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'My City' Summit seeks to examine connections of young professionals to Fort Wayne

Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 9:10 am

A Friday event at the Grand Wayne Center is seeking to examine, and possibly increase, the connections young professionals have with the community and each other during the “My City” Summit.

The event is hosted by Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana, partnered with the city, the Allen County Commissioners, A Better Fort and other community-based organizations.

The focus, according to Beth Bobay, the marketing coordinator for the event: understanding, and then doing something about, the results of a 2011 project titled Soul of the Community, which claims that fewer than one out of every 10 residents found Fort Wayne to be open to young, talented college graduates.

“Just getting that out there (is a positive step),” Bobay said. “I feel like the summit is a good place to start this conversation. Fort Wayne does have things, does have events. If you look, there are always things happening. The question is, how do we take advantage of the things that we know are going on?”

To that end, the summit is featuring two speakers amongst other programming: Dr. Katherine Loflin, who was the lead consultant on the Soul of the Community project, and Peter Kageyama, author of “For the Love of Cities,” who will deliver the keynote address.

Bobay said each of those speakers will help the summit's attendees -- more than 200 people have registered thus far -- to understand what can be done to increase their attachment to Fort Wayne.

“I think it's important because you have to understand where this is coming from,” Bobay said. “How did they (the Soul of the Community project) come up with that? What have other communities done to improve? What can we learn from others? Listening to what they have to say is very important.”

“The reality is that there are a lot of people who are going to live here for the rest of their lives,” Bobay continued. “Everyone isn't going to have the same experience, but if you're going to stay here, why wouldn't you want it to be a great place?”

Mayor Tom Henry is also expected to speak at the summit.

Those who are interested can still register at a cost of $25 for the general public -- $20 for members of YLNI -- at www.ylni.org/mycitysummit, while those who are interested in attending Kageyama's keynote address can RSVP to Jane Yoh at jane.yoh@cityoffortwayne.org, or call 427-2175.