One Month and One Day

Sept 7 flyer Scott Druhot

On September 7, First Fridays kicks off season 2!  Have you secured your free spot yet?  If not, visit this link:  September 7 registration

On our main page on this website you’ll find our calendar of our confirmed presenters from September to May.

We are working on another women’s event for June, so stay tuned for that information.  We are planning to expand what we did this past June.

Think about who you could invite and bring to the September 7 event.  Someone who has not attended yet.  Drop them an email.  Call them.  Set this up now!

If you are attending the Global Leadership Summit this Thursday and Friday at the Coliseum, look for us.  Jere and Jan will be working the Indiana Wesleyan University table.  I’ll be there with my leadership team (look for the First Fridays shirt).

What’s in store for Season 2 of First Fridays?

giftJere and I have come to think of First Fridays as our gift to the leaders of NE Indiana.  Every month, we are honored to share gifts – gifts in the form of outstanding leaders on a wide range of topics.  So what can you anticipate being gift-wrapped for you in season 2?

  • Becoming the best leader you can become
  • Understanding how vision and communication can drive your business to success
  • What leadership looks like under stress
  • Leaders giving back to their communities
  • Understanding and leveraging your strengths
  • Servant leadership
  • Communication skill building
  • and much more

We were recently asked if we first select the topics that are presented at First Fridays.  No, we look for great leaders who will tell a compelling story that will benefit us all.  Out of great leaders come impacting topics.  We experienced this last year, didn’t we?  The same will be true in 2018-2019.

We are working on some new things for this new season.  We are already looking to expand our June Women’s event.  Stay tuned for that!

We are looking forward to seeing you on September 7!  If you plan to attend the Global Leadership Summit, Jere will be working the Indiana Wesleyan University table and I’ll be wearing something with the First Fridays logo on it!  Be sure to say “hi!”

season 2

What to do on July 6 by Jim Johnson

As you know, First Fridays is taking a break this summer.  We’ll be back at it on Friday, September 7 (2018-2019 Schedule).

So what will you do on Friday, July 6 (the first Friday of July)?  Here’s some ideas to keep the networking momentum moving forward:

  1. Look through the business cards you’ve collected at First Fridays or any other networking event.  Pick one and contact that person.  Invite them to coffee/breakfast/or lunch.  Get to know a local leader.  Let them get to know you.
  2. Find a new book to begin reading.
  3. Find a new leadership blog to start following and interacting with.
  4. Start to follow a key organization here in NE Indiana.  I would recommend the NE Indiana Regional Partnership and/or the NIIC as great places to start.
  5. Go on a “field trip”
    • Pick a local company/person from your collected business cards.
    • Ask that person if you make a brief visit at their location.
    • Meet new leaders there.
    • Discover what leadership looks like there.
    • Discover what their ideal customer looks like (then in the near future, give them some referrals/connections).
    • Appreciate the value they bring to their customers, staff members, and our community.

Intentionally create value in your community.  As you expand your relationship reach in NE Indiana, you will discover great organizations doing great things with great people.  You and our community will be better for your efforts to connect with our businesses.

summer break

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.