The ELEVATE Awards would not be possible without the commitment and thoughtful insight from our ELEVATE judges. This year we’ve asked a new panel to join us in reviewing the extraordinary submission of nearly 100 individuals nominated in our five awards categories.
“These six judges represent diverse backgrounds, industries and viewpoints, but what they all share is an unwavering dedication to elevating what’s great about Central Indiana and its next generation of leaders,” says Jamie Jansen, ELEVATE 2020 Host Committee Chair. “We couldn’t be happier that they’ve signed on to help us identify our finalists.”
In keeping with our vintage circus theme, we’ve assigned each of the judges an alter-ego under the Big Top!
Chelsea Haring-Cozzi, the Tightrope Walker.
For skillfully walking the tense wire alongside those experiencing homelessness in our community.
Chelsea Haring-Cozzi is the Executive Director for the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention & Prevention (CHIP). CHIP serves as the lead entity for the Indianapolis Continuum of Care and helps drive system-level change to significantly reduce homelessness in Indianapolis. Before joining CHIP, Chelsea worked in Community Impact with the United Way of Central Indiana focusing on issues of homelessness, mental health, and criminal justice reform and prior to that she was an Assistant Professor of Political & Justice Studies in Chicago, IL.
Chelsea has dedicated her professional life engaging, researching, teaching, and advocating for inclusive and fair opportunities for all individuals, with a specific focus on social justice in housing, education, and our criminal justice system. She holds a master’s degree in public administration (MPA) and a Ph.D. in public policy and political science from Michigan State University.
Chelsea enjoys hiking, listening to live music, brunching, discovering local coffee shops and breweries, and traveling with her family. Follow CHIP on Twitter @CHIPIndy.
Tiffany Hanson, the Juggler.
For giving so much to so many organizations and causes.
Tiffany Hanson is an ultimate connector in the community and avid doer of good deeds. With a background in marketing and public relations, Tiffany has found a niche in community outreach with a love of developing collaborative opportunities. She spends a majority of her daytime hours representing LUNA Language Services, engaged in opportunities to further language access initiatives for immigrants, refugees, and members of the Deaf and hard of hearing communities.
Tiffany also works with Indy Pride as the Director of Marketing and Communications. She uses her social media prowess, event planning skills, and marketing background to assist Indy Pride in furthering its mission to serve the LGBTQ+ community and foster a stronger and more inclusive community presence. In her “spare” time, she volunteers with fabulous organizations like the Diversity Roundtable of Central Indiana, the IPS Education Foundation, and IndyHub.
Tiffany is also an avid lover of ALL that is restaurant culture! Enjoying the food, beverages, and atmosphere of our Indy restaurant scene fills her time with many happy hours, dinners, and brunches. She also loves supporting Indy’s local arts scene and visiting Indy Parks for fresh air. Follow Tiffany on Twitter @TiffanyMHanson.
Kai Johnson, the Animal Tamer.
Have you seen all those cute Salesforce mascots? There’s Astro and Einstein and Codey Bear and Appy…
Kai Johnson is the Manager of Community Partnerships at Salesforce and responsible for the company’s customer and community engagement strategy. Prior to her current role, Kai grew her career in several leadership roles within Human Resources and later at Salesforce. She currently sits on the board for EmployIndy Workforce Development and PepUp Tech, a not for profit that helps under-represented and underserved individuals’ access, skills, mentors, and confidence needed to begin careers in tech. She was recognized by the United Way of Central Indiana as one of the 100 Heroes making an impact in the Indianapolis community. Kai holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Follow Kai on Twitter @kaister31.
Jonathan Neal, the Unicyclist.
For his quick-wit posting those terrific jokes and puns on the One America signboard that get us laughing as we roll through Indianapolis.
Jonathan Neal is a Public Relations Consultant at OneAmerica in downtown Indianapolis. His work includes advertising, social media, corporate PR, awards, and community affairs. Prior to joining OneAmerica, he spent seven years at his alma mater, Ball State University, in various strategic and creative roles inside the marketing communications department. He produced an award-winning magazine and launched advertising and capital campaigns that elevated the university’s visibility. Before this, he worked in the radio industry.
Jonathan graduated with high honors and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ball State University in Journalism. He earned a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs in 2019. He regularly volunteers in the nonprofit sector and thoroughly enjoys tweeting all-things-Indy. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanDNeal.
Fabian Rodriquez, the Fire Breather.
The flame burns bright for Fabian and his Drink Culture teammates, a fire for Indianapolis!
Fabian Rodriguez is the Co-founder and host of the Drink Culture Podcast, The Official Podcast of Indianapolis. Fabian started Drink Culture in April of 2017 along with Jared Byzcko and they were later joined by Hayley Brown in January of 2018. Their mission is to strengthen and inspire communities through storytelling. When Fabian isn’t podcasting, he enjoys spending time with his wife Kristen and 2 Persian cats Waffles & Mini Wheat, traveling, and listening to vinyl records. Follow the Drink Culture Podcast on Twitter at @drnkcltr.
André Zhang Sonera, the Human Cannonball.
Because the breakneck pace of city government must feel something like being shot out of a cannon.
André Zhang Sonera serves as the Special Assistant to Mayor Joe Hogsett after working as a Project & Public Affairs Manager for the Indianapolis Bond Bank and as the inaugural Mayor’s Office Peterson Fellow. His previous work experiences at the White House, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Operation, and the Office of the Indiana Lt. Governor have nurtured his passion for public service and government.
Originally from San Sebastián, Puerto Rico, André received his bachelor’s degree in Public Affairs and Policy Analysis from the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at IUPUI and is currently working towards his MPA. In his spare time, he serves as a Big Brother for BBBS of Central Indiana and is a proud advocate of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. Follow André on Twitter @azhangso.
Look for our judges at ELEVATE on February 29th and thank them for helping us recognize the next generation of philanthropic leaders in Central Indiana!