Build Your Career HERE – Starting a New Business
Apr12

Build Your Career HERE – Starting a New Business

Northeast Indiana is obviously a great place to live and work. In the past few weeks, we have talked to a variety of employers and experts that have given testimony to the opportunities and resources at your disposal here. While it may not be for everyone, our experts agree that sometimes it is okay to venture out on your own. No one knows your passions and work style better than yourself. Taking a bold step toward independently sharing your skills and expertise may just be what the career counselor ordered. If entrepreneurship is in your future, you need to know how to succeed and who is here to help.     What are the best industries in northeast Indiana? Whether you are going for a more traditional work path or venturing out on your own, you need to know what our region has to offer. According to the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, Logistics & E-Commerce, Specialty Insurance, Medical Device & Technology, Vehicles, Food & Beverage, Advanced Materials, and Design and Craftsmanship are the seven target industries in our region. What does that mean? It means that these industries are growing and producing quality jobs in our region. These industries are a result of our region’s culture and need for economic growth. Now that you know the fields, how do you pick which one to pursue? Is one better than another? According to Sonya Snellenberger-Holm, there isn’t really a best. “I’m a fan of all walks of life and all jobs.”  The Partnership is there to promote all fields that could potentially bring growth. On the other hand, Karl LaPan believes health care and financial services offer compelling opportunities as these industries transform and innovate. This translates to more potential opportunities. I sat down and chatted with Rhonda Ladig of Start Fort Wayne, an entrepreneurial resource center in downtown Fort Wayne. She said that successful local entreprenuers are in just about every field. The common industry that most of these local entrepreneurs are connected to is e-commerce. It doesn’t matter if you are selling something physical or a service, it is all selling online. You can effectively run a business from the comfort of your laptop. When you are looking for research on these industries, where exatly do you go? Jim Johnson said “a great resource to answer this question is the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. No one knows more about northeast Indiana more than this dedicated group of professionals. Their website is full of resources and information.” If you want to learn more about the specifics of target industries, you can download a report straight from the website. Theresa Steele added to...

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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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Build Your Career HERE – Changing Paths
Feb20

Build Your Career HERE – Changing Paths

How many of you feel like leaving your current job will be a job in itself? Your resume may be solid if you are staying in your current field. The problem is that jobs are limited in many fields and require people to leave the region if they want to advance in your industry. If you want to stay close to your friends or family, sometimes you have to think outside of the employment box. Even if you are ready to do this, your resume can be more of a curse. You work your whole life to make that piece of paper seem exciting and important, but when you decide to take a chance and make a change, it hurts you more than it helps you because your employer only sees your employment history and not your valuable talents. We all get it. Finding a job can be hard. Even if unemployment is low, one line on a resume can make someone else look just a little bit better. So what exactly do you do if you are wanting to make that change? Well, it isn’t quite as difficult as it feels. I talked to some industry experts in business consulting, economic development, management, professional development and entrepreneurial development. Unsurprisingly, these people had some of the same advice.   So how exactly do you find a career that is out of your normal work scope? Even the experts have made big career changes and have found successes. Sonya Snellenberger-Holm, Project Manager for the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership told me, “I made a big shift in jobs when I started at the Regional Partnership. Before starting my job in economic development, I had only worked in the restaurant industry. While the two aren’t related I do think that being a bartender/server helped shape what I really wanted in a career. I knew I wanted a job where I could talk to people and build relationships with them. I also knew that I wanted a job that the result would make people feel happy. People like to go out to eat to socialize and have a good experience; people also like when their personal per capita income is raised, and they have more access to jobs. It takes very different steps to get to the result, but the outcome is the same. I like to make people happy. For anyone switching careers to something that is out of their norm, I would suggest going back to the basics. What makes you happy? Trust in the process and welcome the new change in your life, you never know what new stories you’ll...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight: RESPECT360
Oct07

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: RESPECT360

I’m not that far away from my teenage years. I remember what it was like. I remember trying to navigate the changing world, sometimes feeling lonely, unsure of myself, and always feeling bombarded with pressure to fit in with my peers. Let’s be honest, once we are out of that phase of our lives, very few of us would jump at the chance to go back. Those years were hard. When I learned about RESPECT360 and the powerful things they are doing to help teens navigate those hard-but-important-years, I thought it was incredible. I think you’ll agree. That’s why today we are speaking with Amy Hanna, co-founder of RESPECT360, a local organization that exists to encourage teens to have a healthy respect for the self and a healthy respect for others. They do this by going into area middle and high schools and educating students on things like healthy self-image, what it means to know who they are, and cultivating healthy relationships. I think the value in their presentations is that they are real with their students. They are open and honest, and (of course) respectful. Students respond to that, and often open up to the presenters in a way they haven’t opened up to anyone else. RESPECT360 also offers Parent Empowerment sessions, teaching parents how to understand different things their teenagers are dealing with, and giving them tools to help them deal with hard things in their teens’ lives. RESPECT360 is an awesome organization doing wonderful things. The impact they are having on the youth in Fort Wayne isn’t something to shrug off. Amy Hanna has spent her life working with youth, but founding and expanding a non-profit organization isn’t any easier than founding and expanding a small, for-profit organization. What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? One of the most common complaints that we hear parents and teachers say about teens is that they lack respect. But somehow, the idea of respect seems to have been completely forgotten in today’s entire culture. We at RESPECT360 seek to change the perspective of respect from being something that is set aside to something that is applied.  We do this by first helping students to understand that they are extremely valuable and need to respect themselves and their bodies.  Then we teach them how to respect others, and finally we teach them the importance of being respected by others.  Ultimately our goal is that students will learn that respect has the power to change their lives for the better. Respectful teens make respectful adults, and in turn create a respectful community.  It’s the RESPECT360 way: Respect yourself. Respect others....

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The Secret Behind Launching a Career in Northeast Indiana
Oct04

The Secret Behind Launching a Career in Northeast Indiana

As an upcoming graduate and young professional looking for employment in Fort Wayne, I am amazed by the amount of pressure put on finding a career – not to mention finding one that I like. But these expectations come with no explanation on what sort of skills I need, advice on how to launch my career in this area successfully, or the kind of person that employers look for when hiring, except that they will look at my degree to see if I am qualified for the position. Corporations and all other types of businesses are comprised of all types of people. The people who make up Northeast Indiana, in a broad sense, are hard workers, innovative craftsman with a “don’t quit” mentality. The Northeast Indiana area has a regional population of more than 700,000 people with many diverse industry bases ranging from insurance, logistics, automotive, medical, food processing, and more. It is no wonder businesses in this area are looking to hire young professionals and graduates. With a dozen nearby colleges and universities, there are many young professionals and graduates looking to succeed in their careers in the Northeast Indiana region. But how are they to do that? To find out, I went looking for and spoke with seasoned professionals who gave me the secret on how to launch a career in Northeast Indiana. Justin Clupper, Director of Signature Programs at Greater Fort Wayne, said “The best thing to do is connect with the intent of communication; Begin networking, and building relationships in your specific industry and area.” This was followed by Ashley Calderon, Director of Career Services at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, who said, “89% of Indiana University-Purdue University students stay in this area. We know that employers are looking for candidates who have leadership skills because this is the number one skill employers are looking for at this time. Students need to be able to communicate effectively – in writing and verbally. This community is very well-connected, and students need to be able to navigate the connection in order to succeed in this area.” Ryan Krueckeberg, Vice President of the Board of Directors for Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana, said “I would suggest getting involved by utilizing the Leadership Institute by learning workplace leadership skills and community leadership skills. Meeting people, getting to know people, getting to know your community has been the biggest influencer in my career. Building relationships and fostering those relationships and allowing those relationships to lead you to other people. Making a valid effort to continuously educate yourself, whether it is by getting the degree or educating yourself in your community. There’s so many organizations who can...

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