Jillian grew up in Valparaiso and moved to Indianapolis to study at UIndy. After graduation she continued her studies of sociology at DePaul University.
Since her return to Indianapolis, she has focused on giving back to the community by volunteering with local nonprofit organization boards and committees, such as Freewheelin’ Community Bikes, Mighty Lotus, and Partners in Housing.
Her professional focus has been doing community outreach on various social and environmental issue campaigns, with a strong focus on serving youth. She was very excited to teach at her alma mater UIndy this past fall. In her free time, Jillian likes to spend time with her husband, Nick, and two dogs, Penny and Nickel.
How long have you lived in Indy?
I have lived in Indy on and off for almost 10 years! I lived in Oregon for a short time, and returned back to Indy permanently about 4 years ago.
Why have you focused your career on the nonprofit sector?
I knew going into college that I wanted to study sociology, but didn’t really understand how it translated into the professional world. While studying at UIndy I got the opportunity to work for Keep Indianapolis Beautiful during the summer. After my experience there, I knew after only a couple months on the job, that the nonprofit world was the place for me. I realized how important it was for me to contribute to my community, and how fulfilling it can really be.
How did you find your current position?
I found my position at the Arthritis Foundation the old fashioned way, a job posting! I had actually applied for a different position, but when I connected with the foundation, they suggested I apply for the Community Engagement Director role instead. The rest is history!
What would you say to another young professional considering a nonprofit job?
I would tell them that if they are the type of person who is interested in getting to know the people in their community, and wanting to make a positive impact, nonprofit work is definitely for them. Having a passion for the work that you do is very important because you can wear many hats within your organization, and sometimes it requires real heart to do the various jobs within the nonprofit world.
If you could learn a brand new skill, what would it be?
I would really love to do a yoga teacher training at some point. I have been practicing yoga for about 5 years, but would love the chance to really share the practice with others. Although, I am always roping first timers to come along with me ...
If you were an inanimate object, what would you be and why?
I would be a suitcase. I love to travel, and am always looking for my next adventure.
What do you hope to accomplish that you haven’t yet?
On the note of travel, I really want to go to the Italian region of Calabria to trace some of my family heritage.
Share a little-known treasure of Indianapolis with us.
One of my favorite Indy treasures is the Little Flower neighborhood! I really love the Near Eastside of the city, and Little Flower is where I call home. The neighbors are great, the houses are adorable, and the community really looks out for one another.
Most important question: Coke or Pepsi?
My Dad worked for Coke for 25 years. Needless to say I am a Coke person!
You can support Jillian's work and keep up with the Arthritis Foundation here.