GFW Inc. kicks off 40th year of Leadership Fort Wayne program

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The 40th year of the Leadership Fort Wayne (LFW) program is officially underway. Greater Fort Wayne Inc. today introduced the landmark 52-member Class of 2022.

LFW is a nine-month program that provides an in-depth view of the Fort Wayne / Allen County community while developing each participant’s leadership skills. By developing these skills, participants become better prepared to positively impact the community and their workplaces.

Since 1983, Leadership Fort Wayne has graduated nearly 1,500 individuals, many of whom now serve on or lead nonprofit boards, hold elected office, or own their own businesses.

This year’s class reflects the community’s diverse population. Community members, business leaders, and program alumni banded together over the past year to raise funds to secure eight fully funded seats (and partial funding for four more) for people from underrepresented backgrounds. The fundraising effort was part of GFW Inc.’s multifaceted push to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“We have been very intentional about living out GFW Inc.’s core values of inclusivity, collaboration, and results. Bringing a wide range of perspectives to the table for LFW makes the learning experience better for everyone and prepares people to lead in our diverse community,” said Barry Schrock, GFW Inc.’s director of leadership programs. “Each year, I’m amazed by the talent and dedication of our rising leaders. I’m proud of the impact LFW graduates have made in the community over the last 39 years, and I can’t wait to work more with the Class of 2022.”

The cohort recently kicked off its schedule at the Clyde Theatre with orientation sessions. Starting next month, the Class of 2022 will participate in monthly program days covering such topics as community history, public safety, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Program days will continue through September, with graduation scheduled for the GFW Inc. Holiday Night event in December.

Members of the Leadership Fort Wayne Class of 2022 and their sponsoring individuals/organizations are:

Ramadan Abdul-Azeez
Vera Bradley
Jamie Bankert
1st Source Bank
Kamron Bell
Fort Wayne Fire Department
Ambassador Enterprises
LFW Alumni Donors
Thad Berkes
Weigand Construction
Yusanda Blackmon
Association of Fundraising Professionals – Northeast Indiana Chapter
Natalie Brown
Lincoln Financial Group
Andrea Burton
Fort Wayne Fire Department
Shonda Cann
Frontier Communications
LFW Alumni Donors
Bethany Clapper
Purdue University Fort Wayne
Ashley Faurote
Fort Wayne City Utilities
Andy Fenker
AWS Foundation
Jessica Fogle
Vera Bradley
Lee Fuhr
Luminary Wealth
Morgan Galecki
SCAN, Inc.
Sarah Gnagy
St. Joseph Township
Joshua Hale
City of New Haven
MarTeze Hammonds
Purdue University Fort Wayne
Lindsay Hannah
Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Jeremiah Hatfield
Design Collaborative
Prachi Hoffmeister
Flagstar Bank
Trent Hogue
City of Fort Wayne
Carrie Jones
Lincoln Financial Group
Aaron Kennerk
Catholic Community Foundation of Northeast Indiana
Seth Marshall
Mason Metzger
AWS Foundation
Francois Mikobi
Cummins Inc.
LFW Alumni Donors
Emily Owen
Whittle Strategic Accounting
Josh Pulfer
3Rivers Federal Credit Union
Kelly Rentschler
Indiana Michigan Power
Doug Robertson
Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority
Cassandra Rosene
Visiting Nurse
Heather Rush
Lutheran Health Network
Abeer Saeed
Custer Inc.
Alan Scherer
Sold by the Gold
Rob Schleinkofer
Allied Payment Network
Elena Sierk
Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Laura Smith
Julia Stambaugh
YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne
LFW Alumni Donors
Jeremy Stoner
Indiana Air National Guard 122nd
Fighter Wing
Jon Stroud
Cammy Sutter
Tammy Taylor
Anthony Wayne Area Council – Boy Scouts of America
Todd Titus
NewAllen Alliance
LFW Alumni Donors
Jennifer Vanderpool
Felderman Design-Build
Gary Wolf
Flagstar Bank
Aric Young

Individuals interested in participating in next year’s class can email for more information about applying.

About Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. serves Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana, as its primary point of contact for economic growth. GFW Inc. focuses on prosperity and community vibrancy through economic development, advocacy, programs and resources that support business success, leadership development, graduate retention and community engagement.