Professionals selected to prestigious 2018 Executive Journey Fellowship


Thirty executives from youth serving organizations from across Indiana have been selected to The 2018 Executive Journey Fellowship.  In response to a growing need for ongoing professional and personal renewal in the field of youth work, the Journey Fellowship was created in 2002 and funded by the Lilly Endowment Inc. The Executive Journey Fellowship provides Indiana’s youth workers greater opportunities to bring more meaning to their lives and make stronger commitments to the field of youth work.

“This Fellowship is about renewing individuals, which leads to renewing organizations and ultimately, to renewing the entire field of youth work,” says Tom Plake, Journey Leader.

Each of the thirty participants in the Journey Fellowship will attend a series of residential retreats designed to create new ways of thinking about and practicing youth work within existing systems and youth programs. Fellows are awarded personal renewal scholarships, and will be supported to make a difference within their local organizations and communities.

So far, the Journey Fellowship has served more than 900 prospective and current youth workers (2003-2017) through this retreat-based format. Fellows are engaged in creating exploration and renewal opportunities throughout the state of Indiana. Countless other youth workers have been served through conference workshops, day-long seminars, and other types of renewal for staff and organizations within local communities facilitated by Journey Leaders.

“We know that youth workers play a vital role in the lives of young people.  It has been documented in dozens of ways that youth who enjoy positive relationship with adults over time do better in life,” explains Janet Wakefield, Journey Leader. “We also know that many people enter the profession because they ‘want to make a difference’ and they enjoy building positive relationships with young people.  The Executive Journey Fellowship provides Indiana’s youth workers greater opportunities to strengthen themselves as leaders and invest in their careers serving the young people of Indiana.”



2018 Executive Journey Fellows!

The Journey is pleased and honored to announce the 30 distinguished Indiana leaders in the field of youth development who have been nominated and selected to be the sixteenth class of The Executive Journey Fellowship.



Jodi Alexander

Early Childhood Coordinator, One Community One Family



Allison Howland

Director of Center for Collaborative Systems Change, Indiana Institute on Disability and Community



John Nickoll

Program Director, Advocates for Children



Jennifer Johnson

Local Office Director, Indiana Department of Child Services


Derek McKillop

Grant Manager, Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation

Renate Stephens

Community Resource Specialist Supervisor, Southwestern Behavioral Healthcare, Inc.



Jessica Bissey

Clinical Psychologist Supervisor, Adult and Child Health



Twan Stokes

Lake County Deputy Director, Indiana Department of Child Services



Menessah Nelson

Executive Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County



Jennifer Deranek

Program Director, Girls on the Run Michiana; Clinical Assistant Professor, IU South Bend



Regina Ashley

Interim Commissioner and Chief Operations Officer, Indiana Department of Workforce Development

Sirrilla Blackmon

Deputy Director, FSSA-Division of Mental Health & Addiction

Michael Coleman

Unit Director, Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis

Doug Cope-Barnes

Evaluation Project Manager, Health Care Education and Training, Inc.

Robin Donaldson

Chief Operations Officer, Indiana Youth Services Association

Rachael Fisher

Executive Director/COO, Community Health Network

Marc McAleavey

Executive Director, Serve Indiana
Keith Monfreda

Associate Director of Program Services, AYS, Inc.

Sarah Reynolds

Manager of School Age Program Support, Early Learning Indiana

Peggy Surbey

Regional Manager, Indiana Department of Child Services

Melanie Walker

Northwest Indiana Outreach Manager, Indiana Youth Institute

Nancy Wever

Director, Indiana Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative

Amy Watts

Clinical Consultant, Indiana Department of Child Services



Sandra Ante

Local Office Director, Indiana Department of Child Services



Melanie Cox
Director of Leadership Development, YMCA of Greater Louisville


Nicholas Neal
Director, Geminus Corporation



Stephanie Rex
District Coordinator, Blue River Services, Inc.



Brian Harvey
Project Director, A Positive Approach to Teen Health


South Bend

Christy Burgess

Shakespeare Outreach Director, Robinson Community Learning Center, Notre Dame



Bill Barrows

Director, Wabash County YMCA


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