The Mission of Steward Speakers is to inform, inspire, and invoke action by fostering meaningful dialogue and cultural exchanges. We do that with exceptional lectures and events designed to engage youth, families, adult learners and others who rarely have access to nationally and internationally-renowned African American leaders.
These African American leaders are among the best and most respected individuals in their fields; including politics, education, military service, science and medicine, journalism, sports, entertainment, and more.
It is our sincere intent that the messages from our enlightened guest speakers resonate in a meaningful way within the greater Indianapolis community and its surrounding cities.
It is our sincere hope that our sustained efforts to “keep the conversations going” will help bridge the gaps that exist between people of different races, ethnicities, cultures, genders and generations.
3 Program Pillars
- INFORM -
Inform and enlighten youth and young adults through initiatives designed for K-12 and college and universities guided discussions and our signature annual citywide Black History Month youth event.
Bring world-class leaders who inspire and give back through our signature lectures, community conversations, and exclusive partner and sponsorship opportunities
Invoke change that leads to more diverse and thriving cities by turning our “talks” into actions by delivering community conversations, roundtable discussions and expert exchanges with grasstop and grassroots community partners across the region.
- INSPIRE -
- INVOKE -
President and Founder, Matthew Steward, began developing speaker series events while a student at Indiana University Bloomington through its Union Board. The Union Board was a campus run student entertainment program that planned and hosted guest lectures, plays and theatre events. Mr. Steward was in charge of organizing lecture series, inviting notable guest lecturers like Harry Belafonte, Dick Gregory and Bill Cosby to come and speak with the university community.
Upon graduation and returning to Indianapolis, he discovered Indianapolis did not have such a forum. So together with his family, he decided to create Steward Speakers. With the help of local community leaders such as Bill Mays, the late owner and founder of May Chemical Co. who widely referred to as “Indiana’s most successful black businessman”’ along with other community leaders, Steward Speakers was introduced as a unique community organization in November 1986.
Since then, Steward Speakers has been dedicated to enhancing the community by providing opportunities to engage with America’s best leaders and brightest luminaries.
What is Steward Speakers?
Steward Speakers is a local community organization that brings prominent thought leaders to Indianapolis to inform, inspire, and invoke meaningful conversations. For over 35 years, Steward Speakers has been dedicated to enhancing the community by providing opportunities to engage with America’s best leaders and brightest luminaries. Designed to engage and target youth, families, adult learners and others who rarely have access to nationally and internationally-renowned African American leaders, Steward Speakers showcases lecturers of national and local prominence.
How long has Steward Speakers been in existence?
Founded in November 1986, Steward Speakers is proud to celebrate more than 35 years of serving the Indianapolis community.
How does IUPUI partner with Steward Speakers and why is this partnership important?
The partnership with IUPUI began in 2016 when Steward Speakers identified IUPUI as a great partner and as a result of that collaboration, IUPUI made a commitment to become the title sponsor of the annual Steward Speakers lecture series events. This collaboration was a great win for both Steward Speakers and IUPUI, supporting the 3 pillars’ focus on students and education. The partnership speaks volumes when an educational institution, especially IUPUI supports community organizations with its resources and funding.
What can people get from these speaking events that they can’t get elsewhere?
Steward Speakers attracts nationally renowned speakers to engage in meaningful discussions to address the needs most important to the black and brown communities. Our events are inclusive and accessible to everyone no matter their socio economic status, Through our highly interactive events, our audience has the opportunity to engage with our speakers. In addition, our VIP guests and sponsors have the opportunity to attend a private reception with the Speakers.