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One Region names new president and CEO

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One Region, the Munster-based nonprofit that aims to increase population and household incomes in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties, named Region native Marie Foster-Bruns its new president and CEO.

Foster-Bruns, a former Purdue University Alumni Association chief experience officer, was selected after a four-month search in which more than 120 candidates were considered.

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“We are excited to announce Marie’s selection as CEO for One Region and the Northwest Indiana Regional Opportunities Council. Her extensive background in nonprofit management, fundraising and community relations were highly valued by the board and the search committee at a time when the organization is poised for growth in the years ahead,” said Violet Sistovaris, the executive vice president and chief experience officer at NiSource who serves as chairwoman of the One Region Board of Directors.

Foster-Bruns starts May 10, succeeding interim CEO Matt Wells, who has run the organization on loan from Purdue University Northwest since Leah Konrady left in summer of last year.

“One Region continues to enjoy strong relationships and support from our NIROC members and partner organizations at a time when Northwest Indiana is emerging as a region on the rise, and I am confident Marie will further elevate One Region’s mission and impact for years to come,” Wells said.

She was most recently the No. 2 executive of West Lafayette-based Purdue Alumni Association, which has more than 600,000 members. Foster-Bruns, a Purdue University at West Lafayette graduate who earned her MBA at Purdue Northwest, also has held leadership roles at Purdue Northwest, in Porter County government, and corporate marketing. She is a graduate of Leadership Northwest Indiana, was named as one of the NWI Times’ “20 Under 40” and has been a Northwest Indiana Influential Women finalist.

“As the new president and CEO of One Region, I am excited to work with the board and members of NIROC, a vibrant and growing council of influential NWI C-suite executives, to relentlessly pursue solutions that will attract and retain talent and increase household income in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties. Northwest Indiana has tremendous potential, and I believe One Region can continue to serve as a change agent and convener of public and private sector leaders, partner organizations such as the RDA, NWI Forum, area chambers of commerce and regional higher education institutions to actively position the Region at the forefront of innovative, actionable change and growth strategies.”

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One Region's membership grew nearly 50% in 2020. It's been working on numerous initiatives such as attracting talent, expanding vibrant downtowns and investing in emerging industries and transit-oriented development.

“It was important to the board and our search committee to identify a leader who deeply understands Northwest Indiana, but will also bring new perspective and energy at a critical time for the Region; Marie fits that profile exceptionally well," Sistovaris said. "On behalf of the board, I am thrilled to welcome Marie to our organization and look forward to working with her to advance One Region’s mission going forward.”

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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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