Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis is excited to welcome Director of Programs, Inez Thomas, to our team! Inez received her Bachelors of Science in Public Affairs (BSPA) from Indiana University Bloomington, with a concentration in Public & Nonprofit Management. After graduation, she transitioned to the Greater Chicagoland area. While in Chicago, Inez received her Master’s in Nonprofit Management from DePaul University.
Learn more about Inez:
What is your role at Girls Inc.?
I am the Director of Programs. I manage the strategic development of all outreach programs, Summer Camp, EmpowerHub, Eureka!, Young Women in Leadership (YWIL), specialty programs, and volunteerism.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What about the Girls Inc. mission appeals to you?
Previously in my career, I served as the Live-in Resident Manager at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama. The experience with families and a longstanding nonprofit introduced me to my love for management of nonprofits, along with direct-service. Years later, I moved to Indianapolis to attend IU-Bloomington once I discovered their nonprofit management program. Through the Journey Fellowship, I was introduced to and volunteered for Girl’s Inc. of Monroe County. The mission statement and environment left a deep impression on me. It reminded me of how impactful someone can be on a girl’s life. You literally are influencing the trajectory of their future through positive and thought-provoking experiences. I knew that one day I would work for this organization – in any city or state if the opportunity presented itself!
I then worked with the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis and McGaw YMCA in Evanston, IL for 9 years within Membership, and as a Residence Program Director. It was during that time with a grassroots organization called Project Home Indy that I learned the power of advocacy and community (a group home serving teenage mothers and their children), and saw first hand the power of girls receiving mentorship, and empowerment. I held many roles with them including Live-In Resident Advisor, Staff Trainer and Interim Executive Director. I transferred from Chicago back to Indianapolis to be closer to family, and was excited to receive the opportunity with Girl’s Inc. Indy!
What makes you feel strong, smart, and bold?
It was as an adult I realized I come from a background of strong, smart and bold women! My mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and aunts were huge advocates of girls having an array of skills. There was no talk about girls or women not being able to do something based on gender. That mentality has led me to live a very bold life. I knew from a young age that I would forever serve youth, having experienced mentoring from city park counselors, coaches and teachers. I wanted to be them when I grew up, so I could pay the blessings forward.