Attorney Mark Ladendorf was recently recognized as a finalist for the 2013 Inspire Awards presented by College Mentors for Kids.  The Inspire Awards, presented by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, are dedicated to recognizing outstanding mentors in the workplace and community.  On February 27, 2013, a reception was held at The Indiana Roof Ballroom where Mark and other nominees were honored for their efforts in mentoring future generations of leaders in Central Indiana.

Mark was acknowledged in part for his involvement as a young lawyer in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.  Through the program, Mark mentored and developed a lifelong bond with James “Jamie” Pheifer, now an assistant general counsel and human resources counsel at OneAmerica in Indianapolis.   What started with Star Wars films and Indiana Pacers basketball games evolved into a more mature friendship once Pheifer turned 18 and the program technically ended.  In 1996, Mark stood as a groomsman in Pheifer’s wedding, and in 1998, Mark proudly watched Pheifer receive his juris doctor (J.D.) from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Mark’s alma mater.  Fourteen years later, Pheifer was present to celebrate my own graduation from that same law school with his “big brother” and my father, Mark Ladendorf.  The circle, in a sense, had been completed.

Erin Peckinpaugh of WTHR-TV, who nominated Mark for this award, said the following of the people who inspire us: “There are people who inspire simply because that’s who they are.  If you are in their presence, you feel empowered to give back; to leave your mark on the world.  There isn’t a single meeting with Mark where I don’t leave feeling motivated to do more for the community.”

We are proud of Mark and Jamie for not only their professional achievements, but more importantly, for the principle their friendship embodies: that profound experiences can result from unlikely beginnings.   As Memorial Day approaches, may all of us be thankful for and commemorate those mentors in our lives who help shape us into the people we are today.