Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership Unveils Rolling 3-Year Strategic Plan: The plan presents forward-looking strategies for positioning the 11-county region as the location of choice for all businesses and people determined to be tomorrow’s market leaders.

Emerging Leaders Alliance: 5 Questions with Justin Hayes

April 30th, 2018

Justin Hayes, 27, graduated from IPFW in 2014. He served in the Reserves for seven years and has been a member of the ELA since January of 2018. He is a first-generation high school and college graduate.


As an emerging leader who are you? 

I am someone that wants to continue to develop leaders in Northeast Indiana. Leadership in any aspect of life is very important. Whether at work or at home, being a leader is huge. I want to be an advocate for that in our community. My strengths are that I am very relationship-oriented and continue to grow the relationships around me. I don’t like the term "networking" because it is a "one and done" type of thing. I want to make a friend instead of just having an acquaintance.


What counties have you lived in?

I have lived in Huntington County and Allen County. I grew up in Huntington County. I felt like it was a close-knit community with many opportunities to grow if you want to. It prepared me for college. I moved to Allen County when was in college. I started to really love that there was so much involvement and plenty to do. I love the downtown Fort Wayne aspect and that there is so much to stay involved with. I specifically love the coffee shops and breweries. For me, environments offered by Hop River Brewing Company and Summit City Brewerks can be great places to enjoy after work. Fort Wayne offers a number of places like this to relax and enjoy the company of friends.


What do you love about Northeast Indiana?

What I love most is the inclusion of young leaders. That is the reason I have stayed around. My voice as a young leader is valued in the ELA. It is getting easier to promote the things we are trying to do here including talent acquisition and development. It is easier to keep postsecondary graduates here if we keep them engaged. I love being involved in our community and I love knowing why businesses are here. I’m trying to get my best friend in Florida to move up here. It feels like an easier sell now because the cost of living is incredible. We have all these incredible things you can do here whether it is a brewery or the TinCaps at Parkview Field. I love having baseball in downtown Fort Wayne and having one more destination to walk to.


What would you like to see in Northeast Indiana in the future?

I would like to see things like The Landing and other local projects continue to grow. The more we work on our community, the more we will attract businesses to move here. This kind of growth will help with Vision 2030 and the Road to One Million. This all goes back to being relationship-oriented. I want to continue to see corporations that believe in investing in the community and are not just concerned with making money.


What is something that you have done in Northeast Indiana that you never expected to do?

I stayed. When I was growing up, when I was in high school, and then when I was in the military for seven years, I never thought I would be back here. The last couple of years have really changed for me here in Northeast Indiana. I know it's because I chose to get more involved. Opportunities like the ELA are so important. Compared to ten years ago, our region is nothing like it used to be. That has been a good thing and the positive changes are noticeable to everyone. I believe in Northeast Indiana and I know that others do, too.



by Stephen J. Bailey for the Emerging Leaders Alliance, a program of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership

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