Emerging Leaders Member Spotlight: Charles McKinney, Jr.

Charles McKinney, Jr.
Marketing Communications Strategist,
Indianapolis Power & Light Co.

Tell us about yourself!

As we look to build towards the future I feel it is important to pass along the knowledge of our current civic leaders and empower the next generation of change makers in Indianapolis. Closing the various gaps in equality for the future generation is a mission I that I accept and will work tirelessly to make positive advances forward.


What are you passionate about?

I am most passionate about helping others create a vision and see ways out of situations they thought were impossible! Passion for causes come to us through different life experiences & my experiences have led to a lifelong devotion to helping others create a vision and find their own passions.


What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership to means having the ability to help those around me achieve tasks they didn’t think were possible. It means developing the passion inside of a person & inspiring them through a shared vision in a positive environment. A good leader should leave those they touch feeling empowered, accomplished, and valued through positive interaction.


What is your favorite word?

Empowerment. I am about empowerment in all forms whether it be economic, social, or another form. I think helping people find purpose delivers superior results more times than not. By giving others the latitude to lead, they expand their own potential impact on themselves & their communities.


When did you first become involved with United Way?

I first became involved with the United Way of Central IN out of curiosity attending an event titled “Their Future is Our Future”. I was already searching for a way to get more involved in the community and not just voice my opinion but help make change for the better. United Way has been an amazing organization where I’ve been able to connect to many different opportunities to be a “change maker”.


What inspired you to become more involved with United Way?

As someone who is passionate about multiple causes, United Way allows me to focus my passions though one organization to make the greatest impact.


What interested you most about Emerging Leaders?

The chance to meet like-minded, motivated, positive people. I haven’t been in Indianapolis long so it was important for me to find a group of people who shared a passion for volunteering and also challenged me to grow as a leader. Connecting over shared passions for a cause while helping others is a great way to meet new people.


What is your favorite United Way memory?

My favorite memory was as Chair of the United Way Campaign at IPL. Being able to bring in Emerging Leaders leadership and share our passions with my employer team members and even inspire multiple people to join was an awesome feeling! Anytime you can share a passion and ignite passion in others is a good feeling!


What does it mean to you to Live United?

“Living United” means as citizens of a community we are here for the success of ALL the residents of our community. Maybe someone offered you a helping hand when you were down and out. Volunteering your time and effort gives you the opportunity to pay that favor forward.


What would you tell someone who’s interested in getting more involved with United Way?

I would communicate the massive benefits of helping others which in turn helps make a better community for us all. The people you will meet, the friends you will make, the feeling of accomplishment is irreplaceable. You will also have the ability learn a new set of skills and gaining invaluable real world experience.


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