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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First Fridays: Experience Networking in a New Way
Jan30

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...

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