There are many famous stories about growing up in Indiana. From James Whitcomb Riley’s days at the old swimmin’ hole to the classic Indiana holiday tale captured in “A Christmas Story,” growing up as a Hoosier is a documented experience. This is another story of being Indiana-grown and Indiana-loyal, but this one has a twist. Meet the Barker triplets.
These three women were originally known as Barker A, B, and C when they made their debut at Indiana University Hospital. Now they go by Lindsey, Robin, and Mindy. In the nearly 40 years since that debut, they’ve been using their unique triplet bond as a solid foundation while pushing each other to excel. Born into a family that already had two boys, the house was full of love, but also ambition.
“Naturally, there is a fair amount of friendly competition between us,” Mindy said. “But it’s usually been pretty healthy. We drive each other to do more and do better.”
The Barker family lived in Brownsburg, Indiana, and that is where the triplets grew up. Their parents believe in the value of education, and both hold advanced degrees from Butler University. With five children, Terry and Jay Barker decided to incentivize in-state tuition by offering to fund it. That effectively kept all three of the women close to home. Lindsey attended Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business; Robin also chose Indiana University, drawn there by its soccer program. Mindy flirted with the idea of breaking the mold and going to school out of state, but the pull of being with her sisters convinced her that IU was the place for her as well.
Lindsey and Mindy graduated with business degrees while Robin earned her degree in nursing. In fact, Robin was the first nursing student at IU to play a full-time sport. After school, the sisters left the nest, ready to make their mark — and they moved in separate directions for the first time. Lindsey moved to Chicago to work for United Airlines. Mindy was also in the Chicago area, working for Kraft Foods Group. Robin started at Riley Hospital for Children but then became a traveling nurse — working everywhere from Hawaii to Texas. It was during this time that all three got married. They were living their dreams — they had great careers and were starting their own families while pursuing advanced degrees.
Indiana is home, and when you’re a true Hoosier, there is no escaping its pull. One by one, the Barker women came home. First came Robin, who wanted to be closer to her parents when she and her husband started a family. But “family” didn’t feel complete without her sisters, so she next convinced Mindy that it was time to come home. Mindy took a job at Elanco and joined her sister, but Lindsey was harder to reel in. Her husband was a TV news reporter in Alabama. But as Lindsey pursued her MBA, they welcomed their first child, and that sealed it — it was time to go home. Lindsey’s husband got a job at WISH-TV, and the Barker triplets were together again.
The most remarkable thing about these three women is they are all very accomplished, educated, and are raising families. They give a seemingly endless amount of energy to all their endeavors. With two children each, they are all successful directors in large Indiana companies — Lindsey LaBerge is the Director of Corporate Marketing for Calumet Specialty Products Partners, Robin Vigliano is a Regional Sales Director at Abbott, and Mindy Steipp is the Senior Director of Marketing, US Cattle, for Elanco.
“The magic of being ‘back home again in Indiana’ is ultimately family,” Robin said. “My sisters and I can support each other as we balance our personal and professional lives, advocate for each other, and celebrate our successes together. There is nothing more Hoosier than a close-knit family working hard to achieve dreams.”
Indiana has raised and nurtured the Barker triplets and is now, in turn, raising and nurturing their families. The sisters don’t take it for granted. They each invest in their communities through volunteerism.
“We want our kids to be able to experience the strength of Indiana communities just like we did,” said Lindsey, who volunteers for Multiplying Good and Students in Action. “That means we have to do our part to keep them strong.”
When you watch “A Christmas Story” this season, remember it is just one of many stories of amazing families in our state. Think of the Barker sisters — born, raised, returned, and invested in being Hoosiers.
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