Leadership Institute Overview

YLNI’s Leadership Institute connects young professionals with their peers and their community as they advance in their career skills. Through hands-on instruction, small group activities, personal reflection, and sharing, participants develop skills needed to help them grow in their careers and community. Topics range from personality recognition and communication effectiveness to board stewardship and diversity in the workplace. Employers of emerging leaders should consider sponsoring their participation.

Class of 2020 applications are now closed. 


  • Become an active member of YLNI
  • Develop practical, real-world leadership skills
  • Learn from a diverse group of community leaders
  • Network with young professionals in a variety of fields
  • Join the YLNI Leadership Institute alumni network! Since 2006, 405 local leaders have completed the Leadership Institute program.


$375 (includes a 1-year YLNI membership following graduation)


  • Members and Non-members of YLNI
  • Emerging leaders and professionals
  • Potential leaders in corporate, nonprofit, education and health care
  • Community volunteers


Six class sessions will be held at various meeting spaces in the Fort Wayne area. Schedule and specific class descriptions are listed below. 

Leadership Institute Kick-Off

Date: Wednesday, January 8, 2020 | 5:30 – 8:30 pm
Location: Crazy Pinz Entertainment Center

Session 1: The Power Behind Leadership Effectiveness: Embracing the Four Dimensions of Behavior Called DISC

Date: Friday, January 17th, 2020 | 9:00 am-3:30 pm
Location: Parkview Regional Medical Center
Instructor: Tom Moellering

  • DISC, one of the oldest, most reliable, and most effective behavior-based assessment tools, provides a means for understanding human behavior through four dimensions: dominance, influencing, steadiness, and conscientiousness.
  • Understand your individual behavioral tendencies and how they affect others
  • Understand, respect, appreciate, and value individual differences and how they can create synergistic organizational teams
  • Enhance individual effectiveness by improving your relationships with others
  • Develop strategies for working together to increase productivity and effectiveness

Session 2:  The Team Workout: An Interactive Approach to Team Development

Date: Friday, January 31st, 2020 | 9:00 am-3:30 pm
Location: Sweetwater Sound
Instructor: Kyle Courtaway 

The Team Workout is a hands-on experience designed for teams seeking to improve effectiveness and performance. The Team Workout approach provides an engaging shared experience that significantly increases the pace and depth of learning with multiple opportunities to practice new skills through innovative activities and challenges. You also will assess team performance using a set of diagnostic, reflection, and discussion tools that can be used within the session and applied later in your work environment. 

Session 3: Diversity and Inclusion & Workplace Communication 

Date: Friday, February 14th, 2020 | 9:00 am-3:30 pm
Location: Manchester School of Pharmacy
Instructor: Ahmed Abdelmageed (morning) & Anthony Juliano (afternoon) 

Morning: How do we resolve interpersonal and international conflicts? Using games and interactive exercises, the participants will explore cooperation, competition and building trust in collaborative conflict resolution. 

Afternoon: The proliferation of communications technology, the rise of the 24/7 media culture, and the influence of marketing and advertising have made it difficult to craft messages that will be received, understood, and acted upon. This training session is designed to help participants identify behavior in the workplace and understand the impacts and provide actionable information and tools that will help ensure written and spoken messages will stand out and be noticed; in a positive way. Concrete examples, interactive discussion, skill building, and group exercises will help engage you and create a dialogue about challenges and solutions to today’s toughest communications questions. 

Session 4: Conflict Resolution & Gallup StrengthsFinder 

Date: Friday, February 28th, 2020 | 9:00 am-3:30 pm
Location: 3 Rivers FCU
Instructor: Carlie Sims & Amanda Wilt (morning) & Amy Hesting & Sonya Snellenberger (afternoon) 

Morning: Conflict resolution allows us to address conflict in an effective way and maintain healthy relationships in the work environment. This interactive session is designed to provide participants with best practices and strategies involving conflict within the workplace. In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to discover their unique conflict styles and gain the tools to successfully navigate interpersonal conflict and maintain team trust. 

Afternoon: The strongest leaders are self-aware and leverage their strengths for the betterment of team dynamics. This session is designed to identify your personal strengths and show you how to utilize them to make the biggest impact in your life, community, and workplace. The Gallup StengthsFinder assessment will be utilized to identify your strengths and how to apply them to your team at work. 

Session 5: Public Speaking & Work/Life Balance 

Date: Friday, March 13th, 2020 | 9:00 am-3:30 pm
Location: Indiana Tech
Instructor: Ron Lewis 

Morning: This session will help attendees combat some of the fears that are associated with public speaking. The facilitator will provide a practical and simple framework to help them design and build a five-star presentation. The workshop will help shift the participants' mental model regarding public speaking, to help them develop and deliver a more confident, passionate and professional presentation 

Afternoon: Wellness is an overall balance between many different aspects, which make up our lives: physical, psychological, spiritual, and social. In the morning, you'll take part in an interactive session to gain awareness of what balance looks like for you. Group discussions will include developing a healthier lifestyle, enhancing the mind/body connection, coping with stress, and finding work/life balance. In the afternoon, you'll learn the value and unique aspects of every person's background, culture, and life perspective through a discussion on diversity in the workplace. 

Session 6: Get on Board & Community Service Project 

Date: Friday, March 20th, 2020 | Get on Board 9:00 am – 2:00 pm & Service Project 2:30pm – 5:00pm
Location: TBD
Instructor: Kent Castleman & Rena Burden 

This session is focused on educating you on effective board stewardship and will connect you with a board opportunity that you are passionate about. You will learn the 10 most important things about serving on nonprofit boards and important questions to ask before joining a board.
Afterwards, several local and national nonprofit organizations will be available for a speed-networking event with an opportunity to join their board or a committee as an intern. 


Date: Thursday, April 9th, 2020 | 5:30 pm
Location: Parkview Field (Suite Level Lounge) 

Invite your coworkers, family and friends to celebrate your accomplishments at the Leadership Institute graduation ceremony! Heavy hors d'oeuvres and cash bar will be available. 


Questions or Inquiries? 

E-mail institute@ylni.org. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance decision no later than December 20th, 2019.