Connections Make the Difference

Untitled“Make connections! Build your network! Build relationships!” These are three statements that every college student hears multiple times throughout their time on campus. What does this mean and why is it important?

Ben Snowden graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in December of 2014, and lives to testify that relationships are key to starting your career. He majored in Accounting and Finance and began the job search before graduation, but he was not having much success.

On graduation day, Snowden ran into the Alumni Relations Director, Rick Carder, and got asked, yet again, what he was going to be doing after college. “I told him I was not sure yet and would soon hit the job search heavy,” Snowden said.

“He told me to contact him so I did, and he proceeded to give me three names. From those three names, I got an interview at all three places.”

Before he had talked to Carder, he was having a difficult time finding an organization with the right culture and environment. Because of all the connections that the alumni office holds with graduates, Carder was able to guide him in the right direction.

“I think the network he built is really cool,” Snowden said. “It helped me get a job at a place where the culture really does uplift Christian values. For me, being able to network with people from IWU who are aware of those opportunities was great.”

Untitled™From that one connection, Snowden’s firm called Hamil, Leman and England, ended up hiring two people from IWU. Their firm now has two recent IWU grads as staff accountants, and the Co-Owner of the firm, Brian Hamil, is an IWU MBA graduate.

“Rick Carder focuses on making connections and keeping in contact with people. For me, that had value because I knew that the connections that he was giving me wouldn’t just be for a job,” Snowden said. “They would be for a job in which the culture was Christian and could help me grow professionally and as a Christ follower.”

He regrets spending to much of his time and effort on work and school while he was at college. He did not take time to sit down with people and chat and just build strong relationships.

Snowden encourages everyone in college and even after college to take time to talk with people and build connections for the sake of relationships. “Often times out of those relationships you build, something great will happen,” he said. “The world becomes so interconnected that you never know what one of those connections could be. “

Along with help from the Alumni Office here on campus, many people receive career advice and assistance from the Career Development Office. Jordan Delks, their Employer Relations Coordinator, serves the students and alum by providing them with meaningful job and internship opportunities.

Most recently, Delks met with an IWU alum in Huntington. The alum bought an insurance business and told Delks he was looking to hire a few sales representatives. Delks was able to send the alum 12 resumes within a time span of two weeks.

Some alum find connections by pointedly talking to individuals such as Carder or Delks. Others attend conferences and events to independently network and get their name out there. For example, the Fort Wayne Alumni Regional Network meets nearly every month at the Fort Wayne IWU Education Center. This would be a great place to see new faces and shake hands with other professionals.

There are so many opportunities to make connections and build relationships here at IWU and around our community. We love to see our alumni succeed in every aspect of life as they move on after graduation.


Written by Kelly Reed. Kelly is a senior Strategic Communications major with a focus in Public Relations. She is the President of IWU PRSSA and hopes to work as a communications director of a nonprofit organization after graduation.

The Pursuit of Excellence- Merging Faith and Law

“It is the mission of Haelewyn Harris Law PLCC to provide superior quality legal services… that adheres to the highest standards of integrity and excellence.”

– Haelewyn Harris Law Mission Statement

Excellence; the nature of being extremely good. If one word could describe Brittny Woods-Harris ’07 and her work, it would be excellence. Incredibly successful as a lawyer and recommended by her highly impressive resume, Brittny Harris, co-founder of Haelewyn Harris Law in Detroit and 2007 Indiana Wesleyan University Alum demonstrates the value of quality work in all she does.

brittny harris
Brittny Harris
During her undergraduate career, Mrs. Harris was Cum Laude, a member of the Honor’s College, an intermural athlete, and a senator for Student Government. Following graduation, she went on to study abroad at Oxford, earned her Master’s degree in Government, and then obtained her Juris Doctorate at Regent University School of Law. Mrs. Harris has extensive experience in her field, from working with the United States Airforce as a law clerk, to experience in immigration law, municipal law, and civil litigation and employment law. Now Mrs. Harris is co-founder of a law firm, practicing law in areas that she believes contribute to the greater good of her community. Haelewyn Harris Law Firm focuses primarily on estate planning, special needs planning, and nursing home planning, among a variety of other services.

While her personal accomplishments are impressive, Mrs. Harris’ heart for people and justice is even more so. As a lawyer, Mrs. Harris stresses the integration of faith into her practice. Although she does not overtly voice her beliefs to clients, the way in which she relates with people reflects her personal faith.

“Of course there are Sunday-school answers for how to be a Christian at work,” Ms. Harris mentioned. (As a Christian) “You can demonstrate integrity and honesty in your cases, however, the best way demonstrate your faith is through love.” Mrs. Harris mentioned that this has been a struggle she has faced as a professional. In her field, demonstrating love and concern for clients is challenging; many lawyers are expected to exude serious, aggressive persona. Multiple colleagues have commented on Ms. Harris’ demeanor, critiquing her for treating her clients too nicely or demonstrating too much concern for them. However, for Mrs. Harris, this component of her work is non-negotiable.

“I have learned that I can be aggressive and still be nice,” Mrs. Harris explained as she shared her philosophy as a lawyer. Mrs. Harris’ integration of her faith and her work is far more pervasive than a simple attitude shift. The mission statement of the law firm states that Haelewyn Harris lawyers are dedicated to the highest standards of integrity and excellence. Emphasizing the value she places on these words, Mrs. Harris also invests her time in extensive Pro-Bono work, serving the Detroit area through need-based free or reduced-price consulting.

“This is typically a case-by-case project,” Mrs. Harris explained, “we work to help people financially where we see the need.” Mrs. Harris volunteers her services as a lawyer for the community as well as for her local church. She stated that as a lawyer she a certified attorney but also a counselor of law- and she sees the counselor part as a crucial element of her job.

Professionally, Mrs. Harris has aspirations for developing and growing the firm with the intention of eventually transforming the firm into a completely paperless law practice. She stressed the importance of maintaining interpersonal relationships and concurrently staying technologically on the edge.

“Stereotypically, lawyers are resistant to change,” Mrs. Harris stated, “so technology is not often well integrated. It is the hope of our practice to use technology as a means by which we can streamline our services and increase efficiency.” In the upcoming years, Mrs. Harris mentioned that she would like to see the practice shift to an entirely primarily virtual corporation.

In the life of Mrs. Harris, excellence also means balance. While an incredibly successful lawyer, this woman stressed the importance of other priorities in her life, primarily her faith, and her family.

“As a lawyer, it is a struggle to be a Christian first, and put my family second, and my job third. However, that is what I am called to do,” she explained. “I believe that is a Biblical principal.”

Mrs. Harris stated that her primary reason for starting her law firm was to facilitate this desired sense of balance.

“Many lawyers work twelve hours a day; having my own practice allows me to have the flexibility I need. I’m married and have a son, I want to be able to have time for them as well.

Reflecting on her time at IWU, Mrs. Harris mentioned that her educational experience helped her prepare for life outside a school environment in that it gave her a foundation and support system she has carried through life. As a Christian, professional, wife, and mother, Mrs. Harris has learned the value of pursuing excellence in all that she does as she merges her faith and law practice.

 Check out her Law Firm.

Written by Katherine Arch, Story Teller for Alumni Relations. Katherine Arch is a Junior English major at Indiana Wesleyan, and a member of the Track and Cross Country teams. She is passionate about sharing people’s stories and celebrating their divine potential in written form.