We have done spotlight series on Horizon House staff and volunteers, but today, we shine the spotlight on Marla Taylor, one of our Horizon House Board Members. We hope you enjoy learning more about Marla, Taylor Advising, and why she’s so passionate about her continued work with Horizon House.
Q: Can you give us some background on you & your consulting firm, Taylor Advising?
I was born and raised in Central Indiana, studied sociology at Indiana University, and love calling Indianapolis home. I believe deeply in servant leadership and have spent my entire career working on social issues that impact families and children in our community. I have a particular passion for working to address challenges related to poverty, violence, health inequities, and education and have been a professional consultant to nonprofit leaders focused on issues like these for over a decade. At Taylor Advising, my Indianapolis-based professional consulting firm and a certified Women-Owned Business (WBE), my team and I specialize in strategic planning, community development, and facilitation services to help nonprofits achieve bold visions for our community.
Q: What is your role on the Board?
I am an active member of the Advancement Committee, where I get to work alongside a fun, dedicated team of volunteers and Horizon House staff to help raise awareness, host fundraising events, and involve the community in our mission.
Q: How long have you worked with HH?
I’ve been involved with Horizon House in a variety of ways since 2016. I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Horizon House team as a consultant, serving as a volunteer, attending and helping to put on fundraising events, providing support both personally and as a corporate sponsor, and for the last two years as a member of the board.
Q: What made you want to join the HH Board?
I believe that housing is a basic human right, and it’s our collective responsibility to make sure no one in our community has to face the prospect of homelessness. I think the team at Horizon House embodies those same beliefs in a way not all homeless service providers do. They treat everyone with dignity and respect, caring for everyone as a whole person. They focus on housing first instead of creating barriers for folks who are already experiencing so many roadblocks in life. They are dedicated to solving homelessness, not just managing it. How can you not want to be a part of that?
Q: What do you want to accomplish as a board member within the upcoming year?
So many big things are happening at Horizon House right now because of the amazing staff team, board, and volunteers and I’m especially excited about supporting the creation of Compass on Washington. This new permanent supportive housing complex will be a great step toward having enough safe, accessible housing in our city and I can’t wait for the day we can cut the ribbon and open the doors!
Q: As you observe the Indianapolis community as a whole, what is an issue affecting the homeless population that concerns you the most?
Indianapolis is often celebrated for being welcoming to businesses and very landlord-friendly, but there is an astonishing lack of safe, truly affordable housing options here. There are so many misconceptions about what may cause someone to become homeless, but the reality is you can take all the right steps, have a full-time job, and still not be able to afford safe housing in this city.
Q: How do you think HH helps and can continue to help?
First, I think Horizon House can be a leader in providing permanent supportive housing options in our city through projects like Compass on Washington. I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to replicate that development over time and explore more housing-focused solutions. I also believe Horizon House can and will continue to advocate with our city’s leaders to address the systemic issues that cause homelessness to persist in Indianapolis.
Q: Who has been the most influential person in your life and why?
My dad! After my mom died when I was a kid, my dad became my rock. I learned everything about the person I wanted to be from him, especially the way he pursued his passions through caring for other people. For years he provided direct care for others as a registered nurse, but he also loved to teach, and ultimately traveled to train others at hospitals across the country. He was smart, generous, and kind, and always led with his heart. When he died in 2014, I knew I’d keep living by his example and his love and guidance is still with me every day.