Start Fort Wayne began in March 2015 as a rag-tag band of entrepreneurs and educators dedicating their spare time to help build a lasting community and culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in northeast Indiana.


Our Mission

We work to make our region entrepreneur minded, economically diverse, and future strong.

 

Our Vision

Start Fort Wayne will continue to grow as a hub for entrepreneurship by building programs and networks to get entrepreneurs to where they need to be and to connect them to current and new resources in our region.

We want northeast Indiana to approach the new economy with an “entrepreneur mindset”, ensuring our future generations have a place in the state, national, and global economy.

 

Our Core Values

Respect. We treat all people with dignity and respect.

Authentic. We serve our constituents with genuine care and concern for their well-being, not our own.

Agile. We work quickly, learn from experience, and immediately apply new knowledge.

Inclusive. We want all people, regardless of circumstance, to be able to succeed.

Cooperative. We work with other organizations, knowing that we better serve the community by being a part of the whole.

Fact-based. We evaluate and choose methods for their outcomes based on data. We measure our data to ensure effective outcomes.


Board of Directors

DaveS

Dave Sanders

PRESIDENT

Dave is the Founder of Start Fort Wayne and started the organization to build a modern entrepreneur culture and community in our region. He is a co-founder of Avenue 80, a small custom software consulting firm, and also a co-founder of Muzfeed, a new music-tech based startup.

Dave grew up in rural Indiana and understands the challenges that our region will face in the next 50 years.  Having also lived in the Washington D.C. area for many years, he keeps a foot in both worlds and has a real passion for making sure our region can grow and thrive in a new global, competitive economy.

[email protected]

CrystalV

Crystal Vann Wallstrom

SECRETARY

Crystal Vann Wallstrom is the director for the Center for Creative Collaboration (C3). She is an entrepreneur, eternal optimist, and avid connector.

After 15 years in San Francisco, Crystal, her husband, and twins moved to Fort Wayne in June 2015 to start a new adventure.

She brings her years of experience in project management, business and brand strategy, marketing, event planning, and operations to Fort Wayne, Indiana—the new home that has captured her heart. She is passionate about making Fort Wayne and the region the best it can be.

JeremyD

Jeremy Diller

TREASURER

Jeremy Diller is the founder and owner of Scenario Seventy Seven, a software development consulting firm in Fort Wayne.

He has been an avid proponent of coworking and the shared office environment and a strong supporter of tech entrepreneurship and startups locally.

[email protected]

Chris Beck

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Gabe Clark

Gabe leads the strategy of entrepreneurial initiatives for Ambassador Enterprises in Fort Wayne. He is passionate about encouraging others to discover their purpose and pursue their dreams.

He believes that without successful entrepreneurs, communities stagnate. Therefore, he dedicates his time and energy to initiatives that support the success of these individuals.

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Scott Druhot

Scott serves as the CEO and Principal for Catalyst 1440, LLC., consulting organizations on business development, leadership & coaching, sales & marketing, and corporate training & education. He has over 20 years of corporate management and executive leadership, serving in numerous senior roles.

Scott earned his Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and his Master’s degree in Business Management from Indiana Wesleyan University.  Scott has attended numerous certification and executive courses at Notre Dame and Northwestern as well as obtaining his Six Sigma Black Belt training at Villa Nova.

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Kristin Giant

Kristin assists corporate and nonprofit clients with a variety of matters, including the formation of new entities, corporate and nonprofit governance, strategic planning, social media marketing and web analytics, fundraising, and social enterprise.

She brings nearly a decade of experience in fundraising, marketing, and nonprofit management, paired with legal expertise and a passion for applying for-profit efficiencies to nonprofit ventures. 

DaveG

Dave B. Goode

BOARD MEMBER

Dave had more than two decades of branding and marketing experience executing strategies in customer-focused communication markets.

He also serves on marketing committees for the Three Rivers Festival, Night of Lights, Fright Night, and TEDx Fort Wayne.

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Andrew Myers

As an Atrium coworking member, Andrew is a constituent board member.

His background includes software consulting for startups and established companies with a focus on data driven products. Some of his previous clients include Nasdaq, Lowercase Capital LLC, TransAmerica, and many other innovative companies.

JonR

Jon Rehwaldt

BOARD MEMBER

Jon is a professional educator with ten years of experience in Fort Wayne area schools. He has worked with all grade levels in the areas of technology and English and develops curriculum in those areas to grow proficiency in communication skills.

His professional focus is on assessment and data and how to leverage those tools to better understand and serve the needs of students.


Staff

RhondaL

Rhonda Ladig

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Rhonda is a Noble County native who has worked and served in the nonprofit sector for over a decade in education, environmental causes, and social support. 

She earned a Master's in Public Management, with a concentration in Public Policy & Administration from Indiana University and a BS in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing from Indiana Tech.

Rhonda's personal mission is, "To always leave a place better than you found it."

Wanna grab a cup of coffee with Rhonda? Schedule that here or email her at [email protected]

SteveF

Steve Franks

ENTREPRENEUR COACH 

Steve is an entrepreneurship and arts enthusiast whose personal mission is to grow the entrepreneur community in northeast Indiana.

He has coached entrepreneurs and operated venture accelerators in northeast Indiana for over a decade and has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs ranging from part time side businesses to ventures raising significant venture funding.

Steve received an MBA degree from the University of Chicago and a BS degree from IPFW.  He serves on the boards of nonprofits Own Your Success and Believe in a Dream.

[email protected]

AmyP

Amy Poole

ATRIUM TEAM MEMBER

Amy is a Fort Wayne native who has spent her 20's ping-ponging around the United States. The next decade of her life will be spent working toward becoming an art therapist.

When she's not at Atrium, Amy molds young minds, frequents the library, and dreams about eating at Madea's Soul Food Place.

She's seen where Fort Wayne could be in ten years and wants to help it get there.

[email protected]

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Jack Cantey

ATRIUM TEAM MEMBER

Jack has worked for and with numerous nonprofit arts organizations in Fort Wayne and Chicago over the past two decades.

He is an artist and writer, and also a co-founder of Italian Friend ArtRuckus, a small artist collective built around the core values of improvisation and experimentation.

Currently, Jack is directing "Lizzie Shea," an ongoing webseries based in Fort Wayne. 

[email protected]