Leadership Development Every Month

img_1194Why come to First Fridays Fort Wayne?

I’ve had this asked of me many times.  I typically ask this question as part of my response:

What are you doing right now to develop as a leader?

Many (most?) leaders believe in leadership development.  In some companies, they intentionally develop the leaders within their organization.  But that is rare these days.  So individual leaders are left to find opportunities to develop themselves.

First Fridays Fort Wayne is a fantastic opportunity for you to receive high quality leadership development each month.  And the only invest you need to make is time.

One of our “regulars” at First Fridays Fort Wayne has told me and has also written this on LinkedIn, “why would you miss the chance to hear outstanding leaders and be exposed to excellent leadership content?” 

Months ago, I was stopped downtown by another “regular” who told me, “Thank you to you and your brother for creating First Fridays.  I’ve grown so much.  I’ve never been around so many like-minded people before.  It’s great.”

It has been said many times “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”  If that concerns you, invest your time with area leaders who attend First Fridays.  You will have the chance to build lasting relationships.  You will be challenged by outstanding leaders our area has been blessed with.  You will help other businesses grow while your own business will grow – referrals are a natural by-product of First Fridays!

We are wrapping up Season 2.  We will kick-off Season 3 on September 6.  We hope to have our speaker roster posted soon.  If you have yet to attend a First Fridays Fort Wayne event, our next events are:

  • May 3 with Jim Wilcox.  Register for free at:  May 3 with Jim Wilcox
  • June 7 Women’s Conference at the Mirro Center.  Cost is $20 for this 3 hour event (breakfast included).  Reserve your spot here:  2019 Women’s Conference


2019 Women’s Conference – What to Expect

Many people take time and make the investment to travel to conferences all over the country.  At these events, we meet people that we may never see again.  We hear good speakers, but many times the content leaves us lacking or cannot be applied in our community/organizations/homes.

This is how the 2019 First Fridays Women’s Conference will be different.


Come to connect with women from all over NE Indiana.  We say “connect” because this will not just simply be a time to hand out business cards.  You don’t even need to have business cards to attend!  We have worked hard to make this a time where you will be encouraged to grow, challenged to change, and be inspired to become better.


You will be hearing from outstanding leaders from right here in NE Indiana

Leslee Hill


Leslee Hill – Director of the WEOC (Women’s Entrepreneurship Opportunity Council) at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The NIIC).  Follow Leslee on LinkedIn to be inspired!



Elizabeth MacDonald – Founder and Owner of The Verbal Edge.  She is the author of Sharpen Your Verbal Edge.  Elizabeth will make you laugh and will help us all become great verbal and written communicators.


Dr. Angela LaSalle

Dr. Angela LaSalle – Founder & Medical Director of Integrative Medicine (a part of Parkview). Dr. LaSalle will challenge us all to become healthier and the steps we can take to become a physically/mentally better person.

Instead of paying for airfare, hotel and Uber costs, this conference will be held here in Fort Wayne at Parkview’s Mirro Center.  And the cost is only $20/person.  Table sponsorships are available for only $200.

Take time today to register.  Invite friends and colleagues.  This conference is not just for women in the work place.  Women who have chosen to work (and I mean work!) in their homes will benefit from this.

Come to be encouraged.  You’ll laugh.  You’ll think.  You’ll connect.  We’ve designed this day for all of us to become Brighter!

To register, click on the image below:

Brighter with sponsor logos

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.

December 7 Event in Photos

Today was another great event at First Fridays Fort Wayne. We were honored to have Marlin Stutzman with us as he shared lessons in leadership that he’s gained over the years as a farmer, entrepreneur, business owner, statesman, and business executive.

Here are a few photos from today’s event. The video from today will be posted soon. In case you missed coming today, you can always find us on our YouTube channel at First Fridays Fort Wayne.

Marlin Stutzman was outstanding!

Another great gathering on a very cold morning.

I can personally attest that Marlin practices what he preaches.

The Trine University board member received some Indiana Wesleyan University gifts.

Breakfast with a Leader

I had the privilege of meeting and having breakfast with Bryan Weisman of Merrill Lynch this morning.  How did this meeting happen?  Bryan reached out to me via LinkedIn – and I’m glad he did!

bryan weismanBryan is a certified financial planner who has grown up here in Fort Wayne. A Bishop Dwenger grad, he was a football player who played along side of Tyler Eifert and John Goodman (go Irish!).  Bryan is passionate about his business and has a heart to serve his colleagues and clients alike.  He is always seeking ways to get his story out there about how he can help clients prepare for a great future.  If you are needing to dust off your retirement plans or have questions about investments and the like, reach out to Bryan.  Click on his name or his business’s name above to connect.

We talked a lot about sports, family, and business.  I was able to introduce him to First Fridays.  He is planning to attend tomorrow to meet the incredible group of folks I described to him.  He will be a great “fit”.  Bryan is a positive, upbeat, and engaged leader.  If you meet him, welcome him!

In Between First Fridays

So many of you have been sharing about how you’ve grown through First Fridays.  You’ve shared about the value you receive and the great people you are meeting.  Jere and I love hearing that – that is our goal for leaders here in NE Indiana.

But what happens in between First Fridays?  How can you continue the experience beyond the 1 hour meeting?

  • Read.  Many of our presenters mention a book.  Go out and pick that book up (i.e. Amazon, library, etc.) and read it.  Read, reflect, and learn.
  • Connect.  I see many of you meeting new people at First Fridays. I see you exchanging business cards.  Take it a step further.  Reach out to one of those new people you’ve met and invite them to coffee or lunch.  In advance, prepare some good questions you can ask them with the intent of making a more meaningful connection.
  • Invite.  Why not invite someone to the next First Fridays?  I’ve heard from some of you that you are actively doing that.  I just spoke with my realtor yesterday and invited her. Spread the word about how leaders are growing at First Fridays.

I want to encourage you to not allow First Fridays to merely become an event.  Put into practice what you are learning.  Tell someone else about how you are growing as a leader.  Go to our YouTube channel (First Fridays Fort Wayne) and re-watch/listen to a presentation.  Share that presentation with someone.

As always, we appreciate your support and participation.  We are passionate about leadership.  You are making First Fridays a success story.  Thank you!

Dec 7 2018 Marlin Stutzman flyer

(Click on the image above to register for the December forum.)


Boys & Girls Club of Fort Wayne

What an inspiring morning! I had the privilege of attending the Passport to Manhood event presented by the Boys & Girls Club of Fort Wayne. Get to know this organization!

This organization influences hundreds of young people in our community. Below are some photo highlight from this morning:

Joe Jordan, CEO of the Club – what a great man!

Pat Hoffman of WANE TV did an excellent job in emceeing the event.

Larry Weigand shared from his heart. “You can’t buy sweat.” “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

The new facility being built.

And the winner is…

Joe Jordan shared this quote.