Fort Wayne is continually being described as “the city that saved itself”, and a place with exciting growth. The growth we see in Fort Wayne is because of the great people that live here, call it home, and want to see Fort Wayne embrace itself as a city worth loving. People like Olivia Lehman. A new event called CreativeMornings has been brought to the community thanks to Olivia and she, along with the CreativeMornings Fort Wayne team, want to see people connect and embrace the creative nature that is within all of us. Olivia is the associate director of development for the nonprofit Water for Good, and is the host of CreativeMornings Fort Wayne. I spoke with Olivia about what inspired her and her team to take on this event, and how it’s making an impact in our community.
What is CreativeMornings (CM)?
CreativeMornings (CM) is literally a breakfast lecture series for the creative community where people can come together with no agenda or boundaries, share ideas, and be inspired. The goal is for it to be a safe, sacred place for people to just be together.
How did you get started with CM?
I lived in Indianapolis for six years and volunteered at the CM events in Indianapolis. When I moved back to Fort Wayne I saw the potential. I had experience with event planning, and bringing people together so it felt natural. When I moved back to Fort Wayne, I had to jump out of my comfort zone and start meeting new people. I went out for drinks, started having conversations, and when I asked people to join me, a lot of people were interested. A big influencer for me was Matt Kelley, the owner of One Lucky Guitar. When he heard about what I was planning to do, he was all in and asked how he could help me make it happen.
What has inspired you throughout this process?
I was actually inspired by the book “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. To sum it up, she describes that if you have a dream, it may pass you by and someone else will pick it up instead. You could miss out, but if you take it and run with it, great things could come of it.
What type of people attend CM?
All kinds of people! People from ad agencies, banks, schools, people who are creative but you may not expect them to be. The CreativeMornings manifesto starts out with “everyone is creative” and I think that sums it up. All are welcome.
Talk to me about the guest speakers. How do you find them?
We have themes given to us by CreativeMornings, so when we are given a theme the team goes to the drawing board and we draw from our contacts or people we know. We want to keep the speakers as local to the area as possible. There are so many great people right here in Fort Wayne, and we want to showcase their talents but also to inspire others. We want it to be less of a Ted Talk and more of a conversation.
What drew you back to Fort Wayne after living in Indianapolis?
Originally I moved back because I was in a serious relationship, but Fort Wayne has always been my homebase. My family is here, and I feel protective of it. I enjoy grabbing a cup of coffee at Conjure, a bite at Tolon, and attending the great events here in town. It’s been great to be able to feed back into this great city.
What do you hope for Fort Wayne within the next 10 years?
I hope that Fort Wayne embraces itself as its own city, embraces our creative community and the great people we have in Fort Wayne to create positive change.
CreativeMornings are held the second Friday of each month from 8:30-10 am. Have to work? No problem. CM even has a “Convince Your Boss” resource so you can take some time to unwind, connect, and fuel up with the CreativeMornings community, even if you work the 8-5 grind. Connect with Olivia, the other members of the CreativeMornings team, or listen to past speakers at creativemornings.com/cities/ftw.