Q&A with Kindra Strupp: new assistant VP for marketing and communications from Evansville area

James Vaughn

Newburgh native Kindra Strupp, a graduate of Castle High School, recently joined USI as the assistant vice president for marketing and communications.

She double majored in journalism and psychology at Indiana University, where she earned both degrees in four years while also working a part-time job.

Q: Where have you worked in the past?

A: My first job out of school was at WEVV here in Evansville, back when they still had television news. Shortly thereafter, I went to WTVW (channel 7), which was Eyewitness News at the time. I was an on-air morning anchor and reporter for about six years. Then we moved to Indianapolis and I initially worked at an ad and PR agency that focused on manufacturing products. We did things like ball bearings – so imagine writing about those sorts of things. It wasn’t my cup of tea. When I got the chance to go to Eli Lilly & Co., I was really pleased to do that and had an outstanding 12 years with Lilly. I started out in corporate communications, working with the senior-most leaders. Then I spent the next many years working with various products. I worked with one called Zyprexa, which is a medication for things like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. As I noted, one of my degrees is in psychology, so being around the preeminent minds in the world relative to mental health was extraordinary. I also got a global view of the world because that was a global assignment.

Q: Why did you decide to make the switch from TV to marketing?

A: I was in television for about six years and I decided to go to the agency life, which helped me get both the public relations experience as well as marketing. I straggled both lines at Lilly, where my primary job was dealing with media and being a liaison for our marketing team to the outside world. So I had the opportunity to do both. I still used a lot of my journalistic background.

Q: Why USI?

A: My husband and I are both from the area. We have two children, who are eight and 11. My parents and my husband’s parents spent a lot of time traveling to Indianapolis for things like soccer games and dance recitals and plays and the like. So we decided, as a family, that it probably made more sense to make a trip back home. So when this opportunity presented itself, we jumped.

Q: What are some of your goals for USI?

A: My husband has a degree from USI and over the years, I’ve heard people refer to USI as a hidden gem. I don’t think we need to be hidden anymore. We’re a bright, shining diamond that needs to be polished up a little bit for the world to actually see and put on display. We have a lot of great things that perhaps our own community and surrounding areas don’t even know about. I hadn’t been to campus in 20 years, and until I walked onto campus again after two decades, I didn’t realize the growth and the change that has evolved in this place. I want people within a 20-mile, 200-mile, even 2,000-mile radius, to get to know us for what we are. Our excitement, our enthusiasm and the affordability that we still offer makes a great package. So my primary goal is to get that word out to more and more people.

Q: Is this job better for raising a family?

A: It’s better because now we have immediate family near us to help out. At the moment, for example, my parents are picking up my sixth grader for track practice. Before, I didn’t have that option. That’s been a blessing and something we hadn’t experienced before. In corporate life, you’re kind of on-call 24/7 and so that part I don’t think is ever going to go away. I can’t tell you how many conference calls I’ve conducted from a baseball game or a practice of some sort, and that’s just a way of life in my family.

Q: What is one interesting thing about you that a lot of people may not know?

A: When I was a college student I was home for the summer, and there were tryouts for the movie A League of Their Own. A lot of the movie was filmed in many different surrounding areas like Huntingburg and Bosse Field. And so I got to meet Penny Marshall (Lavern from Lavern & Shirley), who was directing the film, and audition for a part in the movie and I actually got a callback. They wanted me to play an extra, a third-baseman, in that movie. But I was still attending school at that time and decided not to sideline my academic career for the possibility of Hollywood lights. But it was a fun experience, nonetheless.