential Women.” In 2016, not long after her appointment as executive director, she suffered level five brain aneurysm rupture and recovered, a feat deemed a medical miracle by her doctors.

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