Brenda Gerber Vincent’s passion is real. You can see it in her many contributions to the people, organizations and projects that she has championed over the years. And you can hear it when she speaks; when her hometown is the topic, there’s a palpable sense of pride and purpose.
“I’ve been fortunate,” Gerber Vincent says. “I’ve had many opportunities to make a difference, but this is by far the best.”
She’s referencing her new role as the vice president of community and corporate impact at Greater Fort Wayne Inc., Allen County’s chamber of commerce and economic development organization.
“I’ve found my dream job,” she says with a smile. “I’m a lifetime resident, I’m a fourth-generation Fort Wayne native and I’ve always loved our community. Serving in an official capacity, at the most exciting time in our community’s history, is really exciting to me.”
Because Greater Fort Wayne Inc. is a membership-driven organization, one of her primary objectives is to ensure members understand how vital their investment is to our region’s growth.
“The people at Greater Fort Wayne Inc. wake up every single day with a singular focus of building a nationally-recognized economy,” Gerber Vincent states. “We do that by supporting local business, attracting new business and improving our community’s quality of place to grow jobs, wages and our economy. We focus on these things, which allows businesses to focus on what they do best. Fort Wayne’s success depends on it.”
Her broader mission is to help businesses and the economy, but she feels strongly about supporting the people who run those businesses. That’s why she’s especially excited to oversee programs like Leadership Fort Wayne and events like the Champions of Change Awards luncheon. In the past 30 years, Leadership Fort Wayne has helped over 1,300 people realize their leadership potential, and there is already a waiting list for the Class of 2020. The Champions of Change Awards shine a light on those who are mentoring women and removing barriers to their success. Gerber Vincent believes this aligns with her efforts to continue promoting inclusion and diversity in the region.
“We have 31 unique zip codes within Allen County, each one contributing to the overall fabric that makes our community so special. It is imperative, when making decisions, that we have diversity of thought and perspective.”
“I really believe in the people who live here,” she continues. “I always say, we may not have oceans or mountains, but man… we have great people. We have such great people. People who are willing to invest in others, who genuinely care about our community and are focused on making a positive impact. That’s what makes this place so special to me.”
Gerber Vincent clearly sees herself as an ambassador for our region, and she’s become known as an activist and advocate for those, who like her, are working hard each day to make a difference.
“When I think about a tug-of-war, we’re usually faced with opposition or resistance. Imagine what we could accomplish together, if we were all on the same side of the rope, pulling in the same direction, at the same time,” she says energetically. “We can’t allow ourselves to think that change is someone else’s responsibility. Every single one of us, regardless of position, can make a difference in our community.”
And the progress is already underway. Gerber Vincent’s pride in Fort Wayne is especially evident when she talks about the growth the city has experienced in recent years, and the development still in progress. From the riverfront, to downtown revitalization, to Electric Works, she’s watched a renaissance of sorts take place. These transformational projects are vitally important to our growth, but so are the smaller ones that are making a big difference in the lives of those who call our community – home.
While recognizing the accomplishments of the past and present, Gerber Vincent’s eyes are focused solely on the future of her hometown and its people.
“We stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us,” Gerber Vincent says. “We owe gratitude to the many people in this community who have worked hard to achieve the growth and benefits we enjoy today. Now, we’ve been handed the baton. And I intend to make the greatest impact I can while carrying it.”
Address: 200 E. Main St. Ste 800 Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
Phone: (260) 420-6945