The East Central Indiana Talent Collaborative (ECITC) welcomes
Ashley Surpas as the new associate director for Regional Initiatives at Ball
State University. In this role, Ms. Surpas will oversee the university’s role
as the backbone organization for the ECITC, a collective-impact initiative
advancing talent attraction, talent development, and talent connection across Blackford,
Delaware, Fayette, Grant, Henry, Jay, Randolph, Rush, and Wayne counties.
Since joining Ball State’s Office of Community Engagement
on Oct. 3, Ms. Surpas has served as the primary ECITC point of contact. She has
provided strategic, project management, and infrastructure support for the initiative’s
guiding team, network of county and regional coalitions, and industry networks.
Ms. Surpas brings with her 10 years of experience in
economic development, project management, and strategic plan coordination with
the Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance and Chamber of
Commerce. She was an integral part of the team that developed the East Central
Indiana’s Regional Cities Plans and participated in multiple aspects of the
Talent Region designation process.
In addition to earning her master’s degrees in Public Administration
and Executive Development for Public Service from Ball State, Ms. Surpas is
certified in Clear Impact’s Results-Based Accountability (RBA) framework, one
of the leading systems for implementing collective impact models and measuring
“Ashley impressed us on many levels during the interview process—her
breadth of knowledge about East Central Indiana communities, her above and
beyond level of preparation and research, her excellent facilitation skills,
and her insights into the opportunities and potential for talent development in
our region,” said Trevor Friedeberg, president and CEO of the East Central
Indiana Regional Partnership and member of the ECITC Guiding Team. “Her
personal and professional accomplishments have uniquely prepared her for
success in this role and I am excited to work with her as we position East
Central Indiana for a brighter future.”
Corey Murphy, fellow ECITC Guiding Team member and president
and CEO of the New Castle Henry County IN Economic Development Corporation, agreed.
“I am thrilled Ashley is engaged in this important
regional effort,” he said. “Her knowledge and passion for the region and its
shared prosperity will propel the initiative forward.”
Ms. Surpas said she was drawn to the Talent
Collaborative’s mission and the initiatives that are already underway.
“I enjoy making a difference, and, in my opinion, there is
no better way to create lasting change for our region than to strengthen and
expand talent development in East Central Indiana,” she said. “I was eager to
be a part of this important work.”
Her initial efforts will be focused on maintaining the
momentum of our county and regional coalitions, learning about the region’s
existing assets, and connecting with industry leaders to establish the Talent
Collaborative’s industry networks.
Strategic plan sets priorities through 2025
The appointment of Ms. Surpas coincides with the release
of the 2022-2025
East Central Indiana Talent Collaborative Strategic Plan, developed by the ECITC
Guiding Team in collaboration with the region’s birth-5, K-8, high school, and adult/higher
The plan centers around five strategic pillars that
articulate long-term ideals to guide more immediate work: 1) Equitable Child
Development and Education; 2) Equipped Adults; 3) Employers of Choice; 4)
Elevation of the Forge Your Path Talent Attraction Initiative; and 5) Trust.
According to Mr. Murphy, trust across counties and
stakeholders is foundational to the work of the Talent Collaborative and the
region’s economic future.
“Trust is the most important currency for regional
initiatives to succeed,” he said. “The Talent Collaborative has increased trust
and is proving to be a solid foundation to tackle regional objectives.”
The ECITC Strategic Plan recognizes that talent development
and connection go beyond education and training, Ms. Surpas noted.
“Individuals must be able to meet their basic needs—food,
clothing, health services, child care, safety—before turning their attention to
certifications, degrees, and career advancement,” she added. “These are very
real concerns in our region and impact even our youngest residents. We need the
involvement of educators, healthcare providers, non-profits, chambers of commerce,
business leaders, child care specialists, politicians, public safety, grassroots
advocacy groups … there is a role for everyone. Please reach out if you want to
help at the local or regional levels. This truly is a collaborative effort.”
For more information and to get involved, visit forgeeci.com/ecitc or contact Ashley
Surpas at email@example.com.