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Business Leaders Partner With Front Yard Bikes

A group of business leaders from our Leadership Coaching Series recently presented detailed proposals to help Front Yard Bikes, a powerful organization that is making a true positive impact on underserved children in the Baton Rouge community, expand its mission as it continues to grow.

The presentations rounded out our 5-week Leadership Coaching Series, which features competency-based leadership assessments, experiential learning and individual coaching — all culminating with a community-based project supporting a nonprofit organization. For this round of our series, we partnered with Front Yard Bikes, a community bike shop that focuses on teaching participants of all ages how to fix and maintain bikes.

Our Leadership Coaching series at its core is about next-level leadership and preparing leaders coming for whatever is coming their way. We cover everything from communication, presentation skills and professional branding to creativity, strategic insight and how to motivate teams. We first teach these principles then give our participants the chance to put them into action with a real-world project.

Front Yard Bikes is evolving and growing as demand from students and partners increases, so we challenged our leaders to develop strategic initiatives that can help the organization transition into its next phase of success.

Front Yard Bikes founder Dustin LaFont says he is so focused on the day-to-day operations and student mentoring that it’s often difficult to focus on the bigger-picture strategic direction of the nonprofit. “We never get our heads above the water and say, ‘Where’s the boat going in this journey?’’’ he says. “It was great to get some minds together because this is some much-needed thought about our processes.”

Visibility and Sustainability

Front Yard Bikes teaches and develops skills in mathematics, physics and mechanics, while promoting inclusivity, mentorship, recreation and academic achievement. They offer youth in the community a safe, free after-school program where they are taught responsibility and become peer leaders as they are faced with ethical and moral questions in their day-to-day lives.

To help this organization, our leaders from multiple companies divided up into two groups — Team Highland and Team Perkins. Next, they developed and presented detailed action plans directly to Front Yard Bike leaders and a group of business executives, who offered feedback on the content and delivery.

“We all come from different backgrounds and different lines of work, and I think for all of us this was a breath of fresh air — a chance to help a really remarkable organization become even better,” says participant Todd Modicut.

Both teams focused on proposals that would support sustainability and visibility for Front Yard Bikes. Team Perkins — Danae Reed, Brian Janis, Gail Gibson, Monai Rupert and Aaron Severio — developed a signature event that requires minimal resources. A Springtime Bike Fair would feature vendors and sponsors, tours of the Front Yard Bikes facility and produce for sales from the organization’s garden. The event would also offer a bike checkup station and a showcase of local school bands.

The team also offered tips to optimize the nonprofit’s website to help sell more t-shirts and outlined a plan to partner with bike-related nonprofits.

Team Highland — Kate Zieske, Jill Fenn, Will Merrill, Dallon James and Todd Modicut — designed a Halloween-themed fundraiser event that would allow children from around the community to trick-or-treat, participate in bicycle decorating and enjoy a community bike ride. “It would be a fun-filled day that the kids, sponsors and parents could all enjoy,” Fenn says.

The team conducted a SWOT analysis for Front Yard Bikes — and suggested a community advisory board to help develop stronger ties to corporate leaders in the area. They also suggested a police mentor program centered around bike ride-alongs with local officers, as well as partnerships with the Louisiana Retired Teachers Association to help tutor and mentor students.

This class was exceptionally thoughtful, creative and engaged in the development process for these projects — and it showed in their presentations, which offered real-world ideas Front Yard Bikes can build on. We’re proud to partner with an amazing community organization like Front Yard Bikes that is truly transforming lives in our community.

Continuing to Grow Community & Build Leaders

For nearly two decades, we have partnered with local non-profits like Front Yard Bikes. Our Management Incubator and Leadership Series participants can apply new knowledge and practices to these real-life projects that add value to the community.

We are excited to open this opportunity to other local non-profits this summer. If your organization is interested in partnering with our Leadership series participants, be sure to apply this summer to be our featured project. Join our email list and/or follow us on Facebook to be the first to know when the application is open.

The Leadership Coaching Series is a development program for talented leaders who are in line to take on higher-level leadership roles at your organization. Participants leave with an understanding of the competencies they’ll need as they take the next steps in their careers and action plans to help develop those competencies. The ideal candidate is a successful manager who was recently promoted or is being considered for promotion to a higher-level leadership role.

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