YLNI Member Spotlight: Sarah (Pine) Verpooten
Aug18

YLNI Member Spotlight: Sarah (Pine) Verpooten

The beginning of this month marked the four-year anniversary of Fort Wayne becoming my home! I grew up in Elwood, a small town about an hour south of Fort Wayne. Even though I grew up an hour away from Northeast Indiana’s big city, we didn’t come here that often. For some reason, Indianapolis is where we always went for shopping, sporting events and nice family dinners. As I mentioned, I moved up to Fort Wayne four years ago this month. I didn’t really know what to think when I accepted my job from Strahm and then realized that I would be moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana, a city that I was not familiar with and a city where I knew one person out of 250,000. Yes, I realized I would only be an hour away from my hometown, but still,anxious and overwhelmed were understatements. I arrived in Fort Wayne, got settled in and starting my very first “big girl job” out of college. My friends from college went off on their own paths and it was time for me to create my own. Luckily, one of my best friends was finishing up her senior year at IPFW so I quickly became her roommate. Having my best friend as my roommate in this new city was very comforting for me, but she was busy with school and I wasn’t exactly open to the thought of going out and meeting new people. I just went through that in college and I didn’t want to have to do it all over again. My boss at Strahm is the previous President of YLNI, Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana. He tried several times to get me to attend YLNI events, not only because they were fun events but because it would be a great way for me to meet new people. Playing the role as the new kid in town at YLNI events? No thanks. I wasn’t interested. After a couple months, I realized that I am actually going to have to put forth some effort if I wanted to meet new people, get more involved in the community and make Fort Wayne feel like my home. I finally caved and attended my first YLNI event, the YLNI General Membership Meeting. It was a lot to take in, but after a while I was in my “Let’s Meet New People Mode”. Joining the YLNI Block Party Committee was truly when my love and appreciation for this organization started. In my opinion, you can attend as many networking events or masquerade balls as you want, but joining a committee is the difference maker. Serving on...

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YLNI Member Highlights by Mark Lash
Aug11

YLNI Member Highlights by Mark Lash

Written for Living Fort Wayne by Mark Lash “Excuse me, could you hold the door for me?” That is something you almost never hear in Fort Wayne. If you ever visit a Fort Wayne campus, you will notice that a student or faculty member is almost always willing to hold the door for you without having to ask them. This one small act of kindness isn’t just specific to the campuses either. It’s a Fort Wayne thing. My first experiences in Fort Wayne began in my early college years. As a freshman, I was young, full of ambition, and a little nervous coming from a small town. Through my 5 years as a student, the campus grew very rapidly. Huge buildings and recreational centers popped up year after year. Major programs like medicine were added to the growing list of degrees offered, and the already large and diverse student body was growing at record pace… all of this during the midst of one of the greatest recessions since the great depression. Similarly, the City of Fort Wayne has fared the recession quite remarkably. During this past downturn, housing markets faltered across the nation leaving many American’s owing way more for their houses than they were worth.  While Fort Wayne’s markets had undoubtedly been affected by the economic downturn, the overall economy in general was not as ravaged as some other economic markets. Just like the local university, the city of Fort Wayne has shown resolve in the midst of widespread economic adversity. The professors that taught the 150 plus credit hours throughout my 5 years are a great reason for the telling success of the university. Instructors that know your name and are well-connected within the local community also have an obvious desire to improve their students’ academic and practical knowledge on a personal level. The difficulty of the courses and complexity of the theory taught in the classrooms combined with the small class sizes provided an excellent way for the faculty to mentor their students to success. Moreover, they felt a constituency to their students to provide them with the knowledge and values that were needed to be successful. Similar to the professors being the major reason for the success of the university, the people of Fort Wayne are the reason for this city’s success. As a CPA at Crowe Horwath LLP here in Fort Wayne, I have the privilege to work with many community members, firms, and organizations. I have the vantage point of an eagle, so to speak, and it’s clear to me why Fort Wayne and the community can show such resolve in such hard...

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