Over the last 33 years, Leadership Fort Wayne (LFW), a signature program of Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc., has trained more than 1,200 individuals to become leaders within our community. Alumni have gone on to preside over companies, take political office and lead some of the strongest community nonprofits. For those ready to take the lead, applications for 2016-2017 are now available and are due June 30.
Leadership Fort Wayne participants get insider access to tour and meet some of the city’s iconic institutions and leaders along with hearing the behind-the-scenes stories about the action in our community. The curriculum for LFW is strategically designed, so that the community orientation and leadership development content give participants a highly supportive, engaging and inspirational learning environment. They gain valuable experience for the future with an enhanced knowledge of civic issues and how to participate on a nonprofit board, run for office or serve on a task force or commission.
“The biggest impact from my time in LFW was the exposure to so many individuals that are trying to make Fort Wayne a better place,” 2015 LFW alumnus Joe Cavacini says. “I’ve heard over the past few years about all the initiatives like riverfront development, Vision 2020, etc., but until you meet the people in person and experience their passion, you really don’t understand what these initiatives will do for the community.”
LFW was founded in 1983 by the Northeast Indiana Corporate Council and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne with support from Lilly Endowment Inc. to identify, motivate, develop and train future community leaders. Since that time, LFW (which merged with GFW in 2014) has provided more than 1,200 individuals with a behind-the-scenes look at all aspects of the community, ranging from the arts and quality of life, to government and economic development.
Class members witness panel discussions between leaders as they discuss the most pressing issues and opportunities facing the community. They obtain cutting-edge skill training from leadership professionals focused on topics that are most relevant in today’s ever-changing society. In addition, class members participate in Community Action Projects, shadowing experiences, a 360-degree leadership skill assessment and have the opportunity to serve a one-year internship on the board of a nonprofit organization.
“Leadership Fort Wayne brings together a diverse group of emerging leaders from different areas of the community to enhance their understanding of Fort Wayne and build their leadership skills,” says Cheri Becker, vice president of investor services, programs and marketing at GFW. “This program is building leaders for tomorrow so our community can continue to become more vibrant and prosperous.”
Civic engagement and community service are expectations and outcomes of Leadership Fort Wayne. During the program’s 33-year history, LFW alums have supported the Fort Wayne community through their chosen service, which may include running for elected office, nonprofit board service or volunteerism.
LFW admission is competitive. Class members are selected based on the information provided on the application. The selection process seeks a cross section of adult citizens—men and women from different career, educational, racial, ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds.
Interested participants can download the materials at greaterfortwayneinc.com/LFW or apply online at
LFWapp.gfwinc.com. All applicants must include a letter of recommendation, preferably from an LFW alumnus.
Tuition is $1,800 for GFW investor employees and $2,000 for non-investor employees. Tuition may be paid by an employer, a sponsoring organization or by the participant. A limited number of sponsorships to underwrite program days or Designated Seat Sponsorships are available to GFW investors only. Sponsorships are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Some limited scholarship or tuition remission opportunities may be available upon request.
Questions about sponsorships and designated seats can be directed to (260) 420-6945 or firstname.lastname@example.org.