When the Local Goes Global

Today’s guest blog comes from Diane G. Thomas, President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Center. On October 6, The Center honored John Lechleiter, Ph.D., Lilly's Chairman, President and CEO, as its 2015 International Citizen of the Year.

In my nine years as President and CEO of The International Center, I have had the privilege to help recognize outstanding leaders in our community for their efforts in making Indiana an integral part of a global network. I must say that the warm reception 700-plus guests displayed toward John the man, and Lilly the company, was a testament to the legacy created and built upon by all who have led at Lilly over the years.

The contributions John has made are endless, but among his more notable achievements close to the hearts of many Lilly employees are these:

  • During his first year as CEO in 2008, John helped implement the first Global Day of Service, which has brought a contagious attitude of giving to both Lilly employees across the globe and local Indianapolis businesses.
  • In 2014, he became chairman of United Way Worldwide, an extension of his and Lilly’s ongoing support for United Way of Central Indiana.
  • John has been a large part of the ongoing movement toward establishing Indianapolis as a hub for greater culture, medicine and education. His work has created a lasting effect, and the positive impact he has had on our community deserves to be recognized.


Speaking to the partnership between Lilly and The International Center, John reflected on our constantly evolving city, saying, “Indianapolis today is so much more global in its orientation, measured by flows of trade, talent and culture, than I could have ever imagined when we moved here in 1979.”

Former Lilly CEO Sidney Taurel, the 2001 International Citizen of the Year, presented John's award at a special dinner and ceremony at The Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis.

The International Center is honored to partner with an organization such as Lilly that advances our cause to expand Indiana’s global interest through various programs and services. We work together to convene diverse interests sharing common international goals. It was that convergence of The International Center’s mission and Lilly’s values that made John the unanimous choice among The Center’s board of directors as the 2015 International Citizen of the Year. John was an extremely deserving recipient, as his work toward globalizing Indiana has created a lasting impact in many categories.

Congratulations, John, and thank you for allowing us this opportunity.

International Citizen of the Year 2015 - 1

Pictured above, left to right: Lilly’s Bart Peterson, event emcee; Jim Morris, event co-chair; Diane Thomas, International Center CEO; Lilly’s John Lechleiter, honoree; Marsha Stone, event co-chair; and Bob Postlethwait, International Center board chair.


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