Dave Neff (@DNeff84) is the Founder and CEO of EDGE Mentoring, a faith-based intergenerational mentoring organization focusing on bridging the professional engagement gap. EDGE spans 40+ states and multiple countries and gathers thousands of professionals annually for its EDGE|X leadership conference.
“We’ve created a third space that’s outside the home. It’s not where you go to work or church. It’s a third place, like Starbucks, for millennials to engage in whole-life, intergenerational mentor relationships.” – Dave Neff
What We Discuss with Dave Neff:
- Dave’s first experience with mentorship and how it developed organically.
- What is the professional engagement gap and why it impacts most millennials.
- The philosophy surrounding EDGE Mentoring and how it formed.
- The balance of work, life, and faith. Can it be managed?
- The misunderstanding of millennials contributing to their bad rap.
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More About the Show
Dave Neff’s career started by working for the Indiana Pacers after graduating from Ball State University with a degree in Sports Administration. At first he worked in ticket services, sales, then he sold the suites at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
In 2011, Dave switched careers, taking a marketing position for ExactTarget (now Salesforce Marketing Cloud) in downtown Indy.
While working for the Pacers, Dave sold a suite to an animal health company called Elanco that operated under Eli Lilly. what started out as a business relationship between Dave, Jeff Simmons and the company he lead turned into a mentoring relationship.
In 2009, Dave was asked to join a twice-a-month mentoring call Jeff was starting with 3 other young professionals. But this wasn’t some bible study, it was whole-life, touching on the spiritual, personal habits and discipline, and career.
As time went on, they added more mentees with various backgrounds and they quickly became very close, taking trips and networking, even participating in each other’s weddings.
After the acquisition of ExactTarget by Salesforce, Dave was faced with a choice – either stay and ride out the transition, or try something different. He looked to his mentors in the company, and nearly all of them were leaving. So he decided to go a different direction too.
In 2014, Dave founded EDGE Mentoring, a young professionals mentoring organization aimed at connecting faith-driven professionals with like-minded peers.
Dave had a deep upbringing in the Christian faith. He grew up in a very conservative Evangelical household, attended a prestigious private Christian high school in Indy, and was involved in CRU in college.
“While there was a some great merit [to my church], and I learned the Gospel,… you didn’t hear the word grace a lot about grace,” Neff says. “It was sort of this very prideful ‘this is my faith, and if we don’t line up on every jot and tittle, then we aren’t on the same team.’”
Instead, leading his faith-based mentoring organization, Dave strives to seek out and surround himself with people that don’t believe exactly what he believes.
Now in its fourth year, EDGE is quickly becoming the go-to resource for young professionals of faith to to explore deep connections with like-minded peers and learn from mentors they can look up to.
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