YPN’s Guide to Dating Charities

So you made it past Valentine’s Day. Maybe you survived it proudly single, enjoying the company of friends, or doing something special with a significant other. Regardless of your relationship status, though, it’s a great time to start dating, building a relationship, and maybe even form a long-term commitment with a nonprofit organization.

When growing your career, you seek a mentor. When purchasing a home, you gain advice from professionals. When starting or raising a family, you look to your family for guidance. What do you do when you date? Get a little help from a friend. This same principle should be applied when looking at engaging with a nonprofit.

Like any good friend would tell you, take it slow. Make sure you get the all clear from its bff (staff). Check out its parents (board of directors) and what you might be looking forward to. Maybe there is an ex (financial misstep) you didn’t know about. Are you falling head over heels, because or in spite of everything you’ve come to know about this new love? Here are some guidelines to follow before going all-in with a charity.


Why not give a small gift?

Your first gift doesn’t need to be a major one. A $25 donation may buy a few meals, provide support for after-school programming for a few students for a day, or go toward a much larger capital campaign. You’re taking the first step in discovering how the non-profit responds to and cares about its donors. Note whether or not you receive a “thank you” from the organization. For a small gift, it may only be an email or a mail-merged form letter. What’s important is you are making a difference, and hopefully finding out how your donation is being put to use, while laying the building blocks of a relationship with the charity.

Spend some quality time with them

The next step in dating a charity is likely more valuable to young professionals than a modest financial contribution—your time. Coordinating volunteer activities can actually be a drain on resources for many charitable organizations. Depending on safety, privacy, training, and even laws to take into consideration, some nonprofits may have limited opportunities to volunteer or expend considerable staff time to prepare for a group volunteer event. Remember, it is a benefit to the organization, but also a privilege for you. There may never be better insight to the impact of an organization than seeing it in action. With just a few, focused and respectful hours of your time, you can make an impact for that organization, the lives of the individuals they serve, and our community.


By now, you should be ready to ask yourself some more serious questions about your future together with this charity…

Can your charity clearly communicate who they are and what they do?

If a nonprofit struggles to communicate its impact, then it is likely struggling on delivering programs that create impact. Charities and their representatives should be able to clearly explain who they are, what they’re trying to accomplish, and why they are needed. If they can’t, then find one that can.

Does your charity’s programs make sense to you?

Every nonprofit should have a mission and vision statement. Do they align with the programs they offer? Are the programs productive and creating change for the people they are intended to serve? Is another organization in the community doing a better job of executing similar programs? Sometimes nonprofits are competing for the same dollars and have a disproportionate amount of success in utilizing their resources. This may be a good opportunity for collaboration to lift the underperforming program up, or for the more successful program to expand, as the services they provide in one geographic area may be needed in another. Even then, should your hard-earned dollars go to a charity which isn’t using them effectively?


Okay, the feeling is real. Before investing your full heart or wallet into this relationship, there are some really important questions yet to consider…

Is there an opportunity to join a committee?

Whether it be an annual fundraising event, volunteer appreciation dinner, or steering a particular project for the organization—there’s a committee for that. This is a great way to get to know your charity better, but also contribute in a more substantial way. Even if you aren’t capable of making a large financial gift, helping coordinate a successful fundraiser or taking the responsibility off of staff to organize a volunteer event is a way to amplify your impact.

Can you trust your charity?

Research has shown that the overwhelming majority of charities in the United States are not only responsible and honest, but well-managed. That said, do your research before making significant financial gifts. There are many resources available to know how trustworthy a charitable organization is. Once you have done your research, give with confidence. One of the biggest constraints for nonprofit organizations is cash flow, with a direct correlation to serving more people with their mission if they have more money to invest into programs.

Not all agencies are perfect. In the case of some online rating websites, they may require additional work to achieve a higher rating at the expense of energy diverted from delivering services to those in need. With that disclaimer in place, check out the charity’s website and see if they publish their IRS Form 990 publicly. This form lists the pertinent financial information required annually by the IRS, and some nonprofit organizations utilize this document as an opportunity to include narratives about how the money spent was impactful in the community. Charity Navigator and Guidestar are two other online resources to verify the accountability and transparency of an agency. Lastly, and arguably more importantly, ask around within the community, friends, or colleagues about the reputation and history of an organization. As with the online sources, though, be wary of skewed perceptions or lagging grief with an agency which may have overcome a checkered past.


It’s time to get serious, buckle down, and propose to your charity of choice…

Are you willing to make a long-term commitment to your organization?

You’ve made several donations by now. You’ve joined a committee and found new ways to give beyond your individual financial means. You’ve also done your research to gain an understanding of the organization’s goals, progress toward them, stewardship of funds, and accountability to the community it serves. Even then, you may admit, there is more of yourself to give. The question remains, do you have three or more years to give for the average term on a nonprofit board?

One of the most rewarding, and needed, services you can provide a non-profit is to join its board of directors. Not only are charities regularly looking for professionals to sit on their boards, but they are looking for individuals who are connected to the mission, provide an inclusive representation of the community served, and are willing to do more than just vote “aye” or “nay” at a bi-monthly or quarterly meeting. They’re looking for more than a seat warmer just because the organization’s bylaws require a certain number of board seats to be filled. Nonprofits thrive when they have passionate board members who take a vested interest in the personnel, financials, programs, advocacy and reporting.

How do you benefit? Innumerable ways. You will gain leadership skills, an understanding of organizational governance, professional and personal development, patience, finding your own voice among a group of leaders, and an impact on the community you likely could never achieve on your own. Nonprofit boards are a great way to network and build community relationships beyond the walls of your full-time job. Most importantly, in my opinion, it is the best way to build and support a community you can be proud of and one that future generations can thrive in.

Are you succeeding in your career goals so you can help the charity succeed?

You owe it to yourself to be successful, and you also may owe it in some ways to the nonprofit that was serving you as much as you thought you were serving it. Make sure you continue to share your appreciation and belief in the mission by giving what you can financially, of your time, and of your ever-growing network. This should continue long after you’ve fulfilled your obligations on the board. It may even last a lifetime, but so will the friendships and the pride in what was accomplished together, for the betterment of the entire community.


Guest blog authored by Bryan Tanner, director of strategic engagement with United Way of St. Joseph County. Bryan brings over 30 years of community service experience, contribution as a member of 4 non-profit boards, fundraising of nearly a million dollars, and management of several charitable programs or projects to our community. He has been an active participant within YPN for over 7 years, is a past city council member in Mishawaka, and volunteers over 200 hours every years between Lions Club activities, coaching youth sports, and community

YPN Holiday Gift Guide

YPN Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for the perfect gift for your loved ones this holiday season but want to shop local? Well you are in for a treat! We have compiled many options for every person on your list! From the book lover to the ones in your life needing a serious pampering, get your shopping done early and take advantage of local deals from these businesses!


South Bend is lucky to have some amazing local bookstores to choose from in this category! Griffon Books and Games is a great choice because on top of the huge selection of books they carry, they also have a ton of board games to choose from! For the children in your life, The Brain Lair has a ton of books specially curated just for kids. Need some book inspiration? Check out the YPN Question of the month section below! We have some great book recommendations listed there. Once you pick your new favorite book, plan on stopping by the newly opened Half Price Books in Mishawaka! Friday they will be running a special for 20% off AND the first 100 book-lovers through the door receive a tote bag and a $5 gift card. One lucky person will receive a $100!


Want a gift that keeps the energy flowing right into the New Year? Try Embassy Coffee Company in Goshen. This new place has such a special feel and the coffee is always amazing. Pick up a gift card and treat them to a coffee experience. If Goshen is a little far for you, no fear, there is always the staple to the South Bend Region available right around the corner. Run in to pick up a specialty blend from the South Bend Chocolate Café located downtown South Bend on Michigan St. They have so many different flavors, treats and candies that you might have a hard time not getting a gift for yourself!


MAKE SOUTH BEND offers all sorts of classes and workshops that would be a perfect gift for someone looking for a new creative outlet. Try anything from knitting a scarf and making jewelry to pour painting and calligraphy. Feel free to grab gift cards and/or items for sale right inside their doors! Looking for an experience for you AND a friend?  Wine and Canvas is always a great option for a really fun and artsy night out!


Hammes Bookstore located on the Notre Dame campus not only has textbooks for the students but also is also packed full of apparel and gifts. Literally anything you can think of with a Notre Dame logo, this store has it! Perfect for all the Fighting Irish on your list. Looking for outdoor sports gifts? Outpost Sports has many options for you and your favorite person, but this Friday, you can save up to 25% off select gifts and items! The earlier you show up, the more you save.


Insomnia Cookies located at 2130 South Bend Ave., South Bend, is perfect for the person with a sweet tooth in your life! Get a selection of every single flavor. They will absolutely melt in your mouth. Another SWEET option is Love & Macarons! This young professional provides delicious desserts for all occasions. Specialties include French macarons, cakes, tarts, and candies. Friday Love & Macs will have a Black Friday launch at Ironhand Winery from 3:00-6:00 p.m. Buy a glass of wine and get a free mini macaron! Have someone who prefers salt to sugar? No worries there, Oh Mamma’s located on Mishawaka Ave., is an amazing place to pick up specialty meats and cheeses for the holidays! Get your holiday party platter there without any stress or worry. The Ragamuffin creates wholesome baked goods while promoting a sense of community committed to using all-local ingredients. Pies, cookies, croissants, apple pear cranberry turnovers and molten caramel chocolate chip cookies are just a few of the favorites. Be sure to get your order in for December holiday parties and gifts now!


DeNolf’s Barbershop is a brand new but totally old-school barber shop located in downtown South Bend. They offer the coolest looking gift cards in town. Treat the guy in your life to a special close-razor shave or a beard trim. They have special evening and weekend hours to accommodate the professional in your life needing a trim. Looking for special massage and spa packages?  Therapeutic Indulgence is a great place to find all that and more. Their Black Friday deals include 20% off gift cards, and discounted retail and BOGO 50% off select items including DoTerra essential oils. Don’t let your favorite person start the year stressed out. Another relaxation destination is Woodhouse Day Spa in Granger. This is a great option for a couple’s massage or even a chance to spoil your employees with gift cards. Call and ask about their corporate pricing!


Talk about options!! Cambria Boutique located in the Emporium Building in South Bend is offering 20% off for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. On top of that they will be doing gift card giveaways, so you can also get yourself something fun! Pink Pineapple Boutique in Granger is also a great choice for the trendiest of fashions and unique options. Stocked with Spanx, Comfort Colors, and many more, you won’t go wrong spoiling your someone special here. Another option in Granger is Satori Boutique. Satori specializes in unique apparel, jewelry and accessories. Your fashion-forward gift recipient will surely love any item or gift card from any of these locations. 


Ten Thousand Villages Mishawaka will have a BOGO 50% off sale on jewelry and ornaments on Black Friday. They have so many one-of-a-kind options sure to stun and wow…not to mention they are a fair-trade business providing jobs and opportunities for people around the world. Board and Brush is another great local option! Buy a gift card and treat them to a truly unique experience of building and painting their own perfect home décor item. Perfect for someone who might be picky about their home décor, they get to customize their piece to their specific tastes! Friday they are even doing a family friendly Black Friday class with special drawings and prizes. The House of Andala Lamp Shoppe in South Bend is also a great choice! Have a custom piece built specifically for someone you love. Making lamps from camera parts and tripods, old chandeliers, or even from a blow torch is just scratching the surface on what they like to create for their clients.

The Most Productive You


The Most Productive You

Written and shared by Patrick Frazier

"You're not you when you're hungry" is what the Snickers commercial say. But did you know, “You’re NOT you when you are experiencing Major Life Events?” The most productive you is when you are healthy, resilient and feeling GREAT.  When major life events occur, we often suffer deeply and as a result we aren’t able to continue the growth of our company. 

In his book, Your Oxygen Mask First, Kevin Lawrence introduces 17 habits for maintaining the resilience you need for staying healthy, focused and achieving great success. A few of my favorite habits are figuring out your sweet spots, gathering a team of experts and learning like your life depends on it.

The first habit is to figure out what you are good at, your strengths and sweet spots. Try to spend 80% of your time and energy doing things you love and in the ways you love to do them. Have you ever noticed when you do things you are good at you just seem to get better?  Have you ever noticed that when you do things you love, it takes you less time and energy?  Or maybe you’ve noticed others ask you to do the things you are good at?  People are attracted to successful people, so find out what your sweet spots are and go about being a rock star!

Secondly, quadruple your IQ by gathering a team of experts. You don't have to be the smartest person in the room. Collective brainpower is always smarter that individual intelligence. Be the person in the room that has the biggest network of smart people.  Find smart people that are one text, phone call or message away. Trying to solve every problem by yourself, is a complete waste of time. Why not generate more great ideas, come up with better solutions and have more fun by gathering the input from your team of trusted advisors. No one of us is as smart as all of us! 

Lastly, learn like your life depends on it. If you want to 2x your company, then you (and your leadership team) need to 3x your rate of learning. By the year 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet. Change is constant. Change is accelerating, therefore learning must be a survival skill. 

Perhaps you have heard the saying "Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.” The moral of this saying is, “whether you are a lion or a gazelle, when you wake up, you better be running!” In today’s business world, “when you wake up you better be learning!” Your most productive you, is a good book away, another expert in your corner, and right in your sweet spot!

This content was written and shared by guest blogger Patrick Frazier.

As President of The Coaching Authority, Patrick Frazier brings over 20 years of experience in project leadership, process development, and management. Patrick had a successful management and process development run in both Information Technology and Operations for Citigroup Inc, as Senior Project Manager and Vice President Statement Processing. He was also Director of System Development and Project Manager for Associates Financial Services.

Patrick is a certified Gravitas Impact executive coach, Total Quality Facilitator, Adventures in Attitude Facilitator, and Six Sigma Yellow Belt. He is certified in Rising Stars and ADVanced Insight. He has a BS in Computer Science from Missouri Western State College. Patrick also has experience in Youth and Nonprofit arenas, such as his past involvement with College Success Collation, Upward Basketball as Michiana Director, and the Hope Rescue Mission, as Volunteer Benefit Organizer. Additionally, Patrick is the Executive CAB Leader for the Christian Business Fellowship.

Connect with Patrick on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Visit his Web Site at https://coachingauthority.net

Why IDEA Week Should Matter to Young Professionals

Why IDEA Week Should Matter to Young Professionals

We are the Generation of Innovation

Written by: Iris Hammel, RISE Executive Director, IDEA Week Coordinator

Have you heard? IDEA Week is coming to the South Bend - Elkhart Region for the second year in a row, April 8-13. Last year, this event brought big names like the Chainsmokers, Adam Savage from MythBusters, and even Daymond John from Shark Tank to this region. Going even bigger with some of the names, the question still remains from young professionals… why should we care? What makes this week long innovation celebration special to a young professional who is climbing the ladder at their corporation but doesn’t have a creative or innovative bone in his/her body? Or for someone who has a hidden dream but thinks it is thousands of dollars and many years down the road?

While the goal is to provide members of our community with the practical knowledge, creative inspiration, and social foundation they need to innovate within their own endeavors, young professionals can be a part of the bigger picture. The future of this region is what we make it. If we don’t rally around something as significant as IDEA Week now, our region could be more susceptible to economic uncertainties in the future. By engaging and supporting such impactful events like IDEA Week, we are putting the South Bend - Elkhart Region on the national map for the right reasons. We are telling the young entrepreneurs that they CAN make it in this world and that their dreams matter. Just as innovation was a hallmark of the entrepreneurial success stories that put this region on the map during the industrial age, innovation—specifically in tech fields—will be the key to economic growth and security going forward. For that reason, IDEA Week showcases the many ways the South Bend - Elkhart Region is primed to support innovative ventures and emerge as an economic leader.

But this isn’t just for the entrepreneurs. Defining blockchain, learning about what artificial intelligence can and can’t do, discovering the future of smart mobility, learning how to network like a champion, and hearing from a health and wellness panel, are all things that can be accomplished at IDEA Week. There is something in it for every young professional. Not to mention you could see Bill Nye the Science Guy, Charles Adler Co-founder of Kickstarter, Kevin Kelly from Wired magazine, and even country starts Scotty McCreery and Tim McGraw!

So, to answer the big question, “why should young professionals care about IDEA Week?” and the answer is clear. This week is all about the future. Whether you’re innovating and creating or working your way up the corporate ladder, we all need to know what our future could look like especially through the eyes of those that are already knocking on the door. Through learning and connecting with other young professionals at this event, it embodies the mission of YPN South Bend: develop, connect and empower.

 YPN South Bend not only supports this incredible week, but we are partnering with IDEA Week to bring you one of the best YP@5s of the year. Join us on April 8 at the South Bend Museum of Art to network and connect with young professionals and kick off this innovation festival.


For a full list of IDEA Week activities, visit https://ideaweek.com/ 


Get Engaged:

  1. Register and select your sessions
  2. Volunteer
  3. Encourage your company to send employees to events - here’s the schedule.

Thoughts on Sustainability in 2019


If you Google "sustainability," a great number of search results will appear. Many reference the Triple Bottom Line or 3Ps (People, Planet, Profit) relating to business application. In brief, sustainability is the ability to meet today's needs without compromising the needs of future generations. Being a young professional, we are keenly aware that our decisions as the next leaders will affect how the next generation manages challenges. If we view our decisions through a sustainable lens, we can ensure the next generation has the tools and groundwork to handle those next set of obstacles.

Sustainability can be giving back to the community or improving neighborhoods with time and commitment. Monetary donations are always welcome, but nothing can replace the sweat and tears of being hands-on. Sustainability can take the shape of mentorship of the youth, being involved in educational activities, or sparking the next generation's interest in critical thinking and personal development. Whatever sustainability means to you as a young professional, you can apply the concept in various ways to make this world improved for the next generation.

As a YP, I practice sustainable concepts in my daily role. I am an account manager at NIPSCO, but I view myself as an energy advisor to my major accounts. In today's world, you have to incorporate "sustainability" into your life decisions every day. I recently co-presented at a sustainability series at IU South Bend. Below are key takeaways from that presentation.


Key TakeAways

Sustainability pertains to every aspect of our day-to-day lives. When we are considering how our actions today will affect future generations, we are applying the concept of sustainability.

Many businesses in the modern era have adopted the 3Ps in regard to sustainability. As this business model grows in popularity, YPs must understand what their employers aim to protect:

  • People: They ensure individuals are treated fairly. No group is harmed, exploited or unequally burdened by business pursuits.
  • Planet: They ensure Earth's natural resources (including the ecology, plants, or wildlife species) are not adversely impacted by their business pursuits.
  • Profit: They ensure that fiscal or economic success is not limited by the pursuit of the other two values. This concept is especially relevant in the growing global markets and it is most likely something that a YP will come across during some point during his/her career.

Sustainability also pertains to individual course of action. It is just as important to find out what sustainability means to you, as understanding the macro business views on the subject. YPs should find things that matter to them with the same goal in mind; leaving the world in a better way than which we found it.

To learn more: Sustainability & Innovation Series 2019

Avoiding Workplace Distractions this Holiday Season

Is the intern in the cubicle to your right blasting "Jingle Bell Rock" through their headphones a little too loudly? Perhaps a third coworker has interrupted your meeting to ask you to order some holiday wrapping paper for their child's school fundraiser. Are you stressing out because you just remembered you promised to bring the turkey to tomorrow's office holiday potluck? 

There are countless workplace distractions this time of year, which can be fun, but what do you do when you're on a time crunch and you really need to get some work done?

Change Locations

Sometimes the best way to hunker down and finish that project is to try a change of scenery. Is there an empty conference room you can take over for the day or a local coffee shop you could visit? You could even check with your supervisor about working from home a couple days out of the week. A study from researchers at Stanford University found a productivity boost from employees who chose to work from home. Bonus! You can sneak in a viewing of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on your lunch break.

Update Your Calendar

Often, we use our work calendars exclusively for scheduling meetings when we should also be blocking off time for working on long-term projects or even day-to-day tasks. If you see a deadline approaching and aren't sure when you're going to work on your deliverables, try scheduling a meeting with yourself to make the time. Jeff from HR can't rope you into helping him decorate the lobby if you've got your morning blocked off for doing your actual job. 

Avoid Confusion

End-of-year deadlines, budget planning meetings and time off can lead to the perfect storm of confusion during the holiday season. To keep from getting sucked into the Christmastime chaos, keep your comprehensive to-do list and prioritize what's important. Make sure you're communicating with your team and that everyone is aware of expectations. At the end of the week no one wants to be stuck alone at the office instead of sipping eggnog at the office holiday party. 

While the holidays can certainly be a stressful time, remember to take a breath and enjoy the season. Getting your work done is important, but so is spending quality time with friends and family.

A Hidden Gem Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are right around the corner! There are plenty of local options for you to find the perfect something for everyone on your list. The problem is knowing where to look! The YPN Hidden Gem Holiday has you covered with options for the foodie, book lover, artsy friend and so much more. 

For the Foodie

Whether you need a gift set for the foodie on your list or need something to bring to the office holiday party, consider Yoder's Meat and Cheese in Shipshewana or Macri's Italian Bakery in South Bend. If you know someone who loves to cook or someone who is just getting started in the kitchen, purchase a gift card for them to sharpen their culinary skills at Martin's School of Cooking at Martin's Super Markets. They have classes for all ages. If the foodie on your list loves trying local restaurants while supporting a great nonprofit, purchase them a gift card from South Bend Brew Werks where they support Neighborhood Resource Network, La Casa de Amistad and The Music Village.

For the Book Lover

Know someone who can't put down a good book? Look no further than Idle Hours Bookshop and Griffon Bookstore both located in South Bend. If you want to travel to find a good book, check out The Next Chapter Bookseller & Buffalo Street Emporium in Warsaw.

For the Coffee or Tea Lover

We all know someone who can't get by without their morning coffee. There are some great regional coffee shops that will keep your coffee lover awake all daylong. Get them a gift card or coffee set to the French Press in Plymouth, Culver Coffee Co. in Culver or Little Black Dog 101 in Mishawaka. If you know someone who wants their fresh cup of coffee while supporting their neighbors in need, head over to Chicory Café and pick up a bag of SOUL Coffee which is roasted by Bendix Coffee and proceeds go to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana.

For the Artsy One

There are plenty of gifts to purchase for the art lover in your life. If they enjoy the theatre, consider purchasing them tickets to a show at South Bend Civic Theatre, the Morris Performing Arts Center, the Lerner Theatre or the Round Barn Theatre. If drawing or painting is for them, consider purchasing a class at South Bend Museum of Art, Make South Bend, or Heartland Artist Galleries.

For the Fashion Lover

End the year by dressing to impress and purchase the fashion lover in your life a new outfit. There are hundreds of stores in Northern Indiana that have the most up-to-date styles. Check out Diva in Culver, Inspire Me in South Bend and Snyder's Men's Shop in Granger or Goshen. Because of you, your fashion lover will steal the spotlight at all the holiday and New Year's Eve parties.

For the Home DÉcor Lover

In the cold winter months, sometimes your space needs to be refreshed. Those who love updating their home décor will love Indiana Rug Company in Mishawaka, 820 Antique in Elkhart, or South Bend Woodworks in South Bend. Give them a gift that keeps on giving by buying a custom-made home décor gift from Goodwill Rocks to change the lives of those seeking employment in our community.

Dealing With Your "New"-ness in Any Situation

Young professionals are getting themselves into "new" things all the time. While not necessarily a "problem," a new job, house, city, spouse, child or boss often brings new kinds of obstacles and stressors. This article suggests some concepts to remember and books to read that might help you make the most of your own new. 

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome "is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts [his or her] accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud!" Probably already a buzz word for you, imposter syndrome may follow a recent promotion or the first months at your first job.

Give yourself a few weeks or months to settle in. Those impostor feelings take hold in the absence of confidence-instilling experience of both successes and failures. Relish your successes and revel in your failures. Enough of each will keep the imposter syndrome at bay (or-better yet-at sea).

Remembering that nearly everyone can feel like an impostor and that the feeling is often a sign of a new and better environment, you can subdue that fear and worry. (Besides, impostor syndrome may be good for you-tagline: "If work is comfortable, you probably aren't challenging yourself.")

Routines & Goals

Be deliberate about your routines and goals. A routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed, and a goal is the object of your ambition or effort. Routines will develop whether intended or not but being deliberate and building routines marches you toward your goals. Having both routines and goals for your "new thing" will also help you grow and cope with its challenges.

Establishing routines will make South bend or your new job familiar. Familiar things are comfortable for humans, and there are fewer distractions with familiarity. Making a point to establish good habits and patterns in your new job will let you be efficient and effective from the beginning.

Establishing some routine in your new city (e.g. attending YPN events, joining a weekly running club, joining a local gym, finding a favorite coffee shop) will give you a sense of ownership, allow you to shrink down your world to a manageable size, and enable more opportunities to have fun and find peace. 

Identifying and working toward goals for your "new thing" keeps your mind busy, presents additional opportunities and just feels good.

Neuroplasticity & Growth Opportunity

Your “new thing” is probably something you chose. If you did choose it, remember you likely did so hoping to grow as a result. Even if it wasn’t your choice, understanding and remembering that your brain is plastic will help you make the most of newness (no, not real plastic, we are talking about neuroplasticity). Our brains are continuously making new neural connections. With every sensation, image, feeling and thought, the physical architecture of our brains changes. And the new connections that form can be strengthened via repeated neural firing. Be deliberate about which neurons are firing together—what patterns (sensations, images, feelings, thoughts) do you want hardwired into your brain?

The way you choose to handle new situations, regardless whether the new situation itself was chosen, is reflected in the connections of your neurons in your brain. And those connections can later enable or inhibit your later performance. How do you respond to stimuli outside of your circle of influence? How do you respond to urgent disruptions in your planned activities? How do you greet and treat strangers? How much Netflix do you watch…?

Reigning this section back in a little: your “new thing” is your new best opportunity to grow. You don’t have as much potential to grow in old, familiar, comfortable things. Your first house, new job, first child—these are opportunities to grow like you’re a single-digit level Charmander in Pokémon Red Edition on your Game Boy Color.

Further Reading

These are several amazing books you should read before December 31.

  • The Confidence Gap, Russ Harris (great for overcoming imposter syndrome and healthily interacting with your thoughts and feelings)

  • The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor (introduction to positive psychology and why happiness begets success, not the other way around)

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie (this classic is tops for some key principles to live by and habits to form for healthy professional and personal relationships)

  • The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman (provides a supremely helpful vocabulary and conceptual framework to talk and think about love)

  • Mindset, Carol Dweck (explains the "fixed mindset" and "growth mindset," how people with a growth mindset succeed when challenged, and how to develop a growth mindset)

  • How Not to Die, Michael Greger, MD, FACLM (100+ Recipes to Help Prevent and Reverse Disease)

Keeping Your Cool in Heated Situations

Stress—dozens of things can trigger it. You’re getting ready to leave work for the weekend and your boss hands you a new project, due Monday. A co-worker sends you a terse email in response to a request for help. Your subordinate takes a two-hour lunch break and misses an important meeting. Just like that, you’re seeing red.

Before you fire off that angry, emotion-filled email, take a few breaths. Remember what you do in this moment will reflect your character to those around you. Do you really want to damage your reputation, for a brief second of blowing off steam?

To keep your cool in heated situations, try out a couple of these strategies from corporate leaders.

Take a breath

“Pause a moment and breathe. Take in some oxygen. You need to think clearly and rationally, and the more emotional you are the less clear and rational you are going to think,” says Michael Garty, Corporate Director of Leadership Development at Lippert Components.

Garty recommends pausing and re-evaluating the situation. Once you’ve got your emotions under control, you might realize that you’ve interpreted the interaction incorrectly. We often make these interactions personal, when they often aren’t.

“We tend to interpret through that lens and project our own baggage of thinking onto the sender. We are typically off a mark or two,” says Garty.

Change Your Mindset

“If you're feeling a little worn out by work, consider putting a Post It note on your desk with the word 'Game' on it, so you can be reminded to keep this mindset all day long,” says Siimon Reynolds, the founder of a consulting group focused on mentoring CEOs.

Reynolds believes that there are two mindsets that people bring with them to work, the war mindset and the game mindset. Showing up to work every day prepared to battle your colleagues is totally unsustainable and can take a huge emotional toll. Instead, Reynolds wants you to approach work with a game mindset. Leaders with the game mindset still work hard, but see their work through a fun, more entertaining lens.

“Time and time again I have seen people who think this way both outperform the warriors and simultaneously be more relaxed and happier,” says Reynolds.

Get Support

“Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help when needed, and offer to assist them in return,” says entrepreneur Faisal Hoque.

When you feel like you’ve been given more than you can handle at work, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Whether you’re delegating tasks to your subordinates or building up a team of specialists for a more long-term project, you’re helping to relieve the pressure. This will ultimately improve your inter-office relationships.

“There is comfort in not being alone in times of stress,” says Hoque.

YPN Book Club

Failing Up: How to take risks, aim higher, and never stop learning

By Mike Franz, Formerly with Visit South Bend Mishawaka

When you think of failure, what are a few words that come to mind? Defeat… nonfulfillment… disappointment? In his autobiography, Leslie Odom, Jr. explains how “spectacular failure is the secret ingredient to your ultimate success.” Through mentors, a willingness to fail, and a tireless work ethic, you learn how an aspiring young actor from Philadelphia found success and became a part of theatrical history in the Broadway masterpiece, Hamilton.

Throughout Odom’s life, he has been inspired and challenged by his mentors. Three of his most influential mentors are featured throughout the pages of this book with each having a separate, but equally important, life lesson. Mrs. Frances Turner was Odom’s grade school social studies teacher. At first, Odom was a handful in Mrs. Turner’s classroom, causing trouble day in and day out. It wasn’t until a parent-teacher conference where his father gave Mrs. Turner all the power and control, that Odom and his teacher finally became congenial, even friendly. Their relationship would grow stronger when his teacher helped Odom enter the African-American Oratorical Competition in fifth grade. Despite coming in second, Leslie used the motivation of failure to retool and come back to win the competition the next four years in a row. 

"When I hear people complain or bemoan coming close to a sought-after goal and missing by inches, I am quick to reassure them. Celebrate the fight and the proud run. Coming close can be confirmation you are on the right path."

After seeing early success in his acting career with a short stint in the Broadway ensemble of Rent, Leslie attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

There, he met Tony and Grammy Award-winning performer Billy Porter. Porter taught Odom some valuable acting lessons in college, but it was not until years later that Porter taught Odom his greatest lesson. Porter called Odom years after they met and said he wanted him to star in a theater piece he was working on called Being Alive. There was a part in the piece where Odom’s character is supposed to have a “Billy Porter moment” and amp things up all the way to ten. He had never really taken a risk with any performance but decided to risk everything by embracing his willingness to fail.

"Everything changed in an instant the first time I really gave myself the room and the permission to fail spectacularly. ... I screamed. I flailed. I jumped. I ran. I cried. I let go. I flew. I soared. ... In my willingness to fail, I flew instead."

Whether you are seeking out a new job, looking to reignite the passion for your current position, or are looking to embrace failure and pursue your dream, Leslie Odom, Jr.’s autobiography Failing Up is a source of inspiration for us all to wait for the opportunity to present itself and not throw away our shot when it is right in front of us.

Eat a Good Breakfast: Words of Wisdom from Commencement Speeches

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since Baz Luhrmann set a hypothetical commencement speech written by a Chicago Tribune columnist to music. The song reached number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100, and when you read the original column, “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young,” it’s not hard to see why the song inspired nostalgia for those who had graduated and excitement for those who were looking forward to growing up. It also didn’t hurt that it came out at the same time as Vitamin C’s “Graduation (Friends Forever)” that seemed ubiquitous on the airwaves as well.

That’s the last time a commencement speech has really been in such high demand, but words of wisdom are shared with graduating classes every year. Many of us may not have attended another commencement ceremony since our own, but there’s much to be learned from individuals speaking to a graduating class. Here are some of our favorite messages delivered to the Class of 2018.

Oprah Winfrey: USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

"Eat a good breakfast. It really pays off. Pay your bills on time. Recycle. Make your bed. Aim high. Say thank you to people and actually mean it. And know that what you tweet and post and Instagram today might be asked about in a job interview tomorrow or 20 years from tomorrow."

Chadwick Boseman, actor: Howard University

"Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfill. Whatever you choose for a career path, remember the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose."

Abby Wambach, soccer star: Barnard College

"Failure is not something to be ashamed of, it's something to be powered by. Failure is the highest octane fuel your life can run on. You gotta learn to make failure your fuel."

Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani: University of Pennsylvania

"It's great that you are a Wharton MBA, but please, don't act like it. What they mean is don't let it be a burden on you. Don't let it get in the way of seeing people as people and all they have to offer you, regardless of their title opposition. Acknowledging the wisdom and experience of a forklift operator or a security guard with 30 years on the job doesn't diminish your own experience. Acknowledging the sacrifices of others that enabled you to be in this position does not diminish the sacrifices you made on your own.

Be the type of leader that other people want to sacrifice for. Ask other for advice, no matter their jobs. And listen, really listen to their answers."

Jesmyn Ward, author: Tulane University

If you are one of those lucky people who are exceptionally good at an endeavor you’re passionate about, if you possess tireless ambition and keen direction, congratulations! You will go far and do well,” she said. “Your successes will come early and rapidly. If you are not one of those lucky people: If you are bewildered and confused and clinging tenaciously to some course you love, be patient. Work hard.

Hold your dream tightly to you and do everything you can to realize it, within reason. Take a step that will lead you toward the realization of your dream, and then take another, and another, and another.”

Summertime Is Back in The Bend

Have you heard the news? Summer is back in The Bend! Gone are the days of freezing temperatures, bone-chilling winds and record-breaking snowfall. Now, you can enjoy the sunshine on a warm summer day, the cool splashes of water as you go white water rafting and the sounds of live music filling the air. Whether you are an adventure seeker, sports fan, concert goer, or foodie, the South Bend Region will make sure your summer is one to remember!

Live, Local Music All Summer Long

During the summer months, performances take place outside nearly every day of the week with great local musicians performing across the community. Keep a look out for some of these great summer concert series.

red table plaza lunchtime concert series

May 31-August 30 (Monday-Thursday) | 11:45am-1:15pm | Studebaker Plaza

Take a seat and enjoy your lunch as you listen to free acoustical performances by local artists.

central park

June 7-July 4 (Thursdays) | 6:30-8:30pm | Central Park

It is almost Friday! Celebrate the end of the work week with family, friends and great live music.

Merrifield Park

July 12-August 2 (Thursdays) | 6:30-8:30pm | Merrifield Park

Celebrate the end of the work week with family, friends at great live music.

Fridays by the fountain

June 1-August 31 (Fridays) | 11:45am-1:15pm | Jon R. Hunt Plaza

This free, outdoor lunchtime concert series (in front of the Morris Performing Arts Center) features live entertainment from local Blues, Jazz, Rock, Folk and Country bands.

Battell Park Bandshell

June 4-August 27 (Mondays) | 7:00-8:00pm | Battell Park

This family friendly concert features some of the best local musicians from around town.

Eberhart-Petro clubhouse deck

June 6-August 1 (Wednesdays) | 6:30-8:00pm | Eberhart Golf Course

This free concert is a great way to start off your weekend and is fun for the whole family.

Chris Wilson Pavilion

June 24-August 26 (Sundays) | 7:00-8:00pm | Potawatomi Park

End your weekends in the summer with a Sunday night concert in Potawatomi Park at the Chris Wilson Pavilion. Best of all, it's free!


Go! Cubs! Go!

Nothing can beat seeing a South Bend Cubs game during a summer evening in downtown South Bend. Four Winds Field—the Best Single-A Ballpark in the Country according to BallparkDigest.com—has something for everyone. There is the Tiki Hut Bar and inflatable fun zone beyond the left field wall as well as batting cages, a splash pad, and playground in the right field corner. With tickets, parking, and concessions being reasonably priced, the Cubs become South Bend’s team to cheer for every summer.

See the remaining 2018 Home Schedule (June-August) here.


Outdoor Adventure in South Bend

Be sure to take full advantage of this warm summer weather by heading outside for some adventure and fun. You can go ziplining through the trees and white water rafting in downtown. Don’t forget to visit Indiana’s first zoo and say hi to all your favorite animals this summer in South Bend.

Rafting in Downtown South Bend

June 10-August 26 (Saturdays & Sundays) | 12:00-5:00pm (Saturday); 12:00-4:00pm (Sunday) | East Race Waterway

Battle Class 2 rapids as you go white water rafting on the first man-made white water rafting course built in North America. Rafts vary in size and can accommodate groups from 2 – 6 people. Make sure you bring a towel and a change of clothes because when we say you will cool off on a hot summer day… we are not kidding!

Thrills and Fun at Edge Adventures

May 30-August 31 | Times Vary (Closed on Tuesdays) | Rum Village Park

Take to the trees of Rum Village Park as you make your way through obstacles and ziplines that range from 16 – 60 feet in the air. There are three aerial ropes courses at Rum Village Park that vary in difficulty for participants of all skill and experience level. Afraid of heights? Don’t worry—With the 100% ON BELAY system, you are securely tethered to a safety line throughout the course.

Visit the Animals at Indiana's First-Ever Zoo

Monday-Sunday | 10:00am-5:00pm | Potawatomi Zoo

Home to over 500 animals, the Potawatomi Zoo is Indiana’s first ever zoo! The South Bend zoo has all your favorite animal friends, such as lions, tigers, and monkeys, as well as many you may have not seen before, including the okapi, the river otters, and the kookaburra.


Fun Summer Events

Along with all the fun summer attractions, there are plenty of awesome, upcoming events this summer in The Bend. Check out a few of this summer’s featured events below. To view a full calendar of events, click here.

Best. Week. Ever. 2018

May 28-June 3 | Times Vary | South Bend Area

Riverlights Music Festival

June 1-2 | Times Vary | East Bank Emporium Parking Lot

35th Annual Sunburst Races

June 2 | Races Begin at 6:30am | Four Winds Field

51st Annual Leeper Park Art Fair

June 16-17 | 10:00am-6:00pm (June 16); 10:00am-5:00pm (June 17) | Leeper Park

DTSB Summer Restaurant Week

July 9-22 | All Day Long | Downtown South Bend

Urban Adventure Games

July 28 | 8:00am-12:00pm | Wayne Street Parking Garage-South Bend

Art Beat

August 18 | 11:00am-7:00pm | Downtown South Bend

Book Club

Geoff Colvin's Talent is Overrated

By George Cressy, III, Ladue, Curran & Kuehn

Colvin’s deep dive into what makes world-class performers provides the vocabulary and conceptual framework you need to think and talk about “talent.” With ample citations to studies, Colvin presents the path to elite-level performance in any field, achievable by any person. While instilling one of the strongest senses of “yes, I can,” Colvin wonderfully explains why both common answers to "Why aren’t people all around me awesomely, amazingly, world-class excellent?" are dead wrong; it is not because of 1) hard work or 2) God-given gifts.

It’s not because I have a deep narcissist streak that I now believe I could be a chess Grandmaster and that I will be Michiana’s premier real-estate attorney. The wonder of “talent” has vanished; Mozart’s, Jordan’s, Kasparov’s and Welch’s abilities are primarily the result of deliberate practice (a term I hope a few readers recognize as Anders Ericsson’s).

The gist of Colvin’s message is: “talent” (as an innate trait) probably doesn’t exist, and if it does, it’s probably irrelevant. A bold claim, yes.

Mozart, history’s original child prodigy, often comes to the refuting mind, and Colvin elucidates the history. Wolfgang was born to a famous composer and performer, Leopold. A domineering father who started young Wolfgang on a program of intensive training in composition and performing at age three, Leopold was also deeply interested in the study of how music was taught to children. Leopold was apparently only a so-so musician, but he was a highly accomplished pedagogue—can you even believe it? Also, Wolfgang did not produce original compositions until he was 21 years old, having 18 years of expert training. Last, it turns out he did not compose entire works in his mind. Manuscripts show he was constantly revising and rewriting entire sections, jotting small pieces down to be referenced months and years later.

What about Tiger? His father, Earl, was a young men’s teacher and had a lifelong passion for sports. Tiger was born into Earl’s second family, when Earl was retired and had lots of time to teach. And Tiger had professional coaching at age four, and never let up.

And beyond the anecdotal narrative, hundreds of studies during this age of genomic research have failed to identify talents in our genetic code.

I’ll leave it to Colvin to explain what deliberate practice is and isn’t but suffice it to say deliberate practice is not work and it is not play. Deliberate practice is designed, and it is not much fun. The point of deliberate practice, contrasted against thoughtless repetition, is to continuously seek out that realm of performance just beyond your current abilities, i.e., always be trying to do those things you’re not good at.

The upside of that downer is that most people won’t do it. Your willingness to deliberately practice your trade is what will truly distinguish you from your peers.

Professional Development: What are you listening to?

Many Americans are familiar with podcasts, with an estimated 64 percent recognizing the term and 44 percent having listened to at least one episode- and when it comes to professional development and elevating your career, listening to podcasts is one of the easiest ways to get a jump start. So where should you begin?

HBR Ideacast

From leadership and organizational change to strategy and marketing, Harvard Business Review has been delivering solid content for decades, so it's no wonder that the HBR Ideacast is a treasure-trove of valuable corporate leadership insight. 

Episodes usually clock in under 30 minutes and feature interview-style segments with one or two experts. A recent episode, "Does Your Firm See You as a High Potential" takes a look at the behind the scenes process of selecting and growing top talent internally. This isn't something you would typically think about if it weren't for this podcast, but after listening you’ll understand a valuable process that could come in handy in a big way one day.


Freakonomics Radio

This award-winning weekly podcast dives into the weeds on fascinating subjects you didn't know you cared about. Freakonomics describes itself as having "surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature — from cheating and crime to parenting and sports."

Go back into the archives and listen to "The Secret Life of CEOs" series, which is so jam-packed with insight, it’s incredible. This series answers a range of questions like what does a CEO actually do, how do you become a CEO, and what difficulties have to be overcome to be successful as a CEO. The podcast team talked to Mark Zuckerberg, Indra Nooyi, Jack Welch and so many more for this series. They're still dropping the uncut interviews with each CEO in the podcast feed, so keep an eye out.


Planet Money

If you hate economics but want to know what's going on with the economy, this is the podcast for you. When you start listening to Planet Money, you might wonder why it's important for you to know seemingly mundane facts about things like art investing, vodka branding and phosphorus, but by the end of each episode you realize you learned something big and important about the transfer of wealth in our society.

Planet Money episodes are short and easily digestible, making them perfect listening material for quick trips or even your lunch break. 


Women at Work

This is another gem from the team at Harvard Business Review. Women at Work is a six-episode podcast that takes a deep dive into the unique challenges women face in the workplace.

In the first episode the hosts interviewed Deborah Tannen, an American academic and professor of linguistics at Georgetown University who doesn't think much has changed in the last 30 years when it comes to women being heard in the workplace. Differing speech patterns between men and women, assertiveness in meeting and how to deal with constant interruptions are all covered in the first 40-minute episode.


This American Life

This one isn't exactly going to revolutionize the way you work, besides maybe upping your water cooler chats in the morning — but This American Life is possibly the best weekly podcast out there right now. From production value to unbeatable storytelling, there's something deeply comforting about listening to this podcast.

Each week This American Life delivers stories around one central theme. The host, Ira Glass, steers the audience through each story with funny and meaningful moments sprinkled throughout. This is one to look forward to every week.

Our Take: Wineries to Visit This Summer

Now that the weather is (FINALLY) warmer, our thoughts have turned to outdoor activities and spring and summer adventures. One of the great things about living in the South Bend Region is the easy access to the 2,650 acres of planted vineyards in Southwest Michigan. With a number of wineries just a short drive away, there’s so much to discover that you could spend the entire summer exploring them all! To help narrow down your list, the YPN Marketing Team is sharing some of our favorites – we’ve made sure to choose places that are great places to visit regardless if you’re partaking in the libations or not. 

Domaine Berrien Cellars

Domaine Berrien Cellars offers the full wine experience! This small, boutique winery on East Lemon Creek Road specializes in estate-grown, carefully handcrafted wines based on European methodologies. They are best known for their dry reds and Rhone varietals - all of which are made from the grapes grown, fermented, bottled, and aged on the property – and many of which are award winning!

To see (and taste!) for yourself, the tasting room and outdoor patio is open daily from Noon to 5pm. Don’t miss the Viognier and Marsanne wines when you visit – Domaine Berrien Cellars is one of the only wineries in the area to grow these delicious Rhone varieties. From the tasting room, you can see these and other grapes fermenting in the stainless steel and oak barrels for next year’s releases. And if learning about the process excites you as much as drinking it, the winemaking team is often in the tasting room to add a personal touch and make it fun!

Dablon Vineyards

The tasting room at Dablon Vineyards is spectacular. When you walk through the doors a floor-to-ceiling fireplace welcomes you in, and two chesterfield leather couches invite you to swirl, sip and savor some truly good wine. This location is going for a more rustic vibe, making the atmosphere in the tasting room romantic and cozy. At the tasting bar you can sit and marvel at the views of the surrounding vineyard grounds. On a warmer spring day, you can sit outside on the terrace and get an even better view.

Now to the important part — the wine. Dablon’s goal is to “marry European varietals with their unique terroir in Southwest Michigan to make extraordinary wine,” according to their website. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know what any of that means to enjoy a glass or two. For $12 you’ll get to sample 6 wines, and they’ll even wave the tasting fee with the purchase of a bottle. And trust me, you’ll want to buy a bottle.

Round Barn

Round Barn Winery, Distillery & Brewery in Baroda is probably the most familiar winery in the area to many, but that doesn’t make it any less worthy of a highlight. The prime outdoor seating, and family- and pet-friendly atmosphere makes it the perfect stop for a warm afternoon. Round Barn is home to Jammin’ in the Vineyard, an annual music festival featuring the best live regional music over 26 weekends along with wines, spirits, and cold craft beers. For only $5 admission per person, you can sip on your glass of wine, cocktail, or cold brew as you look out onto the vineyard with live music filling the air around you.

The space is spacious, bright, and inviting to anyone who is ready for big, local flavor of a wide variety of wine, beer, and cocktails. Not a wine lover yet? No fear. The staff is equipped to offer wine tastings where you can taste various wines whether they are red or white and dry or sweet – there is something for everyone.

Delicious drinks, warm weather, and phenomenal music—it doesn’t get much better than a summer afternoon at Round Barn!


If you’d rather head South than North, a quick jaunt down US-31 will land you in Rochester, Indiana, at the region’s first artisan cheesemaker and farm winery, Schnabeltier. Don’t let the hard-to-pronounce name scare you away (it’s German for platypus) because the wine and cheese pairings are delicious.

The tasting room is cozy and either the winemaker or the cheesemaker is normally on hand to answer questions and make suggestions based on your preferences. The usually white and red wines are on hand, but the sweeter paired fruit wines are worth the drive – the Keesey White Cranberry Pinot Grigio is a great choice for a chilly day, while the Bruce Lake Blueberry Pinot Noir or Barr Lake Peach Apricot Chardonnay are refreshing on warm days.

Schnabeltier also hosts many events throughout the summer with live music on their patio, DIY wine and signs parties, and even a pampering party for Mother’s Day.

Dressing for Success

One common thread when people are looking for a new job or starting a new job is an intense focus on what to wear. A quick look around Google shows that what does it mean to dress for success is one of the top questions. Is the company you’re interviewing with a suit and tie kind of office? Will you look out of place wearing a dress suit? Is it ok to leave the blazer at home on a warmer day?

But what happens once you get into your job and you get a little more comfortable. In some offices, you’ll realize that it’s ok to wear jeans on Fridays… and then you might “accidentally” wear them on a day that isn’t Friday… and then you realize that no one says anything if you wear them repeatedly throughout the week as long as you don’t have meetings with big clients.

Even if you’re in an office where you can wear jeans every day and it would be weird not to, you might find yourself settling in and wearing a sweatshirt one day when you know you have some button downs just taking up space in your closet.

While dressing casual is comfortable, it’s a scientific fact that dressing for success can be a big confidence boost (a 2012 study that showed that subjects who donned doctors’ lab coats scored higher on attention-related tasks than those who didn’t), it can be so hard when the snow seems to never stop. They always say that you should dress for success, though, so we’ve come up with four tips to beat the blahs and refresh your wardrobe for warmer weather.

Match your style to your boss (or better yet, your boss' boss)

While it may be perfectly acceptable to dress down in your office (and even encouraged on some days!), it’s always a good idea to make mental notes of what your boss is wearing and what the people he or she interacts with regularly are wearing on a regular basis. If you’re looking to move up in your company mirroring their level of professional dress will only reflect well on you as they try to imagine you taking on more advanced roles in the office.

Go to the mall or your favorite store

Online shopping is easy and convenient, but it’s not always the best place to update your wardrobe. It’s hard to understand just how a certain outfit can come together when you buy separate pieces from a bunch of different web pages. Plus, going to a physical store can clue you in on sales that you didn’t know were happening or other items that you didn’t know you were looking for that can help complete an outfit. 

Prioritize wardrobe staples

A well-fitting suit or suit separates can seem like an investment, but when you amortize the number of times you’ll wear it or how good you’ll feel wearing something that just fits it’ll be worth it. Spend money on staples that can stay in your closet for years and you’ll only have to update the swapable items occasionally to get new colors or patterns into your wardrobe.

Shop sales

Take stock of what items you need and what size you are in order to be able to take advantage of the best sales. Stores normally have sales around the change of seasons where you can get clothes for the next year at deep discounts, but they also offer deals throughout the year that can help you get some pieces for less. Sites like retailmenot.com and the Honey plug-in on Chrome can also help you find coupon codes if you do end up shopping online. 


And, if perhaps, you find that you’ve either over-shopped or don’t have a use for some clothing that you already own, consider donating it to a non-profit that helps outfit those who have job interviews or are in need with professional clothing.

YPN Book Club

The filter bubble

By Liz Harter

For our second installment of the YPN Book Club, we read Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web is Changing the Way We Read and Think. In May, we’ll be sharing a write-up on our next book: Talent is Overrated by Geoffrey Colvin. 

The Internet was supposed to connect us. It was supposed to be a great equalizer in the world, and then it wasn’t. Next came social media and it was supposed to allow us to connect to everyone in the world, and then it didn’t. Eli Pariser shares this fact in his book which focuses on the major change Google announced in December 2009 – Personalized search for everyone. Now, instead of a great equalizer where everyone has access to all of the same information, we’re being served search results, advertisements and even friend suggestions based on the actions we’ve made in the past. Our search history follows us everywhere, and while Pariser focuses on what that means for us Online, it also provided us a major tip that we can use Offline, too.

Did you know that if you and I google the exact same phrase we will get different search results? I’m not just talking about getting different ads on top of our search results, I’m talking entirely different first pages of results with different focuses. I’m talking the fact that what I search for may have 180,000 search results while your results for the exact same search term may only return 120,000 items. The same is true if we visit a newspaper’s website – your top story will be different than mine. And it’s most especially true on Facebook where even if we have the exact same friends and follow the exact same pages our newsfeeds will be different based on our past activities on the social network. These are the Filter Bubbles that we live with every day even if we aren’t aware of them.

Pariser spends quite a bit of time describing just how we’ve gotten to a place where “fake news” can spread rapidly across the internet and convince a lot of people that it’s real. He also explains how “the algorithms that orchestrate our advertisements are starting to orchestrate our lives” as algorithms decide what we’ll see in our email, in our search results, on our Facebook news feeds, on our Yelp and even webpages in ways that we never thought of way back in 2008. But more importantly, he implores us to intentionally reach outside these filtered bubbles to gain more information and see a fuller picture of the world.

This can be as simple as navigating to a new website to read news or following someone with an opposing viewpoint on Twitter. You can also clear your browsing history and delete cookies to get a broader picture of the world. But what can we do offline to burst these bubbles?

How often do we attend a YPN luncheon with a few coworkers where you all walk to the same table and sit down? Or do you immediately beeline for two or three people you’ve met before to sit with them? I know that I am guilty of this. So how many people do we meet that day? Maybe one or two?

So, at the next event you attend, take a chance and reach beyond your bubble to say hello to someone new. Afterall, that’s what YPN is here for – to develop, connect and empower young people in our region. 

Do you have an idea for a book we should read? Tweet or Instagram @YPNSouthBend and share your recommendations using #YPNTalk.

Five Ways to Stay Active at Your Desk Job

If you’re like most people who made a resolution in January, you likely had some goal to be a bit healthier this year. And if you’re like most people who had some goal to be healthier this year, you’ve likely slowed down on achieving that goal at this point.

After the initial excitement of your New Year’s resolution wears off and your cheat day spirals into a cheat week, it’s tempting to throw out your 2018 hopes and dreams and jump right back into your 2017 routine. But spring is just around the corner and there are so many easy ways to shake off the winter slump—even at your desk job.

Try Some Desk Exercises

One of the more obvious solutions to a lack of physical activity during the workday is to simply bring the activity into your office. The internet is full of a million different ways to incorporate your desk into your workout routine. Push-ups and tricep dips can both be done using the edge of your desk.

Try Walk and Talk Meetings

Stuffy conference room meetings don’t have to be the norm anymore. When you’re meeting with colleagues why not take a note from Aaron Sorkin’s book and make like the folks on The West Wing by walking laps with your instead. The increased activity will get your creative juices flowing and your coworkers will be more motivated to keep the meeting from dragging on.

Try Desk Stretches

If you’re not quite ready to take your desk routine into full-on exercise mode, stretching can often do the trick in giving your body a little pick-me-up in the middle of your workday. Stretching at your desk can reduce stress and increase productivity. Try a seated spinal twist or a few quick neck rolls – both can release tensions you’re holding in your spine and shoulders.

Try a Standing Desk

If you haven’t heard, sitting is killing us all — or at least it’s increasing the risk of several conditions like increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and excess body fat. Try standing for longer increments of time throughout your day. You’ll burn more calories, and you might see a spike in your energy levels throughout the day. Don’t have a standing desk? Try a tall counter or create a makeshift one using a stack of sturdy books.

Get Active on Your Lunch Break

It might be too cold to take a walk around the park on your lunch break, but there are plenty of other effortless ways to take advantage of the free time. Try parking further away when you pick up your takeout, or do a lap or two around the office while you eat.


How to Fall in Love With Your Job All Over Again


Do you remember that first day of your current job? Your head probably bounced off the pillow as you got ready to start a new chapter of your professional career. Everything about that first month of work was exciting and new. You may have even been excited to go to those dreaded Monday morning staff meetings (Maybe not, but you get the idea).

Then, without warning, something happened. You can’t quite put your finger on when it started, but, as the years passed, you started to lose some of that energy and passion for your job. You might start to ask yourself, “Is it the weekend yet?,” on Monday mornings.

That is okay though—this happens to almost everyone. It doesn’t mean you have to quit and find a new job to fill that void. It just means you must find that love for your job again! We’ve compiled five tips to help regain passion and enthusiasm in your work.


Rather than focusing on your department, try to think about the broad impact your position has from the customer and company to the community and society.

For example, a janitor at a hospital, who considers his/her roles vital to the patient’s experience at the hospital will gain greater satisfaction from their job than a janitor who sees their job just as a means to a paycheck.


In any position, you will come across the tedious tasks that you just have to get done. Tasks, such as expense reports and facilitating the monthly department meetings, can get repetitive and boring. When you come across a task like this, ask yourself what you can do to make it more exciting and fun. Can you challenge yourself to get your expense reports done in record time or can you add humor to the facilitation? The whole point of this is to take you off that autopilot mode and stimulate your brain.


You can’t change everything, but you can change your own attitude. Make an effort to smile, thank people, and don’t give difficult people power over your emotions. Try to think of one awesome thing that happened during your work day. Often, we let the frustrations of the day-to-day operations cloud the bigger reason why we took the job in the first place. A simple change of attitude will do wonders for how you perceive your job.


Many of us are willing to spend hours on our favorite hobbies. We have no problem hitting the links to play a round of golf or go canoeing on a warm summer day. If you were to put the same energy into your job that you put into the time spent on your hobby, your enthusiasm in the office will see a nice increase. Try to see if you can bring some of what you love about your hobby into your job and place of work.


Your professional career is a journey. Each day you go in to work is another step on that journey. Try to leverage your job as an opportunity to grow your professional or personal skills. There is no need to feel limited to your official job description, that is just a starting point. Take advantage of every opportunity presented to make going to work a more meaningful endeavor.

Hidden Gem: Aerial Yoga at Beyond Zen

When you’re getting your “om” on and taking some time for mindful breathing, have you ever wished that you were completely supported in a suspended cocoon? Or to fly through the air like Superman?
You’re in luck – Beyond Zen offers Aerial Yoga at their Granger studio. Aerial Yoga combines traditional pilates and yoga poses with the help of a hammock suspended from the ceiling. The use of the hammock allows you to breathe deeper into stretches as you’re fully supported when doing downward facing dog, flying yogi and warrior poses throughout the hour-long class. The practice at Beyond Zen is also highly personalized as there are only five hammocks in the classroom leaving you with one-on-one opportunities with the instructor as she helps you feel comfortable with the hammock and makes sure you’re performing the moves correctly. Read More.
So grab some friends and make an evening of it. The schedule and pricing information is available on the Beyond Zen website. 
Have you been to Aerial Yoga? We want to see your photos! Tweet or Instagram 
@YPNSouthBend and share your photos using #YPNtalk!

Hidden Gem: Winding Brook Park Christmas Lights

Why walk through a winter wonderland when you can drive? That’s right. You can enjoy bright lights, unique displays, and a beautiful winter night without leaving the warmth of your car. Where is this magical place? Winding Brook Park, located off East Day Road in Mishawaka.

Since 1962, every December Winding Brook Park residents have been encouraged to decorate their houses with beautiful light displays that brightens hearts of all ages. After driving through the entryway, you will immediately be filled with holiday spirit. Due to its popularity (more than 20,000 people pass through every season!), the traffic is slow but that just gives you extra time to take in the magic. You’ll see everything from classic white lights illuminating a warm glow to a giant display of Santa and his reindeer on a roof. The lights will officially be up on Saturday, December 9 until Christmas evening.

Are you planning on driving through the Christmas lights at Winding Brook? We want to see your photos! Tweet or Instagram @YPNSouthBend and share your photos using #YPNtalk!

Five New Year's Resolutions for Young Professionals in 2018

Every year it’s the same. At some point between stuffing yourself with Thanksgiving dinner and opening holiday gifts, you plan your annual New Year’s resolutions. If you’re one of the 41 percent of Americans who usually make them, then you probably know there are few things in life as frustratingly elusive as following through on a New Year’s resolution.

For the young professional, we’ve devised five resolutions to help you become a better professional and a better citizen in 2018 – and even included some tips to make following through a little easier.



Are you looking to boost your mental and physical well being in 2018? Those who volunteer have lower rates of depression and lower mortality rates according the Corporation for National and Community Service. Beyond your own personal health, sharing your time and talents helps to strengthen your community and potentially transform lives. For a list of some local volunteer opportunities visit the YPN Volunteer page.

TIP: Put it on your calendar. Don't wait for a free hour or two to magically appear in your schedule, plan it out. When you treat your resolution as an appointment, you're more likely to follow through.


It’s never too soon to start taking your finances seriously. You should be saving 10 to 15 percent of your income for retirement according to many financial experts. If that sounds out of reach, try taking smaller steps like committing to taking full advantage of your employer’s 401(k) match or paying off specific debts that have been hanging over your head. Canceling subscriptions and setting aside that money for savings is another less painful way to save more in 2018.

TIP: A little goes a long way. Don’t stress if you can’t set aside as much time or resources as you’d originally hoped. Something is better than nothing. 



For a resolution that’s sure to make you and the planet happier for years to come, try recycling. When you reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, you’re not only conserving valuable natural resources, but you’re also helping to prevent pollution and sustaining the environment for future generations. For St. Joseph County residents, a mandated curbside recycling program has made it easier than ever to pick up the habit. Visit the St. Joseph County Solid Waste Management website for more details.

TIP: Make SMART goals. When you’re creating your resolutions it’s crucial to make specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals.



Whether you’re looking to get an advantage on your resume or simply want to know a few catchphrases for your next trip abroad, learning a new language is an enriching experience. Acquiring another language builds up brain power, improving your memory and increasing your attention span. Some research even indicated that bilingualism can delay the effects of Alzheimer’s for years.  These days there are many digital tools to make learning a new language not only simple, but fun too. Duolingo, a free, fun and science-based language-learning tool is a great place to start.  

TIP: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. When working to achieve your resolution, remember that making lasting changes takes time. Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t immediately reach the finish line. 



Struggling in what appears to be a dead-end position? There’s nothing like a new year to spark a job search. Commit to finding a company with a culture that aligns with your lifestyle and don’t settle for less. Take small steps like updating your resume, beefing up your presence on LinkedIn and reconnecting with friends in the industry for a start. When your career gives you energy instead of draining you, you’ll know you’ve found the right fit.

TIP: Use the buddy system. The best way to hold yourself accountable to meeting your resolutions is to share your goals. The support of family and friends when you’re trying something new is crucial. 

'Tis the Season: What to Do in Our Winter Wonderland

From finding the perfect tree to decorate and wrapping presents for loved ones, there is so much do each holiday season. When the calendar flips from November to December, it can be hard to find a spare moment to relax, but make sure you pencil in some of these fun holiday-themed events. 


Santa Claus is Coming to Town 


He sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake … that’s probably because he seems to be everywhere in the South Bend Region at once! Grab a camera and take your kids, pets or friends to one of the many Santas in the area for the perfect Christmas photos.

Downtown South Bend
Santa returns to the Gridiron in downtown South Bend on Friday, December 1 for the tree lighting ceremony! Festivities begin around 5:00 p.m. with Santa arriving around 6:30 p.m. to light the tree. Make sure to stick around for the fireworks afterwards and remember to look for Santa in the little red and white house next to the South Bend Chocolate Café. Even better, he’ll be there on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout December. Don’t forget to bring your camera to take as many photos as you’d like with Santa. Kids will receive a candy cane and an “I Believe” sticker from the big man himself, which gets them a complimentary chocolate bar inside the Café and discounts at 16 downtown businesses. You’ll also meet Rudolph and the Grinch at South Bend Chocolate!

University Park Mall
Jolly old Saint Nicholas is at University Park Mall through December 24, with a special private Santa event for children and young adults with special needs on Sunday, December 3. Bring your favorite four-legged friend to meet Santa on Pet Night from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 10. 

Meet Santa while enjoying a cup of hot cocoa, watching a free screening of the movie Elf, ice skating and creating holiday crafts at Mishawaka Winterfest on Saturday, December 9 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. He’ll return for the Battell Community Center’s Holiday Fun Night 
on December 23 at 5:30 p.m. Stick around for a free screening of The Polar Express at 7:00 p.m.


O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!


If you’re more into conifers and lights this holiday season, there are a number of tree lighting events and Christmas lights trails for you to get into the holiday spirit. South Bend is celebrating First Fridays with Downtown for the Holidays on Friday, December 1 – in addition to the parade and Santa’s Arrival the tree at Jon R. Hunt Plaza will be lit for the first time. If you miss the tree lighting on Friday, you’ll have another chance to see one at University Park Mall on Saturday, December 2! It’s hosting its first ever tree lighting from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Head out to Elkhart’s Wellfield Botanical Gardens to see the Winter Holiday Lights now through December 30. The ½ mile Promenade Pathway is aglow with professional light displays that accentuate the natural beauty of Wellfield. Hot Chocolate is complimentary and crackling fire pits stationed around the Garden trails will keep you warm and toasty. 

Layer on the scarves and gloves for the Historic Holiday Walking Tour in downtown South Bend on Sunday, December 3 to see some of South Bend’s oldest homes and businesses. Many will have holiday decorations including the Copshaholm, the Oliver Mansion, which has 38 decorated rooms, and ten Christmas trees throughout the house. They’re offering tours on Sundays, December 3 and 10 and reservations are recommended.

You can also catch holiday floats and walking units on Michigan Street at Downtown South Bend’s Holiday Light Parade on Friday, December 8 at 7:00 p.m.


All We Want For Christmas Is You (To Attend Some Holiday Shows)

Once you’ve shared your Christmas list with Santa and trekked through the cold to see Christmas lights, you’ll probably be ready to relax in some warmth. Instead of listening to holiday tunes on the radio at your house, head on out to some of South Bend’s local venues to hear some holiday classics live!

One of the big three boy bands from the late 90s and early 2000s, 98°, is back with a Christmas album and is touring the country this holiday season. You can catch them at The Lerner Theater in Elkhart on Wednesday, December 13.

If you’re looking for more of a classic theater going experience, the perennial holiday movie A Christmas Story has been adapted to the stage and runs from December 1 to 23 at the South Bend Civic Theater. The Nutcracker Ballet comes to the Morris Performing Arts Center December 9 - 10 Chorus. And South Bend’s favorite holiday musical tradition returns December 16 - 17 when the South Bend Symphony Orchestra performs Home for the Holidays


Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

And finally, what’s better than a snowball fight to get you into the holiday mood? Kids of all ages are invited to take part in a friendly community snowball fight on the Gridiron on Saturday, December 23 at 2:00 p.m. If there’s no snow on the ground, fake snowballs will be provided to keep the fun going. 

For more holiday fun, check out Visit South Bend Mishawaka's calendar of events.

Things that Go Bump in the Night: Imposter Syndrome and How to Fight It

It’s the time of year when ghosts and ghouls are everywhere to be found, when witches fly by the moon and Hocus Pocus is playing on repeat on the Freeform channel, so we’re here to tell you about one of the scariest things that you may come across in your career: Imposter Syndrome.

Think of imposter syndrome like a vampire – it vants to suck your self-confidence replacing it with self-doubt. It’s the monster sitting on your shoulder telling you that everything you know is wrong and you’re in way over your head … and it’s fairly common with as many as 70% of high-achievers reporting that they’ve felt this way before.

To be able to help banish these negative thoughts, it helps to understand what really is happening with Imposter Syndrome. It’s not a newly made up diagnosis that was created just for millennials, it’s actually been around since 1978 when two researchers at Georgia State University coined the term in an academic paper when studying high-achieving women. It being 2017, though, we understand that this isn’t just a phenomenon affecting women and we can all suffer from it.  But how can we shove that monster back into the closet like we will all the other Halloween decorations next week? Here are five tips to help beat that baddie back: 



As we said above, while it was originally believed that imposter syndrome only affects high achieving females, we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t and that it’s nearly ubiquitous in the work force. Take comfort in the fact that your boss has probably felt imposter syndrome before, as has the person who sits next to you, and the person down the hall. Knowing that you aren’t alone can help you speak up for reassurance from your boss that you’re doing what you need to do.




Having a strong support system that knows you and knows your work will only help in the long run. Oftentimes Imposter Syndrome strikes because we fear that we aren’t as qualified to do a task and friends and mentors can help put into perspective that even if something is a reach, we are perfectly capable of handling it based on our successful track record.



Halloween is a time to put on costumes and act like someone else for a night, and that’s good practice when dealing with Imposter Syndrome too. How would you act in that meeting if you felt confident that you know what you’re doing and deserve to be in that room? Go into that meeting and do that.



Work is busy and there’s always something to do and even a person who is overly attentive to every detail will make a mistake. If you’re suffering from imposter syndrome, it’s easy to make every mistake into a mountain when in reality it’s probably much closer to a molehill. Own it and apologize and work to make sure that it never happens again – in time, it’s likely that you’ll be the only one who will remember that incident in the office. Don’t let one mistake kill your confidence, and don’t give into the idea that that mistake will define your career.



If you’re suffering from imposter syndrome because you’ve recently gotten a promotion or taken on a new role, be up front with your supervisor or a mentor about what you’re most concerned with. Ask them for advice about situations or seek out personal development courses online, in the community or through your Human Resources departments. Bonus points if you’re open with your team and ask for their help in clarifying something you don’t understand fully – it will help build good will with them and foster more of a team environment rather than a solely one-way street between a boss and employee.

Five Ways to Better Your LinkedIn Profile



profile, but rather to share relevant information in their industry for some time now, but it’s probably the social network that you think of the least when deciding where to post updates about your life. The rolodex network can be useful for more than just finding your next job, it’s a great place for professional growth and improving your online presence. Just remember, that you get out what you put into your LinkedIn profile; therefore, it is important to approach LinkedIn strategically. Here are five things you can do today to create a stellar LinkedIn profile.

Go Back to the Basics

Whether or not you are seeking a new job or career change, people are still looking at your profile. Therefore, it is important to keep it updated. Take time to update your current and past job descriptions, update your headline, check for any grammatical errors and update your profile photo. Sometimes, going back to basics is all you need to refresh your online presence.

Personalize your URL

When you set up your profile, the url will read, “LinkedIn.com” followed by random numbers and letters. However, this can be changed to have your first and last name after the slash. Not only will this look better for cosmetic purposes on your business cards and email signature, but it makes it easier for people to find your profile. To change your URL simply navigate to your profile, go to “edit contact and personal info,” click on the pencil icon and look for the option to change your URL.

Give and Ask for Recommendations

If you have worked with someone who positively impacted your company or a co-worker who led a project, let them know you appreciate them by giving them a recommendation on LinkedIn. Also, if you successfully completed a project, implemented a new program at your company, or are seeking a new job, ask a past or current colleague for a recommendation. Remember to click “allow on my profile” because if you don’t, LinkedIn won’t allow others to see it.

Share Relevant Content

Gone are the days when people used LinkedIn just to have a professional online presence. Still, many people don’t share anything. LinkedIn is a great opportunity to share updates happening in your industry, exciting news for your company or a community event. This is a great way to start a dialogue with your connections and make new connections. As always make sure your content is relevant – keep the cat photos for your personal social media profiles.

Follow Relevant Influencers

LinkedIn allows people all over the world to connect – this includes the opportunity to follow key influencers within your field of work. Want to learn more from your favorite economic development blogger? Have a nonprofit you want to partner with? You can follow them on LinkedIn to receive additional information from them, ask questions and comment on their posts.

There are countless features you can use to better your online professional presence, but start with these five tips and you’re on your way to improving your LinkedIn profile.

Hidden Gem: La Rosita

After a delicious meal, there is nothing better than ice cream with friends and family for dessert. Just beyond downtown South Bend sits a family-owned ice cream parlor on Western Avenue that will have your taste buds doing backflips. In 2002, Paleteria y Neveria La Rosita opened its doors and people have fallen in love with their delicious, homemade ice cream and other unique dessert items that you must try when you stop in.

La Rosita serves up 32 flavors of ice cream and 22 flavors of paletas, or Mexican ice pops. Some of the top-selling ice cream flavors include Mexican chocolate, coupling the spice of cinnamon with the sweetness of chocolate, and Gansito which tastes like strawberry shortcake melted with chocolate chip ice cream. Surprisingly, La Rosita’s most popular item on the menu is not ice cream at all. It is corn, topped with mayo, cheese, butter and chili powder, and served in a cup or on a stick. According to owner Juan Cervera, one in every two customers who walks through the door will order this Mexican snack. The mayo, cheese and butter compliment the corn’s sweetness while the chili powder adds just enough spiciness to give your taste buds a whirl.

From ice cream and paletas to fruit drinks and corn in a cup, La Rosita provides a menu that will cater to everyone. This ice cream parlor is always full of hungry guests, but don’t worry — there are plenty of sweet treats for everyone.

Let us know what you think! Tag @YPNSouthBend or use #YPNtalk and share your thoughts on La Rosita!

Hidden Gem: Bowl of Pho

Tired of the same ol’ same ol’? Can’t stomach the thought of another burger and fries for dinner? If you’re feeling adventurous – or just looking for something a little different than Italian, Mexican or American cuisine – why not try Vietnamese! Bowl of Pho (pronounced “Fuh”) is located right off Grape Road in Mishawaka near Fresh Thyme, Home Goods and DSW.

They offer a wide range of Vietnamese fare, though they’re known for their various Pho dishes which is a form of noodle soup with various vegetables and protein. A perfect dish to enjoy when you’re in need of a quick warm up or relief from a cold – Bowl of Pho offers large portions at great prices and is great for a quick lunch away from the office or dinner with the family. For more on Bowl of Pho check out their menu.

Let us know what you think! Tag @YPNSouthBend or use #YPNtalk and share your thoughts on Bowl of Pho!

The Game Plan of the Office

The old saying goes, “Age ain’t nothing but a number,” but in the professional world, your age can define how people perceive you as an employee. Your work ethic, behaviors in the workplace, and overall perception as an employee can be dictated by just finding out when you were born. Since it’s football season, though, let’s take a different look at how the different generations interact with each other in an office setting.

Within the office Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1976) and Millennials (1977-1995) have been working together for years now. But right when everyone seems to be settling into their roles in the office the first members of Generation Z (1996-present) are getting ready to join the fun as interns and as full-time employees when the Class of 2018 graduates in May.

No need to worry, the office isn’t going to implode, but to make this office setting of four different generations work it must play to their strengths similar to how a football team must play to the strengths of each one of its players in order to win a game.

The Baby Boomers have experienced so much.

For years, this generation has been extremely hardworking and motivated by perks and their positions. They are career-focused and goal-oriented. They have so much knowledge to teach the younger generations. On the football field, the baby boomers would be the head coach. As talented as the players are, if it weren’t for a head coach’s scheme and play calls, the team would be lost. Employees should look up to the Baby Boomers to give them motivation, leadership and positive feedback on projects and tasks. They’ve seen a lot and have a lot of great experience.

Generation X-ers are like the quarterback on the field.

Those who are part of Generation X are said to be the most effective managers compared to any other generation. Gen X-ers can adapt to any situation, excel when it comes to problem solving and can collaborate with the best of them. None of these things would be possible without knowing how each member of their team works and utilizing that knowledge to effectively manage, just like a quarterback does with his offence. Without the quarterback you can’t run an offense effectively and he or she must make split-second decisions that can ultimately win or lose the game for the team.

If Gen X is the quarterback, who are the Millennials?

The Millennials are like the first-round draft pick running back.They’re talented, quick and can be a literal “game-changer,” but there is a tremendous amount of pressure on them to perform at a high-level and live up to (or break away from) the hype. Millennials are some of the most tech-savvy employees in the office. Their ability to use social media to market an organization is unparalleled and they want their work to have a purpose just like a rookie running back wants to contribute to a team instead of just warming the bench all season. They want to show their talents and when they aren’t given the opportunity to do so may not practice as hard as they possibly can. IF this happens in the workforce, those smartphones might get turned on and take precedence over doing actual work. If Millennials feel their work matters, though, and they are set upon the right path by coaches and QBs that want to help them learn (mentors) their talent will show and they do indeed live up to the hype.

So, the hungry, talented running back called Millennials are juking out defenders, running upfield and scoring touchdowns. Meanwhile, the head coach Boomers are calling plays and the Gen X quarterback is reading the defense and making the right passes at the right time. That sounds like an effective team already, but there are some promising new players – 2.52 billion of them, actually – who are nearing the end of their college years and ready to go pro.

We have been scouting Generation Z for a while to see what kind of teammate they will be. Looking at that scouting report, you’ll notice they have a digital preoccupation that outstrips Millennials. They’ve grown up with a smartphone in one hand and a Fidget Spinner in the other. Despite this preoccupation, they are a generation that cares about face-to-face interaction and creating communities. They’re like a rookie linebacker – very talented, but rough around the edges. The need constructive feedback on their work, room to develop their skills and support, not derision (which the first-round draft pick Millennials have seen a lot of). If they receive that Generation Z can be that final piece to the puzzle that makes up a championship caliber team.

On a football team, no position is more important than another. Everyone has to do their job effectively for the common good of the team. The same is true in an office – no generation is more important than another and when they work together it helps businesses succeed. Each generation has strengths but each has its fair share of weaknesses, but through effective communication you can see how everyone’s skills complement each other just like a winning football team.

A Place for Talent


Cities across the country are competing with one another to attract talent. With availability of talent/workforce the number one consideration site selectors and businesses look at when relocating to a new community, retaining and attracting talent are critical to our region’s success.

While it would be nice to simply flip a switch to make talent stay here, it takes focus and effort not only by the Chamber but also from businesses and our cities to create an environment attractive to young talent.


The Chamber began to lay the groundwork to create a more favorable environment for young professionals (YPs) to become better connected when it started the Young Professionals Network (YPN) South Bend 12 years ago. Millennials are a key target group in talent development, and YPN provides the perfect vehicle for YPs to develop, connect and become empowered.

While YPN can’t singularly retain and attract talent, it’s one of the tools in the toolbox that creates a culture appealing to young people. Using events as its main platform, YPN offers its attendees abundant networking opportunities to meet their peers and gives them additional personal and professional connections.

In 2016, YPN presented 26 events with a total of 1,969 attendees and has 1,700 contacts on its email list. Events provide education and information, but the greatest benefit to YPs is building relationships with peers. Events are purposely held at different venues throughout the region to immerse YPs in their community so they get to know it better. YPs learn about new restaurants and attractions, hear from elected leaders and corporate CEOs.

Jennifer Speary, external sales specialist for Venue ND taps into YPN, using it as a resource to make personal and professional connections and referrals. “I like to stay engaged in what is happening in the cities of South Bend and Mishawaka, keeping up with news, events, projects, new businesses and other activities. The more I know about South Bend and Mishawaka, the better resource I can be to my clients here at the University of Notre Dame when scheduling activities for them outside campus,” said Speary.

INTERN South Bend Region

In the fall of 2013, the Chamber launched INTERN South Bend Region (SBR), a program to increase the quantity and quality of experiential learning in the South Bend Region. Connecting businesses to the next generation of talent is the key objective. The program provides students with real-world experiences, introduces employers to enthusiastic young people and engages interns with our community and each other.

The Chamber continues to partner with enFocus, the state and regional colleges and employers to increase the pool of post-secondary internship opportunities. Employers are encouraged to post their internships on the state portal, IndianaINTERN.net.

An added component to INTERN SBR is the Summer Community Engagement Program, which provides opportunities for interns to network, learn and explore the good things going on in the South Bend Region. Summer interns participate in weekly challenges that expose them to the community while also making great connections with fellow interns.

In 2016, 154 interns representing 36 employers participated in the summer series. In a survey of last year’s summer interns, 100% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the program positively influenced their perception of the area, and 79% indicated that they would accept a position from their summer employer.


Quality of Place

Our cities and businesses play an integral role, particularly with quality of place considerations, in creating an environment attractive for young talent.

“South Bend is increasingly a vibrant and inclusive community for its young professionals. The Smart Streets initiative, a recently completed project that attracted over $90 million in private investment, has redesigned the downtown streetscape to be more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly,” said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

“Several new downtown apartment projects have already opened, and every month more shops, restaurants and food trucks are popping up to serve those who live and work downtown. Our place-making processes involve continuous community engagement, so residents can directly affect their neighborhoods,” he said.

With a workforce where 65% are under the age of 40, tech company KINETIC IT Solutions has had to work on creating a culture of ownership in the company to retain talent. According to Jim Peterson, owner of KINETIC, giving employees ownership in their area of expertise creates pride in their work and continues to build a strong corporate culture.

“The other side of working hard and taking ownership is having fun at and after work. It’s our opinion that enjoying your work and team is critical to having a great company,” said Peterson.

“The South Bend Region has made changes in the last 10 years that have grown the options to have fun with your team and with your friends. With great restaurants, engagement with YPN, and focus on retaining our local talent, we believe that our YPs see our area as a place to stay for their careers. For several decades, many YPs would look to larger markets to start their careers both for employment and social opportunities. The growth in our community has given professionals across all generations the ability to grow their careers while also having fun things to do after work. As our community continues to build opportunities for our YPs, we will see their numbers increase in our local businesses.”

Fall Into Service


As summer begins to wind down, you may be thinking, “How can I spend my time now?” Well, you’re in luck because the South Bend Region has many nonprofit organizations that could benefit from your time and talent. Giving back has surprising benefits for you too. Volunteering diversifies your experiences, provides networking opportunities and allows you to have fun all while supporting your favorite cause. Not sure of where to start? We’ve found a number of ways you can give back this fall.

1. You can help raise awareness about lending a hand to our homeless neighbors on Tuesday, September 12 from 6:00 – 10:00 a.m. at HOPE Ministries. HOPE Ministries is in need of YPs to assist with set-up and tear-down at their annual partner Pancake Breakfast. If you are unable to volunteer at the Pancake Breakfast, there are always opportunities to volunteer during their regular hours or other special events. For more info or to sign up, contact Jill Gunn or call 574.235.4150.

2. In conjunction with Hunger Action Month, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana is hosting its inaugural Too Good 2 Waste: An Ugly Food Event to Feed Hungry Kids on Thursday, September 28 at the Gillespie Conference & Special Events Center. Assistance will be needed for registration and set-up. In addition, you can volunteer at the Food Bank during the day Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and in the evenings on Wednesdays and Thursdays. To volunteer and learn more about Hunger Action Month, contact Marijo Martinec or call 574.232.9986 ext. 124.

3. You can raise awareness for cancer survivors and victims at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Walk on Saturday, October 14 at Beutter Park Riverwalk. The American Cancer Society is in need of volunteers to distribute water, sell t-shirts, register participants and provide a fun experience for all walkers. Register to walk or volunteer by contacting Nicole Van Duyn.

4. Give the gift of life by donating blood at the South Bend Medical Foundation. The Medical Foundation is always seeking opportunities for businesses to hold an onsite blood drive. Their staff makes hosting a blood drive simple – all you do is select the day and provide the donors, and the Medical Foundation takes care of the rest. No time to organize a blood drive? You can still go to any of The Medical Foundation locations to donate as an individual. Can’t donate blood at all? There are opportunities to assist in the office as needed.