Happy New Year! It is a true honor and privilege to serve as the 2021 President of the Indianapolis Bar Association. I humbly follow in a long line of distinguished lawyer leaders who have set a firm foundation of excellence upon which our bar association and our members have established themselves as some of the best in the country. I am committed to working with our outstanding Board of Directors, committee, section and division leaders and staff to continue to meet and exceed our commitment to the practice of law, continuing legal education and community service.
My story today always starts with my home team: my family! My wife and best friend, Lisa McMillian, is known to many of you as Mocha. She is a mother, grandmother, truck driver, motorcycle rider and leader in the community. I am the proud father of two wonderful twin 12-year-old boys, Lance and Xavier. Both play soccer. Xavier is a six-time all-star, and there is no one tougher than the “tough guy” on the field. Lance, aka “Big Man,” races go-karts with the NXG Youth Motorsports program and in 2021 will be one of only three drivers promoted to the competitive NXG Grand Prix series as he continues to strive for his goal to one day race in the Indianapolis 500. I have two stepsons, Jalen Taylor and Kalvin Brown, and three grandchildren. I can’t tell my story without mentioning and thanking God for the best mother to ever do it, Marjorie McMillian, without whom I would not have the beautiful life that I enjoy today. She raised me to be the man that I am and taught me the lessons that have guided me through the toughest times in my life. She was an incredible Chicago Public School teacher for more than 30 years for children with mental challenges, and she could teach ANY child how to read and write.
I am a graduate of Indiana University and the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law. While in law school, I worked as a law clerk for the law firm of Kiefer and McGoff. I have previously served as a law clerk to Hon. Justice Frank Sullivan of the Indiana Supreme Court and worked as a partner in the litigation department of Barnes & Thornburg LLP. I am currently the Senior Corporate Counsel and Chief Diversity Officer for Penske Entertainment, which includes the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NTT INDYCAR Series and IMS Productions. I have the greatest job in the world at the greatest racetrack in the world!
My passion and my heart belong to my club brothers and sisters in my motorcycle club, 317 Ryders MC. Serving as club president of one of the largest motorcycle clubs in Indiana it is a full-time job with lots of overtime leading what is both a family and an organization. My wife and mother are also members, by the way! I love riding motorcycles and seeing the world with my friends on two wheels. It is an experience like no other. It is more than a mere hobby; it is my lifestyle. An interesting fun fact: Michael Tolbert, who is the 2021 president of the Indiana State Bar Association, is an avid motorcycle rider as well, so we look forward to riding our motorcycles together for a good cause in the legal community.
2020 is now in our review mirror. Like teenagers in the backseat of the car during a painfully long road trip, we watched our dads, IndyBar President Andy Campbell and IBF President Lee Christie, steer us over the icy roads and through the blizzard to safety. We owe them both a great deal of gratitude and thanks for their strong leadership. Now, it’s time to launch like a rocket into 2021 with the fuel of extreme engagement, energy and enthusiasm.
We are still dealing with the unfortunate effects of COVID-19 on our association, our activities and our ability to meet in person. We will not be deterred from fulfilling our mission. Where there is a will, there is a way. The leadership of our association is never short on will power and will always find a way.
One of the things I am most looking forward to is the return of the Bench Bar Conference in Louisville from June 17 through June 19. We are optimistic we’ll have the ability to safely host an outstanding (yet still socially distant) in-person event. For the first time, we are going to launch our IndyBar Bar Leader Series during Bench Bar so the future superstars of tomorrow can meet, network and fellowship with the current superstars of today. We also will have a very special celebration of Juneteenth withn our members of color, which we are working to coordinate with leadership of the Louisville Bar Association. It is going to be so much fun to reunite with our fellow members and see everyone again!
I am also looking forward to the glorious return of our annual Evening Under the Stars event. A gala, a cocktail, a tuxedo and an extremely gorgeous hot date with Mocha would be a very welcome occurrence in 2021.
The law is changing, the world is changing and our lawyers and judges continue to be in the forefront of that change. As we go into what I consider to be a “new world awakening,” I look forward to all of the things we are going to learn, share, develop, grow and build together. We have tremendously talented and diverse IndyBar and IBF board leaders who are going to guide us through that process in 2021 and for many years to come.
No ceilings. No roof. We are rising in 2021 together. We are climbing higher in 2021 together. We are lifting each other to new heights in 2021 together, because in 2021, there is no doubt that the members of the IndyBar are and will be TOGETHER!•