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Alison Bell lives on the near Northeast side of Indianapolis and is an Indiana native with 20 years of higher education leadership experience. She currently serves as the Chancellor for WGU Indiana and the Regional Vice President for the online university’s central region. Bell advocates for “more access to education and the importance of workforce development to support our people and our communities.” Over to you, Alison!
My Maven Superpower is … Connection. It creates synergy, and we become more than the sum of our parts. By making real connections with other people in my family, in my community, and in professional settings, not only do I learn and grow, but I discover new opportunities. I’m also able to gain a better understanding of the needs of the communities that we serve at WGU, and I’m able to create powerful connections between other people.
A fun fact about me is … My greatest fear until sometime in my mid-20s was public speaking. Now it’s a primary part of my job.
Best book I’ve read lately is … “Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World” by David Epstein.
My first job was … My first job EVER was at White Feather Farms, a food warehouse that opened to the public on Saturday mornings in Muncie, Indiana. We sold bulk spices, nuts, cheeses, and other food items to the public at warehouse prices. My first job after graduate school, though, was as an Academic Advisor at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. That is where I found my passion for working with non-traditional students pursuing their degree.
The skill I most want to learn is … I think it would be really cool to learn to knit.
My favorite nonprofit to support is … WGU Indiana? Just kidding, kind of. I would say American Cancer Society (ACS). I’m in my second year as an Indiana Ambassador of the ResearcHers campaign to raise money to support women who are conducting research to fight cancer. I believe deeply in the work that ACS is doing and love that they have a specific campaign to support and encourage women in research.
Self-care habit I swear by is … Being active every day. My favorite is to start my day with a HIIT workout at Eat the Frog on Mass Ave. I also love to walk my dogs on Fall Creek Greenway near my house.
The best career advice I can offer is … Trust yourself above all else. I spent much of my early career as a career coach, and in working with undecided and exploring students, it became crystal clear to me that people truly know what they like to do, what they’re good at, and what they care about at an early age. What holds people back as they pursue their education and degree are two things, primarily: 1) self-doubt — not believing/trusting what they actually know about themselves and listening too much to what others say about “good’ vs. “bad” career opportunities, and 2) lack of information about career opportunities. When you follow pathways that play to your strengths, keep you interested, and align with what’s important to you, you’ll naturally excel and discover career opportunities that you never knew existed.
My favorite local restaurant dish is … I am the worst at picking a favorite anything. I love so many things! One of my favorites is the Campfire pizza at Puccini’s. I also love all of the tacos at Sangrita. There are SO many good restaurants in Indy, I could create a very long list here.
The thing I’ve been binging lately is … Bridgerton on Netflix.
A Maven you should know is … Allison Barber, President and COO of Indiana Fever. She is the best connector I’ve ever known. She’s also kind, compassionate, powerful, and encouraging.
The thing I’ve achieved lately that I’d like to celebrate with the Maven community is … I just celebrated three years in my current position as Indiana Chancellor and Regional Vice President at WGU. In Indiana, we have more than 12,000 alumni. That’s 12,000 lives changed for the better, 12,000 families impacted, and we’re just getting started. The fact that I get to be a part of this amazing university is something I celebrate every day.
Stephanie Groves is the Executive Editor of Indy Maven.
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