Staff Spotlight: Jill Madinger, Executive Director
Jill was raised in Indianapolis, but longed to see the world, so she moved to the big city of Chicago for her first career job as a flight attendant and trainer for Midway Airlines. Travel is still a passion!
Early in her career, Jill leveraged training, sales and marketing skills to work in the healthcare insurance industry, working her way up to Regional Vice President. Feeling inspired to do more and make a difference in the world, Jill next took a leadership position with Kiwanis International, where she helped to spread their mission of serving the children of world.
“I was drawn to the idea of working for an organization that empowers people to help others,” Jill said. “In many ways, that’s similar to what Komen offers – we do the work that allows community partners and researchers to better the health of women and men affected by breast cancer.”
Most recently, Jill served as the executive director of Million Meal Movement (formerly called Kids Against Hunger of Central Indiana). Its mission is two-fold: feed the hungry and offer meaningful volunteer opportunities, especially for youth in the central Indiana community. Beyond smaller corporate, church and personal packing events, each fall, the organization brings together approximately 3,000 volunteers for a single day event at Lucas Oil Stadium for the Million Meal Marathon.
“Whether you’re a seven-year-old boy, an Indianapolis Colts player or an executive with one of our corporate sponsors, you’re all doing the same thing on that day – helping to feed Indiana residents in need,” Jill said about the Million Meal Marathon.
Jill jokes that “when you go to work at a nonprofit, your whole family goes to work with you at that nonprofit’s cause.”
That statement holds true for Jill’s 17-year-old daughter Ellen, and Jill’s sister Sherri who also lives in Indianapolis. For the past three years, Ellen, who attends Carmel High School, and Sherri have volunteered for Million Meal Marathon and smaller pack duties, admin help, event committees and even washing packing event dishes. We bet you will see them pitching in at future Komen events too!
Jill’s world was rocked when cancer hit home in April 2009; Jill’s mom was diagnosed with liposarcoma, a rare form of cancer, which took her life in December of the same year. This unexpected event took Jill’s family by surprise and made her realize more than ever that life can be short and just how crushing a cancer diagnosis can be.
“A cancer diagnosis can tear a family apart or bring you closer together, which thankfully was our case,” she said, reflecting on that very difficult time.
As the executive director of Komen Central Indiana, Jill’s goals include creating additional funding mechanisms to increase the organization’s sustainability, continuing to nurture the spirit of volunteerism and furthering the organization’s reach and impact within its 41-county service area.
“We make it our responsibility and passion to serve, and I want to make sure we’re serving the people who need our help most,” she said.
Jill lives with Ellen and their beloved labradoodle, Buddy, in Carmel. In her free time, she enjoys reading, binge watching House of Cards, traveling and attending musical theatre shows.
Thinking about the upcoming year at Komen Central Indiana, she’s visualizing… “a DRY, warm, beautiful Race day in April!”
Favorite vacation? Christmas in London
Who inspires you? My mother and grandmother were strong women that greatly inspired me and currently, my girlfriends are an amazing group of women who have accomplished a lot and continue to inspire, teach and support me… a priceless gift!
Personal philosophy? Life is short. Don’t take each day for granted.
Random fact? I’ve survived a plane crash. I’ve walked the Great Wall. And I’ve been adventure sky diving!
A favorite birthday present? I got a green Schwinn banana-seat bike, complete with handlebar streamers, when I was seven years old. I really thought I was hot stuff!