Ascend Indiana names new President and CEO and New Board Chair
INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 21, 2023) – The Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) and Ascend Indiana announce that Conexus Indiana COO and Chief Talent Officer Brad Rhorer has been named president and CEO of Ascend Indiana, CICP’s talent and workforce development initiative, and will succeed Jason Kloth in January. Concurrently, Board Vice Chair Bridget Boyle, head of people and culture for Roche Diagnostics, has been named chair of the Ascend Board of Directors, succeeding founding chair Mark Hill, who will step down at the beginning of the year.
In October, Ascend Indiana announced that President and CEO Jason Kloth would step down on January 1, 2024. Kloth helped to create the talent and workforce development initiative nearly nine years ago and grew it into an organization that received more than $50 million in philanthropic funding since its inception in 2016 and has connected more than 4,700 individuals to jobs, internships and training in Indiana.
“I am honored to join Ascend Indiana as its next leader and to guide the organization as it continues to connect educational institutions and employers to in-demand talent,” said Rhorer. “During my time at Conexus, I had the good fortune to work closely with Ascend and found their mission to be directly aligned with my core values. I look forward to continuing and advancing this incredibly important work.”
Rhorer brings to the role more than 30 years of experience in talent and human resources roles. Most recently, Rhorer spent five years leading talent efforts for CICP’s advanced manufacturing and logistics initiative Conexus Indiana. In that time, Rhorer collaborated closely with employers to better align the needs of industry to education. Rhorer’s accomplishments include working with the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet in helping to develop the Education Readiness Grants program, supporting the creation and adoption of the Next Level Programs of Study to better align secondary education pathways to industry and continued partnership with the state in attracting new companies to Indiana by outlining workforce pipelines and education and industry alignment.
Prior to joining Conexus Indiana, Rhorer spent 26 years in various roles at Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. in Lafayette, Ind., predominantly in human resources, where he served as senior manager of human resources. Rhorer has a B.S. in Management of Human Resources from Bellevue University and an MBA from Western Governors University.
Ascend’s new board chair Bridget Boyle has served as head of people and culture at Roche for nearly 14 years and has served in senior human resources leadership positions for over 30 years. She has been a member of Ascend Indiana’s Board of Directors since the organization’s inception and stepped into the vice chair role earlier this year. During her time on the Board of Ascend, she has been an advocate for early-in-career talent, driving Roche’s early adoption of programs such as the Modern Apprenticeship Program.
“As I assume the role of Ascend Indiana Board of Directors Chair in 2024, I know that the year will start off strong by having an experienced leader like Brad continue the exceptional work of Jason Kloth and the entire Ascend team,” said Bridget Boyle, head of people and culture at Roche Diagnostics and incoming chair of the Ascend Indiana Board of Directors. “The Board looks forward to working with Brad.”
“Knowing the positive impact that Ascend Indiana is already having across Indiana and the value in creating meaningful platforms for students to succeed, we are thrilled to build upon the momentum with Brad’s leadership and overall strategy to continue progress and bring new ideas to the forefront,” said Melina Kennedy, CEO, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. “It’s a rewarding experience to help connect individuals to training, employers, and other much needed career resources in ways that they never knew existed. With the dedication of Brad and the Ascend staff and board, we look forward to Ascend creating more opportunities for Hoosiers to thrive.”
“When you look at the breadth of Brad’s work at Conexus Indiana, it’s clear why he is perfectly suited to lead Ascend Indiana into its next chapter,” said Fred Cartwright, president and CEO of Conexus Indiana. “Brad not only developed several innovative talent development programs to build the next generation of advanced manufacturing and logistics talent but is a highly sought-after thought leader on statewide workforce development strategies. I am eager to work with Brad in his new role as president and CEO of Ascend and to further strengthen a partnership that leverages our organizations’ combined talent development efforts for collective impact.”
“As I reflect on my nine years leading Ascend, I am grateful for the exceptional team we have built, the partnerships we have developed and the impact that the organization has had in making Indiana a place of economic opportunity for all,” said Jason Kloth, president and CEO, Ascend Indiana. “I am confident that Brad and Bridget will continue the strong momentum we have built as they lead the organization forward.”
“The Ascend Indiana Board of Directors is excited to work with Brad and we know that he brings a wealth of experience to the role in connecting talent to meaningful careers here in Indiana,” said Mark Hill, managing partner of Collina Ventures, and founding chair of the Ascend Indiana Board of Directors. “We offer our sincerest thanks to Jason Kloth for creating and leading the Ascend initiative that is doing such important work here in Indiana, and we know the Board will have strong leadership with Bridget at the helm.”
About Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP)
The Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) was formed in 1999 to bring together the chief executives of the region’s prominent corporations, foundations and universities in a strategic and collaborative effort dedicated to Indiana’s continued prosperity and growth. To advance this mission, CICP sponsors five key talent and industry sector initiatives, AgriNovus Indiana, Ascend Indiana, BioCrossroads, Conexus Indiana and TechPoint, each of which addresses challenges and opportunities unique to its respective area: agbiosciences, talent and workforce development, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and logistics, and technology. To learn more about CICP, visit www.cicpindiana.com.