IndyVolved: An Interview with Molly Chavers

We sat down with Indyhub’s executive director, Molly Chavers to tell us a little bit about their upcoming event, Indyvolved.

You cater towards young professionals. Why is that?

We describe our constituencies as 20 and 30 somethings because “young” and “professional” aren’t always words that people want to attribute to themselves. We also think it has a connotation that might imply that you have to wear a suit to work, so we’re trying to cast a really wide net. The reason we started in the first place is the reason why we still do our work. We know that the more someone is engaged in their community, the more likely they’re going to stay in that community. Indianapolis has a lot of momentum right now, but that wasn’t always the case. We aim to create an environment that people want to flock to with the help of a lot of other organizations in town. Our work is largely centered around getting people connected to the community through our programming or through other organizations promoting activities to find ways to meaningfully connect.

What do you think young people have to offer to Indianapolis?

Oh my gosh, so much. Young professionals are in high demand for innovative jobs, but also to serve on boards and committees and other ways as volunteers to really help shape what the future of our city looks like and what the future of volunteer organizations looks like. If we aren’t looking at what 18-35 year olds want in our city, then we’re not really providing a good economic forecast for our community. We have to start building Indianapolis for what people who will be leading it want.

What are you most proud of with Indyhub?

There are lots of things I’m proud of. This is ten years of the organization and I’m incredibly proud of that. I think what we’ve really been able to do is elevate the importance of the young professional voice. I’m proud of my staff. We have three people and we work incredibly hard. They’re very talented people and they’re just as passionate about this as I am. Our board members and volunteers are too. I’m proud of the way we operate. We look at this community and see that there are so many things out there. There are so many organizations that are doing great things. We want to build density here and the only way to build density to have cool things to offer. There’s something here for everyone in Indianapolis and we really want to drive home that point. We serve as “the hub.” There’s so much to do here and we want to serve as that advocate and support people.

Can you explain the Indyvolved event?

We think of it as part science fair, part party and part reunion of people that are involved in the civic and volunteer community. Just very practically, we want people to come in, walk around and talk to different exhibitors. The exhibitors are made up of non-profits and young professional membership organizations, so we want people to get to know these organizations. It’s a little bit of speed dating too! Indyvolved is the culmination of all the work that Indyhub does on a daily basis: connecting people to things they want to get involved in. Once a year, we provide Indyvolved as a one-stop shop.

What’s your main goal for Indyvolved?

We would love for every person that goes to leave feeling like they have made a connection, whether it’s to an organization or to a person. We want to showcase the vibrancy of Indianapolis.

Why do you think there’s such an interest in volunteerism in Indy?

It’s probably part Hoosier humility, part accessibility and maybe a little bit of peer pressure. From a Hoosier humility standpoint, I was born in Indiana and my parents set that example for me that you volunteer and serve on boards. It’s part of success. The accessibility piece is something we should all be proud of. Indianapolis is incredibly accessible, no matter who you are, you can make a difference. There’s a strong work ethic here. With peer pressure, everyone is doing it! This event has grown because people bring their friends. The enthusiasm surrounding volunteerism becomes part of your social life too.

How have you seen Indy’s fashion culture evolve?

I love walking down the street and seeing people in clothes that are, in no way, shape or form, anything that I could imagine putting on myself and not because I don’t think it’s amazing. I love seeing the variety and the creativity. I love how people see their bodies as a canvas. I think that’s really important. I teach Pilates at Invoke and something I found really exciting about the fashion community is that it caters to a lot of people regardless of size or shape, so I think it’s a huge self confidence and esteem builder too. We care about what we wear whether we’re working out or at the office.

Where do you see the fashion culture headed in Indy?

We have been working with Polina since 2008 on some fashion projects and from the moment that I met her, I loved her spirit and her vision, so I’m confident that the fashion community can go to some really big places.

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