City Series: Public Relations Thrives in Indianapolis, the Crossroads of America

Photo courtesy of Downtown Indy.
Photo courtesy of Downtown Indy.

If you’re like many public relations students, you may feel you should move to a big city such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or Atlanta to have a flourishing career after you graduate.

I thought that, too. I went straight to New York City after graduation to work at a public relations agency. However, after working in New York for seven years, I decided to return to my home state. I’ve been in Indianapolis for 16 years now, and want to share with you why I love Indy, home of the PRSSA 2016 National Conference.

Thriving Businesses

  • Sports: Indy built its reputation on sports. The city hosts the Indianapolis 500, the world’s largest single-day sporting event. Six professional sports teams and many auto racing teams call Indy home. Many national governing bodies are headquartered in Indy, including the NCAA, USA Football, USA Gymnastics, USA Track & Field and USA Diving.
  • Life sciences: Life sciences, biotechnology and health care are a major sector of the Indianapolis economy. The area is home to Eli Lilly and Company, Anthem, Dow AgroSciences, Roche Diagnostics and Cook Medical, as well as several large regional health care systems.
  • Tech: Some call Indy the “Silicon Valley of the Midwest” because of its fast-growing high-tech scene, especially digital marketing. Notable businesses include Salesforce, Interactive Intelligence, Angie’s List, Appirio, Delivra, Formstack and Emarsys.
  • Nonprofits: Not-for-profit organizations abound in Indy, including the headquarters of the American Legion, Kiwanis International, and the National FFA Organization. Many state and local not-for-profits, including arts and cultural institutions, are vital elements of the city’s fabric.
  • Agencies: Supplementing the opportunities to work in-house for businesses, government and nonprofits, a solid network of public relations and advertising agencies service a variety of local, regional and national clients.

Indy Welcomes All

Indiana is known for Hoosier hospitality, and Indy prides itself on being open, welcoming and inclusive to everyone.

The Circle City makes a concerted effort to be welcoming to young professionals. A resource for Indy’s 20- and 30-somethings, Indy Hub hosts a variety of events and partners with other groups to help the under-40 set get plugged in to the city.

Public Relations Community

Indianapolis public relations practitioners benefit from belonging to one of the nation’s largest PRSA Chapters. With nearly 400 members, PRSA Hoosier offers many professional development and volunteer opportunities. The Chapter’s active new professionals group hosts networking happy hours, a great way to meet local new pros while enjoying Indy’s local restaurants and breweries.

Time for Fun

It’s not all work and no play in Indy. In addition to sports, a lively arts and culture scene guarantees there’s always something to do. Check out the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the largest children’s museum in the world; the Indianapolis Zoo, located in the nation’s only urban cultural state park; and the Indianapolis Museum of Art, one of the country’s largest general art museums. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Dance Kaleidoscope, Heartland Film Festival and numerous other organizations and events keep the arts calendar full all year long.

The local food scene has exploded. Restaurants such as Milktooth and Bluebeard have earned national attention, and new restaurants continue to pop up downtown in Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and other hip neighborhoods.

Speaking of neighborhoods, Indy has designated six unique cultural districts connected by the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, a world-class urban bike and pedestrian path.

Thriving business sectors, world-class attractions, eclectic cultural districts, a low cost of living and a strong public relations community help make Indianapolis an exciting place to live and work. Come to Indy in October for the PRSSA 2016 National Conference and see for yourself — we can’t wait to welcome you to the Crossroads of America!

Sonja Popp-Stahly, APR, is in her fourth year on the PRSA National Board of Directors and works in global communications at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis. A member of the 1992–1993 PRSSA National Committee, she served as the 2010–2012 PRSSA National Professional Adviser. You can find her on Twitter @SonjaPoppStahly.

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