Nancy Irsay, well-known for her work in the philanthropic community, is an artist, a successful business woman, and the widow of former Indianapolis Colts owner Robert Irsay.
Nancy spends her time between two locations - her home in Carmel, Indiana and her flat in London, England.
Nancy Irsay started her professional career in 1974 after graduating from the Central School of Art and Design in London, England . She worked with a couple of large agencies. Nancy developed new product ideas, brochures and print advertising for Jovan Men's Collections and Madame Jovan fragrance. She counts among her past clients Alberto V-05 and Harris Computer Products. Later she joined Sears Roebuck & Co. as a corporate design director. In 1984, she a headhunter recruited her to join Paul Harris Store, a 38-state women's apparel retail chain headquartered in Indianapolis, as director of communications and design. Nancy was instrumental in the design and advertising implementation of the Pasta Collection line from Paul Harris. Three years later she returned to Chicago and started her own marketing firm, Clifford & Associates.
In 1985, Nancy first met Robert Irsay through a mutual friend. They met again in 1986 and married in 1989, when they made their permanent home in Indianapolis. In 1994, Nancy Irsay and her husband bought a 132-acre piece of land in Carmel and built up a first-class equestrian facility. Over the next 11 years Nancy's facility provided dog agility and horse shows. Until mid-2005, Nancy Irsay operated that facility, Sweet Charity Farm, in Carmel, Indiana, hosting nearly 35 horse shows a year, several of which were sanctioned by USA Equestrian . The horse show facility brought about 40,000 people and $10 million annually to the Indianapolis-Carmel area. Nancy Irsay sold Sweet Charity Farm in 2005.
Nancy Irsay is an advocate for women, children and animals. She has a passion for horses and dogs and a desire to help not-for-profit organizations achieve their fundraising goals. Nancy has a long history of giving of her time and talents to a number of organizations and makes the entertainment pavilion at her residence, the Robert Irsay Pavilion, available to community organizations for fundraising events and community activities.
Nancy Irsay hosts an annual women's retreat, Nancy 's Retreat, to benefit local charities.
Nancy also has a passion for politics. In 1998, she ran unsuccessfully for the Indiana House of Representatives. She considers it one of the best experiences of her life.
Though Nancy was raised in the Chicago suburbs, her father was British. She still has family in England and travels frequently to Britain.