Women of VisionBy Lindahl Chase + Photos by Tenth Street Photography
What is a “woman of vision?” She makes a difference. She’s courageous. She thinks outside the box and doesn’t dwell on the past. She’s an example to others, a motivator, and she never stops trying to change the world around her for the better.
However, you will also find that she is humble and quick to give credit to others. She works hard, loves hard and lives joyfully.
In September, these six women will take to the runway to be honored during the Riverview Health Foundation and Riverview Health Auxiliary Women of Style Show. Each was chosen for her leadership and incredible impact on the Indianapolis community. They truly exemplify what it means to be a Woman of Vision.
Dr. Emily Ruden is quick to credit the other Women of Vision who have played important roles in her life.
“My mom made me feel like I could achieve anything,” she says. “My sister-in-law has shown me the art of balance in managing a career in medicine and a family. My four sisters have achieved success in their own right and provide endless humor, support and love.”
Growing up, Ruden says it never crossed her mind that she couldn’t be a doctor, a mother, or both. In medical school, she felt empowered by female colleagues who helped her navigate the traditionally male-dominated specialty of cardiology.
“I have been inspired by strong women,” she says. “A Woman of Vision is someone who improves the world around her and builds up others to be the best versions of themselves.”
Ruden pays this sentiment forward as a cardiologist with the St. Vincent Medical Group, serving the Noblesville community and Riverview Hospital.
“One of my primary goals is to give patients the knowledge and tools for taking control of their health,” she says. “Women, in particular, as we often take care of ourselves last.”
When she’s not caring for patients, Ruden says she feels fortunate to participate in community events that offer support and advice to women to lead healthier lives.
“This community gave me opportunities to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor,” she says. “It is my privilege, and, quite honestly, my obligation, to give back.”
At home, Ruden loves swimming, going to the park, and making chocolate chip cookies with her husband and two children. She’s happy that her “intense love” for soccer has been passed down to her kids, and she helps coach their teams alongside her husband.
“Once we step outside of our comfort zones and begin to care about the people around us, we become the best versions of ourselves.”
Founder and owner, Hunter Estate & Elder Law and latchkey training
In the words of Susan Hunter, Women of Vision look to the future.
“They perceive their lives as a journey, and understand that each of us has the power to change the world. It’s not about ignoring the past, but using past lessons as learning experiences for the future.”
Hunter is the founder and owner of Hunter Estate & Elder Law. After growing a successful legal practice, she recognized her passion for personal and professional development and launched a second business in 2017.
Latchkey Training, still in its infancy, offers online resources and a coaching platform aimed at young professionals. The idea grew out of Hunter’s research while writing a book, Breaking Through: Busting the Generational Barriers. The book examines the struggles in the workplace among Millennials, GenXers, and Baby Boomers.
Hunter also gives back as a volunteer legal guardian for incapacitated adults, raises funds for the Alzheimer’s Association, and is a passionate supporter of the Humane Society of Hamilton County.
“We are all in this together. I’ll say it again — we are all in this together! That means we all do our part to make our corner of the universe the best we can make it,” she says.
A self-described podcast junkie, Susan makes it a point to never stop learning. She loves to travel, golf, scuba dive and dabble in photography. She is the proud aunt of “nine of the greatest nieces and nephews anyone could want.” She and husband Mark have made a home in Central Indiana for 20 years, along with the three W’s — rescue dogs Wilbur, Willow and Wrigley.
She credits her grandmother and mother as her biggest influences, and finds inspiration in people who are chasing their dreams.
“It’s a big, scary world out there, and it would be easy to hide away. Recognizing that you only get one time around in life and making the most of it takes courage.”
Executive Director, Good Samaritan Network
From early on, Nancy Chance’s parents and grandparents instilled in her a simple sentiment: Take what you have and share it with others.
As a 4-year-old spending time at her grandfather’s cabinet shop in Noblesville, she took this to heart and began to look for ways to help the homeless people who would jump off the nearby train and take shelter under the Logan Street Bridge.
The encouragement to be part of the solution, to be that good samaritan and give back, manifested itself in a big way. Today, Chance serves as the executive director of Good Samaritan Network of Hamilton County Inc., an organization she founded in 1980. She leads a team that meets the needs of people by collaborating among Hamilton County’s 268 non-profit agencies, 289 churches, 46 pantries, three free clinics, nine Township Trustees and five hospitals.
To Chance, a Woman of Vision is one who thinks outside the box and finds innovative ways to solve problems.
“Women — and men — with this vision are critical in every area of our community,” she says. “We need to foster creativity and conceive new approaches necessary to meet the ever-growing needs that humanity will always face.”
Nancy calls her husband David and son Christopher the joys of her life. When she’s not rallying the community to come together, she’s enjoying traveling, spending time with her extended family, and teaching Sunday School for 4–5 year olds, which she’s done for the past 47 years.
Nancy finds motivation and inspiration from collaborating with others. “If we honestly and transparently work together, we really can impact others for the greater good.”
If you’re looking to give back, Chance has more than just a few ways you can do this.
“The time is now to help the agencies in our community that support those who are underserved and at risk. That involves stepping up personal involvement in volunteering,” she says. “The time is now to make financial commitments to revitalize devastating budgets and strengthen critical programs. Together, we can stand strong and face the future.”
President and CEO, Joy’s House
Tina McIntosh knew there was a nagging in her soul to work with the aging population.
After a few personal tragedies, she found herself reevaluating her career in event planning, one that she thoroughly enjoyed.
“At first it was this little tap from God,” she says. “Then it didn’t go away, and the next thing I knew that little tap was a 2-by-4 hitting me on the head. This was what I was called to do.”
To Tina, a Woman of Vision is not only able to dream, but she can also turn those dreams into reality. She went all in — working odd jobs to have a more flexible schedule, and networked as if her life depended on it. The result was the founding of Joy’s House, a non-profit adult day care now with two locations in the Indianapolis area.
The mission is twofold: first, to provide services to adults who are aging and living with a life-altering diagnosis, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, stroke, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease; and two, offer support services to caregivers.
“The caregiver is an important part of the equation. They are often physically, financially and emotionally exhausted, and someone needs to be looking out for them,” McIntosh says. “We can be there to have the hard but honest conversations.”
A Ball State University graduate, McIntosh credits her volunteerism there as a Delta Zeta with introducing her to working with the elderly, and her inspiration to help others to her grandmother Ethel.
“She was fiery and spunky, she wore tube tops and spiked belts and didn’t care to fit into a mold,” she says. “And she loved helping people.”
Tina and husband Jeff stay busy with their kids, Maia, Webster and Georgia, their ballpark community, and “silly household of chickens, goats and organized chaos.” Tina and Jeff are both cancer survivors, and have recently been hit with new health challenges. She says they are finding strength in their faith, as active members of Mercy Road Church.
Volunteers are always welcome at Joy’s House, she adds. “My hope is that everyone takes time to be involved with something. If it’s not us, find your place.”
Assistant Director, Prevail of Hamilton County
After mere minutes of speaking with Michelle Corrao, you learn one very important detail about her. It’s how much she loves her family.
It’s how proud she is of her 13-year-old daughter, who recently started teaching yoga classes, and her 17-year-old son, who is starting his college search. You also learn that she loves music, running, church life and going home in the evening to share wine and crackers with her husband, Chris.
Next is her uninhibited passion for her work as assistant director of Prevail of Hamilton County, an organization that provides critical support services for victims of crime and abuse.
What does not define Corrao, but what drives her, are the horrific events of a night in 1996 when she was abducted by three men with handguns, brutally attacked and raped, and locked in the trunk of her own car. What did not weaken her, but shaped her into a fervent advocate for the victims she works with today, were the three years of standing trials to put them behind bars. And what did not harden her, but strengthened her resolve to help others, were the years of healing that followed.
When she saw an ad in the newspaper for Prevail, she knew she had found the place to continue her healing and give back.
“I wanted to inspire and provide hope to others,” she says. “I know I was in the darkest time of my life, and I didn’t make it through by just sitting back and letting it happen.”
Seventeen years after seeing that ad, Michelle has held nearly every position at Prevail, which serves 3,000 victims each year. The team provides a 24/7 crisis line, and connects with first responders, police prosecutors, and sexual assault response teams. Prevail provides support groups and helps victims navigate the judicial system.
“We are there to walk the journey with them. If they are courageous enough to walk through our doors, we are here to help.”
To Corrao, being a Woman of Vision means making a difference any way you can, from being an example to others, to raising children to do good in the world, to living each day with joy, purpose and integrity.
“I like to say no human interaction is neutral, it’s either healing or it’s wounding,” she says. “The way we treat people can change somebody’s life. I believe that wholeheartedly.”
Corrao’s words to live by: “Dream big, find your passion, give back, and don’t let anyone tell you no.”
Executive Director, Prevail of Hamilton County
Susan Ferguson reflects that from time to time she is asked how she can do such “depressing” work as executive director of Prevail, an organization that supports victims of crime and abuse.
There is no room for that adjective when Ferguson explains how, on a daily basis, she is witness to people overcoming their circumstances, and a talented team doing critical work to empower others and save lives.
“The work we do is encouraging, inspiring, and hope-filled,” she says.
To Ferguson, a Woman of Vision is someone who has the courage to do what she believes is right. Originally from Indianapolis, she has worked in human services her entire career, living in Ohio, Michigan and then circling back to Central Indiana four years ago. In addition to her work at Prevail, she is an active volunteer at Waterline Church and a regular blood donor.
“I have lived in several different communities, and each has contributed to making me who I am today,” she says. “How can I go through life without feeling a social responsibility to repay that in some way?”
She bursts with pride for her children, daughter Alex, a personal trainer at the Fishers YMCA, and son Eric, a sophomore at Purdue University. Ferguson calls her husband her best friend. She explains that she’s an Ohio State fan by marriage, lived in Michigan for almost 20 years, and now has a son playing football at Purdue.
“College sports fans understand the conundrum,” she says.
When she’s not working, Ferguson enjoys concerts and exploring local parks with her dog, Blue. She’s inspired to learn from others, and loves to engage in conversation and surround herself with people who make her think differently.
“None of us got to where they are without other people. And it’s your moral imperative to pay that forward.”