Congrats Leadership Institute Graduates - Class of 2019


YLNI’s 14th Leadership Institute class was another amazing group, represented by 39 emerging leaders from a variety of different industries and backgrounds. The goal is to always align the program with the YLNI mission which is to “to attract, develop and retain emerging leaders through community, professional and social engagement."

The class completed a 6 session leadership development course covering topics from personality recognition, communication effectiveness, conflict resolution, board stewardship and work/life balance. These sessions were held at a variety of locations throughout Fort Wayne which included:

  1. Parkview Regional Medical Center
  2. 3RiversFCU
  3. Indiana Tech
  4. Sweetwater Sound
  5. Steel Dynamics
  6. Manchester School of Pharmacy; and
  7. Turnstone Center for Children & Adults with Disabilities

This year’s class was remarkably willing to grow personally and professionally as leaders in our community while gaining valuable relationships and new friendships through the many social engagement opportunities along the way.  This year’s class exceeded expectations when it came to community engagement by completing a combined 70+ hours in service projects at four local nonprofits:

  • Community Harvest Food Bank
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Allen County SPCA; and
  • Turnstone Center for Children & Adults with Disabilities  

As the VP of Leadership Development, I have truly enjoyed seeing the friendships that emanate from this program and the sense of pride the individuals walk away with in not only themselves but Northeast Indiana, but don’t take it from me. Hear it from some of this year’s Leadership Institute graduates themselves:


That is the word I keep coming back to when reflecting on my experience with YLNI. I have become connected through relationships built with working professionals in the area. This will be something I cherish for the rest of my life. YLNI brought together a group of hard working dedicated young professionals that were connected to a program that led us to self-awareness and a drive to apply our resources learned in the classroom to our everyday lives. I am thankful for this program and what it stands for in this community. There is a creative and constructive atmosphere that begs to unleash outside the classroom upon the completion of this institution. This is a result of a momentum created by a group of individuals from all aspects of the working world. This mirrors the culture Northeast Indiana is establishing in its communities. I encourage individuals to seek out the opportunities that YLNI provides. Whether that be dedicating your time to being a member of a committee or spending some time at the YLNI Farmer’s Market. There is something for everyone to become a vital team member of in this organization. YLNI taught me the power of a pause, and the growth that comes from looking within and realizing that not every single member of society is the same. I wish nothing but the best for the next group of YLNI participates and hope they realize the strong connections they can make through this program.

Chelsea M. Wolpert
Assistant Branch Manager
Garrett State Bank

What Leadership Institute Did For Me

Over our 6 sessions, I, of course, learned how to be a better leader. But I learned so much more. I learned that our community is filled with Young Professionals that want to be better, to do better, and to achieve better. I learned that it’s okay to be assertive while being compassionate. I learned that public speaking is made better by “the power of the pause”. The 2019 YLNI Leadership Institute taught me how to take my strengths, DiSC profile, work/life balance and grow a new level of communication to my peers. Because of the LI, I know that I can make a difference in my community through my own views, processes, and non-profit engagement. If you are an individual considering if this is “worth your time,” I would tell you a hundred times over to go for it. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and learn how your own strengths can better the community and our future!

Randi Harvey
Executive Assistant
Parkview Health

My experience with the YLNI Leadership Institute Program this past 6 months was encouraging! It was great to meet so many young professionals from so many different backgrounds and industries. Through the Leadership Institute we were able to come together to learn and to share our thoughts, ideas, successes and failures. Each meeting, during team building activities, you could see the group growing together and getting to know one another more. These young professionals are our areas advocates! The more we grow within our prospective industries and communities as leaders, the more we can advocate for our city and give back to the community that has been so generous towards us. I have noticed since the Institute drawing back on some of the classes we had and incorporating some the techniques or lessons into my daily routine. I wish everyone that participated the best of luck moving forward in their careers. Hopefully they get the chance to implement and utilize some of the skills and workplace techniques we learned throughout the institute. I had a great time getting to know my peers and think that the YLNI Leadership Institute is a great way for the areas young leaders to get together and learn more about themselves and others.

Sean Weigand
The DeHayes Group


It was an honor getting to work with the 2019 Leadership Institute class and watching them grow from session to session. This year’s class was very passionate about each and every topic, and it was great being able to listen to them discuss how they would be able to apply what they were learning to their personal and professional lives. For the most part, they came into the institute as strangers—young, working professionals who just happen to call Fort Wayne and the surrounding area their home and who all share a common interest of bettering themselves and their community. It didn’t take very long for them to form a bond with one another and graduate as friends. I loved being able to experience the lasting relationships that they built with one another. We had such a diverse group of individuals, yet they were able to find common ground, and this experience is something that they will remember for the rest of their lives. Being able to co-chair this group was an extremely rewarding experience, and I’m looking forward to staying in touch, collaborating, and volunteering with each of them.

Kristin Conley, MSL
Indiana Tech
Director of Ph.D. Admissions