Judith Thomas, a longtime resident of Indianapolis and the NFHS’ first director of marketing, has stepped into a new role as the city’s Deputy Mayor of Neighborhood Engagement.
Thomas will utilize her adept ability to facilitate connections as part of Mayor Joe Hogsett’s administration, serving as a link between residents of Circle City and the resources in their communities.
“All of a sudden, my neurons start connecting this person, this organization, this group, this minister, this program, this park, this arts organization, this young person that’s starting a business — how can they all come together,” Thomas said in an interview with FOX 59 in Indianapolis.
Thomas gained a sense of how community relationships can be formed through high school sports when she worked for the NFHS from 1999 to 2005. Joining the organization as director of marketing just prior to the relocation from Kansas City to Indianapolis, Thomas oversaw the success of the Athletic Directors Show at the National Athletic Directors Conference, handled NFHS advertising and sponsorships and implemented the NFHS Authenticating Mark Program.
“You talk about community and neighborhood, there’s nothing more exciting than a football game on a Friday night in the state of Indiana, or a basketball game any night,” Thomas told FOX 59.
Following her NFHS tenure, Thomas became director of convention services for Visit Indy, through which she helped orchestrate the Circle City Classic, the Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration and many other events over more than 13 years with the tourism company. She was also president of the Madam Walker Legacy Center from 2018 to 2020.
Currently, Thomas is principal and cultural architect of her own business, Judith & Co., which she started this past July, and serves as a community scholar and associate faculty of Africana studies at Indiana University Purdue University of Indianapolis (IUPUI).
Thomas held other positions in Indianapolis prior to her time with the NFHS including account executive at Emmis Communications and event coordinator for the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome, where she annually coordinated more than 100 national, local, public and private conventions, trade shows and exhibits.
A Gary, Indiana native, Thomas graduated from Indianapolis North Central High School in 1985 and later earned her degree in public and corporate communications from Butler University in 1990. As a student at Butler, she was president of the Black Student Union and a member of the Class of 1990 Student Foundation Board, and later served four years on the Alumni Board from 2000 to 2004.