From Farm to Power Equipment to Bridal Shops to Politics

He’s a 4th generation farmer from Northern Indiana.  He and his family own a farming operation.  He owns a trucking company and power equipment business.  He and his wife opened a bridal shop.

He was an Indiana State Representative.  He was an Indiana State Senator.  He served as the Indiana 3rd District Representative in Congress.  He is now the Chief Development Officer for an orthopedic company.

He is a husband and a father.  Marlin is a leader.

Marlin Stutzman will be our December 7 First Fridays presenter.  Come hear leadership lessons Marlin has learned over the years.  Invite a friend!  To register for this free event, click on the image below.

Dec 7 2018 Marlin Stutzman flyer

Jordan Page – NE Indiana Entrepreneur

I saw this in this morning’s news. I was inspired by this young man’s drive. The following link is the news story from 21Alive here in Fort Wayne:

You can follow Jordan and his upcoming magazine, Tillman, on Instagram. Here is that profile link: Tillman Magazine on Instagram

Does Connecting on LinkedIn Make a Difference? by Jim Johnson

My brother, Jere, and I talk with a lot of business people.  It seems the conversation comes around to social media and to this – are you “on it”, watching it from afar, or want nothing to do with it?

We encourage businesses to be “on it”.  Here’s why.

We are building a local networking/leadership forum, First Fridays, here in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  We could not have reached the audience we have without LinkedIn.  Prior to launching First Fridays, we both independently began extending our relationship reach using LinkedIn.  As a result, we met some great people who were also working to become better connected in the area.  We discovered that NE Indiana has a lively LinkedIn community – and we are proud to be a part of it.

Why do we encourage business people and their companies to become more involved in LinkedIn?

Awareness.  We are not marketing experts, but we have seen many businesses struggle with having the community know they exist.  LinkedIn is a HUGE resource in building awareness.  Connecting with others, participating in the online conversation, networking, sharing content all builds awareness of YOU (your personal brand) as well as your company.  In just the recent months, I’ve become aware of a local company that is growing and working to make an impact – GMS Distribution, Inc.  I’ve followed Gerrett Stier‘s posts and I’ve read his content.  He’s using LinkedIn and he is building awareness!  I’m not in the market for what GMS creates, but I’m enjoying how Gerrett promotes and builds awareness!

Indiana Wesleyan University has used LinkedIn to build awareness of their Fort Wayne campus.  From my brother‘s posts (he is a corporate rep with IWU) to posts by Dr. Matt Lucas, Chancellor of the National/Global campuses, to hosting First Fridays each month, Indiana Wesleyan has jumped into the the spotlight in NE Indiana.

Networking.  Businesses all over NE Indiana are finding ways to connect with consumers and other businesses.  Networking forums such as First Fridays, BNI, etc. are great places to meet face-to-face.  But networking can also happen online.  Because I network and have gotten to know more about local organizations, I have shared leads with others.  I have done this with Reusser DesignNate Reusser and Brandon Noll are “frequent flyers” at First Fridays and have become friends in the process.  I have had others ask if I knew a company that can design websites.  Of course, I did!  I reached out to Nate & Brandon on LinkedIn.

Content.  Businesses and business representatives are always sharing great content.  The ones that do it well are producing more than mini commercials on LinkedIn.  They are providing value-added content.  Organizations that excel in this are the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnershipand the NIIC.  From articles about how NE Indiana is growing to entrepreneurial stories and resources, both create content that is interesting, educational, motivating and truly makes us proud to live in our corner of the state.  Both organizations make an impact beyond our geographical boundaries.

Other business leaders such Randy Lehman of Northwest Mutual share content from wealth building to home buying tips.  All very practical.  Cody Weikel, one of my team members (he is the creator of the First Fridays logo), always shares interesting content while also promoting our company, 3Rivers.

Connect.  If you are not on LinkedIn or struggle to understand the reason why you should consider being on it, talk with Jere and me.  Or someone who is actively on it.  There are local experts on this.  You’ll find them on LinkedIn.  Experiment.  Read other’s content.  See how they are doing it.  You can do this.

It’s not about creating a commercial.  It’s about connections, conversations, content, and impact.  NE Indiana is blessed with wonderful organizations, companies and leaders.  You’ll discover them on LinkedIn.  They also want to see you there.

It works when you work it.

Lunch with Leaders – Nate Reusser & Brandon Noll

The latest post by Jere Johnson

It is a ten-minute drive west of Fort Wayne, but it is worth every expense to have a visit with two of Roanoke’s finest.  First, the Joseph Decuis Emporium where the hardwood floors and vintage décor gives you a warm feeling when you enter and the food was fantastic.  However, my main reason for traveling to Roanoke was to have lunch with two wonderful friends of First Fridays, Nate Reusser and Brandon Noll of Reusser Design.

Reusser Design is a progressive, innovative web development and design agency based in Northeast Indiana. They specialize in web development, graphic design, search engine optimization, internet marketing, e-commerce, content strategy and much, much more.   The more is what I learned at lunch with these two men.

When Nate walked into the café, he was warmly greeted by name by the host engaging in some local conversation.  “It is important to me to be involved in our community because my name is on everything we do and we want to give back to our area”, shared Nate, CEO of Reusser Design.  Their company is extremely busy with new accounts and new hires, but they want to make a difference for others around them.

Brandon has taken his networking to new levels.  He is one of the men who has earned the right to be a part of Parkview’s Cookin’ Men on April 21st at the Grand Wayne Center.  He will compete with other men for the grand prize.  I would love to tell you what he is cooking up, but you will have to attend the event to find out.

What I love about these men is that they are amazingly relational.  They are champion networkers at our First Fridays meetings and embrace the need to make new relationships to build their growing company.  As their business continues to grow, you will see Brandon and Nate’s leadership guiding the way.

Come to our next meeting and I am sure you will have the opportunity to meet these wonderful men.  (For a hint where to find them, check the second row from the front, you will find them there, coffee in hand.)

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 www.niic.org 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.

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.

January 5 – What Happens at First Fridays?

Inspiring. Motivating. Informing. Networking. Adding value.

This is First Fridays. RSVP to reserve your free spot here: January 5 RSVP

You won’t want to miss meeting and hearing Karl LaPan!