Check back often for the latest news regarding Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana.

  • 18 Apr 2017 9:51 AM | John Felts

    Are you ready to ride this summer? The Fort Wayne Bike Share program has relaunched for the 2017 season!

    Enjoy navigating around downtown Fort Wayne with access to six stations and 30 bikes. In 2017, riders can purchase an annual membership for just $30! You can purchase a membership 

  • 05 Apr 2017 8:49 AM | John Felts

    Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana (YLNI) invites emerging leaders in Northeast Indiana to learn what it takes to be an effective public official with the Candidate Boot Camp program.

    YLNI Candidate Boot Camp is designed to encourage emerging leaders to think critically about civic duties such as volunteering in a leadership role, running a political campaign, or becoming a candidate for public office. Participants will learn about these opportunities from experienced community leaders and elected officials.  

    The program will take place at Barnes and Thornburg, and is divided into four, three-hour sessions on May 10, May 17, May 24 and June 7. The cost to participate is $50 for YLNI members and $75 for non-members.

    For information, contact YLNI at


  • 26 Mar 2017 9:27 PM | Kara Hackett

    The last several years, IPFW has been making headlines. There have been protests to save programs like women’s studies; there was the big news about the university’s leadership split, and now the school is getting a new name.

    The list goes on and on.

    But chances are—unless you’ve been following the stories closely, or talking to someone at IPFW—you might be confused about what’s actually happening and whether it’s good or bad for our region.

    So after doing a little digging, interviewing, and piecing together the local news myself, I wanted to give you a framework to think about the changes: what is happening, why some people are upset, and why there is reason for hope (in my opinion).

    Of course, how you interpret what I say is up to you. But, theoretically, you can use this to better understand the issues, and make an educated judgment for yourself.

    What’s happening

    Let’s start with what’s happening.

    With all of the news coverage about IPFW, you might assume that things are really going downhill. But that’s not exactly so.

    Actually, according to IPFW Director of Public Relations, Kim Wagner, the headlines you see are part of two separate changes: one internal and one external.

    The internal change is the result of the USAP, or the University’s Strategic Alignment Process, to eliminate or merge programs that aren’t graduating enough students.

    Programs like women’s studies have been moved under different departments (now under political science), and other programs like geosciences have been eliminated completely to help the university save money.

    However, these changes are not part of the external change that is now happening with IPFW’s leadership.

    “That’s one of the things I try to make really clear to start with,” Wagner said. “There are two separate processes, and it has been causing confusion for people.”

    The second, external change that has been in the news recently is IPFW’s split in leadership and its renaming.

    This external change is the result the Legislative Services Agency (LSA) study and report mandated by the Indiana General Assembly in 2015.

    The Assembly basically ruled that a group of IPFW stakeholders needed to study the university’s governance models, and make recommendations for its future to curb declining enrollment.

    The stakeholders group consisted of IU and Purdue trustees, community members and faculty members who met from 2015 to early 2016. Then in January 2016, they presented their recommendations to the university, and they recommended that the university split.

    IU decided to take control of the university’s health sciences programs, and Purdue basically took everything else.

    “Because IPFW has been a Purdue fiscally managed campus for over 50 years, it was just easier for IU to say we want to focus solely on the health sciences, and let Purdue take over the majority of programming, including humanities,” Wagner said.

    So starting July 1, 2018, IPFW will no longer exist. IU will operate a small health sciences satellite in Fort Wayne, and the main IPFW campus will become a Purdue University satellite—one of three Purdue satellites in Indiana.

    Wagner said the Fort Wayne university’s name will be decided when the Purdue Board of Trustees votes on April 21st. However, the running favorite in a community survey was Purdue University Fort Wayne. The mascot will still be the Mastodons, and Wagner said the faculty and staff will remain the same; they just might transfer from IU to Purdue and visa versa.

    The school is also ensuring current students that they will graduate under the university that they intended to graduate with when they enrolled.

    Although there are still a lot of questions, both universities have put together a joint steering committee that is working though the split, piece by piece.

    How people feel

    When IPFW’s split was first announced, there were many reasonable concerns among students, graduates and the general public.

    Purdue isn’t known for its humanities like IU is, so there were questions about why IU didn’t get those programs instead. On top of that, the school is losing 50 years of history by changing its name and leadership, IU donors might not want to fund a school that is now run by Purdue, and the once-hopeful plans for an independent Fort Wayne University are now down the drain.

    “Now it’s just another Purdue satellite campus,” was how one IPFW grad put it to me.

    But if you step back and consider the potential for Purdue’s Fort Wayne satellite, you might find that the move gives Northeast Indiana some of the distinction that we crave.

    A case for hope

    If you ask me, hope for IPFW lies in its music department.

    Right now, Purdue University is the only Big Ten school that doesn’t have a music degree program, so when IPFW becomes a full-fledged Purdue satellite, students who want music degrees will come to Fort Wayne, potentially funneling young, creative talent into our region.

    “It excites me for a lot of reasons,” said Dr. Gregory Jones, IPFW’s department of music chair who will head up the new program. “We will be the only program granting a Purdue music degree for the first time in history, and that’s cool.”

    On top of that, Jones sees newfound potential to upgrade IPFW’s Department of Music to a School of Music with its own reputation, no longer in the shadow of IU’s Jacob School of Music. 

    “IU is a very well respected brand in music, but we aren’t the Jacobs School; we are our own unity, and I’d like to have our own reputation,” Jones said. “IU definitely didn’t want us getting any bigger or start offering a graduate program because it didn’t want internal competition. Now that we’re part of Purdue, we’re not competing against ourselves anymore, and I consider that to mean that there are more opportunities.”

    John O’Connell, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, said three things need to happen for the future Purdue Department of Music to become a School of Music. It needs more tenured faculty, expanded facilities and a graduate program. The first goal is a graduate program.

    To get there, Jones sees opportunities for community funding as well as leveraging the department’s current connections with regional assets like Sweetwater Sound and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.

    If Purdue University Fort Wayne can make a name for itself in the world of music (and not just ride on IU’s reputation), then it might be a good thing that IPFW split up after all. And since the split is a done deal at this point, I say: Let’s accept it, and make it the best we can.

    If you truly believe IPFW is a vital regional asset, then consider supporting its music program.


    HereSay, in partnership with YLNI, is a bi-weekly blog about our say on what’s happening here.  It is written by YLNI member Kara Hackett, and the opinions are her own. Photo by Matt Thomas.

  • 24 Mar 2017 10:00 AM | Joel Crandall

    The YLNI Power Lunches offer four groups of five YLNI members the unique opportunity to meet with a community leader for lunch on four separate occasions. This intimate, personal interaction grants YLNI members access to some of Fort Wayne's brightest, most respected business leaders, whom are willing share their experiences and insights in an informal, relaxed setting.

    YLNI participants are encouraged to ask questions about issues and challenges these leaders have faced as well as successes and failures they've been a part of. By meeting with the same group for four months, each participant has an opportunity to build relationships with their respective community leaders.

    Registration is limited to the first 20 qualified applicants. Lunches will begin in mid-May and run through August. The cost is $70, which is payable upon notification of selection. You can register here

    2017 Participating Community Leaders:

    • Tim Ash, CEO, Ash Brokerage
    • Jeanne Wickens, CEO, Parkview Health
    • Don Banowetz, SVP, Frontier Communications
    • Don Cates, CEO, 3 Rivers Federal Credit Union

    More information on the YLNI Power Lunches can be found at

  • 24 Mar 2017 8:56 AM | Joel Crandall

    Join us for a special Hot Spot on Thursday, April 20 where we will recognize and congratulate all the graduates from the 2017 Leadership Institute Class! The Hot Spot will take place at Parkview Field from 5:30 to 7:00 PM

    Whether you’re new to Northeast Indiana or have lived in our area for years, Hot Spots are always filled with individuals who are ready to help you make great connections with organizations and community leaders. All are welcome to attend. RSVP on Facebook

  • 20 Mar 2017 9:55 AM | Anonymous

    Image result for young professionals

    We all bring expectations into the work place with us, but to have true satisfaction in your career you have to think realistically and keep yourself grounded. There are a lot of different work environments out there, but no matter where you work, it’s important to keep these five things in mind.

    1. Your employer values your opinion: You may be young, but you wouldn’t have gotten the job if your employer didn’t believe you could do it. Have confidence in your abilities and don’t be afraid to make suggestions.

    2. It’s okay to change jobs: The truth is sometimes things don’t work out. The job that looked great on paper might not be the best fit once you get into it. If you are in a job situation that is making you miserable, or simply isn’t challenging enough, don’t be afraid to look at other options. Unless you signed a contract, no one can make you to stay in a position. You have the freedom to determine your own career path and your own happiness.

    3. Everyone else is human too: Sometimes in the work place it’s easy to forget that your boss or manager is more than a robot. Try to make personal connections with people in the work place, even if they don’t make the first move. You never know when you might end up working with them or need advice from them.

    4. It’s okay to take time off: Some people never take their time off, even if it runs on a “use-it-or-lose-it” system. Don’t be ashamed to take time off. If you have the days, use them. You earned them, and everyone needs a break now and then.

    5. Not everyone thinks like you: Some people are over-communicators: Every email gets a prompt reply and every text gets a response. Some people are under-communicators: A response may never come or only when asked again. Start recognizing how the people you work with communicate, and adapt as needed. Also, I have found that people from different age groups communicate differently. For example, it might be okay to text your hip millennial supervisor, but not okay to text your 67-year-old boss who thinks texting is a “lazy and unprofessional” form of communication.

    This blog post is written by Lauren Brune. Lauren is a Fort Wayne transplant from Tipp City, Ohio. She moved here in 2015 after graduating from Ohio Northern University where she studied communications and public relations. She works at LEARN Resource Center in New Haven as the Communications and Special Events Coordinator.

  • 27 Feb 2017 4:52 PM | Joel Crandall

    Are you a passionate and upbeat member of Northeast Indiana looking for a volunteer opportunity?  If so, Living Fort Wayne has several volunteer opportunities with our committee.  

    Blog Writer: Living Fort Wayne is seeking a savvy wordsmith to join our blogging team.  Interested parties need to have a sincere love for the city of Fort Wayne and be ready to highlight many of the great things going on around town.  Experience or passion for writing preferred, but not required. Passion for Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana is a must.   

    Committee Chair: As the committee chair, you will be the leader of a team of Living Fort Wayne volunteers responsible for telling the world about the great things happening in our city.  You will be charged with helping to craft and implement the strategy of our blog and social media presence to further our mission of highlighting everything that is great about living, working and playing in Fort Wayne. If you’re looking for an opportunity to develop and highlight your leadership skills, then the committee chair role would be a great fit for you.

    Please contact if you are interested in learning more about these or other opportunities with our committee!

  • 13 Feb 2017 10:00 AM | Kara Hackett

    When I moved from my college in Upland, Indiana, to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, people thought I would have a hard time.

    “You’re going from the middle of nowhere to one of the biggest cities in the world,” they said.

    But honestly, the adjustment wasn’t all that bad.

    Although the cultures are drastically different, the feeling of living in Upland and New York is surprisingly similar because both places put in you in a “survival mode” of sorts. 

    In the one-stoplight town of Upland, it’s like going away to summer camp. All you have is the people around you, and you’re all in it together.

    In New York, you’re literally living on top of people, and almost everyone is a transplant, so you’re all in it together.

    There’s a powerful sense of unity in both places, and oddly enough, that unity is the result of inconvenience. When you don’t have everything you need, it makes you feel connected to people around you in a way that you don’t always feel when you’re comfortable and satisfied.

    You struggle together, and that struggle builds character.

    In Fort Wayne, we talk about character a lot—about identity and who we are as a city or a region. We say it’s not the buildings; it’s the people that make this place great, and I think that’s very true.

    But sometimes I wonder if we have enough space and discomfort here to build the character we want—the unmanufactured character that doesn’t come with a tagline, a marketing scheme or a picture-perfect image all the time.

    Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the place-making and quality of life work that is being done, and as a marketing professional, I understand the importance of developing a good brand for the city.

    But when I think about Fort Wayne compared to other places that I’ve lived, it isn’t the brand or the amenities or the conveniences that I miss—it’s the inconvenience of being needed and needing to rely on other people in return.

    I get it in small doses here, when my neighbors ask to borrow something, or when we come together as a block to cheer on the Fort4Fitness runners once a year. I feel it in the new businesses opening up, or the late-night shows of local bands I want to support.

    But that feeling of unity isn’t here on a day-in and day-out basis yet. We aren't so big that need to rely on public transportation, or so small that if a few of us go missing, everyone will notice.

    We can mostly get by on our own here, in small circles of friends and families, and as someone who craves community, that’s so discomforting to me. I think that's what has always drawn me to downtown.

    It comes from the uncomfortable, the inconvenient, and all of the other undesirable attributes that make us look at a place and wonder, “Why would anyone want to live there?”

    When you ask people why they like living or working or just being downtown, they’ll usually say something about community spirit.

    But in my experience, it’s a different type of spirit than the one you read about on downtown development brochures.

    It’s not about everything we have, or everything we’re going to get; it’s about what we lack, and how that make us stronger somehow.

    We talk about how downtown needs a grocery store, and how a few more parking spaces would be nice, and to be fair, these creature comforts would probably do a lot for our developing city.

    But as we grow, as we brand things and decide who we want to be, I think it’s important to remember that connectedness doesn't come out of abundance and provision—having a comfortable life padded with everything we want. It comes from the common struggle, the mutual discomfort, the proverbial cups of sugar we need to borrow from our neighbor that force us to leave our house and depend on someone else.

    As much as we want to fight it, as much as we want to sweep it under the tidy welcome mat of the city’s front door, maybe the things we struggle with are the things that give us character.

    Personally, I am thankful for the inconvenience.

    HereSay, in partnership with YLNI, is a bi-weekly blog about our say on what’s happening here.  It is written by YLNI member Kara Hackett, and the opinions are her own. Photo by Matt Thomas.

  • 09 Feb 2017 7:00 AM | Joel Crandall

    Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana is now accepting applications for its 2017-18 Board of Directors. 

    The Board of Directors is the governing body of YLNI. Their big-picture approach is to guide the organization to fulfill our mission. The day-to-day happenings include approving activities, securing funding, being advocates for our demographic, and generally trying to figure out what we’re doing. The board meets formally once a month and all members welcome your input. 

    Board members are asked to serve two-year terms and no more than six years. New board members are selected from a nominating committee made up of active YLNI volunteers and members. New applicants have through March 17 to apply.

    Apply here  

  • 07 Feb 2017 5:00 PM | Joel Crandall

    Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana (YLNI) is now accepting vendor and musician applications for the 2017 YLNI Farmer’s Market season.

    YLNI is again partnering with the History Center to bring local commerce to downtown Fort Wayne each weekend. The YLNI Farmer’s Market is a signature initiative for YLNI and brings an average of 1,800 people downtown each Saturday morning from May through September.

    The YLNI Farmer’s Market on Barr Street features a wide array of local vendors. Everything from locally grown produce and handmade baked goods, to ceramics, artisan soaps, and candles are sold. YLNI also books local musicians to provide entertainment for market patrons.  Look for exciting events happening at the market by liking the market on

    The YLNI Farmer’s Market is hosted in the footprint of the historic Fort Wayne Barr Street Market, at the corner of Barr and Wayne Streets, which is owned by the History Center. The market will run from 9am to 1pm each Saturday from May 20 to September 9 and during those hours the History Center offers free admission to museum visitors.

    If interested in becoming a 2017 YLNI Farmer’s Market vendor or musician, please go to to complete an online application; or attend a vendor meeting on Thursday, March 2 at 6:00 p.m. at the History Center, 302 East Berry Street.

    For additional details visit or email specific questions to

P.O. Box 10774
Fort Wayne, IN  46853

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