Profile: IFF RES director Jeff Bennett joins Indianapolis city staff as community development leader February 1, 2016

Jeff Bennett, IFF’s former director of Real Estate Services – Indiana for the last 3 1/2 years, started his new job as deputy mayor of community development for Indianapolis last month. We caught up with Jeff as he packed his boxes in the IFF Indianapolis office and literally moved them across the street to his new workplace.

Tell us about your new position.
The deputy mayor of community development position was not part of the recent mayor’s administration, but historically it has existed. My job will be to work across departmental lines in city government as well as with philanthropic and nonprofit partners to affect comprehensive community development in neighborhoods. I think my role with IFF put me on the radar for this. I get to keep doing what I’ve been doing for the last few years at IFF, but at a different level.

How did you join the IFF team?
In May 2012, the RES director position was posted in a nonprofit e-newsletter that everyone in Indianapolis subscribes to. I saw the announcement and thought, “That sounds like a really cool job. I hope a friend gets it.” I was familiar with IFF, which was a lender on a project that I worked on while employed by the city. A couple of friends sent me the job description and said, “Have you seen this? You should think about applying.” So I did. I got hired and started the first week of September.

The best part about IFF is the people you work with. Of course, the projects we help are awesome. We’ve been part of several projects that are transformative in Indianapolis. But the people I’ve been able to interact with at IFF have been the most rewarding aspect about the job.

What did you do earlier in your career?
Before IFF, I was in local government. I worked for the former Indianapolis mayor for about six years and served as an elected official in Warren Township for two terms. Before my government experience, I worked for a statewide nonprofit organization that focuses on historic preservation.

What do you like to do in your free time?
(Laughs) That assumes I ever will have free time in the future. I play an odd sport — hurling. My wife, Megan, who is a former roller derby participant, signed us both up for it. She has since retired from hurling and the roller derby, but I’ve continued. That’s my main recreational activity besides reading a book or government magazine occasionally.

Megan and I live about 10 minutes east of downtown Indianapolis, in a neighborhood called Irvington. It’s an old street car suburb. We have a daughter, Gillian, who’s a sophomore in high school; a dog, Max; and a cat, Princess.