Leaders of the Future: Joshua Sefchek

Name: Joshua Sefchek

Age: 34

City of residence: Columbus

Family: Wife: Elaine Sefchek; daughters: Bentley and Tatum Sefchek

Education: High school: Culver Community High School; College: Trine University (2004) with a bachelor of science in computer engineering and Ball State University (2006) with a master’s of business administration

Your job: Senior software engineer specializing in Web and mobile development for business users at Toyota Material Handling; director of the Indiana Credit Establishment Foundation overseeing the administration, programs and strategic plan of the organization

How many years have you lived in Columbus? I moved to Columbus 10 years ago.

What are your activities and interests in Columbus? Columbus makes it easy to get involved in the community and find things to do. When I first came to Columbus going out and finding some of the intramural sport teams was my main thing. As time went on though, helping out with the Arts Council, Family Service and various other groups slowly replaced the sports. Now most of my time is spent getting involved with various organizations and meeting with people throughout the community.

The Columbus Young Professionals have honored you in the “life” category. Give us some examples of ways you lead in the Columbus community: It is all about helping people the best way possible. Years ago, I made a decision to always help those who asked for it and to never turn down an opportunity given to me. Volunteering, serving as a board member and donating to worthy causes are ways to stick to that decision. Actively looking for the chance to get involved is the first step in becoming the person who people know they can count on for help. To me, leading in the Columbus community involves being willing to give my time and talents whenever possible to all those who ask.

We understand you are interested in helping individuals build their credit. Tell us about the Indiana Credit Establishment and what you are trying to achieve with it: The Indiana Credit Establishment Foundation (ICE Foundation) is an organization created to help all people get to a better and more stable place financially. The organization specializes in micro-finance to help people do things like afford a better car, qualify for a mortgage and pay off high-interest debt while also providing financial assistance in case of emergency. The goal is to help people increase their financial health and avoid predatory lenders. In the community, there are some excellent organizations doing financial education and the ICE Foundation compliments these existing programs by providing the services that have been missing, specifically in credit health.

Your nomination also said you are active in Family Service in Columbus – what are your activities there and why is it important to you? Family Service does so much for the community especially when it comes to advocating and supporting families. They have an incredible amount of programming that likely impacts a majority of families in Bartholomew County without being seen. Serving on their board of directors is one way to give back and support them in everything they do.

What are some of the activities you volunteer in within the Columbus community: Finding a cause, need or event to volunteer for is easy within Columbus. With the wealth of organizations, anyone can find some way to give some of their time, energy and talent. Helping outstanding groups like Arts Council with their events has always been one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday. However, the most rewarding activities are those that come with tutoring and mentoring individuals. McDowell offers an incredible program for those interested in tutoring young people and adults. It was truly one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in Columbus and provided the inspiration to do more in the community.

If you could change Columbus in any way, what would that change be? After living in Columbus for 10 years, you get a sense of how much things have changed already; not only in the last 10 years, but over the course of the last 40 years. The community has seen a great deal of success and has shown its resolve through times of tragedy. As Columbus moves forward, it is important to realize what makes the community so strong. Columbus should continue to change, grow and find success while allowing everyone, especially those who have always been a part of it, to share in that success.

What do you think shouldn’t change about Columbus, and why? This area is rather well-known around the state and region for a number of reasons: community-wide events, a healthy not-for-profit sector and development of some outstanding leaders. The mix of people from all walks of life produces an area rich in innovation, experience and passion. This final product is only possible because of the people who live in the community. My hope is the people of Columbus never lose those qualities that make this community unique and successful.

When you talk about Columbus to those who don’t live here, how do you describe it? There is a challenge with describing Columbus to people who don’t live here. Fully explaining to people how the community provides what it does, how so many different people can live together without conflict and how the community continues to produce so many talented people is challenging and probably borders on unbelievable. Instead I usually simply tell people that Columbus is the only place where I want to live with my family.

If someone asked you what they could do to help the community of Columbus, what would you advise them to do? Teach others to love their community and inspire that same desire to help in them. Everyone has something they are passionate about and everyone has talents. Work to inspire those people to share their talents, passions and energy with the community however they choose. Go beyond what the single person can do and mentor the next group of people who want to get involved and help their community. Give back when you can and always work to inspire those who are watching you.