By Lyndsay Crespo, Director of Grants, John Bonner Neighborhood Centers and current participant. lcrespo@jbncenters.org

On May 24th, the Purdue Extension Community Economics & Leadership Program (CELP) had a session on Business Development Basics and Financial Intelligence. From 8:30 am to noon, participants gathered at First Internet Bank’s brick-and-mortar location in Fishers, IN to learn from Joe Albano of Logika, Rachel McIntosh of Cross Sector Convergence, and Jean Wotjowicz of Cambridge Capital Management Corporation, Trina McWilliams and Kim Smith of First Internet Bank. Presenters reviewed the frameworks and processes that shape entrepreneurship, business development, community development, and business and development finance. Lively question-and-answer sessions followed each presentation, with time after the presentations for individuals and groups to chat with the presenters about the concepts in depth over lunch. Following this session, groups had time to do team building activities and develop their community projects at nearby locations like Top Golf and IKEA.

Dr. Joe and CELP participants connecting at FIB lobby

Many I have spoken to seem to agree with me that this was one of the most engaging sessions we have had in the program. The presenters were deeply knowledgeable about the topics and had a high level of practical expertise in applying the concepts shared with us. Additionally, CELP participants share a passion for business and community development and had thought-provoking questions and comments to contribute. Apart from the informational aspects of the session, CELP offers a great opportunity for all participants to collaborate with peers who work in other sectors in the community and to learn from leaders who have seen Indianapolis grow and change over time.

Jean Wotjowicz, Cambridge Capital Management Corp; Kim Smith, First Internet Bank, Rachel McIntosh, Cross Sector Convergence

This shared experience lays the groundwork for strong relationships that can break down silos and inspire holistic efforts to improve quality of life in the city. In addition to encouraging collaboration across organizations, CELP offers a chance to deepen relationships among teammates at the same organization, building intra- and interdepartmental collaboration and a sense of camaraderie. At the individual level, CELP offers a moment away from the office to listen, learn, and reflect on one’s professional practice and contribution. Overall, the Community Economics & Leadership Program makes a strong contribution to the Indianapolis community by enriching and empowering individual practitioners and building a network of connected, compassionate community leaders who will use policy and practice to bring about needed innovations and interventions in the public sector.

CELP is a four-month intensive leadership capacity building learning experience that enhances “design thinking” skills, maximizes business and leadership strengths, and improves leader’s ability to solve problems and make good decisions. For more information contact George Okantey, Community and Talent Development Educator at 317-275-9263 or okantey@purdue.edu.

It is the policy of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, that all persons have equal opportunity and access to its educational programs, services, activities, and facilities without regard to race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, disability or status as a veteran. Purdue University is an Affirmative Action institution.

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