Lunch with a Leader – Zach Lear by Jim Johnson

I had the privilege of having lunch with a new friend today – Zach Lear.  He and his wife, Erin, own and run LONGevity Fitness on Fort Wayne’s southwest side.  What sets this fitness company apart from others?  Here’s what they say:

We commit to using our knowledge, experience and expertise to help individuals and communities learn how to become healthy and fit for a lifetime                 through education, motivation and inspiration.

zach learZach shared his career journey.  I was inspired by Zach’s desire to grow, learn, and the patience he exhibited during the different stages in his life.

Zach ran into a older HR professional a while ago who has now connected with him to help move his business to the next level.  Through this casual networking experience, this “old pro” (my words, not Zach’s) is sharing his knowledge to help another business grow and flourish – with no what’s-in-it-for-me. I love that!

Zach asked a lot about First Fridays and plans to visit us in September.  I learned that Zach is a reader and is invested in his own personal growth and development.  He asks great questions and is curious to know how others think and process.

If you’re looking for a personal fitness experience with dedicated partners, check out LONGevity Fitness.  No matter your age (Zach said that a couple of his clients are in their 90s!) or fitness level, LONGevity can help you become fit for life.

Longevity

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.

Reflections on the First Year

If you have attended First Fridays here in Fort Wayne this past season, we would like to hear from you!  As you know, we are taking the summer off, but we will be back on Friday, September 7, 2018.

  • What was your most memorable moment of First Fridays?
  • What thought, quote, idea has been in the front of your mind?
  • What speaker connected with you?
  • How did the networking time positively affect you and your business?

img_2271-2With your permission, we will share these reflections throughout the summer as a way to introduce others to First Fridays.  All you have to do is email your reflections to me, Jim Johnson, at jjohnson@trfcu.org.  Please include your name and company as I will be sure to provide the appropriate link if we use your submission.

Thank you, for supporting and promoting First Fridays.  We will be at the Global Leadership Summit on August 9-10 at the Coliseum.  And First Fridays kicks off on Sept.img_3026 7 with Scott Druhot.  We will open registration for that in early August.

 

Lunch with a Leader – Buck Rogers of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants by Jere Johnson

Have you ever been to a lunch with a new friend and you could have stayed all afternoon visiting with them?  This was my time with Buck Rogers, VP of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants today at Salsa Grille.

Buck RogersBuck is one of the most passionate, expressive, positive men I have met since coming back to Fort Wayne over a year ago.  His wealth of knowledge about his craft from Minor League Baseball, to his time in the military, and to his current endeavors with the Mad Ants, he conveys compelling stories of engaging with others at a personal and professional manner.

Buck has over 35 years of experience in marketing and sales, but if you think he is slowing down you could not be more wrong.  He has adopted changes each month this year to promote a more happy and healthy lifestyle.  His positive attitude is extremely contagious!  He is one of the finest storytellers I have heard in quite some time as well.

If you are an emerging leader in sales/recruitment or a seasoned veteran in the area, Buck is worth reaching out to for a networking meeting or lunch.  He, and his team, can help your company reach your goals through collaborating with the Mad Ants this season.

Thank you, Buck, for your passion to make people better around you each day.

 

First Fridays Event in the News

wbclThis morning, Jere was interviewed on WBCL radio.  He spoke about our women-only event to be held at Sweetwater tomorrow morning at 8 am.

Thank you, WBCL, for your help in getting the word out!

As of right now (8:16 am), there are only 21 seats left out of 340.  If you have yet to register, please follow this link:  First Fridays Women Only Event at Sweetwater

 

 

Why is Networking So Important?

I received a LinkedIn message last evening from one of the “regulars” to First Fridays.  Dan Hansen (The State Bank & Trust) wanted to talk with me about something.  So I called him early this morning.

Dan HansenDan informed me that a neighbor of his was a member of my credit union.  She had a service issue.  Instead of seizing the moment and capturing new business, Dan took the road of integrity and reached out to me.  He even spoke highly of my credit union, and he promised his neighbor to follow up.  He did.

Our team has resolved the issue now because Dan – a banker/competitor – brought this my attention to allow us to do service recovery.  He didn’t have to.

You see, a relationship has formed.  This has happened because of networking…because of something such as First Fridays.  Networking relationships began and resulted in this circumstance – believing the best in each other, following up, becoming better.

Does networking matter?  Yes!  Thank you, Dan Hansen, for all of this. I appreciate your integrity in this situation.  I truly do.