Lunch (Breakfast) with a Leader – Karl LaPan

karl lapanAs you know, Karl LaPan is the CEO of the NIIC (Northeast Indiana Innovation Center).  Karl was our First Fridays speaker on January 5, 2018.  Karl invested in me this morning by having breakfast with me.

Karl overflows with innovation!  I have met no one quite like him.  We talked about business impact, entrepreneurship, new initiatives, vision, culture – my head and heart are full.

Did you know that Karl speaks all over the world?  He does!  He is a leader who passionately helps entrepreneurs and established business folks become better.  He and the work of the NIIC changes lives.  How?

By helping people understand and then fulfill their dreams.  He’s honest with them as those dreams are fleshed-out.  The NIIC is great at vetting ideas and people.  And when the “product”, the people, and the plan unite, powerful things happen.  Personal economies grow.  Lives are changed.

Karl is a natural connector.  He marries what he reads, who he knows, what he has experienced into a meaningful connection experience.  He simply adds value!  And as a result, he is intentionally leaving a legacy with those that are fortunate to interact with him.

Visit to learn more about what all this group offers to our community.  Help connect a budding entrepreneur to Karl and the NIIC.

ideas at work niic


Attend the upcoming Ideas@Work 2018 on April 17.  Follow this link for more information.  I plan to be there!



Thank you, Karl, for what you do in and for our community.

Remember April’s Change!

April 13 promo

Remember that First Fridays in April will be on the 2nd Friday which is Friday the 13th!  You will not want to miss the opportunity to hear from 2 dynamic leaders from Indiana Wesleyan University (our host for First Fridays).

Mark your calendars now!  And don’t forget to register for this FREE event at:  APRIL 13 FIRST FRIDAYS EVENT REGISTRATION

Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly Highlights March 2 First Fridays!

I shared an image on LinkedIn on Saturday about this, but I realize that most could not read the article that the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly published by Gwen Clayton.  So here is the link to that article:  Leadership forum covers conflict resolution

Thank you, Gwen, for sharing about Brian DeCook‘s presentation and for informing folks about First Fridays!  We appreciate this!

For more from the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly, visit them at:


June 1 Women-Only Event Registration Open!

sweetwaterAs you may know, our June 1 event will be a women-only forum at Sweetwater.  Registration is now open!  Follow this link to register for this free event: June 1 Event at Sweetwater


Brenda Gerber Vincent of Lifeline Youth & Family Services will be our guest speaker.  You will not want to miss this event.  Please invite colleagues and friends.  While this venue provides more seating, seating will be limited so register soon and put this event on your calendar.



Team Smart Relationships – a Recap of March 2 First Fridays

img_2273Brian DeCook has provided the following Executive Summary of his content from last week’s First Fridays presentation.  If you, your department, or company would like to contact Brian, his contact information is listed below.  As you know, he can bring value to you and your team!

Team Smart Relationships – Presentation Summary

1. A Conflict Culture consists of the values, attitudes, goals and practices
related to the way a team processes and responds to conflict.

2. Two Essential Values – Respect & Responsibility

3. Respect – Treating others the way you want to be treated

4. Responsibility – Doing what you agreed or were assigned to do and
doing it to the best of your ability.

5. The Three Relationship Engines – Authority, Correction, and Offense

6. Authority – The Power to Serve

7. Correction – The Power to Grow

8. Offense – The Power to Transform

9. Team Smart Moment – A moment in workplace interaction when a
relationship is diminished or damaged. When a team smart moment
occurs, someone feels slighted, attacked, or wronged.

10. Every team smart moment provides leaders with an opportunity to
reinforce the conflict culture values of respect and responsibility.

TwoFires Consulting
Speaker: Brian DeCook
Contact Information:
Tel. 855.747.3223

Lunch with a Leader: Marlin Stutzman

marlin stutzmanI (Jim) had the privilege of having lunch with Marlin Stutzman today.  Marlin, as you know, was the former Congressman from the 3rd District in NE Indiana.

This man is one busy person!  He manages to balance several businesses and ventures in Indiana and out of state.  He supports his wife as she runs for a State office and they both stay busy with their kids.  And then there’s a flooded basement (but that’s another story…)

Marlin served in Congress for 6 years.  Upon completing his service to our State, he began his work with WishBone Medical where he now serves as the Chief Development Officer.   What does WishBone do?

“WishBone Medical is a Warsaw, Indiana based pediatric orthopedic company dedicated to the unmet needs of children suffering from orthopedic challenges.            Our commitment is to provide global access to anatomically appropriate innovative implants and instruments in sterile packed, single use, disposable kits for children who are still growing, because kids are not just little adults.”

Beyond WishBone, Marlin is very involved in Stutzman Power Equipment, Ava Laurenne Bride, and the Principal Partner of The Stutzman Group, LLC.

We talked about balancing all of this.  Marlin said he is blessed to be in business and involved with mostly family members.  This can be challenging for some, but Marlin said the family works well together to make so much of this work.  His parents were great role models on how to serve and lead.

In my experience in watching and following Marlin in his time in Congress and now meeting with him, it is clear that he is a servant leader.  He is passionate about helping others and connecting them with others who can help them succeed.  He shared an incident just the other day where he was able to directly help a Goshen-based business owner trying to recover and reopen after northern Indiana’s recent floods.  Marlin’s efforts helped this business reopen quickly to avoid any more loss in revenues.

Innovation, servant-leadership, business growth – all this and more is Marlin’s heart.  And here’s the good news for us – Marlin will be a featured presenter at next year’s First Fridays!  We will be building out our 2018-2019 calendar soon, so be looking for Marlin’s month.

Leverage experiences.  Serve others.  Build businesses.  Marlin Stutzman is doing this here in NE Indiana.