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! 

Team Interest Form


tabbitha ashford
fitness and instructional program coordinator, university of notre dame recsports

Do you have any secret obsessions? 
Pretty Little Liars (I have to know how it finally ends!) and any of the “young adult” trilogies (Hunger Games, Divergent Series, The Maze Runner).

College/University you graduated from?
I have a B.S. in Biology from Dallas Baptist University and a M.S. in Health & Kinesiology from University of Texas at San Antonio.

What's your favorite season and why?
I love Fall! Gives me the chance to indulge in a few of my favorite things: boots, scarves, tea/hot chocolate and basketball!

Tell us about your job: 
I have the awesome pleasure of overseeing the Fitness and Personal Training programs at Notre Dame. Beyond handling the administrative work of these programs (i.e. hiring, scheduling, payroll, etc…), I also serve as a resource to the campus community for those needing advice or guidelines in developing and maintaining their own fitness routine. I’m also able to teach a variety of Group Fitness Classes and conduct personal training sessions. Both opportunities have enhanced my overall Notre Dame experience through the amazing conversations and interactions I am able to have with our participants. Truly happy and blessed to say that I LOVE what I do!

What’s your favorite thing to do in the area? 
My absolute favorite activities are the free fitness classes offered downtown on the Gridiron every summer. It’s been amazing to witness the growth and outreach of the classes over the last three years as well as connect with a variety of people through our mutual love for yoga and/or zumba. I also love trying out different restaurants in the area!

If you had the career of your dreams (besides the one you have now) what would you be doing?
Replacing Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives!

 

Chris Barth 
broker, Newmark Grubb Cressy & Everett

What was your career path? 
I started working for the Jordan Automotive Group washing and moving cars as a lot attendant and worked my way up to a Business Manager/F&I role. After about a decade in the car industry, I was given an opportunity with Bradley Company in commercial real estate and haven’t looked back.

What's your favorite part about working in the South Bend Region?
I was born and raised here, so I guess it’s the familiarity. It gives me the extra motivation to look at how my work in real estate can be beneficial to the community.  

What is your all-time favorite TV show?
The West Wing

Who was your mentor and why?
I would have to start with my parents, who taught me the value of hard work. From there, I have been fortunate to have quite a few others, many coming from my time at the Jordan Automotive Group and now at Bradley Company.

What is your favorite part of the work day? 
The end of the day is my favorite. I like taking inventory of what I accomplished and what is still left to do when I come in the next day. It not only gives me a sense of accomplishment, but also allows me to hit the ground running the next day.

Why YPN?
YPN has given me an opportunity to meet new people in different industries and learn about their successes and failures. I have made quite a few friends and business acquaintances as a result!


Ryan Dix
Bank Portfolio analyst, 1st source bank

What makes you happiest? 
Music. On the radio, in concert, jamming out on my guitar (aka playing some basic chords). Nothing connects with me like good music.

Do you have any secret obsessions?
I actually have two: neckties and cologne. I wear a tie to work every day now, but I’ve always had a thing for them. Cologne is another thing that I’ve loved for a long time; I change up scents depending on the scene, the weather, and even my outfit. Is that weird?

What’s your favorite four-legged creature, and why?
My dog Dexter! I adopted him from a shelter about three years ago. They told me he’s a poodle mix, but I’m not sure he has any poodle in him. He’s basically just a little white fluffnugget.

What College/University did you graduate from?
Hoo-Hoo-Hoo-Hoosiers!

What’s your favorite thing to do in the area?
I love Notre Dame Football season! Tailgating is one of my favorite things to do, even if I don’t end up going into the game. It’s a great chance to spend some time outside, see a lot of different people, enjoy some food and drink, and support ND!

What was your first cell phone?
I don’t remember the model, but it was the Nokia that everyone had circa 1998. I thought I was so cool, with the Simpson’s phone cover I had for it, snapping it into the belt clip I had attached to my cargo pants.

LIZ HARTER
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER, UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME 

Why YPN? 
As an alumna of Saint Mary's College, I was familiar with the area but moving back after three years in Cincinnati, I knew I needed to get involved with something to rediscover South Bend from a non-student perspective. YPN was a great way to begin to explore our area as it got me out of my comfort zone of Notre Dame and Saint Mary's, and gave me a connection and community in my new home. And believe it or not, YPN introduced me to other YPs at ND that I wouldn't have met otherwise since we work in different areas. 

What's your secret obsession?
I don't think it's very secret anymore, but I'm a huge Justin Timberlake fan. 

Tell us about your job. 
As the social media manager for the University of Notre Dame, I'm running the highest level accounts - @NotreDame on Twitter, etc. - and no two days are alike. Some weeks I spend my days searching out stories to share from across our colleges and institutes barely leaving my desk, and other times I'm running all over campus to cover important events live. In the past four years I've had the opportunity to live-tweet remarks from two U.S. Supreme Court Justices and the Vice President, travel to the U.S. Capitol for a birthday party for Father Hesburgh hosted by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and former Speaker of the House John Boehner, and ride 650 miles on a bus celebrating Catholic schools from Texas to Tennessee and Arizona to California. It's a pretty awesome job. 

What was your first cell phone?
Believe it or not, I didn't have a cell phone until my second semester of freshman year in college - shout out to international calling cards and landlines! - but when I finally got one, it was an LG VX-5300 (if that means nothing to you, it was silver, had a camera, antenna and dual-color displays ... it was an exciting time!)

If you had the career of your dreams (besides the one you have now) what would you be doing?
The job doesn't even exist anymore, but I definitely want to be the person responsible for booking celebrities onto MTV's Total Request Live. 

What is your all-time favorite TV show?
It's slightly embarrassingly, but I have to admit that it's 7th Heaven. Did you know the UP channel airs three reruns a day?! The heavy-handed morality lessons have gotten a little ridiculous with age, but the antics of the Camden kids plus whoever they'd chosen to take in that week are always dramatically entertaining. 

AJ SIME
GENERAL MANAGER, RESIDENCE INN BY MARRIOTT MISHAWAKA

Tell us about your job.
In my role as general manager of the Residence Inn Mishawaka, I have the opportunity to ensure that our guests have an excellent experience. Hospitality is fast-paced and it is exciting to be a part of this industry in our region right now. I am fortunate enough to be involved in every aspect of the operation, from sales to housekeeping to guest services. We have a great team and it's great to be a part of the Marriott family of brands and White Lodging.

If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?
Ten percent would go to the local church and community. I would buy an apartment complex with value-add opportunity. Maybe purchase a lake cottage and a boat but I would definitely continue working in the South Bend/Mishawaka area.

What makes you happiest?
People make me happy, especially those closest to me. I am happiest when I am with family and friends. I enjoy boating and being on the lake, bike rides with my wife and two boys, and exercising.

What was your first cell phone?
Motorola Razr - Electric Blue  

What is your favorite sports team and why? 
I'm a Boilermaker so I would have to say Purdue! I'm actually not a big sports guy but I really enjoy action sports like wakeboarding and snowboarding.

Where do you see yourself in five years?  
Let me start by saying that I like where I am right now personally and professionally. Professionally, I see myself as a dynamic leader in this great region. Five years from now, I will absolutely be an actively involved with YPN. :) 

BRYAN TANNER
SENIOR ENGINEERING TECHNICIAN, LAWSON-FISHER ASSOCIATES
AT-LARGE COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVE, CITY OF MISHAWAKA

What is your story?
I grew up in Huntingburg, a small town in southern Indiana. After college, I found a job in Indianapolis right before the Great Recession, and spent the next seven years riding the waves at several companies through the financial crisis. I met my wife Cari while still in school, and even though we got married in Indianapolis and had a great group of friends, we never felt rooted there. Mishawaka is her hometown, and every time we came to visit family or go to an event, it felt like home to me as well. I jumped at the opportunity to take a position with Lawson-Fisher Associates and we moved here without ever looking back. As amazing as the last several years have been building a family of our own, what really served as a catalyst for growth was when Cari and I took guardianship of her nephew Anthony two years ago. He’s a freshman at Mishawaka High School now, our three-year-old son Phillip looks up to him like a big brother, and I have never felt more compelled to do good. 

Tell us about your job?  
During the day I am the jack of all trades at our office, working on everything from designing and maintaining our company website to customizing and writing support documentation about engineering design software. However, most of my time at the office is spent developing 3D models and construction plans for infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, sewers, and commercial sites. Outside the office, I serve the residents and businesses of Mishawaka by organizing and attending neighborhood meetings, authoring and coordinating resolutions or ordinances which serve to address issues in our community, as well as act as an ambassador of the Princess City. I can’t be everywhere at once, and it can certainly be difficult with a young family, but there is a very good chance that if something is going on in Mishawaka you will see me there.

What's your favorite hidden gem in our region and why?
Scoobie’s. It’s a sandwich shop in downtown Mishawaka that makes some of the best toasted subs I’ve ever had. Get the chicken bacon ranch sub, add jalapeños, and let it change your life.

What character from a TV show, movie or book have you always resonated with? Why?
Any chance you remember “The Pretender” from the 90’s? The lead character was a super-genius and was able to quickly adapt to and perform any job he was presented with, from architect to neurosurgeon. I’m no super-genius, but I feel like I’ve always had the inclination and ability to take on new challenges. Although it requires years to perfect a talent, I believe there is tremendous value in adaptability as well as having both breadth and depth of skills.

What makes you happiest?
There is no better feeling in my life than coming home from work or a meeting and my kids excitedly running toward me, screaming and smiling, waiting for a big hug.