All of us strive for success in life, especially when it comes to our careers. When life’s daily stresses overwhelm us and prevent us from achieving success, we look for pillars of support. Meet Courtney Parthun, a La Porte community member who is that pillar for so many people.
“I think it’s super important to be a change agent in your community - to be involved and give back,” Parthun said. “Whatever your background, whatever your skills and ability, there is always an avenue where you can serve your community.”
Originally from La Porte, Parthun graduated from La Porte High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in merchandising with a minor in business from Indiana University Bloomington. Parthun then returned to La Porte where she began her career as operations manager for First Source Bank.
“I gained so many skills and knowledge there,” Parthun said. “It was my first career move, and I loved it. It was fulfilling to help people in my own backyard realize their dreams, whether it be buying a first car, starting a savings account, or purchasing their first home.
After a successful 10 years at First Source, during which she was awarded the Ernestien Raclin Community Leadership Award and a Partners in Business award for work with the community, Parthun worked for Sterno Delivery before she and her husband Chris had their son Cole in 2017. She then decided to focus on her family.
“I was working 70 hours a week at Sterno before I had Cole,” Parthun said. “I wanted the flexibility and time to watch my son grow and be a part of that while still having a career I’m passionate about.”
That opportunity came with a new position as success coach at We Connect, a new nonprofit organization led by Tom and Jackie Dermody, longtime friends and mentors.
“They’ve been customers of mine since the beginning at First Source. After 10 years of helping them at the bank we’ve had a good long history. I look up to them and have learned so much from them. It’s great to have them to bounce ideas off of,” she said.
We Connect was established in April of 2018 as an Employer Resource Network (ERN) aimed at helping employers to engage, empower, and retrain employees to reduce turnover and encourage growth. The ultimate goal of We Connect is to empower employees with the necessary resources to improve their lives, something Parthun holds in high regard.
“Family life style – that’s the premise of what started this. These people are experiencing challenges, but they are part of the community, they are doing something, working here, contributing in their own ways, and we want to support them in that in any way we can,” Parthun said. “We help with child care, transportation, housing, child support… whatever we can do to make them succeed and help them grow, we’re all about it!”
Parthun said We Connect recognizes the struggles employees face when their daily lives affect the moves they want to make advance in their career. The company emphasizes building relationships and trust, and makes availability for clients a top concern.
“We go on site to employers a few hours a week, whether they have an appointment or not, and are available 24/7 via phone or email,” Parthun said. “It’s important to be present, for clients to see our faces and really know us.”
“In my life I’ve been really lucky to have a good support system and resources that help me to succeed and keep advancing, but a lot of people don’t have those things and don’t know where to turn,” Parthun said. “Our goal is to help connect them with what’s out there and achieve the next level in their career.”
One of the driving forces behind Parthun’s choice to join We Connect was her love for the city of La Porte, and desire give back to a community that has given so much to her.
Parthun is expanding her civic engagement by running for clerk treasurer for the City of La Porte, but still plans to be a part of We Connect moving forward.
“I’m blending all of my knowledge and skills and abilities with my passion to serve with running for clerk treasurer,” said Parthun, “This community and its people have given so much to me, it’s time I give back to the community.”