(INDIANAPOLIS) —  The New York Times #1 best-selling author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis will headline the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s 29th Annual Awards Dinner on November 13.

In Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance offers his depiction of growing up in Appalachia and an analysis of the cultural and family trials that come with poverty, substance abuse and industry decline. Released in 2016, the book provided timely perspective on the rise of political populism and the growing concerns of many Americans.

“It certainly resonated with different people for different reasons. … For the folks who did come from similar backgrounds, a lot of things I’ve heard suggest there weren’t a whole lot of stories out there about people like them. A lot of people picked up that book and said, ‘This is my story. This is similar to what I have experienced,’” Vance states.

“I think there was just a lot of latent, built-up energy out there for people to understand what has been going on in some of these places and have some insights and visibility into problems a lot of folks have experienced for a long time.”

The success of the memoir put Vance on the national stage and he has appeared on numerous news programs to discuss politics and public policy; he currently can be seen as a contributor on CNN.

More than 1,500 people are expected to attend the Indiana Chamber Awards Dinner, which will be held at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis and is presented by Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

Four awards will be given that evening: Ogletree Deakins Business Leader of the Year, Government Leader of the Year, Dynamic Leader of the Year and Community of the Year. Award winners will be announced in September.

Seating for the event is limited. Tables of 10 start at $1,650; individual tickets are $169 each. Either can be purchased online at www.indianachamber.com/ad or by calling (800) 842-6885.

The opening reception sponsor is PNC. The speaker reception sponsor is Hirons & Co.

Corporate sponsors are AT&T; CBRE; French Lick Resort; NIPSCO; OneAmerica; Tilson; and Zimmer Biomet.

Contributing sponsors are AECOM Hunt; Allison Transmission; Disher; DowAgroSciences; FedEx; Fineline Printing Group; IGT Indiana; Indiana Soybean Alliance/Indiana Corn Marketing Council; Indiana Wesleyan University; Inside INdiana Business; KERAMIDA Inc.; The Kroger Co; Markey’s Rental & Staging; MCM CPAs & Advisors; Pacers Sports & Entertainment; Roche Diagnostics Corporation; Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc.; Vectren; Vera Bradley; WFYI Productions; and WGU Indiana.

Additional sponsorships are available by contacting Jim Wagner at (317) 264-6876.

For more from Vance and what he will discuss during his time in Indianapolis, look for the September/October edition of the Indiana Chamber’s business magazine, BizVoice®, at www.bizvoicemagazine.com in early September.

About J.D. Vance
Raised by his working-class grandparents in Middletown, Ohio, J.D. Vance graduated from Middletown High School in 2003 and then immediately enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in the Marines, he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

When he finished his four-year enlistment, Vance enrolled at Ohio State University, where he studied political science and philosophy, and helped coordinate the university’s bipartisan voter education drive in 2008. After graduating from college, he studied at Yale Law School, earning his law degree in 2013.

After a stint at a large corporate law firm, Vance moved to San Francisco to work in the technology industry. He serves as a principal at the leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm Mithril Capital, cofounded by Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan. As an investor, Vance has taken a special interest in the biotechnology industry and other transformative sectors of the economy.

In early 2017, Vance joined as a partner in AOL founder Steve Case’s venture capital company, Revolution LLC, which concentrates on bolstering entrepreneurship and disruptive, high-growth companies outside of the sphere of Silicon Valley. He also returned home to Ohio to found Our Ohio Renewal, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the state’s opioid crisis and bringing high-quality employment and educational opportunities to Ohioans.

He regularly discusses politics and public policy, having appeared on ABC, CBS and FOX News, and currently serving as a contributor on CNN.


The Indiana Chamber partners with 25,000 members and investors – representing over four million Hoosiers – to achieve the mission of “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity.”