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

  • 09 Jan 2017 3:12 PM | John Felts

    Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana is excited to announce the 2017 Leadership Institute Class!  

    Ashley Adamson (Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana)
    Krithika Arasu 
    Britny Berndt (BPPromos)
    Anna Bobrowski (Fort Wayne Allen County Airport Authority)
    Jessa Campbell (Visit Fort Wayne)
    Amber Coleman (Parkview Health)
    Mark Coleman (Visiting Nurse)
    Zac Compton (Fort4Fitness)
    Bethany Copperidge  (Costco Wholesale)
    David Curry (Lake City Bank)
    Scott Grover (SIRVA)
    Joshua Hale (New Haven-Adams Township Fire Dept.)
    Brad Hartman (Ash Brokerage)
    Justin Hayes (Lake City Bank)
    Heather Heal (Journal Gazette Company)
    Adam James (Design Collaborative)
    Jayaprada Kasaraneni (Parkview Health)
    Nickita Klingerman (Lincoln Financial Group)
    Kayla Konger (Garrett State Bank)
    Heather Krebs  (Fort Wayne Community Schools)
    Heather Leas (SCAN, Inc.)
    Erin Oberlin (3Rivers Federal Credit Union)
    Todd Petelle  (3Rivers Federal Credit Union)
    Nicholas Podlaski (Beers, Mallers, Backs & Salin, LLP)
    Bryan Putt (Lincoln Financial Group)
    Nikki Quintana (Fort Wayne Metropolitan Human Relations Commission)
    Chelsey Reber  (Sweetwater)
    Clarissa Reis (Fort Wayne Philharmonic)
    Morgan England (Parkview Health)
    Nicole Satalino (Ash Brokerage)
    Landon Scott (Burt Blee Dixon Sutton & Bloom)
    Ashley Spranger (Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership)
    Jennifer Sylvester (Fort Wayne TinCaps)
    Stephanie Taylor (Taylormade Business Consulting & Networking Company, LLC)
    Mindy Torres (American Cancer Society)
    Olivia Valencic-Miller (North Adams Community Schools)
    Diedre Van Straten (DeKalb High School)
    Mauricio Vertara (Fort Wayne Metals)
    Eric Wilson (Lincoln Financial Group)
    Marlies Zwepink (JH Specialty, Inc.)

    The Leadership Institute kick-off event is planned for Thursday, January 19 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Crazy Pinz Entertainment Center. 

  • 05 Jan 2017 3:17 PM | Joel Crandall

    Fort Wayne found itself among the top 20 best cities for finding a job this year. WalletHub, a personal finance website, did a study of the 150 most populous cities in the US and determined the best places for finding a job based on factors like job opportunities, growth, median salary, and safety.  Fort Wayne scored high marks in both housing affordability and employment growth which earned it the number 15 spot on WalletHub's list.  

    Business Insider Article:

    WalletHubs Study:

  • 05 Jan 2017 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    It’s that time of year where we often make New Year’s resolutions, and if we are honest with ourselves there are probably some resolutions we should be making in the work place. But, I think the word resolution is overused and scary so allow me to offer a different perspective.

    At work, I use sticky notes to jot down important things that I want to keep at the forefront of my mind. A bright piece of paper I can stick to the wall or my desk and reference every day, multiple times a day. For me, sticky notes are workplace lifesavers. So instead of making resolutions, let’s make work New Year’s sticky note commitments. Here is a list of six sticky note commitments you can make today.

    1. Ask for a raise: It sounds scary and taboo, but ask and you may receive. Evaluate your worth and do a little bit of research so you can make a reasonable ask. Be bold!

    2. Volunteer to be project manager: Fear of failure can be crippling, but you may find that when you step up to the plate you can achieve more than you thought. Your boss will take notice, and your coworkers will respect you as a leader.

    3. Take your vacation time: You earned it, so take it. What are you waiting for?

    4. Buy new work clothes or shoes: What you wear affects your confidence. If you are lacking confidence at work, consider buying yourself a new “power outfit”. When you look the part, you are more likely to act the part.

    5. Work out over your lunch break: My husband’s office has a gym and he says it never gets used. Take advantage of workplace gyms. Even if you just take a short walk around the building you will be doing yourself a favor.

    6. Eat out less and pack your lunch more: It’s so easy to grab fast food while you are at the office, but think of the money and the calories you could save by packing your lunch.

    Grab your sticky notes, it’s a new year, and it’s your time!

    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.

  • 05 Dec 2016 9:27 AM | Joel Crandall

    The 4th My City Summit will be held Tuesday, January 24 at the University of Saint Francis Performing Arts Center in downtown Fort Wayne. Tickets are now available and can be purchased online at

    The theme of the 2017 My City Summit will be focused on boosting community strength by harnessing our diversity to generate big ideas, put them in to action, and provide sustainable solutions.

    The program includes a lineup of three widely respected presenters who will discuss the importance of diversity in economic development strategies, shaping community culture in the workplace, and the state of the social climate in Northeast Indiana. The keynote is critically-acclaimed author, speaker, and political and cultural analyst, Rich Benjamin, who wrote “Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America.” The additional speakers, who are both highly regarded experts in multiple fields, are Courtney Tritch and Allison Green from Lincoln Financial Group.

    The Ian Rolland Courageous Leadership Award and YLNI Emerging Leader Award recipients will also be recognized at the event. This year’s event will run from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., with registration opening at 4:30 p.m. and speakers beginning at 5:30 p.m.

    My City Summit began in 2012, created from the need to strengthen local community attachment for young college graduates. The collaborative event was an instant success, drawing more than 200 young professionals and community leaders together to celebrate the city and share ideas on how to improve community attachment and economic vitality. 

    My City Summit is a celebration of the accomplishments of the city of Fort Wayne and an opportunity to directly influence progress. For additional details about the event please visit Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana on Facebook and follow @YLNI on Twitter.

  • 04 Dec 2016 11:00 AM | Kara Hackett

    The Landing has been a central player in downtown development since the early 1800s.

    It was once the main “landing” place downtown along the Wabash Erie Canal, home to historic events, like Thomas Edison’s brief stint in Fort Wayne as a telegraph operator for the Wabash Railroad Company. 

    Over the past several years, the city has been slowly acquiring properties along Columbia Street to turn the area back into a thriving center of activity. If all goes well, the project could begin next summer, transforming today’s empty windows (and a new building) into residential, office and retail spaces

    But, as always, there’s more to the story than the basics of construction.

    If you ask Eric Doden of Greater Fort Wayne Inc. the one thing he’d like to tell young professionals about The Landing, it’s this: We need you to start businesses.

    It’s a blunt ask—risks and failures aside. Doden wants to see young people, or people of all ages, really, starting local businesses because that’s what city leaders want The Landing to be about.

    Instead of housing national chains, they want it to be home to thriving local companies that are as local as possible.

    For instance, the only business that has been offered a surefire spot on The Landing so far is Bravas, city leaders announced last month.

    That’s because Bravas was started by Bo Gonzalez, who is from Fort Wayne, grew a hot dog kart into one of the best-known food trucks downtown, launched an innovative burger joint on an up-and-coming side of town, hires local and sources his ingredients from local farms, too.

    It’s a homegrown success story, through and through.

    So if you’re a living here, and if you have an idea to start a business, Doden says go for it. He’s speaking from experience, having been part of successful and unsuccessful business ventures in the past, and he isn’t shy about telling people to pursue startups because he says his failures actually taught him more than his successes.

    “People often forget that failure helps lead to your success,” Doden said.

    It’s an empowering concept—very Thomas Edison, who notoriously failed 1,000 times before inventing the light bulb.

    And when I muse on the inspiring side of failure, I think about how cool The Landing is going to be, and I imagine all of my own half-baked ambitions coming to life there.

    But then the idea of failure becomes real again, and the starry-eyed excitement fizzles out with the realization that I have no real business experience to go on.

    I didn’t take any courses in college, and I don’t like dealing with numbers (which I hear business people have to do).

    That’s OK, Doden said.

    The Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC) offers business training and resources. You can always get a mentor or a business partner.

    I might attend a few events hosted by the ISBDC just to see what it’s about.

    But personal ambitions aside, the point is that city leaders are seriously looking for fresh, authentic ideas to shape the future of downtown, and they’re calling on young professionals to give their ideas a try.

    When I talked to Bo Gonzalez a few months back about his experience starting Bravas, he told me how it was hard that first year—and it doesn’t get a lot easier after that. 

    He said the first day he had his hot dog cart downtown, he only sold a few to his mom and her friends.

    Good ideas aren’t always successful right away, and now that business is booming, he’s still putting in long hours to maintain quality and make it even better.

    Starting a company is no easy task, or quick way to get rich, Gonzalez said.

    But if you’ve had an idea for a long time, and it keeps nagging at you, this is the time to start something.

    The Landing has a lot of empty windows, and if you have the endurance of Edison, one of them could be yours.


    , 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

  • 01 Dec 2016 11:44 AM | Anonymous

    The winter months bring festive energy to the workplace, but as we dive into December there are a few things to remember while heading to the office.
    • Respect mother nature: For those of us not fortunate enough to have a garage, it’s a good idea to think ahead. Your car will frost. Allow yourself a few extra minutes to scrape your car so you aren’t late to work.
    • Invest in a heater: Sitting at your desk might get chilly this winter as some of us find out just how drafty our offices are. Do yourself a favor and get a small heater to set under your desk. You will stay toasty all winter long.
    • Pace yourself: During the holidays there will be lots of food at the office. From cookie exchanges, unexpected goodies from the boss, and coworkers who go the extra mile to make everyone special treats; practice self-control! Take a few of the sweets you really want, but recognize when it’s time to say “enough is enough” on the chocolate fudge.
    • Follow the leader: If you are at your company Christmas party and there is alcohol it’s okay to indulge, but you don’t want the reputation of office drunk. Casually keep track of how much everyone else is drinking to gauge what’s “acceptable.”  
    • Layer Up: Ladies, if you are going to sport dresses this winter, don’t be ashamed to wear an extra pair of leggings. No one will know the difference and your legs will stay extra warm.
    • Watch the weather: Even though most workplaces stay open despite snow or ice, there are extreme weather situations where your office may delay or close. We Hoosiers were lucky last year to have a fair winter, but if the Polar Vortex strikes again make sure you check for closing before you head out.

    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.

  • 22 Nov 2016 1:41 AM | Kara Hackett

    When Parkview Field was first built, I remember thinking we didn’t need it.

    I liked attending Wizards games at the old Coliseum stadium, and whenever I did, it wasn’t even full.

    There’s no way a new stadium is going to work, I thought.

    But it did, and if it happened with Parkview Field, it can happen again.

    That’s the argument a lot of people use to promote new projects downtown.

    The city’s unexpected, incredible success with Parkview Field has made it a poster child for community development, and when people mention it, I usually sort of nod along.

    I like downtown, and I want to see it keep growing in bold, controversial ways.

    But for one project on the city’s list, the comparison to Parkview Field is more than just wishful thinking; it holds a real chance at coming true.

    The new arena (slated for the block of Jefferson, Ewing, Washington and Webster) is set to be the next Parkview Field—a place for large, indoor activities and home of the Mad Ants basketball team.

    It’s one of the first among five key projects Greater Fort Wayne Inc. is raising support for with plans to grow our local economy and attract new talent to the region.

    Part of the arena’s appeal is that it’s about more than sports, said Eric Doden of GFW Inc. Think of it as a multipurpose entertainment center about half the size of the Coliseum and twice the size of the Embassy Theatre.

    In the same way that Parkview Field hosts farmers markets, concerts and community events, the new arena will host more than the Mad Ants. News reports say that it could host concerts and conventions as well as rodeos and boxing (for all those closet bull-riding, heavyweight champs out there).

    But in all seriousness, the arena would be strategically next to the Grand Wayne Center to provide additional conference space, and the ground floor would be used for restaurants and retail stores year-round like the Ash Brokerage building.

    If the arena gets the support it needs to move forward, the local King Gyros, Rally’s and the city’s best Taco Bell will sadly be displaced. But it’s promising to think that an underutilized part of downtown could be turned into a center of activity like Parkview Field. And while we’re drawing the comparison, it’s important to note that the new arena is getting its fair share of criticism like Parkview Field, too.

    A Facebook group called “Stop Fort Wayne Downtown Arena” has been started and received more than 1,100 likes.

    But while I jumped on the bandwagon against Parkview Field back in the day, I’m reserving my judgment on the arena for now.

    After all, it’s important to note that part of Parkview Field’s success isn’t something facts or figures could have predicted before it happened.

    There are a few intangible and human elements of the equation that make it special—things those planning the new arena should take to heart.

    • 1.    Embrace the benefits of being downtown.

    Parkview Field has made itself a part of downtown culture by opening its doors to walkers during the day and making its games a staple on the menu of local events.

    It also seems to have a sense of what makes people love being downtown in the first place. It’s all about the community, the hype, the activity and the local spirit.

    Embracing this culture has helped the city take ownership of the TinCaps in a way that didn’t happen when they were out at the Coliseum, and if the Mad Ants can adjust to downtown, too, the arena could experience similar success.

    After all, Indiana is a basketball state, and I would personally go to more Mad Ants games if they were downtown simply because I like being there.

    Cater to the people who already love downtown, and you’ve got yourself an audience to start with.

    But it’s all about keeping them coming back, which brings me to my next point….

    • 2.    Build an exciting culture.

    One of the things that makes Parkview Field so special is the culture the TinCaps staff has created. When you go to games, it’s like stepping into a Fort Wayne Disney World. The atmosphere at the ballpark is just different—happier, active, goofy, carefree. It makes TinCaps games the type of place you want to be, even if you don’t like baseball. The employees joke with you at the ticket booth. The entertainment on the field is interesting, and who could forget the Bad Apple Dancers?

    As the arena begins to take shape, city leaders should remember that good culture isn’t boiling in a pot somewhere behind closed doors that only marketing executives can access. It’s what’s comes out of a community naturally when the right factors are put in place: the right leadership to guide with an open mind, the right activities to keep people coming back for more, and the right staff to keep coming up with awesome ideas.

    Which brings me to my last point….

    • 3.    Hire the best.

    When it comes to community entertainment, staffing is probably the most important decision you can make.

    Most of the great things that happen at Parkview Field wouldn’t be half as enjoyable without the hardworking, fun-loving people behind the scenes to make them happen. The TinCaps staff seems to have that rare sort of synergy that just works. I don’t really know how it works, but it does, and the people there seem genuinely happy about what they do.

    If the team planning the arena can take notes from the team at Parkview field, it really could be the next success story.


    HereSay, in partnership with YLNI, is a frequent 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.

  • 15 Nov 2016 7:00 AM | Joel Crandall

    The YLNI Leadership Institute is now accepting applications for the 2017 class starting today through December 14. 

    YLNI’s Leadership Institute connects young professionals with their peers and their community as they gain career skills. Topics range from personality recognition and communication effectiveness to board stewardship and business ethics. Apply now!

  • 10 Nov 2016 12:12 PM | Anonymous

    The Fort Wayne job market is growing, and if you are looking to make a career change the first thing you need to do is brush up on your interview skills. Here are some tips and tricks I have learned along the way.

    Ask questions- At the end of an interview, you will usually be asked if you have questions. Even though you may feel like bolting knowing that your interview is almost over, don’t ever pass up the opportunity to ask questions. Before going into the interview, prepare a few quality inquiries. Good questions show the employer that you care. My favorite questions are: Can you tell me what a normal day would look like for someone in this position? What is the work culture like here?

    Send a hand-written thank-you note (even if you had a horrible interview)- It may sound unnecessary or old fashioned, but this small gesture sets you apart from other candidates. Courtesy is sadly becoming a lost art, but when an employer gets your thank-you card it shows you respect them and their time. After I was hired at my current job, my boss had my thank-you note on her desk. She said it was a nice touch that really made me stand out.   

    Make sure your resume is up-to-date- I work in a very small office so sometimes I overhear my boss interviewing people. One time she was interviewing a girl whose resume was not up-to-date. It was so embarrassing to hear this girl apologize over and over about outdated info on her resume. It looks unprofessional and tells employers that you are lazy.

    Do your research- Before going into your interview, spend some time exploring the company’s website or LinkedIn page. Try to learn as much about the company as you can. It’s like Facebook creeping on someone before a first date.  The employer will appreciate that you took time to do your homework.  

    Be on time- Whatever you do don’t be late for your interview. Being prompt before you have the job shows employers that you will be reliable once you have the job. If you are someone who normally runs a few minutes late, make sure to keep your eye on the time.

    Let them know you’re human- It’s important to be professional in an interview, but you don’t have to be a robot. Try to let the employers see a little bit of your personality, and throw in little bits on trivia about yourself. You might find that you and the person interviewing you have something in common that you can bond over. Being yourself also lets the employer see how you will fit into the company culture.

    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.

  • 02 Nov 2016 9:44 AM | Joel Crandall

    Young Leaders of the Northeast Indiana (YLNI), in collaboration with the League of Women Voters of Fort Wayne and Progressive Social Hour, will host the second annual Rally the Vote on November 3 in downtown Fort Wayne. The event’s purpose is to promote civic engagement and increase voter turnout in the November general election.  

    Rally the Vote takes place at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art on November 3 from 5:00-7:30 p.m.  Allen County residents are invited to come together and show civic pride in a casual, non-partisan setting. 

    This free, family-friendly event will feature fun outdoor games, music, food and beverage for sale, and voter education handouts. Attendees will have the opportunity to vote early at the Rousseau Center until 9:00 p.m. Angel Suttle will serve as Emcee. 

    Each year, YLNI produces a non-partisan informational candidate brochure which provides information needed for voters to make an informed decision.

    Check out the 2016 YLNI the Vote Candidate Brochure by clicking here:

    RSVP now on Facebook

P.O. Box 10774
Fort Wayne, IN  46853

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