We are YLNI - James Couchman



Tell us about yourself

I am a husband, a graduate student, a Fort Wayne transplant, a finance guy, a board member, a new homeowner, a dog dad, a connector, and a networker. I work at Ambassador Enterprises, a Fort Wayne-based legacy-minded private equity firm committed to performance that creates a lasting positive impact. 

How long have you lived in northeast Indiana?

I moved to northeast Indiana to attend Huntington University on a soccer scholarship in 2013. Before that, I spent my childhood “across the pond” in a small village called Walton on the Hill, on the outskirts of London, England. 

What do you like about living in Fort Wayne?

Fort Wayne is an up and coming Midwest city, and it is super exciting to be a part of the growth. My wife and I are foodies and love the Fort Wayne restaurant scene. We also love summer in the Fort, walking our dogs on the trail systems, attending the many cultural festivals, rowing for the YLNI Dragon Boat team, and hanging out in the lawn seats at Parkview Field. Fort Wayne is a city with so much to offer, and I am blessed to call it my home. 

What do you miss most from the UK?

My mother’s shepherd’s pie. JK O’Donnell’s shepherd’s pie comes close but… well you know, nothing beats a family recipe and your mum’s home cooking. I also miss being in the stands at Selhurst Park, cheering on Crystal Palace Football Club. 

How do you manage your time with numerous family, school, and career obligations on your plate?

This is a great question. I don’t think I have a direct answer for how I manage/prioritize my time. However, I think it comes down to doing what I know needs to be done, by when it needs to be done, to the best of my ability. Maybe unconsciously I prioritize, or maybe my amazing wife prioritizes for me without me knowing 😉. I have always had a drive and tenacity to perform, add value, and be better. I think these characteristics help me manage and balance my family, school, and career obligations. 

How long have you been a part of YLNI?

I have been a member of YLNI for nearly three years. I participated in the YLNI Leadership Institute in 2019 and co-chair the YLNI Power Lunch engagement. I am biased, but I believe the Power Lunches are one of the best programs YLNI offers!  

What does success look like for you?

To me, being successful is about accomplishing the goals you set for yourself, adding value to every situation you are blessed to be a part of, and simply leaving every place, situation, and relationship better than when you found it. 

What has your experience been like being a part of YLNI for new people looking to join the Leadership Institute?

YLNI has provided me the opportunity to grow and meet like-minded and skilled young business professionals. I have a strong belief that young professionals, who are willing to put time in to serving and participating in organizations like YLNI, will be the northeast Indiana business leaders of tomorrow. 

The YLNI Leadership Institute offers cohort members the opportunity to grow as a leader and develop the skills needed to become a high performer in their career and community. My experience with YLNI has been fantastic. I would strongly encourage anyone who has not participated in the Leadership Institute to step out and do so. 

What are some things you’d like to see the Fort Wayne area improve on? 

The recent capital projects are bringing this city to life. Promenade Park is awesome (shameless plug for the Ambassador Enterprises Amphitheatre)! The Landing updates are spectacular! The prospects for Electric Works are exciting and could be game changing for Fort Wayne! But, in terms of things I’d like to see Fort Wayne improve on, I think there is room for community development outside of the immediate downtown Fort Wayne. I have been very encouraged by projects such as Pastor Javier Mondragon and Bridge of Grace’s vision of building hope in southeast Fort Wayne. 

What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? 

As a leader and a follower, I like to demonstrate Patrick Lencioni Ideal Team Player values of humility (emphasize team over self), hunger (driven, make decisions), and people smarts (emotional intelligence). I also value living out my faith in the workplace, and leading by example with honesty, respect, and trustworthiness. I try to live under the impression that everyone’s actions are rooted in good intent, and to trust that person’s good intent until they prove otherwise.