GFW Inc. welcomes Leadership Fort Wayne Class of 2021

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Leadership Fort Wayne (LFW) Class of 2021 may be the most diverse in the program’s 39-year history. The cohort, announced today by Greater Fort Wayne Inc., begins its programming schedule this week.

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 more than 1,400 individuals, many of whom now serve on or lead nonprofit boards, hold elected office, or own their own businesses.

This year’s class is particularly notable for its diversity. Community members, businesses, and organizations banded together last year to raise funds to secure 12 designated seats for people from underrepresented backgrounds. The fundraising effort was part of GFW Inc.’s multifaceted push to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“For years, we’ve wanted our LFW cohorts to reflect the diversity of the community, and now it’s happening,” said Barry Schrock, GFW Inc.’s director of leadership programs. “Not only have our generous donors expanded access to the program for supremely talented individuals; a diverse cohort brings a wider range of perspectives to the table, which makes the learning experience better for everyone.”

The cohort met virtually in January for orientation sessions. Programming for the group launches today and tomorrow at the Clyde Theatre. The Class of 2021 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 2021 and their sponsoring individuals/organizations are:

Demarcus Austin
Sweetwater
Anna Belote
Indiana Michigan Power
Lanitra Berry
Rob Wallstrom of Vera Bradley
Britney Breidenstein
Association of Fundraising Professionals
Bree Cannon
Benchmark Human Services
Monica Chamberlain
Visiting Nurse
Michelle Charles
Parkview Health
Dawn Clopton
Premier Bank
Lindsey Coleman
Jeanné Wickens of Parkview Health
Tony Colón
VA Northern Indiana Healthcare System
Antione Drakeford
Parker Hannifin
Erica Dunbar
Lincoln Financial Group
Fred Fulkerson
AWS Foundation
Lisa D. Givan
Indiana Tech
Elizabeth Hoffman
City of New Haven
Kevin Hughes
AWS Foundation
Megan Keefer
St. Paul's Lutheran School
Nicole Keesling
(Self-Sponsored)
Stan Klepper
Fort Wayne – Allen County Airport Authority
Kassee Lamm
Apex Benefits
Chanel Love
Barb Wachtman and Tom Skillman
Colin Madden
Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Kashina Mapeka
NIPSCO
Ethel Massing
Parkview Health
Josh Messmann
Hylant Group
Pat Miller
Michelin North America
Kevin Morse
Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Kyle Newman
First Merchants Bank
Colleen O'Leary
Lincoln Financial Group
Josh Raines
Beth Goldsmith of Sold by the Gold
Dawn Ritchie
City of Fort Wayne
Shayla Rivera
Indiana Tech
Tim Roy
LFW Alumni Donors
Michael Saadeh
City of Fort Wayne
Zack Sand
Allen County Government
Shalonda (Pinky) Saunders
LFW Alumni Donors
Shanelle Sellers
Indiana Michigan Power
Kristin Smith
Three Rivers Federal Credit Union
Karen Stahl
Moake Park Group
Kourtney Teegardin
Rothberg Logan Warsco LLP
Andy Uhl
TriCore Logic
Meg Underwood
Purdue University Fort Wayne
Brian VanHall
Ambassador Enterprises
Emily Venderley
Purdue University Fort Wayne
Clif Wallace
AWS Foundation
Kristen Westby
Indiana Air National Guard 122nd
Fighter Wing
Reis Yoder
LFW Alumni Donors

Individuals interested in participating in next year’s class can email leadership@gfwinc.com 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.