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Member Spotlight: Anne Mannix, Doris Sims, and Tysha Hardy-Sellers

15 Apr 2019 1:08 PM | Anonymous

In this series, we're getting to know our members on a personal AND professional level! Keep reading to learn more about a few of your exceptional peers in the community economic development industry!

Anne Mannix, Neighborhood Development Associates, LLC

Tell us how you first got involved with your organization? Or how did you get started in this work?

After graduating from college, I was a case manager with an after care program for a state mental hospital. We worked with chronically mentally ill persons who were living in nursing homes and boarding homes.  I could see that the people were being exploited and felt powerless to do anything. So I decided to go to a city planning program. That was a little too removed from the action for me. So I secretly transferred my internship to a public housing authority that was doing a lot of real estate development and I loved it.  This meant taking a chance because I could have lost my scholarship and living stipend if the state administrators found out what I did. I worked at the housing authority and several community development organizations for about 15 years. In 1997, I wanted to do more varied projects in different cities so I started Neighborhood Development, a consulting organization.  

What’s kept you there?

I like helping people by providing affordable housing.  It is challenging and at the end it is exciting to see the projects get built.  Occasionally I get to talk to the people that live in the developments and that is a great reminder of why we all do our work.  

What are you seeing on the horizon that we’re not paying enough attention to?

The baby boomers are retiring and new leadership is emerging.  We need to maintain the pioneering spirit and commitment of those who started community development. I have faith that this transition will work out.

What changes are coming to your organization over the next year?

I am planning to reduce my workload and focus on working with groups in South Bend.  Christine Deutscher, a coworker is taking over and doing all work outside of South Bend.  

Which of Prosperity Indiana’s five values: empowerment, integrity, impact, social justice or collaboration, speak the most to you and why?

I think collaboration is the most relevant for Prosperity.  Collaboration is critical to the success of any project. Many people have taught me so much and I hope I have put some of that back out to the community.

Who/what inspires you?

Last night I went to the annual meeting of South Bend Mutual Homes, a resident housing cooperative.  The residents are starting to build community and to get to know each other. One resident has a rough way of talking and another resident said “She’s not mad at you.  She just talks like that.” One of the men in the group had organized a day long recreational outing for the other men who had not been active before. It was a little chaotic but people were at home and talked about things that mattered to them.  Other things that inspire me are watching our Mayor Pete Buttigieg put his campaign together and watching South Bend grow from what was called a dying city to a city that is growing and grappling with issues.

What was unique about your childhood?  

My family lived in several different cities including Tulsa, Houston, North Stamford CT, Bangkok and Tokyo.  I learned to adapt to different environments and to be flexible. In between semesters in college, I took the bus around Bangkok exploring the city and that was a great adventure.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I didn’t really know.  My family did not expect me to work and I didn’t see many people in their workplaces.  When I was in high school, I worked in a hospital and I wanted to be a nurse but that would have been a disaster since I was terrible at chemistry and anatomy and physiology.  The nurses I worked with told me that I should be a lawyer since I argued too much and wouldn’t get along with the doctors. I never became a lawyer but they were right.

What do you do when you aren’t working?

I like working on our old house, working in the yard, and trying to get some exercise, either biking or walking with a friend.  Also I like to cook, spend time with my family and have four new grandchildren to hang out with.

What talent or superpower would you most like to have?  

I would like to be one if those people who is good at accounting and is a perfectionist.  

What do you collect?  

I have a collection of cat statues and also a teapot collection.

What would you sing at Karaoke night?

I Am Woman of course.  Also Learning to Fly with lots of audience participation.  This would never happen but it is nice to think about.

Doris Sims, Housing and Neighborhood Director, City of Bloomington

Tell us how you first got involved with your organization? Or how did you get started in this work?

I have worked with the City of Bloomington for over 30 years in two departments, Human Resources and in the Housing and Neighborhood Department (HAND).  I have primarily worked in the HAND Department over my career with the city. I returned as Director of the department through the appointment of Mayor John Hamilton when he became mayor in 2016.  

What’s kept you there?

I love working in the field of community development and housing because it touches so many people lives in various ways.   I feel that our name of Housing and Neighborhood Development speaks to the variety of activities and programs that make up the department.  From housing counseling, public service agency assistance, working with Bloomington neighborhoods, historic preservation activities, and providing housing assistance to developers, not-for profits, and the local public housing authority to build, renovate, and provide housing assistance, is some of the things we do.  In addition, the department runs a very active housing inspection program for the more than 21,000 rental units located within the Bloomington community.

What changes are coming to your organization over the next few years?

Like so many communities, the city is looking at ways to provide more affordable housing. One of the most exciting projects that will happen within the next 2-3 years is the redevelopment of the current hospital site which is located near our downtown area.  The city acquired the 24 acre site of our current hospital which is in the process of building a new facility. A study has already been undertaken which outlined the potential redevelopment of the site into housing and office space. I am looking forward as the HAND Director to being a part of the redevelopment of the site to bring affordable housing along with other economic development to the city.   

What is your favorite indulgence?

My favorite indulgence, or more like an obsession is shoes!  I “LOVE” shoes. I have over 200 pairs!! In my spare time when I am not shopping for shoes, I like to scrapbook.  It is so much fun to look back over different memorable events in my life through the scrapbook pages.

Tysha Hardy-Sellers, Edna Martin Christian Center

Tell us how you first got involved with your organization? Or how did you get started in this work?

It’s hard to believe that I was hired at Edna Martin Christian Center 11 years ago! After years in media, corporate, government roles, and time spent growing a business, I realized that whatever my role, an activity, initiative, or project would lead back to the near-northeastside Indianapolis community where I was born and raised—Martindale-Brightwood. I was looking for ways to directly contribute to the community and saw there was an Executive Director position open at EMCC. After researching and learning that the agency had deep roots in social justice and meeting with the board and feeling the strong support of individuals not only locally, but across the nation due to its affiliation with the American Baptist Churches, which included Martin Luther King Jr as a leader, I knew this was a place I wanted to call my professional home.

What’s kept you there?

Although great strides have been made increasing community resources, developing assets, amplifying community voice and increasing involvement, there’s more work to do. I look forward to working with a cross-section of community partners to affect change Our community goals are to address educational attainment, economic mobility, infrastructure improvements, reduced crime, increased community connectivity.

Why do you do what you do?

Access to opportunities and guidance to best leverage those opportunities are critical to success at an individual, family and community level. I was gifted with people who provided access and guidance. It’s my turn to do the same. Together, with partners who share the same values, we’ll keep working to make our vision a reality: Neighborhood where individuals and families have everything they need to learn, live, work and play in a peaceful, connected, and thriving environment.

What are the three words you would use to describe your organization?

Collaborative, Enterprising, Regenerative

What do you wish other people knew about your organization?

Since the late 1930s, EMCC has always been involved in community services and well as community development.  In the past, we focused our communication on our programs and human services, but we’ve also been instrumental in project development, placemaking and enterprise launches. We are now highlighting both areas— community services (people) and community development (place) by using a collaborative model with inclusive approaches to developing thriving communities.

What are you seeing on the horizon that we’re not paying enough attention to?

More underappreciated communities are saying enough. We’ve communicated our thoughts to those who said they are here to help with no lasting results realized or results financially benefiting those with resources and not for the community.  Locally, statewide, and cross the nation, more communities are committing action to getting things done on their own terms and using whatever available resources to do so. Quality of Life strategies flow through community supported projects with genuine wins for residents, businesses, and visitors.

What changes are coming to your organization over the next year?

Our  agency, part of the Martindale-Brightwood Collective Impact team, is launching 7 significant community initiatives: Martindale-Brightwood Education Zone and Scholar Housing (Education options and Housing); Martindale-Brightwood Food Resource Network (Food access; Health); Community Voice News Network (communication and connectivity); 25th Street Corridor (new community development and evaluating existing community assets);   the PACE Community Recovery Resource Center (mental health and safety); and the Community Solutions and Entrepreneurship Center (business ownership and increased community opportunities to solve social issues); and EMCC’s Leadership & Legacy Campus (education options, entrepreneurship programming; food access; senior services; and public recreation).

What can you imagine in 5 years if your organization is successful?

For People:

  • Children will meet growth development milestones
  • Children will be kindergarten ready
  • Youth will progress in school and graduate
  • Adults will obtain and maintain employment
  • Families will be safe, secure, engaged in their community

For Place:

  • Increased number of business attracted to the area (including resident launched enterprises)
  • Increased affordable housing
  • Increased high-quality, affordable childcare options
  • Increased food security
  • Increased community-led development

Which of Prosperity Indiana’s five values: empowerment, integrity, impact, social justice or collaboration, speak the most to you and why?

All of the five values resonate with me personally and align with the mission and vision of the agency. Our core values are leadership, equity, inclusiveness, honor, accountability, and ethics and integrity in service. We carry those out through collaboration, connectivity, and pursuit of excellence.  

On what efforts would you like to collaborate?
  • Affordable housing

  • Micro-enterprise

  • Workforce development

  • Educational options

  • Re-entry supports

Who/what inspires you?
People who are problem solvers, visionaries, and have the moxie to move conversation 
to strategy and action.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I’m deaf, but my lack of hearing is actually a superpower- I’m learning to listen more.

Beach or mountains?

Why not both?

Prosperity Indiana
1099 N. Meridian Street, Suite 170
Indianapolis, IN 46204 
Phone // 317.222.1221 
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