Ideas@Work Information:

The Dr. Daryl Yost Ideas@Work Entrepreneurial Movement

Fueling Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The annual Dr. Daryl Yost Ideas@Work Signature Event Series traditionally convenes up to 500 entrepreneurs, business leaders, and students to fuel the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in Northeast Indiana and the greater region. The Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation serves as the event venue.

This event series has featured dynamic, distinguished leaders in innovation and entrepreneurship.

For 2020, due to COVID-19, Ideas@Work bridged to a livestream event with three bonus skill-building workshops, which are available to view on-demand on our NIIC YouTube Channel (click the Training | Workshops playlist). In 2021, we moved the event to May 12, 2022, due to the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

register or sponsor today.

May 12, 2022, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

During our in-person event, the Indiana entrepreneurial community, educators, and business leaders celebrate innovation and will be inspired to enact winning ideas from our keynote speaker James “Jay” Bailey, President and CEO, Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Mr. Bailey will speak about The Power of Inclusive Prosperity: Advancing Black Entrepreneurs.

We encourage event check-in at 11:15 a.m. with the program promptly starting at 11:30 a.m.

Interested in sponsoring entrepreneurs to attend or sponsoring the event? Opportunities are available. Complete the Sponsorship Form and email it to Jami Thomas,

Sponsorship Form


keynote speaker

Jay Bailey’s motto is “Build as we climb.” In this spirit, he brings the message of The Power of Inclusive Prosperity: Advancing Black Entrepreneurs to The NIIC Dr. Daryl Yost Ideas@Work Event at the Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation.

As the President and CEO of the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Jay leads the development of the largest center in America, driven by impact, dedicated to empowering Black entrepreneurs and small business owners to create jobs, grow companies, and increase wealth in the community.





Business Building—It’s the Way Forward.

If living through a pandemic has taught us anything, it’s flexibility, resiliency, vision, and finding silver linings. Wendy Kennedy, President and Founder, WKI,, calls these silver linings milestone moments. “We have to stay focused on the silver linings. We’ve been through tough times before. Focus on the true value you are delivering,” said Kennedy. […]

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Ikigai—reach beyond New Year’s resolutions and goals.

In this season of New Year’s resolutions and goal setting (integral to success), what would happen if we strive for something greater? A driving force for all we do in our lives? Enter, ikigai—a Japanese term meaning “a reason for being.” What would happen if we all lived from that place? My place, my ikigai? […]

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What it Takes to Be an Entrepreneur, 5 Tips to Stay Grounded

Successful entrepreneurs share certain qualities and behaviors. Embracing those may help you stay grounded and propel your success. The NIIC had the privilege to host Fort Wayne, Indiana native Angie Hicks, founder of the home services website Angie’s List, as a keynote speaker for our NIIC Ideas@Work Event. Her story is inspiring and encouraging. Her connection with […]

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5 Guiding Points for Success in Life

We all need guiding points for navigating life, from business interactions to family, home and friends. Chuck Surack, Sweetwater Sound, Sweet Cars and Sweet Aviation Founder (among various other entrepreneurial ventures) shared in The NIIC Ideas@Work Keynote five rules he lives by in our community and through his global companies. Here they are, summarized and expanded. 1) It’s all […]

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Your BIG IDEA , Three Tips from the Man Behind The Million Dollar Arm

Wouldn’t it be great if million-dollar ideas grew on trees? They take hard work, ingenuity, and often lead you outside your comfort zone. For sports agent and entrepreneur J.B. Bernstein, his breakthrough came from looking through a new lens at something as traditional as baseball. Drawing on his unique cross-cultural experience, Bernstein created The Million Dollar Arm contest […]

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5 Myths and Realities of An Entrepreneurial Mindset

There’s a reason a small percentage of the general population pursues entrepreneurial ventures. Myths and misconceptions abound, which dissuades many. Following are five myths and realities inspired by Dr. Donald F. Kuratko (Dr. K.), a national leader of entrepreneurship. Seriously, check out his biography. I had the pleasure of hearing him keynote The NIIC Ideas@Work Event a couple […]

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Interested in sponsoring our Ideas@Work event?

Complete our sponsorship form and mail it to
Ideas@Work Sponsorship Form

Key Takeaway Cards:

Ideas@Work 2020 Key Takeaways Card - Digital

Keynote Speaker, Wendy Kennedy
President and Founder, WKI,

Download File

2019 Ideas@Work Key Takeaways Card

Keynote Speaker, Santiago Jaramillo
CEO and Co-Founder of Emplify

Download File

2018 Ideas@Work Key Takeaways Card

Keynote Speaker, Angie Hicks
Co-Founder of Angie's List, Chief Customer Officer of Angi Homeservices

Download File

2017 Ideas@Work Key Takeaways Card

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Donald F. Kuratoko (Dr. K)

Download File

2016 Ideas@Work Key Takeaways Card

Keynote Speaker: Chuck Surack
CEO and Founder of Sweetwater

Download File

2015 Ideas@Work Key Takeaways Card

Keynote Speaker: J. B. Bernstein
Legendary Sports Marketing Pioneer

Download File

2014 Ideas@Work Key Takeaway Card

Keynote Speaker: Eric Doden
President of Indiana Economic Development Corporation

Download File

Mirro Founder Award:

The Ideas@Work Signature Event Series serves as a platform to celebrate and recognize business builders. Established in 2015, the award was named after Dr. Mike Mirro, a prominent physician, entrepreneur, visionary, researcher and community leader. Dr. Mirro was the founding board chair of The NIIC. Originally, the award was presented to clients of The NIIC student business builder program. This has changed to also include all NIIC clients.

2021 – The NIIC Ideas@Work 2021 event was rescheduled to May 2022 due to COVID-19 Pandemic restrictions.



Read the press release



Read the press release



Read the press release



Read the press release


2016 Ideas@Work Mirro Student Founder Award RecipientD-N-S DESIGN, FOUNDERS MATT VANLANDINGHAM AND LINDAL WALKER

Read the press release


2015 Ideas@Work Mirro Student Founder Award RecipientASHELY COLEMAN, LA’SHIC, CREATOR OF ORTHOPEDIC HIGH HEELS

The Dr. Daryl R. Yost Excellence in Philanthropy Award:

This award was established in 2020 to honor our former NIIC colleague and friend. At our 2022 Ideas@Work Event, we will present this award for the second time to a worthy recipient. In 2020 Maclyn (Mac) Parker, Chair, The Olive B. Cole Foundation, was the inaugural award recipient. Mac is a NIIC Board Member and has been since its inception over 20 years ago. Through his leadership and commitment, he has demonstrated his ability to support The NIIC throughout its life. It’s an honor on behalf of The NIIC Board and our entire organization for this award to be presented to Maclyn (Mac) Parker.

Upon receiving the award, Mac said, “It is a real honor to receive this award, particularly because it is named after Daryl Yost. He was a mentor of many and a good friend to a lot of us.” While accepting the award, Parker reflected on visiting Indianapolis and Chattanooga some years ago and was inspired to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors for Northeast Indiana. This led, in part, to the formation of The NIIC. “New job creation and helping entrepreneurs is important to economic development. The NIIC has fostered that. Karl LaPan has been such a great leader, and The NIIC has done so much in our community, leading entrepreneurship.”


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