Leaders of the future

Certified public accountant Roy Ice has been named the June winner in the Next Generation Leadership program sponsored by the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce and the Columbus Young Professionals group. One young professional from the Columbus community is chosen each month of 2016 in the areas of life, community and work as someone who exemplifies leadership skills. Ice was nominated in the “life” category. The Republic is introducing the winners each month through this column.

Name: Roy Ice

Age: 29

City of residence: Columbus, Indiana (originally from Vincennes)

Family: Spouse, Katelyn Phillips (originally from Evansville); mother, Lisa Ice-Jones; father, James Jones; sisters, Victoria Salters, Olivia Jones (both younger)

Education: Rivét High School, Vincennes; University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, graduated in December of 2012 with bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Your job: I am a certified public accountant with Kemper CPA Group where I help businesses and nonprofits grow by providing tax, audit and other accounting services.

How many years have you lived in Columbus?

My wife (Katelyn Phillips, marketing director for the Columbus Philharmonic) and I moved to Columbus on New Year’s Eve in 2014.

What are your activities and interests in Columbus?

Columbus has a great downtown, and we like to go to the shows and events like Cabaret, Neighborfest, the farmer’s market, Ultimate Frisbee meet-ups or just enjoy the many restaurants. I also golf and like to explore Mill Race and the People Trail.

The Columbus Young Professionals say you were nominated in the “life” category. Give us some examples of ways you lead in the Columbus community through your work and activities: Being a leader is about seeing a need and taking initiative to see that it is taken care of. To me it is easier to think about being a leader of a small project like helping volunteer, assisting with planning a budget by offering my experience as a CPA, or just being willing to help a co-worker with a problem. These small gestures give people a good feeling and they will remember you as a “go-to” person that they can consult with when they have a question. In my personal experience, being willing to help has developed into opportunities with local organizations such as board membership and developing my network.

We understand you are a new arrival in Columbus and hit the ground running by getting involved in a large number of activities. How did you get connected to the community so quickly?: Katelyn and I got our first taste of Columbus at Engage Columbus shortly after we arrived. We met with Kristin Munn and Leah Retrum, who took the time to have a conversation with us about being new to town. After a few visits and cups of coffee we were meeting new people and began getting connected with organizations like the Columbus Young Professionals, CAMEO, Zonta Club of Columbus, the Columbus Philharmonic, Leadership Bartholomew County, and the Columbus Area Arts Council. It’s difficult to put yourself out there, especially when you know absolutely no one. We experienced that apprehension from the minute we left Evansville, but we saw positive results by simply taking the first step and getting to know a couple of strangers. It was really these first few positive experiences and being surrounded by inspiring people that made us want to come back for more. The warm reception inspired us to plan a Columbus wedding as a sign that this was our new home. With that mentality, seizing opportunities while getting involved has become second nature for us because our interests are in line with the community.

What are some of the organizations and activities that you believe are making a difference in Columbus and why are they important to you?: There are so many organizations that are making a difference. I saw that first hand through Leadership Bartholomew County during our Community Plunge where we visited Love Chapel, San Souci and Lincoln Central Neighborhood. These organizations are doing great things and there are so many more that I have not yet had the opportunity to experience. Columbus is one of the most philanthropic towns I have known. I have likely spent the biggest part of my time, outside of work, with the Columbus Young Professionals and the Columbus Area Arts Council. After getting involved with these organizations, it is incredible what a group of committed individuals can accomplish in a short amount of time. CYP is a must for millennials looking to get connected. It is a special time for young professionals as Columbus is looking for ways to attract young talent and hold on to it which makes CYP particularly relevant to me and, I think, the community. LBC is another must for newcomers and those wanting to connect with other influential community members. It gave me the opportunity to learn the history of Columbus and get acquainted with the people that are responsible for what makes Columbus a great place to live. I was introduced to the Columbus Area Arts Council during my time at LBC where I had the opportunity to sit in on a board meeting. My experience inspired me to give my time to help promote the arts in Columbus. I was fortunate to be brought up in a household that respected creativity. CAAC does great things to help expose people to art and gain an appreciation for it, a life-changing experience because of the unique perspective that creativity gives to a person. To be creative is to have a special kind of awareness of oneself, so to me art is a reflection of who we are and maybe one of the most “human” things we can do.

If you could change Columbus in any way, what would that change be?: I have been so impressed with the events that constantly fill up my calendar; the variety of programming is so rare for a community of this size. I am always surprised when I hear someone complain about a lack of activities or that Columbus does not cater to younger generations. I would love to change that perspective.

What do you think shouldn’t change about Columbus, and why?: I hope this community stays focused on being the best town of its size.

When you talk about Columbus to those who don’t live here, how do you describe it?: The biggest little town I have lived in. There are so many assets in this town that were unexpected, like the fun and educational architecture tours, the diverse population, competitive schools, a lively downtown, and the financial backing consistently provided to nonprofits — this philanthropic town really cares about my well-being, and it shows in the quality programming.

If someone asked you what they could do to help the community of Columbus, what would you advise them to do?: Share your experiences and give your time freely. Go with a friend to their favorite group, attend a community event and ask how you can volunteer, choose a hobby and quickly find that there are more places to put your time than you could hope to fill. My experience is that success relies less on grand gestures and more on small consistent efforts. Everyone has a unique perspective because none of our experiences are the same and that is worth sharing. But you have to get involved. Find people who care about what you care about and show others how it has made a difference in your life. You will be surprised at how easy it is to find a cause.