Introducing: ELEVATE 2020 Vice Chair, Chris Hicks

You know when you’re around someone and their energy is just so positive and chill? That’s Chris Hicks, our ELEVATE 2020 Vice Chair. In his first year on the Host Committee, Chris has already made a BIG impact. In addition to helping our team secure awesome silent auction items, he was the mastermind behind this year’s addition of the ELEVATE People’s Choice Award for our fifteen finalists. Have you voted for your pick yet?

We caught up with him for a quick Q&A about how he’s enjoying his year on the ELEVATE Host Committee.

Q: So, what’s a day in the life of Chris Hicks?

A: I’ll start by saying no two days are alike. It takes three separate alarm times to wake me up. But, I’m in the gym by 6:30 a.m., cook breakfast and watch a little SportsCenter. I’m in the office – I work at Kronos in downtown Indy – by 9 a.m. During the day it’s a mix of 1-on-1’s with my team, responding to emails, analyzing financials and providing guidance and oversight to the projects within my portfolio. After hours if I’m not at a meeting or event you can find me at a downtown bar for happy hour – Old Fashion, please! I end my day by cooking dinner, facetiming my daughter and catching a sporting event on tv.

Q. Sounds like you pack a lot in, do you have a side hustle you’d like to share?

A: I am an avid sneakerhead who buys and sells sneakers. I started selling in high school after developing relationships with store owners who would allow me to purchase several pairs up to two weeks before the release date. Nowadays, I purchase sneakers through apps, websites and friends who are store managers at sneaker stores. This side hustle has allowed me to pay for trips, pad my savings, invest and pay down debt.

When I’m not wearing my Kronite hat, I enjoy living as my alter ego, DJ 290West. I spend a lot of time listening to music and practicing for gigs that range from bars/clubs to corporate events and weddings. Being a DJ has taken me to places and introduced me to people that I probably wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise.

Q: What made you interested in taking a leadership position with the ELEVATE Host Committee?

A: I really wanted to work alongside some good people who shared my passion for making Central Indiana fun and meaningful for our generation. In the past few years I’ve attended a handful of events hosted by United Way’s two young professional donor networks – LINC and Emerging Leaders. They do a great job of combining volunteerism with fun networking. I was also very interested in the concept around an award ceremony celebrating and recognizing young professionals. The ELEVATE Awards is such a fun addition to the event and I’m really happy the People’s Choice concept is resonating – and helping us get closer to our fundraising target.

Q: So, our “vintage circus” theme begs the question, what’s your favorite circus act?

A: My favorite circus act is the Sphere of Fear/Globe of Steel. Three to six motorcycle riders, in a small sphere, riding in unison risking life and limb amazes me. This is a great example of controlled chaos.

Q: Circus peanuts or cotton candy

A: Most definitely blue cotton candy.  

Q: What is your reaction to our impact theme for 2020? The committee has set a BIG goal of raising $80,000 for programs addressing the need for more safe, affordable and equitable housing in our community.

A: I grew up in the inner city of Chicago and had family and friends who fell on hard times. They relied on organizations, like United Way and the community based partners United Way supports for safe and affordable housing as they worked to get back on their feet.

On a personal level, I had a decision to make when I became a landlord myself. I’m committed to ensuring that half of the units I own are rented out to families who rely on government subsidies for housing assistance. Those units are designed with the same appliances, fixtures and alarm systems as my units that have occupants who are not receiving governmental assistance. Regardless of your familial or financial status housing you rent from me will be equitable.

Q: Before we let you go, help us add something good to our reading list. Last book or podcast you enjoyed?

A: I don’t read for pleasure very often, but on a recent flight finished Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson. It was a quick read and great theme. Know what you want but be open to change.

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