Faces of YPN

Meet some of the young professionals who are actively involved in YPN! We guarantee that you'll see at least one of them or meet a member of our Advisory Council at the next event! 

mike franz
communications & pr manager, visit south bend mishawaka

Do you have any secret obsessions? 
I love to watch the Baltimore Orioles play. They are my hometown team and in the past three seasons, I have not missed a game! Some may say I have a problem, I like to say I am dedicated.

College/university you graduated from?
I attended Holy Cross College right here in South Bend.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the area?
My favorite thing to do is attend South Bend Cubs games at Four Winds Field. Ever since I can remember, I have always been a huge baseball fan and the fun, friendly atmosphere at the ballpark every night makes for a great time during the summer.

Tell us about your job: 
In addition to writing copy for advertisements, newsletters, promotional pieces, blog posts and the annual visitors guide, I host a weekly Facebook Live video called “Your Six Picks to a Great Weekend” and serve as spokesperson for Visit South Bend Mishawaka for different media opportunities, including radio and television. I love my job because I get to go to work everyday and essentially promote fun in The Bend, which is very cool!

What character from a TV show, movie, or book have you always resonated with? Why?
I have always resonated with Dwight K. Schrute from my favorite show, The Office. He goes to a beat of a different drum and he always strives to be the hardest worker in the office.

Why do you love South Bend?
I love South Bend because of all the hidden gems you can find here. Whether you were born and raised here or you recently moved here, there is always a chance for new discovery and exploration. The East Race Waterway, Edge Adventure Park at Rum Village Park, South Bend Cubs, Potawatomi Zoo and La Rosita are a few of the hidden gems I have come across since moving here. With South Bend in a state of revival with everything going on downtown and the surrounding area, everyone gets to play a part in The Bend’s renaissance. 

jordan friesen
client executive, gibson

What’s your favorite thing to do when not being a responsible young professional?
I love research and learning more about the world around me. But also, there's never too much Netflix!

What’s the weirdest thing in your wallet?
For the past 17 years, I had been carrying around two 2 dollar bills in my wallet. For some reason, I decided they were good luck. I just upgraded to a new slim wallet/money clip combo and had a small moment of silence when I realized the bills weren’t going to make the transition. 

What’s your favorite four-legged creature, and why?
Definitely not squirrels. Veritable tree rats! If you’ve ever seen one up close, you realize that bushy tail is the only thing that separates them from their sewer kin.

Do you have any secret obsessions?
It’s not much of a secret, but I have an obsession with diving into hobbies and becoming way too serious about them… until I get bored and move on to the next one. Some of the more notable hobbies were bicycling (I rode from San Francisco to New York post college), woodworking (that was an expensive one, yeesh), and most recently cooking (name a kitchen gadget and I’m certain I have it).

College/university you graduated from? 
I’m a Boilermaker, through and through! 

Ryan Kiner
Senior Talent acquisition specialist, specialized staffing solutions

What’s your favorite four-legged creature, and why?
Goldendoodles! Three years ago, my family and I drove to Louisville, Kentucky to rescue a wonderful doodle that came from four different homes. 

If you were going to go to the movies along, what would be the perfect film for you to watch by yourself?
I love hopeless romantic movies! The perfect film would be a hopeless romantic film set in New York, Chicago, London or Paris.

What character from a TV show, movie, or book have you always resonated with? Why?
Sherlock on PBS-BBC...I’m a big fan of Benedict Cumberbatch who plays the Sherlock Holmes character. I like that it's a modern twist to a classic mystery book.   

Tell us about your job.
I have a great quote from Amazon’s Lindsay Mustain that summarizes my job. "I am not a recruiter. (I am not a headhunter.) I am a talent acquisition leader. I am an engager of high potential candidates who are awesome at what they do. I am a listener, a coach, a candidate advocate. I am a matchmaker. The reward is not a hire; the reward is not a transaction. It is a personal connection, a network, and a chance to watch people be successful and shine in their career."

What is your selling point for living in South Bend?
While I don’t live in South Bend, I do work here. The selling point of South Bend is I can be a part of the growth of the city as it will be one of the great cities like Chicago.

Where did you go to college? 
Art Institute of Chicago


brooke kostielney
director of marketing & company culture, c&s Machine Products

Do you have any secret obsessions?
TJ Maxx and Toffee Nut Lattes from Starbucks… And when I have a latte at TJ Maxx, watch out! That means some serious shopping is about to go down.

What’s your all-time favorite TV show?
Gilmore Girls and Friends. I’m still holding out hope to have a cup of coffee at the Central Perk or Luke’s Diner.

Where did you go to college?
I graduated from Saint Mary’s College with a BA in Communication Studies. I transferred into Saint Mary’s as a sophomore and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. When I transferred, I was unaware of the profound effect that the all women's, Catholic Saint Mary's education would have on my life. The Saint Mary's education, one of mind, body and spirit, didn't just prepare me to graduate and join the workforce. Saint Mary's helped me discover and develop my faith, showed me the importance of truly living out that faith, and empowered me to pursue my passions. My experience at Saint Mary’s continues to inspire me now as a professional to continuously learn, serve and grow within the Church and the community. 

Tell us about your job.
It is my responsibility to ensure clear, effective and creative communication both internally and externally at C&S Machine Products. I have the unique opportunity to participate in a variety of areas within the company, from managing branding and marketing efforts to recruitment and training. Every day brings something new and exciting!

What is your selling point for living in South Bend?
When my husband and I took the time to evaluate where we wanted to land and start our family, we realized South Bend embodies all of the qualities we were looking for – low cost of living, thriving economy, access to exceptional healthcare and educational options, and a strong and supportive community. South Bend has big-city amenities with some small-town charm… and what we don’t have immediate access to, we are a short train or car ride away! South Bend is the perfect place to raise a family!

If you were going to go to the movies alone, what would be the perfect film for you to watch by yourself?
10 Things I Hate About You… that way no one is shushing me as I recite every line of the movie! My trips to the movies require popcorn (the big tub, obviously!), Sour Patch Watermelons and Diet Coke.

Becca Lusk
Account Manager, press ganey

Tell us about your job.
I assist clients - primarily healthcare systems in the Midwest - with patient survey design and management. This helps determine how many patients should receive surveys in order to meet goals and we work to set up the best ways to view their data. In addition, I provide other customer service related help.

What's your all-time favorite TV show?
Friends! I am currently re-watching Friends on Netflix for about the 15th time. 

Why YPN?
YPN has been a great platform for me to connect with people. I have been able to connect with some people that I already knew, but in a more professional way as well as with lots of new people. YPN has also been a great resource for finding out the latest and greatest happenings in our area from learning about economic development to discovering new restaurants. 

Which College/University did you graduate from?
Indiana University Bloomington. Go Hoosiers!

What’s your favorite four-legged creature, and why?  
My favorite four-legged creature is my dog, a black Miniature Dachshund. He loves to spend time outside, go for long walks and snuggle.

What do you do (in your spare time) for professional development?  
I follow The Muse and love reading their career advice articles. They are always sending out great tips. I highly recommend! 

Jennifer Speary
External sales specialist, venue ND

What is your story?
I grew up in Michigan City and LaPorte, Indiana, a couple small towns about 45 minutes outside South Bend. As a little girl, I had the opportunity to play as an extra (a fan) in the movie Rudy. I accepted a full-ride scholarship to play Women’s Indoor Volleyball in the ACC and to pursue my college education at Florida State University. At the middle of my college career, I transferred to Purdue University to continue playing volleyball and to complete my bachelor's degree. After graduation, I coached volleyball and participated in the EVP (Elite Volleyball Professionals) Women’s Beach Volleyball Tour. A few years later, I accepted a position at Whittaker Woods Golf Club in New Buffalo, Michigan as the Food & Beverage Director and Wedding Coordinator, then found my way to the South Bend Region, furthering my career as the Sales Manager for the Inn at Saint Mary’s and Hilton Garden Inn South Bend. After a couple years of experience in the hospitality market, I recently joined the team at Venue ND with the University of Notre Dame. Go Irish!

What is your favorite sports team and why?  
The Chicago Blackhawks! Watching hockey at the Arena is the best experience, especially when we score a goal and the music blares! Also having the opportunity to host the Chicago Blackhawks at the Hilton Garden Inn/Gillespie Conference Center and the Inn at Saint Mary’s for one of their spring training trips to Notre Dame was truly a remarkable experience that I will never forget! Talking with Coach Q at our facility and sharing a conversation about one of my volleyball stories and getting a picture next to the Stanley Cup was not so bad either.

If you could do anything OR wish for anything that would come true, what would you wish?
A cure for cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

What’s your favorite four-legged creature, and why?
My dog Scruffy! He is a Bullmastiff and Rottweiler Mix, weighing about 100 lbs. He is a great companion and like my child. Whether it’s running through the park or offering him a treat, there’s no felling like looking at your pet adoringly and getting a loving stare right back! Your pets do a lot more than just make you feel happiness and love; they can also help lower your cholesterol, relieve stress and boost your self-esteem.

What’s your all-time favorite TV Show?
Big Bang Theory.

Tell us about your job.
As an External Sales Specialist with the new department, Venue ND at the University of Notre Dame, I am part of a centralized sales and reservations team for booking events on campus. Venue ND provides a one-stop shop experience for all event logistics. I assist with a wide variety of services including lodging arrangements, catering coordination, event space reservations and A/V set-up and registration. Our sales and reservations team can assist with booking meetings, conferences and events at Morris Inn, Notre Dame Conference Center/McKenna Hall, Duncan Student Center, O’Neill Hall and Corbett Family Hall, located inside Notre Dame's newly renovated football stadium. Our office is intended to provide you with easier and more transparent access to multiple venues on campus.