Leslee Hill on the 2019 Women’s Conference

Here is Leslee Hill, Director of the Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC) at the NIIC, giving us a sneak peak at what she will be speaking on:

If you haven’t registered, today is the last day to take advantage of early bird pricing.  Only $20 for all 3 sessions including breakfast!  Starting May 1, the price will go up to $25.  Click on the image below to register.

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Women’s Conference Info – Vendor Tables

If your company/organization would like to have a table at the June 7 Women’s Conference displaying info about what you do, here’s how to do that:

At the top of our website, you will a link that reads “2019 Women’s Conference Info”.

Womens Conference page info

When you click on that, you will see the times of the conferences and a link to register.

link to register

When you click on that, it will take you to the registration site.  If you are a member of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc., use your sign-on to enter the registration site.  If you are not, click on the other option.

On the registration page, click on the drop down to:

  • register for a seat
  • register to reserve a vendor table for your company/org
  • register to reserve a table in the event hall for guests of your company/org

Vendor Table

Follow the prompts for your information and payment.  Thank you for your support!

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First Fridays is Expanding Again!

Do you know what excites us?  This!

3 First Fridays flyers

First Fridays started in Fort Wayne, Indiana in November, 2017.  We helped launch First Fridays Cincinnati in 2018.  And on June 7, 2019, First Friday Indianapolis North will launch!

We are excited about helping leaders grow and network in 3 major cities now!  We are grateful for Indiana Wesleyan University National Global for hosting these events.  We are grateful for the dynamic speakers we have introduced our communities to.  We love our leaders who are committed to becoming better in order to help their communities become better and stronger.


May 3 First Fridays Speaker Announced!

We are excited to announce our May 3 First Fridays Fort Wayne Speaker – Jim Wilcox!

May 3 2019 Jim Wilcox promo flyer

Sandler Training


Jim Wilcox is the President and Owner of Wilcox & Associates, a Sandler Training & Consulting Company.  A clinically trained Trauma Nurse from IWU (Indiana Wesleyan University), Jim has consulted in several start-up companies including one of his own which he successfully grew and sold during his 10 year ER Tenure.

Jim brings a unique perspective and passion towards business with over 20 years of experience in sales & sales leadership and successful business start-up experience. It’s this perspective & passion that has propelled Jim and his team into being one of the top 250 Sandler Franchises in the world.

Jim will certainly add value to our local leaders on May 3.  Be sure to invite a colleague to attend with you!

This event will be on Eventbrite.com soon.  Remember, the event is free, but we do require registration as seating is limited.


Leadership Lessons Over Omelets by Jere Johnson

Dr. Michael MoffitI had the opportunity to have breakfast at IHOP with one of Indiana Wesleyan’s finest leaders, Dr. Michael Moffitt.  Dr. Moffitt has been with IWU since 2001 and is currently serving the President as a Special Assistant in Corporate and Foundation Relations.

Michael’s journey to Indiana Wesleyan was not an easy path, however, he has counted his blessings all along the way.  He grew up in the Los Angeles area and recalled making it home each day was a good day.  A star athlete in high school landed him at a school where after his first semester he was asked to leave due to his grades.

His athletic journey took him to Los Angeles City College then to Fresno State University.  After his senior season while passing one of his coach’s office, he was called in to meet a scout from the Green Bay Packers who spent 10 minutes with him on the field doing drills.  Moffitt was called after the draft early in the morning to let him know he would be a Packer.  He spent one year with the Packers and went to Colts training camp and realized he was done with football.

As I sat and listened to Michael his passion and purpose for life quickly came to the surface.  He used all of his setbacks in life to project him to a promising future.  After working in the corporate world, he landed a position at Bethel College in Indiana where his leadership skills began to develop in a great way.  He joined the staff of Indiana Wesleyan in 2001 and became the first African American on the President’s Cabinet.

What impressed me about Dr. Moffitt was his humble, gracious spirit as he shared aboutDr. Michael Moffit with Ernie Johnson Jr his past, but where his legacy will land is with his greatest accomplishment, his family.  He married Latrese, who was an All-American track star and Olympic High Jumper.  Their two children are Michael Jr., and Janae who are both record setting high jumpers as well.  Michael Jr. competed at Indiana Wesleyan University while Janae competes at Purdue University.

Dr. Moffitt is one of the most approachable leaders and travels extensively in his role at IWU.  He will be a future First Fridays speaker in the season to come.  I would encourage you to connect with Dr. Moffitt via LinkedIn.  Thank you Dr. Moffitt for shining brighter as you have made an impact through Indiana Wesleyan University and the legacy you are leaving with your family.

Leadership and Coalition Building by Dr. Matt Lucas

JasperUntil recently (January 2019), Terry Seitz served as the Mayor of Jasper, Indiana. During his tenure, Jasper initiated a number of public projects which brought together public and private money to redevelop the city and bring jobs to the community. In 2018 alone, there were three major projects completed or underway: the restoration of an old downtown movie theater into a performance and movie theater (The Astra), the creation of Parklands of Jasper, a 75-acre park on the site of a closed 9-hole golf course in the center of the community, and setting the stage for the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center, a shared space for Jasper Community Arts and the Jasper Public Library. Groundbreaking is set for early April. This work was recognized by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce by naming them Indiana Community of the Year in 2018. Terry now serves as State Outreach Director for US Senator Mike Braun (R).

In this interview, I asked Terry about building coalitions. The work he has done to bring about change in a Midwest city illustrates the power of leadership to forge new opportunities.

ML: As an elected official, success often hinges on building coalitions and bringing different people together with different perspectives and priorities. What were three skills that you needed to hone to be successful in building these coalitions?

 TS: a. I was born happy and positive, so I always ask, “How might we do this?”, rather than “Why should we do this?” One commences with a lot of light; the other starts in a dark room.

b.      Similarly, I surrounded myself with other positive leaders. It took me one full term and the dismissal of a few people to get it the right people in the right seats on the ol’ bus, but what a difference it made – to the City, to my time as mayor and to my well-being.

c.      I welcome engagement. As a local government leader, no one was a stranger. I listened to all points of view before, during and after an issue was solved or a project was underway. Ultimately, decisions had to be made and some may disagree, but that’s why I was elected.

ML: Many leadership and execution consultants have argued that a leader should focus on one priority/project at a time, but you did not follow that advice (starting multiple projects that totaled nearly $200 million), and you have argued that focusing on one at a time would not have been good for Jasper. How did you come to that conclusion and what challenges did you face with execution as you did this?

TS: Fortunately, we had just completed a strong Comprehensive Plan the year before I was elected. Unfortunately, most of our Common Council which passed it 7-0, never read it. When we started implementing the actions called for in the plan we got a great deal of pushback due to “change”. Concurrently, we received much public support and the more we leveraged the support the more actions we completed. I am an advocate of “plan your work and work your plan”. On a side note, change really is difficult. In 2015, my re-election ended in a tie after 4,000 votes were cast. I won by one vote in a recount. It remains the highest number of votes cast in an Indiana election which ended in a tie. I never looked back.

ML: A lot of your work centered on redevelopment. As any leader knows, it is easier to start with nothing than redeveloping, relaunching or restarting an existing company, project (or in your case, city). There is a lot of memory and culture tied to the status quo. How did you go about getting people to let go of the past so they could build a new future?

TS: Jasper’s robust business community became the drivers and supporters of change. They welcomed our adoption of state economic development laws and invested in our City again through capital and employee expansion; they became partners in the turning old properties into new uses and; they joined the general public in financially supporting our endeavors. We called this P4: Public Private Philanthropic Partnerships. Once people saw growth in our private sector and the support provided to the City, they became much more supportive of the public sector projects.

ML: One of the challenges you faced was talent development and acquisition. This has become a major problem for businesses and cities. How did you address this for a town of 15,000 in southern Indiana? What advice would you give to leaders trying to address talent acquisition challenges?

TS: With employment at 98% for years, attracting talent to Jasper/Dubois County remains the constant major issue in order to sustain our existing companies. I firmly believe the private investments and public projects we have completed and underway will support growth. Quality of Place items like our joint arts and public library center, The Parklands of Jasper, the Smithville Fiber buildout in the city and creating a greater variety of housing options are laying the groundwork of being an even more attractive place to live and work. The State of Indiana is encouraging the same.

At the same time, we are not growing enough to meet even the basic levels of employment. When we do grow, it’s often from the rural counties around us and that’s not optimal. Similarly, the Indianapolis/donut counties draw from Indiana’s rural counties and that isn’t sustainable, either. I commend Accelerate Indiana Municipalities (Aim Indiana) and the Indiana University Public Policy Institute for researching other Midwest states where growth is occurring and offering alternative ideas beyond the scope of where we are today.

ML: What is your favorite leadership book and why?


Follow Dr. Lucas and read the rest of his article here:  Leadership and Coalition Building




Dr. Matt Lucas is the Chancellor at Indiana Wesleyan University National & Global.


iwu shine brighter