Men of Quality Support Women’s Equality.

Throughout this year, we have featured over 100 local men and women in our Women’s Empowerment campaign.

These outstanding individuals have joined together in solidarity by giving everyday examples of how they empower women. Although our campaign comes to an end, the importance of empowering women continues on!

This coming year, we challenge YOU to be the woman who straightens another woman’s crown. We challenge YOU to be the man of quality who supports women’s equality. As you are putting your goals for the New Year into action, we hope that our mission of empowerment shines bright in you well into the future!

We are so grateful for such an outpouring of support this year! Thank you for joining us on this year-long campaign, we hope you feel excited, inspired, and eager to come alongside YWCA Northeast Indiana as we continue our mission to empower women.

"For the first few years, I tried running the North Pole by myself. Nothing went right. But then I married Mrs. Claus and, together, we’ve made a great team for the past 1,722 years. Mrs. Claus is an amazing leader and she’s really the brains behind the operation. Most people don't know this, but Mrs. Claus makes a lot of toys! She's pretty handy with a hammer and drill. Plus, her organizational skills and creativity keep Christmas fresh and exciting every year. Mrs. Claus is the head of operations, but also several of our department heads are women, including several historically male-only positions, such as: Sports-All Things With a Ball, Sports-All Things Without a Ball, and Creepy/Crawly/Slimy Stuff."

Chief Gift Giver and Public Relations, North Pole Toy Company

"Throughout my own life, as well as in my daily work with United Way of Allen County, I have witnessed first-hand the impact of strong and empowered women. I truly attribute much of my professional and personal success to the women in my life. From my own mother and sister to my wife, daughter, and four beautiful granddaughters, I am continually reminded of the importance of providing support to women who will lead us to so many future successes. In my own career, I have been mentored by amazing women whose examples of leadership have been invaluable for me and so many others. That’s why we have made services for women a priority at United Way, so we can give every woman the chance to succeed in whatever life path they choose. We challenge our community to be bold in supporting causes that make lives better and supporting the women that are so vital to families, businesses, and organizations in our area is something we value highly."

Greg Johnson
Interim CEO, CFO, United Way of Allen County

"I contribute my work ethic and character to three particular women: my mother, who taught me to be strong, independent, have a good work ethic, and be frugal; my grandmother, who taught me good Christian and family values (both my mother and grandmother worked long careers during a time when it was unusual for women to work); and my wife, who complements me well as she is hardworking, organized, results-oriented, and an outgoing person. She truly brings out the best in me. The dedication of these women influenced me in my long-term service to the public as a 33-year veteran of the Allen County Sheriff’s Department. Having been one of the first men on the YWCA Board, even serving as the Secretary of the Board at the end of my term, it is truly my honor to stand with and support YWCA Northeast Indiana’s Women’s Empowerment campaign that supports women’s equality."

Troy Hershberger
Sheriff-Elect, Allen County Sheriff’s Department

“Growing up I witnessed firsthand the struggles of a single mother providing for my five siblings and me. I also witnessed how strong she was, her perseverance, her resiliency, and determination not to give up until she made things happen. I value how strong and capable women are, and have always believed in women’s equality. Ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents is key for the success of our communities and a better society”.

Pastor Javier Mondragon
Founder/CEO, Bridge of Grace Ministries

"I was raised by a mother who never let gender or race stand in her way. But, while I watched my mother fight for her rights and for those who look like her, the inequities that she and others faced were polarizing. This experience instilled within me a desire to be a champion for women and to make sure I am always doing my part to elevate their presence at home, work, and within our community. As a son, brother, husband, father, and grandfather, my greatest lessons have come from the women who have shaped my life journey. Women deserve to be treated equitably and with respect and I am grateful for the women who have made me the man I am today."

George Guy
CEO, Fort Wayne Housing Authority

“'Men of quality support women’s equality.' I love this and everything it represents but the advancement of women’s equality is not why we hire women at Ferguson. We hire and provide equal pay to women because of their immense talents, leadership skills, problem solving and decision-making, work ethic, empathy and, frankly, because they tend to get sh#t done while men like to talk about getting sh#t done. So, yes, recognize the importance of women’s equality but hire, promote, and let women lead because they will make your company or organization better."

John Ferguson
CEO, Ferguson Advertising

"I am blessed to be the husband of an amazing wife and the father of two beautiful daughters. As I watch my daughters’ journeys in life, it is very important to me that they have opportunities equal to those afforded to my three sons. The skills and talents they possess need to be rewarded the same as their male peers. My job as a father is to encourage them and help them see how valued they truly are."

Mark Dooley
CEO, Dupont Hospital

"The two most important job titles I hold are husband to my beautiful wife and father to my amazing daughter. In addition, some of the greatest influencers of my career have been women and that’s something I’ve never taken for granted. As a society we stand to gain so many incredible opportunities with each glass ceiling broken by women and minorities, but we must first acknowledge that we can’t all succeed when half of us are held back. I’m proud to be a supporter of empowering women and I am genuinely excited to live in a world where women can be anything they want to be."

Allen Howard
Consultant - Employee Benefits, Gibson

"I was fortunate to be raised in a house of mutual respect. In a predominantly male family, my parents led as equals and celebrated each other’s strengths. Today, I work in a profession where men and women lead together. Our diverse team members’ voices, perspectives and experiences make Crowe the successful firm that it is today. At Crowe, we embrace diversity, affirm equity, and nurture inclusion for all. I am grateful for the principles my parents instilled in me and proud to work at a company with values that align with my own."

Robert Kuhmichel
CPA, Crowe LLP

"We have to not just change what we do, but change how we all think in order for women to be treated as equals. Changing the mind-set may take time, but there is no better time than now to make it happen. The women of our community deserve to not just be at the table, but be at the head of the table, and it is up to the collective whole to ensure all genders have the ability to do so. We have a long way to go, but together, with initiatives such as this one through the YWCA, we can get there."

Jim Marcuccilli
Chairman & CEO, STAR Bank

"In today’s climate, women are reaching higher and higher levels and are being recognized for their greatness. I stand strong in advocating for supporting and acknowledging women. We are better because of women. Women on our WANE-TV team are second to none. Nexstar Media Group, our parent company, supports women too. Our Celebrating Woman Campaign features the greatness of women in Northeast Indiana."

Tom Antisdel
Vice President and General Manager, WANE-TV

"Having been a superintendent of a school district where the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi existed, I participated in dedication ceremonial events, which were led by the Chief and Mother of the tribe. The concluding act of the ceremony was conducted by the Mother of the Tribe. It was called the Water Ceremony. Water is the essence of survival of all living beings. The Mother of the Tribe naturally conducts the ceremony as women are the bearers of human life. As a father of four daughters and a husband of 38 years, I can attest to the importance of women in my life and how important it is to recognize their contribution to our family, community, and society. From observing my daughters and their career paths, there is a discrepancy between men and women regarding equality in the workplace, even though their productivity many times is greater and work demands are the same. My hope is that we continue to become more aware and intentional in making our Mothers equal."

Dr. Mark Daniel
Superintendent, Fort Wayne Community Schools

"When I consider what I have learned personally and professionally, it is the women in my life who have taught me some of the most important lessons of all. Lessons about forgiveness, kindness, encouragement, thoughtfulness, and loving have become a permanent part of who I am, and have helped me in overcoming life’s challenges. During moments when I may have forgotten a lesson, I have found success comes after I take the time to reflect on the values and habits that were taught and portrayed to me by the women in my life. I am who I am today because of my mom, my wife, my sisters, my daughter, my daughters-in-law, my grandmothers, and my granddaughters."

Mark Terrell
President, Lasting Change, Inc.

"Being blessed to have an incredible wife, daughter, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters, I have the privilege of empowering and supporting them to be the greatest influence they can be to the world in which God has placed them."

Rob Kee
Organizational Communication Strategist, Rob Kee Solutions, LLC

"My mom, Rebecca Viola Terry, is a champion who raised her seven children to treat everybody with dignity and respect. When my dad passed away in his early forties, I saw God’s grace strengthen my mom so she was able to prepare my siblings and I for life. I have one sister who is a woman of virtue just like my mom. She is a force to be reckoned with. My mom treated all people, regardless of ethnicity, social status, gender, religion or lifestyle, like a perfect 10. She chose to see the best in everyone and challenged us to be great. She taught us how to pray and how to love the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. I married a woman who is clearly the better part of me who has many qualities I’ve seen in my mom, yet Stephanie Latrice Terry has her own unique champion qualities and I respect her highly. My mother in-law, Beverly Anne Ware, is a champion who made family fellowship fun and memorable for my children. These women have poured into me more than I could ever repay. I count it an honor to stand in solidarity with YWCA Northeast Indiana’s Women’s Empowerment campaign as a man of quality supporting women of equality!"

Steve Terry
Central Site Leader, New Life Pastor, Grace Gathering Church

"I was raised by a mother who had no formal education, but was definitely the leader of our home. She was a very unselfish person who valued family, hard work, and personal responsibility. She taught us to respect all people regardless of gender, race, or religious beliefs. She very much valued equality over status and drilled that into her children. Consequently, I married a very strong woman who is ambitious, hardworking, and of noble character. She is a nurse practitioner who has diligently sought to be an advocate for others and to passionately care for the downtrodden and for those in life who struggle. She, too, has been the leader of our home and has been a light and inspiration to me, her community, and our whole family. She seeks to live out her faith through compassionate service. In turn, she has been and continues to be an inspiration to our daughter, who has picked up her mantle of compassionate care. She recently started and facilitates a home school for children, assisting her husband in full-time ministry, and is a leader of young women in her community.
In Proverbs 31:10 King Solomon asks this question: “Who can find a wife (woman) of noble character? She is far more precious than jewels!” As the verse in Proverbs points out, a woman of character is invaluable, irreplaceable, and can have a multigenerational impact on our world. I strongly support women in leadership, ministry, and all positions of influence. Women bring a unique perspective when problem solving, and provide vitally important direction and support when tackling difficult tasks. Women should be included at all levels of society and their leadership and ideas should be continually sought after.Their inclusion can, and will, bring about positive, monumental, and generational change to a world that desperately needs it."

Shawn Fingerle MS, MBA LCSW
Executive Long Term Care Specialist, Acadia Pharmaceuticals; Past Director of Clinical Services, Parkview Behavioral Health; Owner, Fingerle Farms

"Historically, the rights for women have not been equal to that of men, making it even more critical for men to stand in solidarity in support of women’s equality. Equality is not a situation where one is losing. When all of us are treated in an equitable manner, whether that is how we are compensated or a fundamental right, we all win. Men have an obligation and responsibility to do our part every day to help make equality a reality for the women in our lives (mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, friends, etc.)."

Chris Douse
Director of Retention and Engagement, Ivy Tech - Fort Wayne

"I support equality for women in our community and for the women in my life. From the female partners and associates at Barrett McNagny to my wife, my daughter, my daughter-in-law, and my granddaughters, it is important to me to be involved in creating a better world for women now and in the future. As a supporter, advocate, and former board member of YWCA Northeast Indiana, I am able to be a part of changing perceptions, encouraging positive conversations, and empowering women to build a stronger and more vibrant community today and for the next generation."

Tony Stites
Partner, Barrett McNagny LLP; YWCA Northeast Indiana Board Member

"Equity is the heart of community. To truly see each member is to understand their contributions. When we minimize any voice, we sacrifice our potential as a community."

Darren Bickel
President, United Way of Whitley & Kosciusko Counties

"I lived with and loved a woman, my dear wife Linda, who taught me that, if given a chance, there was nothing a woman couldn’t accomplish. She was a mom, housewife, business partner, banker, mentor to women and, most of all, a loving wife to me. I love women so much because I know God gave them all the qualities of men but added an extra dose of compassion, love, and determination. When we emit a good dose of empathy from our hearts, we can help women soar like the eagles God intended."

Jerry Vandeveer
Community Advocate, 2021 Individual of Integrity Award Recipient

"I have been married to a wonderful, strong woman for 46 years. I also have two equally strong, successful daughters. In the business world, it is very important that women, like my spouse and daughters, have equal opportunities to lead. In addition, I have a vested interest in advocating for an equal playing field for my three granddaughters. The world is a much better place to live and work when everyone can contribute their talents."

Bill Townsend
President and Co-Owner, CVC Communications

“Throughout history, women have been the strong and silent cornerstones of society. They have birthed Kings, Queens, Presidents, and CEOs, in fact, many of the world's most groundbreaking discoveries and breakthroughs have come from the minds and hearts of women. I may be personally biased having been raised by a Mother whose gifts and intellect knew no limits, but it seems to be in our future best interest to equip and empower women in all capacities to successfully thrive and continue to improve our world through their labor of love, wisdom & endless innovation. I believe in empowered women, and I support the holistic well-being of women and girls. I will continue to use my platform and influence to hold space, and uplift current and future empowered women.”

Kibwe Cooper
Host, EmpowerYou Podcast

“I have been very fortunate to have interacted with many strong women throughout my life. And I have been blessed with a daughter and four granddaughters for whom I only want the best. I would never want these women to be held back or denied the same rights and opportunities as men. All men should do their best to facilitate equal outcomes.”

Richard D. Waterfield
Managing Member, Waterfield Capital, LLC

“I believe that women’s equality is a fundamental human right. We should strive to ensure that every woman has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents. Equality creates better homes, businesses, communities and nations. I believe I would not be the person I am today if it were not for the many women who invested in my life. I am forever grateful to them.”

Bill Rieth
President/CEO, Crossroads United Way, serving Elkhart, LaGrange & Noble Counties

"The divine design of humanity was done by the hand of our Creator with quality in mind for all human beings. In His infinite consciousness, the Creator never saw men more significant than women nor women greater than men. Both were uniquely molded, shaped, and fashioned to make them significant in essence and existence. The selfishness of man robs him of the joy of relishing in the greatness of all human beings equally and without bias or discrimination. However, celebrating all life should be the goal and purpose of all of us, learning daily to treat each other with love and respect. So, today I honor the life, contributions, and strength of women worldwide."

Marshall White
Founder/CEO, Performing Arts Foundation, Voices of Youth Unity Choir

"I’ve never thought about equality, success, or happiness as zero-sum games. Equality for women does not diminish my rights or opportunities, but rather it elevates everyone, and creates an environment of shared respect for an entire community. I expect my daughters to be given the same opportunities that I have had, and I would want that for anyone’s daughter."

Tom Salzer
President and Founder, Bona Vita Architecture
YWCA Northeast Indiana Board Member

"For me, working toward the empowerment of women requires getting out of the way of the women who are doing, and have been doing, so much of the work that needs to be done. There’s no such thing, in my mind, as “women’s work” or “men’s work.” It’s humanity’s work. Women and men share responsibility for building the world and the future for our children. It’s obvious to me that for the past several thousand years, men have screwed things up by usurping power and authority from women and viewing them as less than men. It’s time to work together, with mutual respect and true cooperation as equals."

John F. Newbauer, Ed.D., HSPP
Psychologist, Family Counseling Center LLC

"I refuse to accept a world where my daughter only makes a portion of what my sons do for the same work. Even a one percent gap is absolutely unacceptable. We all talk about wanting a better community, a society in which all live up to their individual potential. That is not possible when over half of us are being systematically held back. It is the responsibility of people who look like me to actively dismantle systems that were constructed to the advantage of people who also look like me. We need to first recognize that not all people currently have the same opportunity to pursue and achieve desired progress. When I look into my daughter's eyes for the final time, I want her to know Daddy did all he could, with what he had, when he had it, to ensure the playing field was properly leveled so her abilities, passion, and expertise were leveraged evenly leaving this world better than we received it. "

Matthew Purkey and daughter, Micah
VP, Regional Operations, The Mission Continues

"As CEO of 3Rivers FCU, where 65% of Team3 (3 Rivers FCU employees) and half of the Leadership Team are female, I learn everyday what it is like to lead with women who freely contribute to any topic or issue. I recently read “Turn the Ship Around” by David Marquet where he said, “Empowerment can only occur with competence and clarity”. If we want to engage and support, we should focus on emancipation by recognizing the talents and unique insights (of women) to decide for themselves by setting them free in their entirety. We must be cognizant that to support equality we have to acknowledge inequality, and to empower others we must first understand who has the power and who doesn’t. If I am to be someone that makes a difference, I must be aware of the power I hold and utilize that privilege to better support setting people free. We must watch for our biases and look to intentionally provide equity opportunities, not just equal opportunities. In my mentorship or allyship, I ask, “Am I doing the same for men and women or do I provide more for women?” I fail in that more times than not, but I must recognize that failure and intentionally adjust my behavior and actions."

Don Cates
Chief Executive Officer, 3 Rivers Federal Credit Union

"The fight for women’s equality is one that started far before my time, but I choose to pick up the mantle to insure that this will not be an issue that my children will have to fight for long after I am gone. Women deserve to have equality in all areas of life: work, community, church, politics and more. The more we, as men, fight for women’s equality, the less of a fight there will be against women’s equality."

Darius Darling
HR Generalist, Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company
YWCA Northeast Indiana Board Member

"Equality doesn’t just happen; as leaders, it is on each of us to take action and responsibility. We must set an example and create the conditions and expectations of equality in our own organizations. I’m proud that 75% of our executive team here at Greater Fort Wayne Inc. are women. As we build a nationally recognized economy in Allen County, rest assured that women have a prominent seat at the table. Women’s equality is something that I think about every day—making sure that all women, including my own two daughters, have every opportunity to succeed."

John Urbahns
President/CEO, Greater Fort Wayne, Inc.

"The empowerment of women is wonderful, but we really need to empower men to challenge prevailing norms and change their behaviors towards women."

Stephen Jarrell LCSW, LCAC, ACSW
Executive Director, Headwaters Counseling
Featured Expert in YWCA Northeast Indiana's
Dash of Persimmon (2022)

"While many agree with the concept of women's equality, significant gaps still exist. It's important that leaders be aware of the reality of these gaps and look for opportunities to close them. Passively agreeing will not move us closer to an equitable world."

Matthew Sutter, MD MBA FACEP
Health Commissioner, Allen County

"When I think about the empowerment of women and their leadership, I do not have to look further than my family. My mom was a fearless leader by raising six talented children while supporting her husband as he shepherded churches for 66 years, and she did it with humility and grace. My sister taught future leaders in the classroom for 30 years and raised 3 incredible sons who have served their country around the world. My beautiful wife is the strongest woman I know. She chose to raise our children before she entered the workforce. She advocated for our special needs son throughout his short life and completed her master’s degree after she started teaching again. She battles Parkinson’s disease daily now with patience and poise. And, my daughter leads her 2nd grade classroom with compassion and care. She is changing hearts each day.

All these amazing women have made me the man I am today. It is my duty to enthusiastically encourage women who I have the opportunity to work with. When my brother and I started First Fridays Fort Wayne, we made the decision to create a women-only event to show our support for the tremendous leaders in the northeast Indiana area. This event has blossomed under the leadership of Jan Diaz. As our leadership forum has grown, we feature female leaders each season.

I am so grateful for what I have learned from powerful, insightful, creative, and dynamic women in northeast Indiana. I am a better person because of each of these relationships."

Jere Johnson
Corporate Representative, Adult Enrollment Services,
Indiana Wesleyan University

"Many people believe women’s equality is a matter of equal pay and job opportunities, but it is more than that. It is about inclusion, respect, and promoting an environment where women know their thoughts, ideas and feelings are valued at home, at work and in our government. Everyone must strive to create a culture of inclusivity that allows individuals to be their authentic selves, celebrate differences and leverage unique perspectives that bring new insights to increase success at work and in society."

Gary Duff
Plant Executive Director, GM Fort Wayne Assembly

"I have had so many mentors in my life and many of them women. I am sure that I fall in line with many when I mention first and foremost my mother. What a great lady!! I am a strong Christian man because of the path of faith that she put me on and has led me on throughout my life. At 89 years old, she is still my guiding light.
As a young boy I grew up attending the Franke Park Day Camp and followed in the footsteps of one lady in particular, Janel Cain. She was the director during my teen years and was such a kind soul, yet a force to be reckoned with. I grew closer to her as the years went by and she hired me as a staff member right after I graduated from high school. I excelled to eventually become the assistant supervisor before leaving to join the police department. Her investment of time and talent into me will never be forgotten. We are great friends to this day!
When I became a police officer in 1999, I met a woman who struck me with her presence and then came to me a few years later to ask me to become a certified instructor and to join the academy staff. Dottie Davis has been a beacon of hope for me throughout my career in law enforcement and has been there whenever I needed her. We trained hundreds and hundreds of officers and I have had the privilege to mentor some of those same officers and watch them develop into leaders. I serve as a Deputy Chief, the same rank that dotty retired from. I am proud to carry the torch.
I celebrate the women around me every day! I am a better leader and commander because of the special women in my life, especially my wife, Cindy. What a saint of a woman she is. She knows the passion I have for others and she gives me the blessing to assist others every day. I love her very much and though I am in the election process as a candidate for Allen County Sheriff, I cannot wait until the day I retire to spend more time with her.
All my best to women everywhere!"

Mitch McKinney
Deputy Chief, Fort Wayne Police Department

"Women should have the same rights and opportunities as men. We should not base any decision on gender or race. Once we start making decisions based on who and what is best, our city, county and country will be a better place for all. We all need to work together to advance women’s rights and equality."

Tyler Cleverly
Executive Director, United Way of DeKalb County

"Growing up in a household with three sisters, and now, as a father of three daughters, I place great importance on equality and fairness for everyone, in both my personal, and my professional life. I am a business owner who depends upon the talents of over 1,000 women and men for the manufacture of products in the medical device field. The culture of Fort Wayne Metals is based on fairness and equality for all. Anything short of this undermines an individual’s ability to attain their full potential and lessens their contributions to our company’s success. We will continue to strive to ensure that women have equal opportunities, equal access to resources and maximum control over their own destiny. I fully support the YWCA’s Women’s Empowerment Campaign and am proud to be a part of empowering women to improve the economic strength of our community."

Scott Glaze
Chairman and CEO, Fort Wayne Metals Research Products, LLC

"I support women’s equality. I come to this from a background in the legal profession. Our Constitution requires equal protection and equal rights for all citizens, and laws have been enacted to carry that forward. Our diligence is required to assure that this protection and these rights are respected and enforced on behalf of everyone."

Howard Chapman
Attorney (retired)

"I have a wife, two daughters, two granddaughters, and seven sisters. I have always believed in women’s equality and the importance of it being recognized and supported.
As a community, we all should be challenging prejudicial attitudes and assumptions related to thoughts people have regarding gender, age, race, disability, or sexual orientation. We still have work to do in order to break down negative stereotypes, whether they are at home, work, or school."

John Dortch
President/CEO, The Preston Joan Group Inc.
President/CEO, Fort Wayne Ink Spot LLC
Featured Leader in YWCA Northeast Indiana’s
Empowering Leaders Video Series (2021)

"When I think of women’s empowerment, I can’t help but think of my mother and how she spent 45 years with one employer. That hardly ever happens, especially now. I think of the changes that she had to deal with while at the same time raising two “strappin” boys, for the most part, by herself. She raised a family with a generative spirit that fed us with beauty, creativity, and generosity, but perhaps most of all, she passed down to us the importance of leadership and tenacity. I was blessed that I had that kind of influence in my life."

Reverend Roger Reece
Executive Director, Associated Churches

"Women’s equality is required in a society that desires to claim it is “by the people and for the people.” Having three sisters, two daughters, and a wife, I have witnessed the challenges that women continue to face, even in 2022. As the Fire Chief of the Fort Wayne Fire Department, I’m reminded of our struggle to live up to our country’s promise every time I hear that another fire department has only recently hired its first female firefighter. We must work together to eliminate the remnants of the glass ceiling and decisively move toward consistently identifying and crediting the essential work done by women to make our society and democracy stronger."

Eric Lahey
Fire Chief, Fort Wayne Fire Department
Featured Leader in YWCA Northeast Indiana’s
Empowering Leaders Video Series (2021)

"As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I reflect on the relationships I have with my wife and our two daughters – all three women of strength and compassion who strive daily to make the world a better place. As a father, it is my duty to help them grow to their highest potential, but I could not have done that without my wife. She has been the rock of our family, and having worked in banking for 37 years, she continues to be the mother every child should have, even when I've been away in Indianapolis serving in the state legislature. The life lessons I have learned and continue to learn from them is a constant reminder of the critical role women play in our society."

Andy Zay
Indiana State Senator, District 17

"An unequal society is less cohesive. This lack of cohesiveness helps create more anti-social behavior toward women. The fight for gender equality requires everyone’s participation, especially men. Women are without a doubt their own greatest champions, but many men are also lending their support to the cause of gender equality. I am happy and proud to be one of these men in our community that stands for gender equality. Being deeply involved in the United Front initiative has significantly increased my desire to hear every voice and allow shared humanity to be the tone of the day. We all bring value, and to get where we want to go requires all voices to be heard and valued equally."

Joe Jordan
President and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Indiana
Featured Leader in YWCA Northeast Indiana’s
Empowering Leaders Video Series (2021)

"Icy D. Eagle is a bird of few words, but expresses his love for all Komets fans in many ways! From photoshoots, to high-fives, to dancing, he definitely thrives when he is the center of attention. He is the first to greet the diverse crowd as soon as the arena doors open on game nights, and loves to make visiting fans feel welcome. All fans are Icy’s favorite, especially those who bring him his favorite snack, Peanut M&Ms. Whether he is at a Komets game, running through the hall, or out visiting businesses in the community, Icy loves interacting with all walks of life! All fans are welcome at the Komets game, cheering on the Komets along with Icy."

Icy D. Eagle
Mascot, Komet Hockey in Fort Wayne

"Growing up, I was raised by my mother, grandmother, and aunts. Each one taught me a valuable lesson. Even now, I incorporate those lessons in my life daily, and share them in the community. As a result, my daughters have a special connection with their roots and continue to learn those exceptional values as well. I am proud to contribute to the mission of the YWCA by supporting programs and sharing the inspiring and outstanding stories of empowerment from each woman at YWCA Northeast Indiana."

Palermo Galindo
Program Director LAMPRO Latin American
Master’s Programs, Indiana Tech
Featured Leader in YWCA Northeast Indiana’s
Empowering Leaders Video Series (2021)

"Women's equality is not only a fundamental right but a necessary one. To ensure fairness, impartial strategies and measures must become available. Unquestionably, achieving equality requires the empowerment of women in all decision making at all levels. True equality is intricately linked to sustainable development."

Tom Henry
Mayor of Fort Wayne

"I believe that behaviors, like biases against women’s equality, are learned and ingrained early in our personal and professional lives. I consider myself fortunate to have grown up in an environment with strong opinionated women: my mother, my wife, four sisters and three daughters. My professional life has been much the same in that I have benefited from working for, and with, many strong and talented women. Thanks to their examples, it is hard for me to imagine considering women as anything but equal, be it in my business or personal life. Finally, as a business professional, I think it would be foolish to discount the input and contributions of women or anyone who can bring diverse viewpoints to all the challenges we face today."

Larry Mayers
Business Banking Group Head & Regional President,
Fort Wayne Region, 1st Source Bank

"Women’s equality is critically important to our team and our community. The team at Pond needs diverse perspectives to succeed, given the incredibly diverse community we serve within the nonprofit sector. We intentionally uplift and empower nonprofit leaders, especially women, through our platform and our storytelling in our podcast The Kids Table. Thank you to the many women who have helped shape and drive the innovation of Pond."

Mitch Stein
Co-Founder, CEO & Chief Impact Officer, Pond

"It’s easy to see equality for women as a systemic issue. While true, this can subconsciously absolve each of us – men especially – from changing our day to day activities, thoughts, decisions, and priorities. To change a society, we first have to start by changing ourselves. I strive each day to find ways to amplify the voices of women, which often includes quieting my own voice and making space for others. When we each do our best to lift up and celebrate one another, we can start to make progress as a society."

Kyle Metzger
President and CEO, United Way of Huntington County

"Supporting women's equality begins at home. I have a wife, a sister, a daughter, a deceased mother, a step daughter, a daughter-in-law, a step daughter-in-law, nine granddaughters, and numerous female cousins. Additionally, I was a single parent for 10 years, which opened my eyes to the plight of single mothers. To me, supporting women's equality means providing opportunity for women in the community in which I live and serve."

Richard Beck
Commissioner, Allen County