5 Questions with Elaine Bedel

January 3rd, 2020

Elaine Bedel

Getting to Know Indiana Leaders

Elaine Bedel was appointed by Governor Holcomb in 2019 to serve as the first Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the newly established Indiana Destination Development Corporation (IDDC), a quasi-government agency focused on making Indiana a great place to live and visit and to learn and earn.

Prior to her recent appointment, Bedel served as President of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), the state’s lead economic development agency from 2017-2019. Under Bedel’s leadership, the state had consecutive record-breaking years for new job commitments.

Prior to serving the state, Bedel served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Bedel Financial Consulting Inc., a role held since she founded the company in 1989.

Bedel, who resides in Indianapolis, is an author of a personal finance book and has spoken nationally and internationally sharing her interpersonal and financial expertise and experience. Bedel earned a bachelor’s degree from Hanover College and an MBA from Butler University.

Throughout her career, Bedel has been recognized for dedication to her profession and her community. She was inducted into the Indiana Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016 and was recognized as the 2015 Women Business Owner of the year by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). Bedel was inducted into the Business Hall of Fame by the Junior Achievement of Central Indiana and received the Financial Planning Association’s “Heart of Financial Planning” Award in 2013.

Over the course of 2020, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership will be profiling statewide and regional leaders through a series called "5 Questions." To get started, we spoke with Bedel about her new role. 

Q&A with Elaine Bedel

1. Tell us about your new role as the CEO of the newly-created Indiana Destination Development Corp. What project or initiative are you looking forward to most?

I am thrilled to begin my new role as Secretary and CEO of the Indiana Destination Development Corporation (IDDC). For those who don’t know, the IDDC is a new quasi-governmental entity that will enable us to brand, promote and tell Indiana’s authentic story. We have such an incredible story to tell, and we need to be much more intentional about sharing it with the world.

As I look to the work ahead of us, I am most excited about what this opportunity will mean for the future of our state. Currently, people are just unfamiliar with Indiana and all the quality of life assets we have. I am confident that once we tell our story to a broader audience, businesses, students, visitors and top-tier talent will be ready to call Indiana home.

2. How does your experience as a business owner and former President of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) position you well to lead the state’s destination office? How are economic development and tourism interwoven?

As a business owner and President of IEDC, I know firsthand the importance of attracting and retaining talent. People are the most important part of any business, and as a state, we should be doing everything we can to keep good people here, while also bringing more people to the state.

We already know that Indiana has a strong and thriving business climate, one that is attracting new businesses here every day. And with record low unemployment numbers, we need more workers to fill the jobs available. That is where the IDDC comes in! People want to relocate and live in a place that has a high quality of life, with great restaurants, outdoor adventures and a thriving community environment. Indiana has all of those things, and it is so important that we use our assets to attract and retain talent.

3. What is the most unique piece of advice you’ve embraced as a leader?

You have to know your team. I make a concerted effort to bond with the folks on my team so I can understand their strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes and what they want for their future. This knowledge can help ensure we maximize the team member’s talent and allow them to reach their full potential. In turn, that helps the IDDC reach its goals.

That team comradery is so important to building an organization, and the relationships made ensure that candid and frank conversations happen throughout it all. Leaders should foster this open environment and be ready to listen to, and sometimes act on, the recommendations from their team.

4. What makes Indiana unique for visiting, living and doing business?

Here in Indiana, we understand the importance of having a high quality of life. We want Hoosiers to secure a job that puts food on the table and a roof over their heads, have more time to spend with their family and friends and be able to experience all our great state has to offer.

We have worked hard to create a climate that is good for business and collaborative. State government, local government, education entities, local communities and businesses of all sizes are all working in coordination to lift up our state for future generations. And throughout all the hard work, we’ve maintained our Midwestern Hoosier values that prioritize family, friendship and community. The combination of that all makes Indiana a great place to live.

5. Tell us a story about when you were proud to be a Hoosier.

For me, my Hoosier pride has never faltered. I have lived, worked and raised a family in this incredible state for my entire life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It has been a tremendous honor, and one I never could have expected, to serve our state in the last few years in government. Every day, I am humbled and proud of the work we have accomplished. It all really comes together for me when I am standing with thousands of other Hoosiers and visitors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway singing along to Back Home Again in Indiana and the National Anthem. The respect and appreciation we share for those that fight every day to protect our freedoms is something that unites us every day as Hoosiers and Americans.

Watch PBS39 Interview

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In 2019, Elaine Bedel and John Sampson joined Bruce Haines at PBS39 to discuss economic development and the power of collaboration across the state. 

Watch the Video