Seymour woman named Girls Inc. Champion

As a committee selects the Girls Inc. of Jackson County Girls Inc. Champion each year, there are several criteria considered.

First and foremost, the person is positively engaged in and actively contributes to the Jackson County community.

Ideally, the person also serves local youth, especially girls.

Also, the person embodies the spirit of Girls Inc., serves as a role model for the future and lives up to the nonprofit organization’s motto, “Strong, smart and bold.”

“Mindy Roeder checks all of those boxes and more,” Stacey Williams, vice president of the Girls Inc. of Jackson County board of directors, said while introducing the 2023 Girls Inc. Champion in front of a record crowd Friday night at the Champions Ball at The Pines Evergreen Room in Seymour.

“If you know Mindy — and almost everyone in Jackson County seems to — two questions probably come to mind. First, is she actually mortal like the rest of us? And if so, when exactly does she sleep?” Williams said. “Between a career, coaching, volunteering, owning a business and raising a family, Mindy is truly remarkable.”

Roeder, 42, of Seymour, told the crowd of nearly 200 people she was truly humbled and honored to be the guest of honor and spread thanks around, including Girls Inc. Executive Director Ginger Schneck and her staff and the board of directors for nominating her for the great honor.

Then she thanked her husband, Brett Roeder, and other family members and friends.

“Any one of you out there that knows me knows that he deserves a big pat on the back,” she said, referring to Brett. “We live a pretty crazy life, and I certainly couldn’t do it without having someone like him behind me that’s willing to jump on board with any crazy idea I have to start something and it sort of goes places that we never expected it to. I certainly am thankful for him.”

Roeder also appreciated the other people who were there to support her.

“It does take a village — a really big village — and I’m really thankful to have some of the best friends and family out there that I can call you in a moment’s notice to help with my kids or whatever it may be,” she said. “I’m just really thankful for that.”

Growing up on a dairy farm between Brownstown and Tampico, Roeder reflects on her childhood as a special one and appreciates it as a shaping force.

“As an adult, I often look back to those years on the farm and appreciate what a unique experience I was able to enjoy in my childhood,” she said.

Roeder, the daughter of Dave and Melanie Peters, attended Lutheran Central School in Brownstown through eighth grade and went on to graduate from Brownstown Central High School. Then she earned a Bachelor of Arts in business from Indiana State University and a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in health care from University of Southern Indiana.

In 2011, she became director of physician recruitment for Schneck Medical Center in Seymour.

“If you have personally been treated by a doctor at Schneck who arrived here after 2011, there’s a pretty good chance that they are here because of Mindy,” Williams said. “She brought a windfall of talented young physicians to Seymour from all over the country and also people moving back home after some time away.”

Since 2016, she has served as director of business development for the Seymour hospital. Her current focus is on the deployment and administration of a direct-to-employer health insurance product through a partnership with SIHO Insurance Services, the discovery of new services and the expansion of existing services and provider networking.

“Her role is primarily one of seeking growth, innovation and connections, which are all areas in which she excels,” Williams said.

Roeder and her husband also are part owners of Goecker Building Supply in Seymour and North Vernon, and she used to be part owner of Shoppe 425 in Seymour.

Outside of work, Roeder is co-owner of the Cougar Volleyball Club with Janet VanLiew. When they started in 2017, they had 32 athletes, three teams and six coaches. For 2022-23, they have 187 athletes, 23 teams and 37 coaches.

“The majority of our athletes, 148, are from various Jackson County schools,” Roeder said. “The other 39 come from Washington, Jennings, Bartholomew, Jefferson, Brown and Lawrence county schools.”

When they started the club, Roeder and VanLiew were coaching at Immanuel Lutheran School in Seymour and wanted to give their athletes an opportunity to play club volleyball locally and be competitive. Roeder said they never set out to have 23 teams. It just sort of happened.

“She and I are passionate about having a positive influence on the athletes in our program,” Roeder said. “Some of them come to us because they are potential collegiate athletes that desire to train at the top of their ability to hopefully move on to the next level after high school. Other athletes come to us because they like the sport and want to play for their schools. We strive to provide an environment for all of them.”

Roeder said they do their best to find a spot for every athlete who wants to be part of the program, and they have never made cuts in the middle- and elementary-aged programs.

“The best part of coaching and running a club is seeing our athletes gain confidence in themselves, not just in volleyball but socially, as well,” she said. “They create new friendships, learn to navigate what it feels like to be pushed, all while growing each time they step foot in the gym.”

The confidence they instill in the players was the focus of Roeder’s message Friday night.

“I feel that we do everything we can that when they come into our gyms that we can help them with confidence,” she said. “Certainly, we want them to have confident volleyball skills. That helps a lot if you’re one of their coaches, but more importantly, I love it whenever we see them have confidence from learning something new or maybe they were the one that led the cheer in the middle of the huddle. That’s the kind of things that we’re looking for.”

Roeder currently coaches the 14-1s and the 12 Regional teams, which practice at Girls Inc. in Seymour.

“I hope to have the ability to keep making the young ladies in our community better volleyball players, but more importantly, strong, smart and bold,” she said. “They are our future, and I love being a part of their steps to that future.”

She also is the volleyball assistant coach at Trinity Lutheran High School in Seymour and serves on the Indiana State Lutheran Athletic Association board of directors and is the state volleyball tournament chairwoman.

Over the years, Roeder also has helped staff the Immanuel Lutheran Church food stand during the Jackson County Fair, and she started and chaired the Twice is Nice Kids Consignment Sale for Tri Kappa for many years. That event was held at Girls Inc.

“Over the years, the event raised over $70,000 that then Tri Kappa donated back to various causes and organizations in our community,” Roeder said.

Besides coaching volleyball, Roeder said her hobbies include CrossFit, playing euchre and watching her three kids, Laura, Reed and Brock, play sports.

Also during Friday night’s event, Girls Inc. alumnae Samantha Franklin shared how the opportunities she had through the organization helped her learn and grow, and Schneck spoke about the impact of Girls Inc. in the community for the past 80 years.

This past year, Girls Inc. served 300 at its facility and approximately 2,000 students from Jackson County schools with prevention programming.

“These programs have decreased teen birth rates, decreased use of harmful substances and increased confidence and ability to keep oneself safe,” Schneck said. “Girls Inc. girls learn to make a difference in the world. They are eager to learn, are more successful in school, are more likely to graduate from postsecondary education, less likely to engage in risky behaviors and they are diligent and resilient.”