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Two Gary businesses lauded by the State of Indiana as “Hoosier Business in Action” Awardees

Hoosier Business in Action

On July 19, the State of Indiana’s Office of Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity presented 22 Indiana companies with the “Hoosier Business in Action” Award. Among the honorees were Gary business owners Joslyn Kelly of J’s Breakfast Club and Attorneys Michael and Shelice Tolbert of Tolbert & Tolbert Legal.

A program launch reception was held at the Indiana State Museum where the cohort of 22 recipients was announced. Both Kelly and the Tolberts were in attendance.

“I am beyond humbled to receive this designation especially with all of the obstacles that many businesses face,” said Kelly. “It is great to be recognized for our hard work and all of behind-the-scenes effort it takes to be successful. I am especially glad that a few of my team members could join me on stage today because they indeed share credit in what we have and will accomplish.”

Husband and wife legal power couple Michael and Shelice Tolbert, who operate their firm in downtown Gary, were excited about the designation and its direct correlation to the Office of Governor Eric Holcomb.

“We give thanks to God for this honor and an awesome great village of supporters,” said Atty. Michael Tolbert. “We are especially honored to be able to operate a business in our community and hometown of Gary, Indiana.”

Hoosier Business in Action
ATTORNEYS TOLBERT POSE with Karrah Herring, J.D. Indiana’s Chief Equity, Inclusion & Opportunity Officer (center) after the awards ceremony.

According to their website, “Indiana’s Office of Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity has engaged with communities across our great state listening to business, faith, education, nonprofit and state and local government leaders. We have heard the calls for bringing economic empowerment to historically underrepresented populations in order to increase access to opportunity and upward mobility for ALL Hoosiers.

Because of these informative discussions, we have made economic development a key priority for our team, and we are proud to share one of our most exciting initiatives, Hoosier Business in Action.

For this first leg of the Hoosier Business in Action initiative, we have chosen 22 businesses from across Indiana that have a story of inspiration, resilience, and empowerment. Each business represents a historically underrepresented population of either minority, women, veteran or individual with disability ownership.”

The program featured a video of congratulations from Governor Holcomb along with remarks from Karrah Herring, J.D. Indiana’s Chief Equity, Inclusion & Opportunity Officer, David Watkins, Vice President of the Small Business of Indiana Economic Development Corporation and Anthony Phillips II, Deputy Chief & Executive Director of External Equity.

For more information about the State of Indiana’s Office of Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity, visit

Watch a video interview of the Gary honorees here.

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