On January 9, YLNI’s Leadership Institute program kicked off with forty emerging leaders meeting for the first time at Crazy Pinz for an evening of getting to know each other, and fun. Why Crazy Pinz, you might ask? YLNI connects young professionals through social, professional, and community engagement. Crazy Pinz offers a great space for gathering and creating the social capital needed to make a program like Leadership Institute successful. Pizza, beer, and bowling – what better way to break the ice and show your vulnerable side than by barely breaking 100 in bowling!
The YLNI Leadership Institute brings all three pillars of our organization together: social, professional, and community engagement. Since 2006, over 400 community leaders have completed Leadership Institute. These young professionals participate in six sessions over the course of three months to advance their career skills and professional development. Through hands-on instruction, small group activities, personal reflection, and sharing, participants develop skills needed to help them grow in their careers and community. Topics range from personality recognition and communication effectiveness to board stewardship and diversity in the workplace. Participants graduate with a new and increased social network that can be used to bounce ideas off of each other. They are made more aware of community activities and the role they play in making them successful. Connectivity begins to happen and, as a result, an attachment to community is developed. These are all outcomes that business and community leaders want to see from a leadership development program.
YLNI has hosted 14 Leadership Institute programs to date. The popularity of the program has grown to the extent that the application process is extremely competitive, with potential Institute participants having to apply multiple times before they are accepted. This year, eight of the 40 applicants accepted were applying to the program for the second time. The variety of professions represented is also extremely diverse this year. Thirty-one different employers are represented in this year’s class. This diverse population creates an excellent network of young professionals from a variety of fields that this cohort will have access to for the remainder of their careers.
The first session for the 2019 Leadership Institute begins this Friday, January 18. Our board members, and myself particularly as the Director at Large for Leadership Development, are all excited to see the transformation that these leaders will go through during the six sessions. Just as YLNI’s mission is “to attract, retain, and develop emerging leaders through social, professional, and community engagement,” these program participants will be much more devoted to the community of Northeast Indiana, strengthening their resolve to invest their talents here.
Congratulations, class of 2019! I can’t wait to see what you do!
Rena Burden, Director at Large - Leadership Development