The Journey Team

Founder and Chief Exploration Officer

Janet brings her heart and soul into the field of youth development and is the ultimate supporter of those who serve our young people.  With over 40 years as a youth worker herself, Janet knows the importance of taking care of yourself so you can bring your best self to the field.  Based upon the belief that the best way to provide quality services for youth is to have the highest quality youth workers in the field providing those services, Janet created the Journey Fellowship Programs to renew, connect and inspire Executives, New Professionals and Students in the field of youth development.

Janet is an experienced facilitator, trainer, and consultant who has worked with community groups, schools, parent groups, faith-based groups and human service organizations.  She has served organizations such as the Youth Philanthropy Initiative of Indiana, Academy for Educational Development and the National Crime Prevention Council.  She is also a co-author of widely used curricula such as Youth As Trustees, Youth In Governance, and Youth As Philanthropists.  She is also the author of the children’s book, What If Everybody Gave?

She received her M.A. in Executive Development and Adult Education from Ball State University and a B.A. in Social Work from Indiana University.  She is a Child and Youth Care Professional and serves on the boards of the Association of Child and Youth Care Practice and FICE USA.

When not on The Journey, Janet enjoys traveling, dancing and spending time with her two grand-daughters and husband who is a retired high school principal.  Janet has a side gig helping people have their best years at The First Year Of – check it out at


Skye Berger, MS
Advisory Board, Renewal Guide and Facilitator of New Professionals Fellowship

Skye Berger has beena part of the Journey Family since 2013 when she became and Executive Journey Fellow. She has since been a Journey Renewal Guide, serves on the Journey Advisory Board and has facilitated at numerous Journey experiences. She is currently a co-facilitator of The Journey Fellowship for New Professionals in Youth Work.

In addition, Skye is an Executive Leadership & Lifestyle Coach and the Chief Encouragement Officer at Door Opener Academy.  Her professional background includes child welfare, mental health, addictions, facilitation, and program development. Skye is a sought after expert in empowering youth and families while renewing the youth workers and organizations that serve them. She is widely recognized in Indiana as a co-creator of Indiana’s system of Collaborative Care while working with the Indiana Department of Child Services.

Skye has reached international audiences through keynote presentations, online and in real-life training, with her books on renewal, teen parenting, and youth transitioning into adulthood. Unparalleled in her desire and aptitude to engage her audience, Skye is able to cultivate excitement and synergy within individuals, families, and organizations.

Skye is a  Gary, Indiana native and holds a Bachelor of Arts in both psychology and sociology from Purdue University and a Master of Science in management science with a concentration in executive coaching and organizational behavior from the University of Texas.

She is the mother of three young ladies and twin boys and resides in Central Indiana, with a heart for all things creative and youth work related.

Co-Creator and Chief Experience Officer

For over 30 years, Tom Plake has worked extensively as a speaker, coach, facilitator, and provocateur for: corporations, foundations, churches, universities, not-for-profits, state, local and federal government associations, community organizations, and schools. In 1992 he formed his own leadership and organization development consulting firm, Creative Resources, Inc. to help “people and organizations grow.”

Tom joined Janet in 2002 to create The Journey and began to design the award-winning programs and experiences that would bring a more intense level of personal and professional development to youth workers in Indiana. Using his design and facilitation skills, Tom ensures that all Journey fellowships and programs are “wow” experiences.

Tom holds a bachelor’s degree from Wabash College and a M.S. with distinction in Organizational Development from American University/AUNTL. He is also a graduate of CoachU.  He has been a member of the International Association of Facilitators, The Graduate School of Coaching, The National Human Services Assembly, The OD Network and The National Staff Development and Training Association.

When not on The Journey, Tom tries to keep up with his wife and two teenage sons while working in a little traveling, reading, and music playing.

Chief Organization Officer and Director of The Journey Fellowship For Students

With her background in education, service and non-profit management, Melinda is a natural at both making people feel welcome AND ensuring the important work of The Journey is organized and efficient.

She is the Director of the Journey’s program for college students, where she is a natural coach and mentor to young people exploring whether youth work could really be a career for them.  Melinda ensures all the Journey programs, fellowship and initiatives are well-planned and successful.

Prior to her work in The Journey, she served with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps as a tutor and trailblazer, worked as a fourth-grade teacher in a resource-challenged elementary school in Charleston, SC and ministered to students at Ball State University in Muncie, IN.

Melinda received her BS in Elementary Education from Ball State University and her Masters in Leadership Development with a focus on non-profit organizations from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

When not on The Journey, she spends time traveling, camping, crafting and hanging out with her dogs.  You can get one of Melinda’s own handmade scarves from Roundabout Journey at

Journey Advisory Team

Barbara Poore
Retired educator and consultant

Pam Clark
Consultant & Trainer, former Director of the Bartholomew County Youth Services Center

George Okantey
Community and Economic Development Educator, Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, Marion County

Dr. Carol Myers
Owner, Soulful Connections

Willis Bright
President, Bright Ventures, Inc., former program officer for The Lilly Endowment, Inc.

Tiffany Talbert
Director of Operations,
Peace Learning Center
2015 NewPro Fellow

Stephanie Yoder
Chief Operating Officer, Adult&child Health

Dr. Teri Jump
Evaluator and Owner, TJInsights

Skye Berger
Chief Encouragement Officer,
Skye Berger Group
2013 Executive Fellow