Board of Directors

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the governing body of YLNI. Their big-picture approach guides the organization to fulfill our mission. They oversee all programs, spearhead the efforts of our committees, represent and engage our demographic with a voice on important issues, and push our community to be better. The board meets formally once a month. Each board member can be reached at the emails listed below. The board as a whole can be reached at Thank you!

2019-2020 Open Board Positions

Director at Large - Leadership Development 

Meet the 2018-2019 YLNI Board of Directors!

Savannah Robinson, President

Savannah is the Director of Legal Personnel at Barnes & Thornburg LLP and serves as the Office Administrator of the Fort Wayne Office. As Director of Legal Personnel, Savannah is responsible for managing the attorney and paralegal resources at Barnes & Thornburg LLP. She serves as the primary liaison for Legal Personnel Administration (LPA) matters between legal and internal services departments, and is responsible for developing and maintaining processes and tools to evaluate financial performance, utilization and compensation of our LPA resources. Additionally, she oversees all operations of the Fort Wayne office, including but not limited to human resources, 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 Standards Review Committee. She previously served on the Professional Development Advisory Committee. She is also a member and serves as Vice President of the Northeast Indiana Association of Legal Administrators.

Savannah is active in the community and passionate about giving back. Prior to becoming President of the YLNI Board, she served as Vice President, Secretary, VP of Membership and co-chair of the communications, marketing and membership task force. In addition to serving on the YLNI Board of Directors, she serves on the YLNI Foundation Board as well as the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership Board and the Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. Board. She is the past-President of the Board of Directors for the Fort Wayne Dance Collective; is a past Dress for Success Advisory Board Member, served on the Campaign for Children Committee for SCAN, Inc. and 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 Verpooten, Vice President
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 home and loves being involved in the growth of our amazing city. Since becoming a member of YLNI in 2012, Sarah’s involvement includes serving as Secretary, VP of Social, Director at Large of Fund Development, several chair positions, a number of YLNI committees, and now the Vice President on the Board of Directors. 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. Sarah enjoys spending time with family, friends and her two adorable pups. 

David Curry, Treasurer 
David has lived in Northeast Indiana his whole life, spending time in Kendallville, Angola and Fort Wayne. He graduated from East Noble High School then attended Trine University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Finance. David currently works as a Small Business Lending Officer at Lake City Bank. He started working as a credit analyst at Lake City Bank upon graduating from Trine University in 2014. David is a graduate of the 2017 Leadership Institute and has been involved with YLNI since 2016. He is an avid golfer and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

AJ Stites, Secretary 
A.J. grew up in Woodburn, Indiana, where he attended Woodlan High School. Upon graduation, he headed just west of Chicago to study at Dominican University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration while minoring in accounting and playing on the golf team. A.J. currently works at First Insurance Group as an insurance agent. This position allows him to assist businesses and individuals with their risk management and insurance programs while helping employers improve workplace safety. His YLNI involvement began in 2016 when he joined the organization as a member. He then chaired the View from the Top committee and was part of the 2018 Leadership Institute class before being elected to the Board. A.J. and his wife are members at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Parish in Fort Wayne and currently reside on the north side of the city.

Patrick Florea, Director at Large of Executive Committee
Patrick, 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. 

Kourtney Teegardin, Vice President of Membership

Kourtney 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. She then served on the Board of Directors as the VP of Leadership Development for 2017-2018, before moving to VP of Membership for 2018-2019.

Kourtney has been involved in several organizations as a volunteer, including Arts United, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana, the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, and SCAN, among others. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Middle Waves Music Festival. Kourtney graduated from Indiana University-Bloomington in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

Justin Hayes, Vice President of Leadership Development

Justin Hayes is a Small Business Lending Officer at Lake City Bank, where he has worked since 2014. He was born and raised in Huntington, Indiana and has lived is Northeast Indiana for most of his life. He served seven years in the United States Army Reserve while completing his bachelor’s degree in Finance and a Bank Management Certificate from Indiana University-Fort Wayne. While on campus he served two years as the President of Finance Society and currently serves on the Purdue-Fort Wayne Top 50 selection committee. Justin has been actively involved as a YLNI member since graduating from the 2016 YLNI Leadership Institute and has co-chaired the Leadership Institute for one year before joining the board as the VP of Leadership Development. Justin continues to stay involved throughout the community volunteering for many organizations such as Junior Achievement. He is also a member of the Emerging Leaders Alliance, Risk Management Association, and Indiana Bankers Association Future Leadership Division. As a member of the Northern Risk Management Association, Justin serves as the Young Professional chair. In his free time, Justin enjoys watching and playing all sports while traveling and spending time with his wife, friends, and family.      

John Hudson, Vice President of Community Impact

Born and raised in Northeast Indiana, John has been engaged within YLNI since returning to Fort Wayne in 2009, serving within various roles as chair of Community Engagement and Advocacy (CEA) and most recently chair of YLNI the VOTE. Currently, John works as a Graduate Architect for Viridian Architectural Design. He graduated from Ball State University with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Architecture.  John has been involved with Rotaract and served as a board member of Family and Children's Services dba Headwaters Counseling. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters.

Katie Robinson, Vice President of Communications
Katie Robinson is the Marketing Specialist for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority. Born and raised in Fort Wayne, she took a short jaunt down to Muncie, Indiana where she graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Public Relations in 2013 – after which she came back to Fort Wayne and planted her roots in the city she loves. Katie has been actively involved in YLNI since graduating from the YLNI Leadership Institute in 2015, serving on the Communications Committee in various capacities prior to her current role as Director at Large. In addition to her involvement with YLNI, she was recognized as one of Business Weekly’s 20 Millennials Making a Difference in 2016, and also serves as the Vice President of the Emerging Leaders Alliance (ELA) through the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. When not working, or bouncing around between different meetings, you can find her being her more introverted self at home cooking, baking, hanging out with her husband (Joe), playing with her baby girl (Honora), and spoiling her dog (Gidget).

Britny Berndt, Vice President of Social Programming

Britny Berndt is a Fort Wayne native and Indiana University Alumna. She is learning the ropes to take over Keystone Graphics, her dad’s graphic design company, and is also the Queen Bee/President of Brand Buzzz, her promotional product and screen printing business. She currently serves as an Associate Director on the Three Rivers Federal Credit Union Board and is a volunteer for Middle Waves Music Festival. Britny is a past Board member for the Indiana University Alumni Association-Northeast Indiana Chapter and former committee member for organizations including East Allen County Schools Wellness Advisory Council and Tobacco Free Allen County. Britny has been involved with YLNI since 2015 through the Farmer’s Market, is a 2017 Leadership Institute graduate and former Hot Spot co-chair, among other YLNI activities. In her free time, she enjoys all things food—gardening, cooking, canning, trying new restaurants. She loves meeting new people and spending time with her husband (Nate), dog (Charlie).

Christopher Reeve, Vice President of Fund Development 

Chris is the Commercial Loan Officer for ProFed Federal Credit Union, where he has worked since 2012. Before that, he lived in North Carolina for seven years, while serving over three years in the United States Army. Chris was born in Bluffton and raised in Berne, Montpelier, and Columbia City. Chris returned to Northeast Indiana in 2009 to finish his bachelor’s degree with a double major in Finance & Economics and a Bank Management Certificate. He served in various roles on campus including Chair of Ways and Means Committee, Vice Chair of Allocations Committee, Finance Society, Delta Sigma Pi and Accounting Society.  Since becoming a YLNI member in 2013, Chris graduated from the 2015 YLNI Leadership Institute and has co-chaired the Leadership Institute committee for two years before joining the board as the Director at Large of Fund Development. Chris continues to be involved with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program since 2010 providing free tax preparation for low- to moderate-income residents.

Chris Polhamus
Chris Polhamus, Director at Large of Technology

Chris was born and raised in Fort Wayne, where he currently works as an Account Manager for JH Specialty. Chris earned his bachelor's degree in Marketing from Butler University. He uses his experiences from Butler in his role today at JH Specialty to help businesses, large and small, overcome obstacles and frustrations relating to sales and marketing ensuring that efforts are seen as an investment and not an expense. Chris graduated from the YLNI Leadership Institute in 2014 and has been a member of YLNI ever since. In his downtime, Chris enjoys spending time with his family as well as being a sports enthusiast and outdoorsman.

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 Purdue Fort Wayne, 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.

Rena Shown, Director at Large of Leadership Development
Rena Shown is the chief development officer at Turnstone Center for Children and Adults with Disabilities.  A native of western Kentucky, Burden has rooted herself into the Fort Wayne community and is passionate about improving the quality of life of all people in northeast Indiana. Previous to Turnstone, she held development positions at United Way of Allen County (Community Campaign Director) and Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne (Director of Development). In her role at Turnstone, Rena finds the resources needed to help create positive solutions for our community and encourages community members to support Turnstone’s mission. Before calling Fort Wayne her home, she lived in Busan, South Korea and taught English as a second language. Rena holds a B.A. in Political Science from Eastern Kentucky University where she graduated with honors. She proudly resides in downtown Fort Wayne with her husband, Fort Wayne native Patrick Shown, a member of the Fort Wayne Fire Department.

Brandon Noll, Director at Large of Community Impact

As a Northeast Indiana native, Brandon is no stranger to the Greater Fort Wayne community. He grew up in Angola, Indiana, and attended Huntington University where he earned a degree in Business Finance and Economics. He uses his experience in sales and finance, as well as his communication skills and ambitious mind, to serve as the Business Development Manager at Reusser Design. When he’s not meeting with clients or working with the web development team at Reusser, you can catch Brandon spending time outdoors. You’ll also spot him at sporting events year round – especially at Woodside Middle School where he coaches football. Brandon spends a lot of time at local events and loves investing in the Northeast Indiana community.

    P.O. Box 10774
    Fort Wayne, IN  46853

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