Hamilton County Leadership Academy names new director


By Les Morris

The leadership group is getting a new leader.


Diana Coyle will take over as the new executive director of the Hamilton County Leadership Academy on Jan. 3, 2022. Coyle comes from the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors where she served as the director of education and programs. She replaces Andrea Marley, who left the position in August.

A New Jersey native, Coyle moved to central Indiana in 2018 and quickly settled.

“The big thing for me is, Hamilton County is what has made this area feel like home,” she said.

Coyle now knows the county on a personal level but feels her new position will allow her to “see the assets that build it from the corporate to the community world.”

HCLA began 30 years ago and has 792 alumni. This year’s group of 33 has been meeting monthly to learn about community-related topics since September 2021. The program, which is designed to equip graduates with the tools to take on roles addressing community issues, will culminate with a leadership summit on June 14.

Alaina Shonkwiler, HCLA board president, said Coyle bested more than 150 applicants for the job. At her final interview, she presented a 100-day plan outlining her vision for the organization and how she would lead it.

“You are managing the treasure trove of community leaders,” Shonkwiler said of the executive director’s position. “It’s a lot of elected officials, corporate leaders and other non-profit executive directors. We wanted to make sure this person captured the mission of the organization, which is to learn, connect and lead.”

Another important piece of Coyle’s background, according to Shonkwiler, was her background in curriculum management. One of the immediate goals is to reengage alumni of the program into what Shonkwiler call an “HCLA 2.0,” and elevating the organization’s curriculum will be an important piece of that.

Coyle frames her goals in terms of questions at this point. For HCLA’s current participants, it’s “how can we make sure that their story doesn’t end with programming but that it continues with community service and leadership? How can we retain exceptional talent in Hamilton County?”

Learn more at hcla.net.


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