Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is the governing body of YLNI. Their big-picture approach is to guide the organization to fulfill our mission. The day-to-day happenings include approving activities, securing funding, being advocates for our demographic, and generally trying to figure out what we’re doing. The board meets formally once a month and all members welcome your input. Have a question or comment for the board? They can be reached at the emails below or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ryan Krueckeberg, President
Meet the current YLNI Board of Directors
Ryan is a 34 year old Northeast Indiana native, born and raised in Decatur, Indiana. After college, Ryan traveled across the United States experiencing different communities, cities, and cultures before returning to Northeast Indiana where he settled in Fort Wayne. Since returning to Fort Wayne, Ryan has been involved in several organizations in a volunteer capacity. These include Cinema Center, Fort Wayne Dance Collective, Fort Wayne Free Art Collective, and Arts United. He has been actively involved in Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana (YLNI) since he graduated the YLNI Leadership Institute in 2013 and now serves as the organization's President. Ryan has worked at Lincoln Financial group since 2008 filling various roles in the Data Analytics and Business Analysis fields. Ryan is a 2015 recipient of 20 Millennials Making a Difference, a 2016 Honoree of 40 Under 40, the 2016 Indiana Tech Alumni of the Year, and a 2016 graduate of Leadership Fort Wayne. He is a science fiction reader, a fan of designer board games, a supporter of local live music, and a local arts enthusiast. @rrkrueck
Savannah Robinson, Vice President
Savannah Robinson is the Director of Legal Personnel Administration at Barnes & Thornburg LLP and serves as the Office Administrator of the Fort Wayne Office. Savannah is responsible for managing attorney, paralegal and technical legal resources at Barnes & Thornburg. Additionally, she oversees all operations of the Fort Wayne office, including but not limited to human resources, personnel, marketing, facilities and finance. Savannah earned her bachelor’s in public affairs and legal studies and her master’s in public administration from Indiana University-Fort Wayne. Following graduation, she lectured at IPFW on human resource management and environmental policy for several years. She is currently a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM); the Human Resource Association of Northeast Indiana (NIHRA) and a member of the National Association of Law Placement (NALP). She is a member of the Association of Legal Administrators and serves on the Professional Development Advisory Committee. She is also a member and serves as Vice President of the Northeast Indiana Association of Legal Administrators.
Sarah Verpooten, Secretary
Savannah is active in the community and passionate about giving back. Prior to becoming Secretary of the YLNI Board, she served as VP of Membership and co-chair of the communications, marketing and membership taskforce. In addition to serving on the YLNI Board of Directors, she currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for the Fort Wayne Dance Collective; serves on the Fall Committee for SCAN, Inc. and serves on the Paralegal Committee for the Allen County Bar Association. Savannah was chosen as one of Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly’s Twenty Millennials Making a Difference in Northeast Indiana and as one of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Finest Young Professionals in Fort Wayne in 2014 for her hard work and dedication to the community and workforce in Allen County.
Sarah has lived in Fort Wayne since 2011 and is currently the Marketing Coordinator for Strahm Building Solutions. In 2011, she received her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from Ball State University. Sarah grew up in Elwood, Indiana, and has embraced Northeast Indiana as her new home and loves being involved in the growth of our amazing community. Since becoming a member of YLNI in 2012, Sarah’s involvement includes serving as Co-chair for the 2014 My City Summit, Living Fort Wayne Film Series Chair, Social Chair, a number of YLNI committees, and now Director at Large for Fund Development. She is a graduate of the 2015 YLNI Leadership Institute Class and was named as one of Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly’s “40 Under 40” award recipients for 2015. She is also involved with the Arts United Quality of Life Committee. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her fiance, their dog and friends. During the summer, it is a must to make time for the lake in between all of the wonderful events happening throughout Fort Wayne!
Patrick Florea, Director at Large of Executive Committee
Patrick Florea, a life-long Fort Wayne Native, currently serves in the role Director of Account Management at JH Specialty, Inc. where he has found a home since 2007. This current position has him working directly with Medium to Large size businesses within the greater Fort Wayne area to enhance their online identity, brand awareness, and customer acquisitions. Patrick earned a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Indiana University-Purdue University of Fort Wayne, where he played Division I golf all four years. After graduating from the YLNI Leadership Institute in 2013, he has served on the YLNI Membership Committee as the Ambassador Co-Chair for a year before taking on his currently role as Director at Large for Leadership Development. As his first year serving on the YLNI board, Patrick brings a multitude of different skill-sets, including Marketing, Digital Advertising, and overall Leadership through Community Engagement. In his downtime, Patrick enjoys activities with family and friends that include golfing, tennis, skiing, biking, hiking, and most other activities outdoors. Patrick also serves on the Board of Directors for the American Advertising Federation of Fort Wayne.
John Felts, Vice President of Communications
John is the Public Outreach Coordinator for the City of Fort Wayne. In his role, John coordinates digital outreach strategies to engage residents with city programs and initiatives. Previously, he worked at Visit Fort Wayne, serving as a Communications Manager. In addition to serving on the YLNI Board of Directors, John volunteers with Weather the Fort, Downtown Improvement District Clean & Green Corps, and Bishop Luers High School football team. He is graduate of the 2014 YLNI Leadership Institute and is a 2014 “20 Millennials Making a Difference” honoree. John graduated from Indiana University in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in Sports Communications and a minor degree in Telecommunications. He attended Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne. In his free time, John enjoys attending community events, playing the drums for Swimming Into View, spending time with family and friends, and cheering on the Indiana Hoosiers. Follow John on Twitter at @johnpfelts.
Pone Vongphachanh, Vice President of Community Involvement
Pone Vongphachanh, a lifelong resident of Fort Wayne, is the Government Affairs Director for the Upstate Alliance of REALTORS®. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Affairs and a master’s degree in Public Management—both from Indiana University-Purdue University of Fort Wayne. Prior to starting her first term on YLNI’s Board, she was involved with YLNI the vote and the social committee. In the areas of civil service, Pone is the secretary-treasurer for the Fort Wayne Housing and Neighborhood Development Services Board, served on the City of Huntington’s comprehensive plan review committee, and has also served on Mayor Henry’s Legacy Champion Committee and Tree Commission. Her other board experience includes the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association, IPFW Alumni Association and the New Allen Alliance. She is also a member of the Legislative Council for the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce and for the Northeast Regional Chamber. Pone serves on the Sculpture with a Purpose and Taste of the Arts committees, is an honoree for Business Weekly’s 40 under 40, an Athena nominee and is a 2012 Leadership Fort Wayne graduate. Pone has one daughter and comes from a large family of nine. Besides enjoying time with her family, Pone’s interests include travelling, volunteering, reading and socializing with friends.
Abigail Zimmer, was born and raised in Auburn, Indiana and has been resident of Northeast Indiana for four years. She is currently the staffing manager for Creative Financial Staffing, where she specializes in the placement of accounting and financial talent across a broad range of industries. She has previously served as the YLNI's Masquerade Ball Chair and Membership Chair. Abigail has been an active participant with the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and the United Way through team fundraising and awareness. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her family, Husband Louis and daughter Mallory, DIY projects, and traveling.
Kourtney Teegardin, Vice President of Leadership Development
Kourtney, a lifelong resident of Fort Wayne, is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Design Collaborative. She has been actively involved with YLNI since she graduated from its Leadership Institute in 2015. She served as a Co-Chair of the Leadership Institute organizing committee for the 2016 and 2017 classes. In addition to serving on the YLNI Board of Directors as the Vice President of Leadership Development, Kourtney has been involved in several organizations as a volunteer. These include Arts United, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana, the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, and SCAN, among others. Kourtney graduated from Indiana University-Bloomington in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.
John Foxworthy, Director at Large of Fund Development
John is a graduate of Ball State University with a degree in Finance. He is a financial planner at Mahara Wealth Partners, a locally-owned financial planning and investment management firm. John returned to Fort Wayne after college and has a passion for improving the community. He has served YLNI as the Masquerade Ball Chair and Social Chair over the last 3 years. John also serves on the board of the Fort Wayne Estate Planning Council and is active with the Mizpah Shriner’s Steel Drum Band. John is dedicated to increasing financial wellness in Fort Wayne, teaching financial planning courses at IPFW, the Fort Wayne Community Center, and many local businesses. His commitment to the community earned him the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly “Forty Under 40” award in 2014. John loves to spend his spare time with his wife, Jill, and their two sons. They enjoy spending time together outdoors, visiting new places, and listening to live music.
Vinod Vijayan, Director at Large of Technology
Vinod became a Fort Wayne resident in 2013 when he moved from Kalamazoo, Michigan on his new assignment within Eaton Corporation’s Vehicle Group. He is a Mechanical Engineer by education and profession. He earned his Master’s degree from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. He is an ardent YLNI member who has been part of the organization at various capacities. He organized and captained the YLNI Dragon Boat Race Team at Riverpalooza 2015. He also co-chaired the YLNI Power Lunch Series and is a YLNI Leadership Institute Graduate. In his free time he travels around the Midwest to compete in competitive beach volleyball tournaments. In addition, he loves to explore new challenges and adventures like outdoor rock climbing, kite boarding, sky diving, snow sports etc. Vinod’s active lifestyle has led him to be an advocate for good health and fitness. His diverse background coupled with his enthusiasm and passion for life will prove to be an asset in his current role with YLNI.
Tim Zink, Director at Large of Living Fort Wayne
Tim has called northeast Indiana home for all, but nine months of his life. He grew up just outside of Leo-Cedarville in northern Allen County. Tim earned Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), where he was involved in a variety of activities like student government, student media, and AmeriCorps. Currently, Tim works for both IPFW and a local television station in Fort Wayne. In his free time, Tim enjoys biking, landscape photography, comedy, and community engagement.