After attending Ball State and earning an Urban Planning degree, Laura Granieri didn’t want to go home. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, she found breaking into the scene there just wasn’t as easy or accessible as what she had experienced in Central Indiana. Through her undergrad work she got hands-on with meaningful projects like Reimagining Mass Ave, which helped her establish connections and get invested in the city.
She was also selected for 1828, a young professional development program through IndyHub created to lift up people in nontraditional roles like nonprofit employees and teachers that don’t get the same professional development offered in corporate places. This program further established her roots here. Of the experience, Granieri said, “It raised my confidence, helped me trust in myself to take chances in my career. It’s kind of magical to keep in touch with classmates. Once you go through that 9 months together, you’re tight knit.”
Professionally, Granieri found herself drawn to the social side of urban planning through event planning and marketing of the city. She looked for and landed an AmeriCorps job, through which she served for one year at Exodus Refugee. There she got a range of experiences, including research and planning a young professional group, organizing an annual fundraiser, and doing all kinds of outreach. All things that would come in handy for future jobs with Midtown Indy and IndyHub, and her eventual role as a volunteer and board member for People for Urban Progress, for which she is nominated as Young Professional Board Member of the Year.
The PUP connection started with First Fridays at the Murphy building. Granieri described the vibe: “There were people were hanging out, sewing products. There was a coolness factor. Dabbling in urban planning and the design world, but not in a traditional way. It was a place I felt I could belong.” What started as regular volunteering – eating donuts and listening to music while cleaning RCA Dome fabric to repurpose into products – led to a role as volunteer coordinator, and eventually, a seat on the board.
One of Granieri’s nominators said, “When Laura said “YES” to this board role she said “YES” so that other young leaders could see that you’re never too young to deeply embed yourself into this city.”
Being one of the younger board members didn’t stop her from taking on big projects, like helping plan and launch PUP’s signature conversation series, DAYLIGHT and sitting on the hiring committee for the organization’s first full-time Executive Director position. Seeing how hard the small PUP team works motivates her to lighten their load.
Through her ongoing work as Director of Communications at IndyHub, Granieri is an unabashed in her admiration for Central Indiana. She shared a sentiment we’ve heard from several of our finalists: “People in Indy are so great. I can’t imagine being in any other city. Everyone is willing to help, whether they know you or not.”
And as it turns out, Granieri is one of those great people, working hard to make this community more collaborative and creative. Thanks for all you do, and congratulations on your nomination!