NEI Announces First Pioneer Award Winner

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – At an event on Thursday, April 27 at The Forum at Electric Works, NEI awarded Ariana McGee, founder and CEO of Navigate Maternity, the first Pioneer award.

McGee says she was honored to win the award and it was extra special knowing the guests in the audience voted for her.

“The Pioneer award shows that we value entrepreneurship, innovation and diverse background in Northeast Indiana,” says McGee. “I’m so grateful for this incredible honor.”

From celebrating entrepreneurialism to honoring those who create positive change in the community, the Pioneer award is granted to a Northeast Indiana business leader who represents the best of what the region has to offer.

The goal of the award is to uncover, celebrate and market the outstanding stories of business leaders’ accomplishments in Northeast Indiana, says Jonathan Sackett, vice president of marketing and communications at NEI.

“Today, we launched a movement. Northeast Indiana is a community of pioneers. Thanks to business leaders like Ariana, we can celebrate NEI’s authentic stories as we work to bring new business to the 11-county region,” says Sackett. “We’re thankful for Ariana for being our very first Pioneer of the Year.”

The event was also the launch of the Pioneer Starts Here (PSH) digital storytelling platform, which includes videos of each nominee. The platform enables others to share their story and creates a catalog of personal, authentic stories that can be used to promote the value of the region. Business leaders are encouraged to visit the site and submit their stories at

To learn more about the Pioneer movement, please visit the Pioneer Starts Here website.

About NEI
NEI’s mission is to drive business investment and strengthen the region’s global competitiveness and economic resiliency. Founded in 2006, the private-public partnership strives to be the location of choice for all businesses and people committed to being tomorrow’s market leaders. Serving as Northeast Indiana’s primary point of contact for regional economic development, Northeast Indiana’s 11 counties are made up of Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties. For more information, visit

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