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.


  • 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.


$425 for non-YLNI members and $375 for current YLNI members
(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. 

**Our intent is to try and start classes in person and if needed, go virtual.

Leadership Institute Kick-Off

Date: Wednesday, March 3, 2021 | 5:30 – 8:30 pm

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

Date: Friday, March 5, 2021 | 9:00 am-3:30 pm
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:  I.D.E.A. (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Always)

Date: Thursday, March 18, 2021 | 9:00 am-3:30 pm
Instructor: Joint session with Leadership Fort Wayne

Session 3: The Team Workout: An Interactive Approach to Team Development 

Date: Friday, April 16, 2021 | 9:00 am-3:30 pm
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 4: Create Your Story, Build Your Network & Gallup StrengthsFinder 

Date: Friday,  April 30, 2021 | 9:00 am-3:30 pm
Instructor: Anthony Juliano (morning) & TBD (afternoon) 

Morning: The best way to position yourself for success is to know what you want, create a story that's aligned with your ambitions, and make connections who can help you get where you want to go--faster. In this session, you'll learn how to do just that--and why doing so has never been more important. We'll also discuss the degree to which social media determines your story and how you remain true to your authentic self while still making a great first impression. You'll leave with an action plan for accelerating your progress and launching yourself toward your goals.

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 StrengthsFinder assessment will be utilized to identify your strengths and how to apply them to your team at work.

Session 5: Work/Life Balance, Public Speaking & Conflict Resolution

Date: Friday, May 7, 2021 | 9:00 am-3:30 pm
Instructor: Ron Lewis 

Public Speaking: 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

Work/Life Balance: 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.

Conflict Resolution: 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.

Session 6: Board Service & Community Service Project 

Date: Friday, May 14, 2021 | Board Service 9:00 am – 11:00 am, Board Networking 11:00 am - 12:00 pm & Service Project 1:00 pm – 4:00pm

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, May 27, 2021 | 5:30 pm

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 February 24, 2021. 

2021 Sponsors