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First Fridays: Experience Networking in a New Way

Posted by on January 30, 2018 | Comments Off on First Fridays: Experience Networking in a New Way

First Fridays: Experience Networking in a New Way

First Fridays is a place where people can network, learn and grow. When Jere Johnson moved to Fort Wayne from Chicago, he was looking for an uplifting and energetic community. Brothers Jere and Jim Johnson launched First Fridays to create a space where people could come together to learn more about our region and about each other. “We want to create a meeting forum where members can grow as individuals and where they can network and really primarily focus on Northeast Indiana,” Jim said, “because that’s where we are and we think there’s a lot of great things that go on here and a lot of great things that people maybe don’t even know about.” First Fridays is hosted at Indiana Wesleyan University on, you guessed it, the first Friday of each month. Different speakers are featured at each gathering to take on a variety of leadership topics like conflict, collaboration, entrepreneurship, etc. Each session, attendees will come away will a better understanding of leadership in Northeast Indiana. How it all started: Jim told Living Fort Wayne that the idea for First Fridays was inspired by the 2017 Global Leadership Summit (GLS). GLS is a leadership conference broadcast world-wide from Willow Creek Church in Chicago, which, much like First Fridays, invites a variety of speakers to discuss what effective leadership looks like. Their first conversation about bringing a regional leadership forum to life transpired on the second day of the GLS. They sat down over some “very expensive Coliseum hamburgers” and at the end of their discussion decided the goal for this programs was to,“have a purpose to come together that’s beyond networking, but networking happens within the context.” Once the idea came to head, the brothers were eager to move their plan into actions. Jim told Living Fort Wayne he and his brother covered his office with large Post-it notes, mapping out their vision for First Fridays. Recalling wisdom he learned from another influential leader, Author Tony Robbins, Jim said, “if you’ve got a great idea when you’re working on something don’t try to make it perfect, get out there and take massive action on it and you’ll see success.” Incidentally, the brothers only planned to host First Fridays for a season and evaluate the need to continue or adjust. “We’ve already had people saying, ‘well you’re going to do this again next year aren’t you?’” Now there is no stopping this momentum, the First Fridays team already has several speakers lined up for 2019 and are continuing to build upon their vision. Why you should go: The First Fridays team has successfully created an environment where talking to people is easy. “I’ll talk to anybody about anything, I’m not shy. Both my brother and I are like that…we’re very comfortable meeting people. There’s a lot of people maybe who hold back on wanting to go to a networking event because they just don’t know what to say. I don’t know what it is about this event, but you’ll talk to people you’ll meet people.” If networking is a scary word for you like it was for me, check out Jim’s blog on how to have an anxiety free and rewarding networking experience. Take it from a 22-year-old who attended First Fridays as an intern, this is a place...

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How to Hygge in Fort Wayne

Posted by on January 26, 2018 | Comments Off on How to Hygge in Fort Wayne

How to Hygge in Fort Wayne

About Hygge What is hygge? Aside from being a little difficult to pronounce (“hoo-guh”), the definition has an extremely easy to understand meaning. It encompasses the overall feeling of contentment, well-being, and being cozy. In our fast paced world, we often ignore these important feelings and practices. Lucky for us, it is very possible to hygge in Fort Wayne.   How to Hygge in Fort Wayne Contentment  Contentment is different for everyone. If you want to feel contentment, you should find something that you really enjoy and act on it. This could be catching a show at Embassy or checking out the latest performance from the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Promote Your Personal Well Being  It’s a new year and you have new opportunities to do something for yourself. Help your mind, body, and soul by joining a local gym or taking a yoga class. Coziness  Cozy is in the eye of the beholder. It can be going to an amazing coffee shop like Fortezza, or enjoying time with your friends at a warm and friendly bar like JK O’Donnells.   How to Achieve the Entire Hygge Package Winter Cozy is a hygge themed evening brought to you by Riverfront Fort Wayne. Everything about this speaks hygge. According to Megan Butler, this event will stimulate the senses. She uses Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to create a sense of wonder and connection through the taste, sight, touch, smell, and sound. The goal is to offer an amazing experience while re-defining winter. The event highlights the positives of winter (like a heated tent, cozy furniture, warm cocktails, food for purchase, live music from Ty Causey, sensory games, ice sculptures, and drink luges). The event will feature local ice sculptors and other local vendors like Mutton and Club Soda. Part of promoting your personal well-being and contentment will be highlighted through adult hands-on sensory activities. According to Megan Butler, you should think about sensory activities for autism. You can play with the activities and take them home. Riverfront Fort Wayne is committed to making people more conscious of the rivers. This event is an example of how people can live their lives around the rivers and have fun all year, even in the winter. Event Details Winter Cozy is a part of Winterval Admission is $10 at the door. Event Runs from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. This event is 21+ Sponsored by Alt 99.5, Riverfront Fort Wayne, and Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation. Winterval is a Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation event. Contact Megan Butler for additional...

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The Harry Potter Magic Returns to Fort Wayne

Posted by on January 16, 2018 | Comments Off on The Harry Potter Magic Returns to Fort Wayne

The Harry Potter Magic Returns to Fort Wayne

The magic returns this coming weekend, courtesy of the Salvation Army. If you are a fan of Harry Potter, this is the perfect event for you to attend. Unlike last year’s Yule Ball, this year they are delving into the world of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, so break out your 20s clothing and your wands and get ready to party like you got accepted to Ilvermorny. Not only is the event fit for muggles and wizards alike, 100 percent of proceeds benefiting families in need through The Salvation Army. #throwback to last year’s Hogwarts event for the Salvation Army! #slytherin #safortwayne A post shared by Victoria Sarjeant (@sarjve01) on Jan 14, 2018 at 11:28am PST The event will be held at The Orchid, so the look and feeling will be a little different than last year. If you are looking for just a small dabble into the wizarding arts, you can choose the Diagon Alley Basic Entrance. which includes the following: potions a class with Professor Snape the TriWizard Tournament Challenge from Escape Fort Wayne detention with Professor Umbridge herbology class from Country Farm & Garden history of magic class care of magical creatures Borgin and Burkes Vanishing Cabinet defense of the dark arts with All Star Martial Arts charms class with Amanda Kessens from Young Living a sorting hat experience boarding room assignments from Ivy Tech Community College Dance Lessons with the Beauxbatons by Fort Wayne Dance Collective Goblet of Fire Entry character interactions a first year wizards room (children’s area) moving hall photo ops a commemorative Marauder’s map and costume/trivia contests. You can get a Platform Ticket which includes a personalized Owl Mail Acceptance Letter and themed dining experience (“Weasley Style” and “Mandrake” (Vegetarian).  The last option is the 1920’s Fantastic Beasts Ball. You can experience dinner, Ilvermorny house sorting and badge ceremony, music, dancing, The Blind Pig lounge singers, character interaction (including the Second Salemers), complimentary photos, silent auction, carriage rides (weather permitting), event keepsake, and of course, specialty dessert from Kowalski’s Bakery.   What you need to know Dress is strictly 1920’s formal nomaj The event will be held at The Orchid, 11508 Lincoln Hwy East New Haven, IN 46774. Tickets can be purchased here Event is sponsored by Escape Fort Wayne and The Orchid To donate to the silent auction, you can click here or drop off monetary donations to The Salvation Army at 2901 N. Clinton...

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Release – Solar panels boost The Summit’s goals for innovation, sustainability

Posted by on December 22, 2017 | Comments Off on Release – Solar panels boost The Summit’s goals for innovation, sustainability

Release – Solar panels boost The Summit’s goals for innovation, sustainability

Release from The Summit There may be snow in the forecast, but one Fort Wayne neighborhood just got a little greener. An array of solar panels now graces the roofline of The Summit Athletic Center on West Rudisill Boulevard. One of the city’s largest solar installations, the 100-kilowatt unit produces enough electricity to power 10 homes. “At The Summit, we want to offer great space at a fair price to community-building organizations,” said Melissa Dessaigne, executive director, in a prepared release. “Energy and water account for more than 17 percent of our expenses, and energy prices are outpacing inflation, so this investment in renewable energy is an important step toward keeping our space affordable. We’re trying to build the best space for the best organizations in a way that is economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable.” The Summit Athletic Center is home to AWP Sports and Parkview Sports Medicine. The building’s new solar array is expected to generate approximately 132,000 kilowatt-hours of power each year. That’s enough to offset the building’s entire energy bill, depending on weather and facility use. “It’s like saving 116 acres of forest,” explained Spencer Mize, director of strategic initiatives, in a prepared release. “Each year, the renewable energy from this solar array will offset the equivalent greenhouse-gas emissions of burning 107,407 pounds of coal or 11,047 gallons of gasoline. The idea that we can save money while being good stewards of the environment is what fueled our desire to make this investment a reality.” Sustainable energy is right in line with The Summit’s focus on innovation. Five years ago, The Summit debuted a modern collaborative classroom to foster twenty-first-century learning. In 2015, campus opened CookSpring, one of the region’s first shared commercial kitchens for culinary entrepreneurs. “Now in 2017, we’re testing the idea that even urban campuses can harness energy produced by the sun,” Mize said. “If the project proves successful, there may be additional sustainable energy initiatives in The Summit’s future.” The Summit is a shared campus of socially-minded organizations and entrepreneurs working together to create thriving community. Partner organizations work to achieve social impact in the areas of education, economic development, social sustainability, health & wellness, and spiritual vitality. In addition, The Summit offers top-quality space for meetings, conferences, and retreats. To learn more, visit The Summit’s website. # #...

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2018 Special Olympics Polar Plunge Registration is Open

Posted by on December 11, 2017 | Comments Off on 2018 Special Olympics Polar Plunge Registration is Open

2018 Special Olympics Polar Plunge Registration is Open

News release from polarplungeIN.org Special Olympics Polar Plunge Registration is Open Organization’s largest fundraiser is February 10 at Metea County Park Special Olympics Indiana and Special Olympics Allen County will host their annual Polar Plunge on February 10 from 10am-2pm at Metea County Park near Leo-Cedarville and registration is now open at polarplungeIN.org. This fun and safe event consists of individuals and companies from all over Northeast Indiana, including Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, Steuben, LaGrange, Whitley, Wells, and Adams Counties, raising funds through pledges and donations for the chance to take a “plunge” into the freezing cold water and prove they are Freezin’ for a Reason. The event helps raise funds for state and local Special Olympics programs and generates awareness of the power of Special Olympics, which allows children and adults with intellectual disabilities to live active lives through socialization, exercise, and friendly competition. Currently there are over 13,000 athletes that participate in at least one sport through Special Olympics in the state. Past Fort Wayne Plunges have had more than 100 Plungers and have raised more than $10,000. This year those numbers are both expected to increase as awareness of the event grows in local schools and businesses. The Polar Plunge is fun, safe, and simple—to be a Plunger all one has to do is register online at polarplungeIN.org, raise a minimum of $75 in pledges, and show up at Metea County Park (8401 Union Chapel Rd., northeast Fort Wayne, near Leo-Cedarville) on February 10 between 8am-10am where they’ll prepare to take a quick dip in the ice-cold lake water. Following the Plunge, participants and spectators are invited to join the free After Splash Bash in the Metea Park Nature Center to socialize and enjoy food and beverages. Special Olympics is encouraging as many businesses and schools as possible to get involved by putting together teams of Plungers or by nominating one lucky person to serve as their Plunge representative and helping them raise funds. Prizes are awarded for fundraising levels met and door prizes will be drawn at the After Splash Bash. For more information, please contact Julie Burkholder at jburkholder@soindiana.org or 260-466-1528 or online by visiting polarplungeIN.org. Special Olympics is also seeking door prize donations, in-kind sponsors, and event volunteers. Join us as we are Freezin’ for a Reason!   Photos are courtesy of Natalie...

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Veterans Day at HT2

Posted by on November 10, 2017 | Comments Off on Veterans Day at HT2

Veterans Day at HT2

A post shared by HT2 (@ht2fortwayne) on Oct 20, 2017 at 9:59am PDT What does it mean to support the troops? It’s an old, tired, overused phrase that has become more of a reaction and a political talking point than any true declaration of support. Politicians across the spectrum will constantly argue over which one of them supports the troops more. People will put a sticker on their car, have it on their license plate or a host of other meaningless gestures. None of those are worth anything if there is no action behind them. So what does action look like? What can the average person do to actually show their support for those who volunteered to defend the country they live in? Nick Ladig, owner of HT2, a cocktail bar in southwest Fort Wayne, is taking matters into his own hands this Saturday with a fundraiser for The Shepherd’s House. “Men and women who go off to serve our country are sacrificing all they have and all they know so that we can do things like open businesses, enjoy ourselves and feel safe,” Ladig said. “It’s only right that we take care of them once they come back to the civilian world.” This Saturday, when HT2 has a limited number of drink and food specials, a portion of the proceeds will go to benefit The Shepherd’s House, a transitional living facility that houses veterans with substance abuse issues. Currently going through a capital fundraising campaign, Shepherd’s House is attempting to secure enough funding to ensure operations beyond 2018. Ladig, who used to work for Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery in Indianapolis, knew that Shepherd’s House was a cause worthy of his support when he started to research local charities to support. “Hotel Tango was started by a combat wounded Marine Corps veteran,” he said, “so it made sense to support these veteran-oriented organizations. There are charities like DAV [Disabled American Veterans] or Wounded Warrior Foundation, but I wanted the money to have a much more local impact.” Here is the lineup of events and activities: Tacos Bravas will be serving up items from their menu from 12 to 4 Special cocktail concoctions will be served all day and night There will be a prize raffle and a donation collection. Shepherd’s House is requesting new socks and underwear and hygiene products for the male veterans they serve. It should be a fun and worthwhile cause. For more information about the Veterans Day Shepherd’s House Fundraiser, click here. Location: 10212 Chestnut Plaza Dr. Fort Wayne, IN 46814   Date/Time: Saturday, November 11, 2017 Noon to Midnight...

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Let Your Inner pARTY Animal Out for the Allen County SPCA

Posted by on September 6, 2017 | Comments Off on Let Your Inner pARTY Animal Out for the Allen County SPCA

Let Your Inner pARTY Animal Out for the Allen County SPCA

If you’re the person who makes friends with the host’s dog during social gatherings, snap on your party hats. Fort Wayne HeART of the City and the Allen County SPCA present pARTY Animal, an art social event to benefit the Allen County SPCA. pARTY Animal (you gotta love that play on words) will take place on September 22 at 4pm–10pm at 125 W. Main Street, just two doors down from Coney Island. I spoke with Executive Director of the SPCA, Jessica Henry, to find out more unique fundraiser.   pARTY Animal is the first art-related event for the Allen County SPCA, and there’s plenty to look forward to at this inaugural happening. An art gallery by local artists will displayed and available for purchase; part of the proceeds from each purchase will benefit the Allen County SPCA. Live painters will create animal-themed paintings (available for auction), local musicians will be performing, and raffles will be held throughout the night. Plus, you can meet cats and dogs that are adoptable at a later date. Emcee Amber Stone of SUNNY 103.9 will host this fun night, and delicious pizza and beverages will be available for purchase by 816 Pint & Slice.   For $5 donation at the door, you can help support the Allen County SPCA and their mission to find animals’ fur-ever homes. A $20 VIP package can be purchased online and includes admission for one, one drink ticket, and exclusive rooftop access throughout the evening. Availability is limited. If you’re unfamiliar with the location, that’s because it’s a privately owned building that has been completely renovated. “It’s a unique opportunity for a sneak peek inside a place that’s not open to the public,” said Jessica.   The Allen County SPCA is the only nonprofit animal shelter in the area, and they’ve been working hard to save as many animals as they can. Jessica said, “In 2016, we homed over 2,700 animals. As a nonprofit, we rely on donations. Without the community, we couldn’t do it.” Thanks to the connection within the HeART of the City, this event will make even more possible for the organization. “This event is special in that it’s supporting local artists and animals. It serves a dual purpose. We are extremely grateful for all of the artists and their dedication to the event.”   Let your inner party animal out and support the local art and animals on September 22nd at pARTY Animal! VIP packages are available for purchase here. Check out the Facebook event page for updates on the event as it...

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Fort Wayne Astronomical Society Brings Us Closer to Space

Posted by on August 16, 2017 | Comments Off on Fort Wayne Astronomical Society Brings Us Closer to Space

Fort Wayne Astronomical Society Brings Us Closer to Space

I am fascinated with space, and maybe you are, too. The solar eclipse is coming up, and the Fort Wayne Astronomical Society has our space nerdery covered. I went to their July General Meeting to get more information, and member Jon Thomas gave an exceptional explanation on how we plan on getting to Mars. We explored possible routes to the Red Planet, the length of time they’d take, and the pros and cons. He also covered different theories on how we could make water, methane for propellant, and oxygen for the stay on Mars and the trip home. Finally, Jon covered the concerns about the trip, one of the bigger ones being the human factor. The FWAS began in 1959 as a not-for-profit “to support amateur observing and promote public education in Astronomy and related sciences.” They hold several meetings once a month both public and for members only and have public observing sessions every clear Saturday which start about an hour after sunset. Public observing sessions are held at Jefferson Township Park in New Haven at their newly built observatory, featuring a 16″ telescope. FWAS has volunteers that will come out to your large group, school, or church with telescopes, and teach you about what you’re seeing in the sky. I asked society secretary Gene Stringer if they were planning an event for the solar eclipse on August 21st. Not only are they planning an event, they’re planning two! The first event will be at the Allen County Main Public Library on Aug. 21 from 12-3pm. The FWAS will be handing out eclipse viewing glasses on a first-come, first-served basis. They will also be bringing telescopes with sun filters and projectors to help us view the event. The food trucks will be there and admission is free but donations are welcomed. The second is a group of society members who are actually traveling to Evansville, IN. The Society says that hotels have been booked for two years in preparation for this event. The Solar Eclipse will be crossing over 14 states on August 21, 2017. For more information on the solar eclipse, check out NASA’s website. Find out more about the Fort Wayne Astronomical Society on their website, and follow them on Facebook and...

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Good Neighbors – Steve Franks in Fort Wayne

Posted by on August 8, 2017 | Comments Off on Good Neighbors – Steve Franks in Fort Wayne

Good Neighbors – Steve Franks in Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne area community good neighbor Steve Franks “Fort Wayne, a league of its own.” For over a decade, Steve Franks has been helping small businesses take their first step. He works with Start Fort Wayne coaching entrepreneurs through their LevelUP program and serves on the board for the nonprofit Believe in a Dream, working with their Believe in Your Business program that focuses on high school age entrepreneurs. He sees youth-centered entrepreneurship as vibrant and world changers. When encouraged, they will find the way. I asked how one would encourage these young entrepreneurs. “Not every venture needs to be a home run, but a lot of singles will get a lot of runs,“ Steve replied. He went on to explain that not every first venture will be your best.   I find myself continually amazed and inspired by people living in the Fort Wayne area, Steve Franks being one of them. We had an opportunity to ask Steve about who he is and what he does. How long have you been helping small businesses? I left the world of innovation consulting 13 years ago and started coaching entrepreneurs at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center. NIIC was fairly new at the time. I sought it out since it had the word “innovation” in its name – it turned out to be more about entrepreneurship than what I had come to know as innovation. Fortunately, discovering I loved working with startup entrepreneur, I started helping them think through their new ventures. Most everything I’ve done for the past three decades or so has been with smaller entrepreneurial companies.  I’ve co-founded two ventures and have been working around and developing new things.   What was the first job or one of the first jobs you had? The job that made the biggest difference in the trajectory of my life was when I resigned from the cushy office job at North American Van Lines (where I worked since high school) to go sell microcomputers on commission. Not the most fiscally prudent move, perhaps, but it worked out and gave me a foothold into something I love–which was why I took the plunge. It started me down the path of working with things I was passionate about, rather than just some financially comfortable salary job. It allowed me to hone skills that help me be a good entrepreneur coach today.   You are helping with things all over. How do you keep your energy up and prioritize to prevent burn out? What is this “prioritize” thing you speak of?  One way to not burn out is to be busy. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but you only really burn out when you are doing too much of something you don’t enjoy. For me, it is fun to be involved in many things.   Fort Wayne, what does that mean to you?   Well, Fort Wayne is my home, and I’ve defined my personal mission as helping make it a better place by growing its entrepreneurial community. I also like participating in the arts community.  I love to collect art by local artists (I have a fairly large collection, which I am able to do by focusing on highly affordable pieces).  In a way, the two communities are a lot alike. Both are strong and vibrant, populated by an amazing...

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#IGersFortWayne: Creating a Community for Imagemakers

Posted by on July 31, 2017 | Comments Off on #IGersFortWayne: Creating a Community for Imagemakers

#IGersFortWayne: Creating a Community for Imagemakers

A picture is worth a thousand words. Instagram makes it so easy now to see beautiful images taken by photographers of all skill levels. Because of geotags and hashtags, you can see pictures taken around your area. If you’ve seen the hashtag #IGersFortWayne, you can view beautiful images taken by image makers in Fort Wayne. Good morning Fort Wayne! If you didn’t see the sunset last night, check out this incredible photo by @the_kirbster001 of the Fort Wayne skyline last night! Keep using the #IGersFortWayne tag and enjoy the weekend! // @scornfulcow A post shared by IGersFortWayne (@igersfortwayne) on Feb 11, 2017 at 7:23am PST   IGersFortWayne’s mission is to curate a creative community of image makers in the Fort Wayne area. Through team members Megan Hevel, Sean O’Leary, Danielle Doepke, and Mollie Shutt, the group is paving the way to a strong community with a big following, image makers and non-image makers alike. Megan said, “It’s an Instagram page that is meant to facilitate community for image makers in the Fort Wayne area. We are seeking to bring like-minded people together, to make connections, inspire one another, and experience Fort Wayne in new ways through photography.”     With the redevelopment of Fort Wayne and the ease of access to the images of Instagram, IGersFortWayne is reframing the way people view the city. Everyone who shares an image shares a different perspective, changing how others see Fort Wayne. “It promotes growth, builds a stronger creative community, and seeks to capture the best parts of our ever-evolving city. As we support and encourage one another, we become better and are able to contribute more to the community we love,” said Megan.     But you don’t have to consider yourself a professional or even a photographer to submit an image to IGersFortWayne. By using the term imagemaker, the community is welcoming to all kinds of imagery creators, from those pursuing a career in photography to those who shoot photos on their phone. IGersFortWayne is an inclusive community, and the more creativity contributed, the more inspiration ignites.   I mean, how could anyone say no to a classic like @fwconeyisland?! 🌭@olivia_eve_ captured this Fort Wayne staple so beautifully, it’s no wonder it was chosen to be featured in a Food Network article! That depth of field, that color and composition 👌🏽 #igersfortwayne + @meganhevel A post shared by IGersFortWayne (@igersfortwayne) on May 16, 2017 at 3:47pm PDT     Each of the team members contributes to the group by posting features on the IGersFortWayne Instagram feed during the week. As a team, they collaborate to come up with new ideas for image cultivation and organizing instameets. An instameet is an event where image makers are invited to gather to explore the Fort Wayne area and photograph together.     Megan said, “Through these meet-ups, we are able to encourage and push one another creatively, develop friendships, and grow the creative community. An instameet can be as simple as walking around downtown looking for new, interesting ways to capture the city. It can also be more specific and unique, like the instameet we did at The Clyde Theater. We have partnered with other organizations, like Visit Fort Wayne, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, Middle Waves, and the Arts United Center to...

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