Bloomington to launch The Switchboard web tool to support entrepreneurs

On Wednesday, April 1, Bloomington’s entrepreneurial community will launch The Switchboard (, a new web portal to connect entrepreneurs in the region to resources to start or grow their business. Area business leaders and entrepreneurs will gather from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Indiana University’s Cyberinfrastructure Building at 2709 E. 10th St. to present The Switchboard to the community and describe how it fits into a larger strategic plan to grow the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“The Switchboard project has allowed us to understand and appreciate the significant network of support we have in the region for local entrepreneurs,” said Dana Palazzo, Project Manager of the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation.” The website will be a great way to introduce and connect entrepreneurs to the necessary mentors, funding, service providers, and more to help them start a successful enterprise.”

The web portal allows users to create their account, post their company, expertise, request meetings with others, and learn about events and additional networking opportunities.

“We evaluated initiatives in other communities around the country and talked with local entrepreneurs about what they would like to see in Bloomington to better enable them to launch or grow their business,” said Steve Bryant, Executive Director of the Ivy Tech Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship. “The responses included locating startups, finding affordable space, access to financing, links to mentors, networking events, and how to connect to other entrepreneurs. That is what The Switchboard is designed to do.”

With a growing base of entrepreneurs, Bloomington has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of ‘America’s Best Cities for Doing Business’ and as one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 50 ‘Hottest Small Cities for Entrepreneurs’.

The Switchboard brand and web portal are among several recommendations developed during the past year through the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Strategic Plan, which was created to foster entrepreneurship and economic growth in the region. It was developed by a coalition of partners including, the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech-Bloomington, City of Bloomington, Bloomington Economic Development Corp., Indiana University’s Office of the Vice President for Engagement and Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, West Central Small Business Development Center, SCORE, Monroe County Public Library, Monroe County Government, United Way of Bloomington, SEED Corp., Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association, Cowork Btown, and others.

Grant funding for the plan and related initiatives was provided by the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County and the Duke Energy Foundation.

Ivy Tech faculty, Jennifer Daily-Mantha, named regional President’s Award recipient

Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington has selected Jennifer Daily-Mantha, assistant professor of political science and chair of social sciences and language, as the 2014 recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Instruction. As recipient of the President’s Award, Daily-Mantha is also the nominee for the statewide Ivy Tech Glenn W. Sample Award for Excellence in Instruction, to be presented by the College in late spring.

The President’s Award is given annually to a full-time faculty member from each of the 14 regions of the College.

“The award recognizes one member of our faculty who typifies excellence in instruction and actively represents the mission of Ivy Tech Community College,” said Brad Thurmond, Ph.D., vice chancellor of academic affairs. “In her classroom, Professor Daily-Mantha shares a vast amount of knowledge and experience in the political arena in a way that engages all of her students.”

In addition to her duties in the classroom, Daily-Mantha has recently developed Ivy Tech’s statewide online course, POLS 101, Introduction to American Politics and Government, using open educational resources. In the two years since its development and implementation, it has saved Ivy Tech students across the state of Indiana nearly $300,000 in text book fees.

In fall 2014, she initiated and now chairs the Ivy Tech-Bloomington Adjunct Support Committee. In its first year, the committee held an inaugural adjunct appreciation week, created an adjunct benefits sheet, and is currently surveying adjuncts to identify areas of need, while also creating a best practices guide for department chairs.

Daily-Mantha co-chaired the inaugural Ivy Tech-Bloomington Youth Leadership Academy (YLA), which was established in 2014 to develop young leaders from diverse backgrounds and experiences in Monroe County in an innovative and creative program designed to foster civic involvement. YLA consists of students from Monroe County middle schools. Students spend a few weekends learning leadership skills at Ivy Tech-Bloomington and they hear presentations from community leaders on a variety of issues important to them, such as bullying, youth hunger, body image, youth homelessness, Internet safety, and stress. Daily-Mantha currently mentors a team of six YLA students who are working on a book drive for preschool children.

Daily-Mantha earned her Bachelor’s degree in political science from Butler University and her Master of Public Affairs degree at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. She spent more than 10 years in public service working at government agencies and non-profit organizations before making a career switch into public education. Daily-Mantha began teaching at Ivy Tech as an adjunct faculty instructor in January 2006. She became a full-time instructor four years later. Daily-Mantha was appointed department chair for humanities in August 2011, and she currently oversees economics, geography, history, political science, and Spanish.

Daily-Mantha serves on numerous committees including, adjunct support committee, O’Bannon Institute for Community Service planning committee, and Ivy Tech-Bloomington family capital campaign committee.

Outside of her duties at Ivy Tech-Bloomington, Daily-Mantha serves the Bloomington community as a volunteer for the Girl Scouts and as a member of the fundraising committee for The Project School.


Ivy Tech-Bloomington student receives national education award

Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington student Jeffery “L.J.” Gearhart II has been named the 2014 Student of the Year by the American Council on Education (ACE). The Student of the Year Award is presented annually by ACE to an individual who has benefited academically or professionally from the use of ACE credit recommendations for workforce training. Gearhart accepted his award and a $500 scholarship at the American Council on Education’s 97th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Monday, March 16.

The thought of continuing his education after high school had never crossed Gearhart’s mind until he met with an Ivy Tech advisor and learned about the partnership between Ivy Tech and McDonald’s Management Development Program (Hamburger University). The partnership allows McDonald’s restaurant and mid-management employees to transfer up to 21 credit hours of courses taken at Hamburger University and apply them toward an associate degree at Ivy Tech.

Gearhart transferred credits he obtained going through the Management Development Program to Ivy Tech-Bloomington where he earned his Technical Certificate in Business Administration in December 2014. Gearhart has continued to benefit from McDonald’s tuition reimbursement program and will receive his certificate in Human Resource Management in May and his Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration in August. He has accomplished all of this while working 45-50 hours per week as the General Manager of the McDonald’s restaurant on West 3rd Street where he also teaches Shift Management Excellence Courses for Bloomington McDonald’s restaurants.

“A lot of people just think of working at McDonald’s as a ‘McJob’ but it really can turn into a ‘McCareer.’ Working at McDonald’s is a great way to grow personally and professionally,” Gearhart said. He plans to work at McDonald’s for as long as possible, hoping to eventually become a training consultant at the regional level.

O’Bannon Institute to culminate in conversation with Shiza Shahid, co-founder of Malala Fund

Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus is hosting its 12th annual O’Bannon Institute for Community Service on April 29-30 and May 1. On May 1, the three-day Institute, focused on the theme “Be the Change: Discover Your Super Power” will close with a conversation with Shiza Shahid, co-founder of the Malala Fund and Bob Zaltsberg, editor, The Herald-Times.

Shahid is an entrepreneur and social activist of Pakistani origin. She is the co-founder and global ambassador of the Malala Fund, the organization representing the young Pakistani activist who was shot by the Taliban for her campaign for girls’ education.

“Recently named one of TIME magazine’s ’30 Under 30 World Changers,’ we’re looking forward to Shiza’s engaging conversation about strengthening the global community through youth education, specifically for girls,” said Chancellor Vaughan. “As an open-access, comprehensive community college, we have a common goal with The Malala Fund– to change lives through the power of education, and to ensure access to it.”

The closing conversation with Shahid and Zaltsberg will take place after a day filled with an opening panel discussion focused on this year’s event theme, an Ivy Tech-Bloomington youth leadership presentation, a provided lunch, and related conference workshops.

Reservations are required for attendance to Friday Institute activities on Ivy Tech-Bloomington’s main campus, and admission is with canned goods or a monetary donation made at entry for Hoosier Hills Food Bank.

Tickets are still available for the O’Bannon Institute fundraising dinner on Thursday, April 30 with singer, songwriter, political activist, philanthropist, and author, Sir Bob Geldof, at the Bloomington Monroe County Convention Center on Thursday, April 30. Individual tickets are $100 and are tax deductible. Proceeds benefit the Ivy Tech-Bloomington Center for Civic Engagement.

To reserve seats for Friday’s Institute activities on Ivy Tech-Bloomington’s main campus, or to purchase tickets to Thursday’s fundraising dinner, log on, contact Tina Phelps at (812) 330-6001, or email

Event sponsors for the 12th annual O’Bannon Institute for Community Service include, Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, Bloomington Ford, Inc., City of Bloomington, CFC Properties, Cook Medical, The Herald-Times, Inc., IU Credit Union, Markey’s Rental and Staging, Sterling Real Estate, Inc., Smithville, and Linda and John Whikehart.

O’Bannon Institute for Community Service at Ivy Tech-Bloomington was established in 2004 as an annual opportunity for the community to come together to discuss issues of importance. Previous speakers of the Institute include U.S Senators, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, Governors, political advisers and columnists, a presidential candidate, former first Lady of the United States Laura W. Bush, and former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell. The event has grown from a one-day event to a now three-day event that includes a civic engagement awards ceremony, a day of volunteering in the community, a fundraising dinner, panel discussion, workshops, and a closing conversation.