The Journal Gazette
Sunday, January 05, 2020 1:00 am

Next-level leadership class about to begin

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

More than 100 applicants sought a slot in the Leadership Fort Wayne Class of 2020. From that pool, 37 were selected to participate in the program that started in the fall and will graduate its 38th class this spring, putting it closer to its 40-year anniversary.

“We have over 1,400 alumni who have been through the leadership program,” Barry Schrock of the chamber alliance Greater Fort Wayne Inc. said in a December interview.

Milestones ... with more on the way.

Next up: Leadership 2.0. The first day for the inaugural program is Thursday.

Greater Fort Wayne announced plans last summer to start the program and said it would be limited to 16 members. Schrock said 18 people started applications, but based on those completed, the organization selected nine to enroll, including one from Greater Fort Wayne. One requirement was that participants be graduates of Leadership Fort Wayne or the Leadership Institute of the Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana.

Schrock said he's excited about efforts to continue “raising leadership capacity” locally.

“When people think about leadership in the Midwest,” he said, “we want them to think about Fort Wayne.”

Along with Leadership Fort Wayne and Leadership 2.0, a Women's Network program started about three years ago continues to evolve. Its goals are to connect, inspire and empower. Schrock said an advisory committee expects to have monthly programming.

“I'm excited about what that group is going to begin creating and crafting,” he said.

Greater Fort Wayne brought Schrock into the organization last April; he is director of leadership programs. Before that, he was co-owner and lead coach for Summit Coaching & Consulting Group, which assisted individuals, teams, school districts, nonprofits, and private-sector companies.

Leadership Fort Wayne has enjoyed strong support, Schrock said, from financial sponsors and companies that pay to send employees through the program.

It's possible there will be a 40th anniversary celebration for Leadership Fort Wayne, but Schrock said he hasn't “thought deeply” about it. He estimates Leadership Fort Wayne has 800 to 900 alumni in the area. A Leadership Advisory Council that is being formed might help take the lead on any celebration. The council will have an executive team and subcommittees.

Leadership Fort Wayne helps “pull back the curtain on our city,” Schrock said, allowing participants to see and learn about aspects they might only have a surface view of and to complete a community-based project. Participants, based on feedback, love the connections they make with dozens of other leaders or potential leaders.

Leadership Fort Wayne is a nine-month program. Leadership 2.0 involves half-day meetings for six months.

One goal in launching Leadership 2.0 was “not having so much breadth, but more depth,” he said. “We were really intentional about spending more time on curriculum ... developing skills.”

Topics will include leading high-performing teams, leading versus managing and core competencies, such as how to read a financial statement, how to build a strategic plan and leading through conflict.

Participants will also be involved in a Leadership Impact Project where they will be asked to identify a problem or opportunity, such as an onboarding or mentoring program, for their workplace. They will select a mentor in their workplace who will work with them in developing the project and get feedback.

Schrock said he wanted participants to “have an outlet” to apply the learning from Leadership 2.0.

The program, he said, is designed to offer “next-level skill training that can help a person go from where they are to where they aspire to be.”

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at

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