IWC Welcomes New Volunteers and Board Members

Immigrant Welcome Center Adds Ten New Volunteers For Outreach, Two New Members to the Board of Directors

In February 2018, the Immigrant Welcome Center elected two new members to its volunteer Board of Directors and added 10 new volunteers to its ranks to help serve Indianapolis’ growing immigrant communities. The Immigrant Welcome Center relies upon scores of volunteers to serve immigrant newcomers in Indianapolis. 149 Community Volunteers are now available to help in 75 languages! 

Robert Postlethwait, a retired executive from Eli Lilly, was elected to a three-year term on the organization’s Board. While at Eli Lilly, Postlethwait served in various roles including President of the Neuroscience Project Group from 1994 to 1999. He has also served on a number of boards, most recently the Butler University Board of Trustees, the International Center, and the National Advisory Board for TeenScreen at Columbia University Medical School.  The Kathi & Bob Postlethwait Mental Health Recovery Center at Eskenazi Hospital was opened in 2014 as an inpatient facility for individuals with serious mental illness who require the safest possible environment for their recovery.

Patrick T. Tamm, the President and CEO of the Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association (InRLA), was also elected to a three-year term. His government affairs work for InRLA has been recognized by the International Association of Hotel Association Executives and the Indiana Society of Association Executives. Tamm represents more than 1,600 hotels and restaurants across Indiana that employ more than 14% of the state, including the thousands of immigrants and refugees throughout Central Indiana.

At its annual meeting on Thursday, February 22, the board also elected the following officers to a one-year term:

  • Richard C. Miller, President
    Retired, E.D. Bullard Company
  • Neelay K. Bhatt, Vice President
    PROS Consulting
  • Maria Pimentel-Gannon, Secretary
    Founder, Necessary Ingredients for a Simple Existence (N.I.S.E.)
  • Jackie Nytes, Treasurer
    Indianapolis Public Library


Ten new volunteers completed training in February 2018 to become Natural Helpers. The Natural Helper volunteers, many of whom are recent immigrants themselves, provide a personal connection as well as information and referrals to community resources to help with health care, legal services, public transportation, education, housing and employment.

The newest Natural Helpers and their country of origin are:

Abdulrahman Alghamdi, Saudi Arabia; Alayna Hutchinson, United States; Denise Villarreal Chico, Mexico; Georges Mutombo Cinu, Congo D.R.; Lyha Docta Ifambe, Congo D.R; Jane Njoroge, Kenya; Jean Baptise Boonga, Congo D.R.; Joyce Cummings, Liberia; Kimberly Ashlock, United States; Madeline Cartagena, Puerto Rico

With the addition of this latest cohort of volunteers, the center now has 149 Natural Helper volunteers who represent 43 countries and speak 75 languages.

Last year, Natural Helpers provided assistance to 2,966 immigrants and refugees. Newcomers can request assistance from a Natural Helper by visiting one of the Immigrant Welcome Center’s seven neighborhood branches, calling the Immigrant Welcome Center at (317) 808-2326 or visiting


Immigrant Welcome Center Welcomes Three New Board Members

The Immigrant Welcome Center is adding three members to the organization’s board of directors. Helene Cross, Jackie Nytes and Mario Rodriguez will begin their board terms on April 4, 2016.

“These three individuals bring diverse leadership and life experiences to our board,” says Terri Morris Downs, executive director of the Immigrant Welcome Center. “Their guidance as board members will be invaluable to helping us meet our mission to connect immigrants and refugees to resources, services and opportunities they need to fully participate in the economic, civic, social and cultural life of the community.”

HeleneCrossHelene Cross is the retired president and CEO of Fairbanks. Currently, she serves as a consultant, providing expertise in leadership and management development, executive coaching, and strategic and business planning. Cross served as executive vice president of Easter Seals Crossroads and in various administrative roles at St. Vincent and Wishard Hospital.  She has been awarded the John T. Hazer Distinguished Alumni Award in Psychology from the IUPUI School of Science, the American College of Addiction Treatment Administrators Annual Achievement Award and the Richard M. Fairbanks Circle of Hope Award. She holds a master’s degree in management from Indiana Wesleyan University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

JackieNytesJackie Nytes is the CEO of the Indianapolis Public Library. During her career, Nytes has served as the Chief Financial Officer and the associate director for management services at the library in addition to serving as president of the Indiana Economic Development Council and executive director of the Mapleton Fall Creek Development Corporation. She was an elected representative on the Indianapolis City County Council for 12 years. She is on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, and the Indianapolis Symphony. She serves as a trustee of Citizens Energy and recently completed 12 years on the board of the International Center of Indianapolis. Nytes holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a Master of Library Science degree (MLS) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Mario RodriguezMario Rodriguez is the executive director of the Indianapolis Airport. Rodriguez, a second-generation immigrant, is an aviation expert with over 28 years of experience in the private and public sectors. He sits on several industry and charitable boards and is a former president of the California Airports Council. Rodriguez previously served as CEO of the Long Beach Airport, and has served in leadership positions in airports from Hong Kong to Palm Beach. Rodriguez is an accomplished author and speaker on issues affecting the aviation industry, including business recovery and disaster management. He is an engineering graduate of the University of Miami.