Lydia Runge-Quinn — an interior designer for Ethan Allen Design Center on Illinois Road — admits she has tons of regrets in life, and yet, all the choices she’s made (good or bad) make her who she is today. It’s for that reason that she’d never choose to have a “do over” if it were possible. The daughter of a farmer, Runge-Quinn’s fondest memory from childhood is sitting on the front porch with her dad, a German immigrant, listening to his stories during rainstorms. Although her dad was her greatest childhood mentor, as a adult that role fell to one of her store managers. “She was a domestic violence survivor who encouraged me, helping me realize how much more successful I could be without the abuse and the abuser in my life,” said Runge-Quinn, who was a victim of sexual assault as a child and is a domestic violence survivor.
“I’ll never forget her wisdom, along with the sacrifices she made for herself and her young boys to be free from her own situation. Strength comes from within.” It is these experiences that now make Runge-Quinn a strong advocate for victims. She’s passionate about the YWCA’s domestic violence programs and the crisis shelter. She’s also a board member for the Women’s Bureau Dress for Success Fort Wayne and on the YWCA’s Circle of Women’s steering committee. It’s easy to see then, why many have looked up to her. “I’m always amazed and humbled when someone — a former employee, friend, acquaintance or stranger — tells me how I’ve influenced their life and it happens often,” said Runge-Quinn, who is celebrating her 20th wedding anniversary this month. “You never how what you do or say can affect or influence others.”
Photo by Bonnie Manning, Feature Photographer