500 Festival Announces New Additions, Elected Officers for 2018 – 2019 Board of Directors

500 Festival Announces New Additions, Elected Officers for 2018 – 2019 Board of Directors

INDIANAPOLIS (September 18, 2018) The 500 Festival, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500®, today announced the election of officers for its 2018-2019 board of directors. In addition, six new civic and business leaders were appointed to the 500 Festival board of directors.


Serving as the governing body of the 500 Festival, the board of directors is comprised of 33 community leaders. The board guides the strategic vision of the 500 Festival and its members act as trustees, representing the organization within the community. Committed to bettering the organization, members serve on various committees that support and enhance the 500 Festival and its more than 50 programs and events.


Elected officers for 2018-2019:

  • Chairman of the board: Mike Strohl, senior vice president, chief customer officer, Citizens Energy Group
  • Vice chairman of the board: Rob Pruitt, regional managing partner, BKD, LLP
  • Secretary: James Poore, owner, operator, MATCH Corp., McDonald’s
  • Treasurer: Melissa Proffitt, office managing partner, Ice Miller, LLP


“During his time on the 500 Festival’s board of directors, Mike’s leadership and relational approach to our mission has been exemplary,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. “Mike’s team at Citizens Energy Group is the proud sponsor of the 500 Festival Volunteer Program, which brings together a network of over 7,000 volunteers each May that we couldn’t do without. I’m looking forward to working closely with Mike throughout his term as chairman. There’s no doubt he will continue to enhance and build upon the mission of the 500 Festival and its impact here in Indiana.”


“This year’s 500 Festival board of directors boasts some remarkable community leaders,” Mike Strohl said. “As board chairman, I’m humbled at the opportunity to work with so many great individuals on this board, as well as the 500 Festival staff and volunteers. This organization is vital to the city of Indianapolis, and I can’t wait to start planning and celebrating the events leading up to the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500.”


New additions to the 500 Festival board of directors:


Dr. Jim Callaghan, President and CEO, Franciscan Health Central Indiana

Before this post, Dr. Callaghan served as president of Franciscan Health Michigan City. He held other leadership roles there, and led the formation of the health system’s Clinical Operations Group. Dr. Callaghan received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and his medical degree at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. He previously served in the U.S. Air Force as a flight surgeon, including an assignment as flight surgeon with the prestigious “Thunderbirds” air demonstration team.


Juan Gonzalez, Market President, KeyBank

Juan Gonzalez serves as KeyBank’s market president for central Indiana in addition to his role as business banking sales leader. He is actively involved in the community as the external executive face of the bank. Gonzalez also partners closely with the bank’s corporate responsibility group. With 18 years of experience in the financial services industry, he has served in a variety of roles. Gonzalez serves on the board of directors for the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corp. (IndyGo, vice chair), Dynamo F.C. (president), EmployIndy (treasurer), Indiana Latino Scholarship Fund (chair) and Society of Friends of Colombia (president).


Syam Nair, Senior Vice President, Engineering, Salesforce

As senior vice president, engineering, Syam Nair leads the Marketing Cloud Technology team at Salesforce. He is passionate about making Marketing Cloud customers successful, leveraging the power of data and enabling them to delight their users and customers. Syam has over 20+ years’ experience and an exceptional track record of technology, engineering and product development leadership, spanning from start-ups to large organizations and teams. His technical expertise is in building hyper-scale scalable public cloud services, distributed systems and enterprise software and services.


Jonathan Nalli, CEO, St. Vincent – Indiana

Jonathan Nalli serves as chief executive officer of St. Vincent – Indiana. He also serves as senior vice president, Ascension Healthcare, and Indiana Ministry Market Executive. Nalli came to St. Vincent in 2014 after a 15-year career with Community Health Systems (CHS), where he served as an executive of multiple markets within the national health system. Nalli graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Health Administration and earned his MBA from Drexel University. He currently serves on a number of other boards including the 2021 NBA All-Star Board of Directors, Indiana Chamber and Marian University.


Nasser Paydar, Chancellor, IUPUI

Nasser H. Paydar is chancellor of Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and executive vice president of Indiana University. An IU faculty member for more than 30 years, he has held various administrative and executive leadership positions at the university. Paydar joined IUPUI in 1985 as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the School of Engineering and Technology. In 2004 he became vice chancellor and dean of Indiana University–Purdue University Columbus, a position he held for three years. Paydar was appointed chancellor of Indiana University East in 2007, serving in that role until he returned to IUPUI in 2012, when he was named the campus’s executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer. He became IUPUI’s fifth chancellor in 2015, succeeding Charles R. Bantz.


Tanya Sovinski, Director of Community Relations, IPL

Tanya Sovinski joined IPL in 2016 as director of community relations. As a member of IPL’s Public Affairs team, Tanya oversees the development, coordination and management of IPL’s charitable contributions, sponsorships, volunteer activities and engagement with more than 200 local not-for-profit organizations. Prior to her current position at IPL, she served as the Director of Development for Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Sovinski received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Hanover College and is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Class XXXVIII. In addition, Sovinski serves on the Board of Directors for the Indy Parks Foundation, Downtown Indianapolis, and Leadership Indianapolis.


“The 500 Festival is excited to welcome these six individuals to our board of directors,” added Bryant. “This is a wonderful group of community leaders who will be important to the success of the 500 Festival’s events and programs in the coming years. Their unique backgrounds and experiences will only enhance the board’s vision and perspective for the future. We can’t wait to welcome them and start planning for May 2019.”


To learn more about 500 Festival’s events and programs, please visit www.500festival.com.


NOTE: To download photos of the new board members, click here. To download photos of the 2018 – 2019 board officers, click the individual’s name.  


About the 500 Festival

Founded in 1957, the 500 Festival is a not-for-profit organization that produces life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500® and foster positive impact on the city of Indianapolis and state of Indiana. One of the largest festivals in the nation, each year more than half a million people attend an event or program produced by the 500 Festival. Since its founding, the 500 Festival has contributed more than $400 million in economic value to Indianapolis. To learn more about the 500 Festival, please visit www.500festival.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



Media Contact: Sabrina List, 500 Festival
317.614.6141 ǀ slist@500festival.com