Build Your Career HERE – Learning New Skills
Mar02

Build Your Career HERE – Learning New Skills

Part of securing yourself in a job is having the skills to go all the way. Yes, you need to know the essential functions of a job before you sign on the dotted line, but if you really want to succeed, you should also know how to communicate, how to be a leader, and how to fail gracefully. Depending on your comfort zone and your age, there are a variety of different ways for you to go out and find a little leadership coaching. Age has been on my side, and I have been afforded the opportunity to be a part of the Emerging Leaders Alliance through the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. This group’s mission is to develop a community of future leaders in Northeast Indiana and create opportunities for action, growth, and regional pride. We do this through working on Vision 2030 committees, hosting social and professional development events, working on strengths training, connecting with our community leaders with professional development book clubs, and of course, supporting our entire region however we can. Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana (YLNI) similarly affords this to me. While it is meant for a larger audience and a broader age range, it has different focus areas and many leadership roles for those who are interested. The opportunities to be vice chair of Living Fort Wayne (part of YLNI) and secretary of the ELA were only because I stepped out of my comfort zone and went out and looked to make myself and my community better. Luckily, many people were there to hold my hand, figuratively. Not everyone is in their 30s and able to dance between the kids and the adults. Some of us have more to lose and need to get the skills and networking now. I went back to the same experts I talked to last week and asked them about where you need to go in order to go far.   What are the best networking groups in the area? I will tell you this now because three people said it, but First Fridays is the place to be. According to Karl LaPan of the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center(NIIC), Theresa Steele of Steele Business Coaching and Jim Johnson of 3 Rivers (also one of the founders), it is the best networking experience in town. According to Karl LaPan, “it is more than a networking group, it is also solid leadership development, so First Fridays is exceptional. This monthly meeting is a high return on investment. On one of my visits, I had five meetings and lunches as a result of attending and participating in the monthly event. The content and...

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Big Brothers Big Sisters: The First Meeting
Mar10

Big Brothers Big Sisters: The First Meeting

A few months after I initially inquired about Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) at the health fair at Franklin Electric, I found myself walking into an elementary school to meet my Little for the first time. And, as I stated in the previous installment of my BBBS series, I was quite nervous about it. Thankfully, our match support specialist was there to facilitate the first meeting and make us feel a bit more comfortable. First, we went over some paperwork and general guidelines, then we did some icebreaker activities that I initially thought would be awkward but turned out to be pretty helpful for Samantha and I as we got to know one another. Samantha was pretty outgoing right away and seemed quite enthusiastic about the program. She even said that the other girls in her class were jealous of her because she got her own Big! At our first meeting, we ended up going through our icebreaker activities and just talking. As it turns out, we share a love for journaling, reading, and even some of the same bands. I would have never guessed that I had so much in common with a nine year old. We decided that I would come for lunch on Fridays and we would meet in the special clubhouse area at her school. All in all, I left feeling pretty confident in my match with Samantha. I was a little unsure of what we would do each week when I came for lunch, but I really had nothing to worry about because Samantha always has plenty of ideas as soon as I walk through the door. At first, we would read books together and chat about things going on in her life. Then, she wanted to introduce me to her other classmates, which helped me to understand more of what was going on with her friends and school life. She also enjoys playing with my  makeup and hair and showing me new apps on my phone. A few weeks back, I bought a book called “Wreck this Journal” by Keri Smith. If you’ve never heard of it, this book is probably the coolest thing for 3rd through 5th graders. Each page has a different way in which to destroy it. We’ve had a great time stepping on, ripping up, drawing in, and generally destroying the journal over the past few weeks. And recently, I bought a blank notebook so we could create our own and come up with unique ways to wreck it. I have been pleasantly surprised by how well I get along with Samantha and by how many activities we both enjoy doing together. We...

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