YLNI Chair Spotlight - Kristin Conley


We are spotlighting another YLNI - meet Kristin Conley, co-chair of the YLNI Leadership Institute. 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. Stay tuned for updates about the 2021 YLNI Leadership Institute and how to apply for this upcoming class. 

What is your background? 
I grew up in Silver Lake, Indiana and have lived in Fort Wayne for three years now. I received my Bachelors in Media and Public Communication from (I)PFW and my Masters of Science in Leadership from Trine University, where I worked for six years before becoming the Director of PhD Admissions at Indiana Tech in 2017. For the past three years, I’ve had the privilege of helping students from all over the world begin their journey of becoming a doctoral student, as our PhD in Global Leadership program is offered online.


Please describe your committee's programming.
I am the co-chair of YLNI’s Leadership Institute, which connects emerging leaders with their peers and community as they gain important career and leadership skills. Through hands-on instruction, small group activities, personal reflection, and sharing, participants develop skills needed to help them advance in their careers and community. Topics range from personality recognition and conflict resolution to board stewardship and diversity and inclusion.

How did you first get involved with YLNI?
When I started at Indiana Tech, I wanted to find a way to get more involved and familiar with the Fort Wayne community, as it had drastically changed in the eight years since I had graduated from IPFW. I also wanted to meet more young professionals who shared the same passion. After some research, I found YLNI’s Leadership Institute and applied right away. I was accepted into the 2018 class, and after graduating, took on the role of co-chair. Since then, I have also participated in the Power Lunches, which I highly recommend.

What is your favorite part of managing your programming?
I learned so much about myself and met so many great people (and animals) through the Leadership Institute. I love that I now have the opportunity to help new classes do the same. My favorite session, though, is the group service project that us co-chairs also participate in, and it’s easily one of the class’ favorite sessions, as well. We split up into groups so that we can help out as many organizations as possible, and even though it’s only for an afternoon, I know that each location genuinely appreciates the help. Many of our members also continue volunteering with the organizations even after they’ve graduated.


What inspired you to get into the work that you’re doing?
Growing up, I had some really amazing teachers. I love learning and for the longest time, thought I wanted to follow in their footsteps and become an elementary educator, as well. That was until I realized that I have very little patience. Teachers do not get enough credit! So, I chose communication and public relations as my college major after really enjoying a public relations lesson during Junior Achievement in high school. I graduated college in 2009, in the midst of a recession and a horrible job market. Fortunately, during my college internship, I had made some professional connections who helped me with my job search. I took a job in non-traditional education and just like that, my passion for education and communication were rolled into one. I’ve been working in higher ed. for 11 years now and haven’t looked back. It’s such a fulfilling career, and I love being able to combine my passion for helping others with my creative side.

What do you think of the concept of work-life balance? 
It’s so essential, and I’ve come to realize that more than ever now that I have a five month old. Thankfully, I’m fortunate enough to have a job that understands the importance of having a home and personal life outside of work. One of our Leadership Institute sessions focuses on the concept of work-life balance because nowadays, especially during a time when many are working from home, it can be hard to separate the two. Personally, I think that not having that balance can be detrimental to one’s mental health, and that’s so important to keep in check.
Please list any social media handles or websites, if you are open to people connecting with you (optional). 

Connect with Kristin on LinkedIn.