The Crusader Newspaper Group

Gary Crusader columnist Vernon Williams is diversity champion honoree

Recorder Media Group recognizes 16 honorees

This year, the 15th annual Champions of Diversity Awards Dinner will continue its tradition of honoring individuals and organizations that prioritize diversity and inclusion of all Hoosiers.

These honorees don’t just say diversity is important; they are intentional about making it happen, and they believe diversity isn’t complete without ensuring people are included in all aspects of an organization. Accomplishing these goals isn’t easy in a world where people of different backgrounds share the same space, as we somehow seem to be growing more distant and isolated.

“Despite the divisiveness that exists in this country, there are still countless people who are doing their part to make a positive impact in the lives of others,” said Robert Shegog, president and COO of the Indiana Minority Business Magazine. “Our Champions of Diversity honorees represent a vast array of backgrounds and industries, yet all of their efforts contribute to transformative change. I am incredibly proud IMBM will publicly recognize such deserving individuals.”

The 15th annual Champions of Diversity Awards Dinner is 6:30 p.m. on January 17, 2020, at the Marriott Downtown, 350 W. Maryland St., Indianapolis, Indiana. Tickets start at $100 at

The free Champions of Diversity Honorees Celebration, featuring The Unit Band, will begin at 8:30 p.m.

Listed below are the honorees, including individuals and organizations. The name accompanying an organization is the person who will accept the award.


Special award recipients

Winnie Bulaya 

Martin Luther King Jr. Award

Refugee Welcome Baskets,  founder

Elizabeth Henry and Laurie Ann Henry 

William G. Mays Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award

McDonald’s, owner and McDonald’s, director of operations

Rupal Thanawala

Rosa Parks Trailblazer Award

Tenthpin Management Consultants, partner

Asian American Alliance Inc., president

Dr. Eugene White 

Lifetime Education Advocate Award

Martin University, president emeritus


Individuals honored

Candy King

Roche Diagnostics, director of strategic project – diversity and inclusion

Mario Rodriguez

Indianapolis Airport Authority, executive director and CEO

Mariama Shaheed

Global Prep Academy, founder, principal and CEO

Jeffrey A. Harrison

Citizens Energy Group, president and CEO

Vernon A. Williams

IUPUI, communications and community engagement strategist

Ashley Jordan

Evansville African American Museum, executive director

Tony Mason

Indianapolis Urban League, president and CEO

Tavonna Harris Askew

Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, chief of staff and general counsel


Organizations honored

Bloom Project Inc.

Arnetta Scruggs, founder and executive director

Indiana Donor Network

Kellie Hanner, president and CEO

Special Olympics Indiana

Jeff Mohler, president and CEO

Recent News

Scroll to Top