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in this ISSUE

connecting our community

celebrating women

8

PATHFINDERS women leading the way for other women

featured profiles

16

JACQELLE LANE edgeucation: a calling to the classroom

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connecting to our mission

JILL ORTON

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american red cross: leading by example

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MARY ANN O’BRIEN obi creative: driving change • empowering others

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MARY VANDENACK

connecting to our caregivers

THE BIG connection

vandenack weaver llc: great people to have on your side

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BRENDA WICHMAN

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blue cross and blue shield of nebraska: here for our customers

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JILL THOMAS hurrdat media: storytellers

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WENDY MOORE

connecting to our leadership

the zendy way: elevate & create retreats

we ask you…

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WOMEN INSPIRING WOMEN question & answer section

spotlighting our partners

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OHB: COMING A LONG WAY omaha home for boys

connecting to our vision

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departments/columns

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GAME CHANGERS • MELANIE MORRISSEY CLARK presented by planitinc.

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SHARE OMAHA lifting up do-gooders

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OMAHA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION omaha giving

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metroSPIRIT with mary vandenack

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VANDENACK WEAVER LLC planning matters

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connecting to our inspiration

SWARTZBAUGH, FARBER & ASSOC. your money

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STEPHANIE VONDRAK

connecting to our diversity

impact!

events

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SCENE highlights from recent charity & cultural events

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mMAGAZINE • CELEBRATING WOMEN 2021

PHOTO COURTESY OF DWYER PHOTOGRAPHY

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CREDITS

metroMAGAZINE is wholly owned and operated by the publisher and is not affiliated with any other publication, operating solely on subscription and advertising revenues and the good will of the agencies and charities we support; all of which are very important to the continuing growth and quality of this publication. Thank you to all who support this endeavor.

partner with us...

OFFICE/SALES

402.932.3522 | sales@SpiritofOmaha.com

CELEBRATING WOMEN 2021 • VOL. 33 NO. 2 Press releases and other editorial information may be sent to: P.O. BOX 241611, OMAHA, NE 68124 or e-mailed to: Editor@SpiritofOmaha.com Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Andrea L. “ANDEE” Hoig

Creative Collaboration Elissa Joy Omaha Community Foundation

MISSION STATEMENT ALH Publications exists to inform, inspire and connect those who give back to the community through volunteerism and philanthropy, recognizing the ongoing efforts of area businesses, organizations and individuals who better our community.

MAKE THE CONNECTION!

“We have generations of individuals that have passion, and generations that have need. When those two meet, great relationships occur. metroMAGAZINE and The Giving Guide & Event Book consistently help connect and foster those relationships.” ~ NATE DODGE PRESIDENT, NP DODGE COMPANY

Contents of this magazine are copyrighted by ALH Publications, Inc. in their entirety. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise - without prior written consent of the publisher. ©Copyright 1990 – 2021 ALH Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Jim Scholz

Editor/Creative Director Rob Killmer

Kara Schweiss SHARE Omaha

Community Engagement CONNECT@SpiritofOmaha.com

402.932.3522 • CONNECT@SpiritofOmaha.com

Swartzbaugh-Farber & Associates Stephanie Vondrak D.D.S. VW Law

Special Thanks Printco Graphics

M ichael J. Weaver, J.D.

What else is possible in 2021?

CONNECTING OUR COMMUNITY

with ANDEE Hoig podcast

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ADAPTING TO MEET YOUR NEEDS! FALL 2021 EDITION!

RESERVE YOUR SPACE EARLY & SAVE!

The Giving Guide & The Event Book 2021 Email us at CONNECT@SpiritofOmaha.com Email Subject: “FALL TGGEB21!”

CELEBRATING THE ONGOING COMMITMENT OF OUR COMMUNITY’S GIVING SPIRIT WITH TWO EDITIONS IN 2021!

PUBLISHER ANDREA “ANDEE” HOIG

FALL 2021 EDITION! RESERVE & SAVE!


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words FROM MY HEART

2021: A NEW

mMAGAZINE • LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER

commitment

Dear Friends, Welcome to our inaugural Celebrating Women issue! As a woman business owner and entrepreneur, I know the determination and the inspiration required to overcome challenges and be successful. You will find that determination and inspiration in the women featured in this issue. I am blessed to have so many amazing women in my life and I find a lot of my inspiration from these women.

As publisher of both metroMAGAZINE and Midlands Business Journal, I feel a special responsibility to recognize, celebrate and support inspiring female visionaries, entrepreneurs, game-changers and leaders in both the corporate and nonprofit sector. Women are here to contribute and we are changing the world! We will be opening up nominations again soon and will have a big announcement—stay tuned! As the premier publication in the Omaha metro area focused on philanthropy, charity and culture, we are excited to see our nonprofit partners presenting events again. Some are live, some are virtual and some are a hybrid. We will support, promote and cover them all. I have talked with over a hundred nonprofit leaders over this past year and have a true understanding of the challenges they have endured during the pandemic.

ANDREA L. HOIG ahoig@SpiritofOmaha.com

ENTER YOUR 2021-2022 CHARITY EVENTS NOW!

Our August issue will highlight several of these nonprofits along with what is happening this fall. Thank you for your continued support of our nonprofit community. We are all in this together!

Events will be included in: • weeklyCONNECTOR e-newsletter, • print and digital editions of metroMAGAZINE • Fall edition of The Giving Guide & Event Book • SpiritofOmaha.com

What else is possible now? ~ Andee

1

Go to SpiritofOmaha.com and click on the “Local events” link

2 Click the “PROMOTE YOUR EVENT” link…

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mMAGAZINE • CELEBRATING WOMEN 2021

Fill out your event basics & hit “SUBMIT”


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Beverly Kracher, a college professor for nearly three decades, founded a local nonprofit focusing on business ethics in 2005.

Julie Cornell is known to Omahans as a longstanding television journalist and newscast anchor.

five WOMEN

“i remember a class i took in graduate school, and i news set and that they wanted to see only men, per was the only female in the room, as usual,” she said. tradition. stand on incredible achievements in very “the professor went around the class and gave different areas, but they have one thing in extensive content feedback on all of the male’s “that was hard to take,” she recalled. common: their leadership is pioneering the papers. he got to me and said, ‘beverly, your paper way for others to follow. is typed very well.’ that was it. seriously! i don’t by the time she landed in omaha, where she’s been think he knew what to do with a female student.” for 29 years, broadcast journalism was a better Dr. Beverly Kracher is the first female endowed place for women. chairholder in Creighton University’s Heider College people have told her she has a “chip on her shoulder” of Business, and she is also the founder and former when she relates experiences like that, Kracher said. “i started out in a really small market and i took CEO of the nonprofit Business Ethics Alliance. She’s “but it gets burned in your brain that you are judged meaningful steps to work my way up,” she said. only in her early 60s, but when Kracher entered the differently.” “i really feel like the pioneers came before me. there workforce, it was at a time when women were was a generation before me—carol schrader, underrepresented in many workplaces and other women can relate. after graduating from loretta carroll, rose ann shannon, marcia especially in leadership positions. journalism school, Julie Cornell, now an anchor ladendorff—and they were really the pioneers for Ketv, entered a shifting field. cornell said she who came to this male-dominated field and had to Kracher recalled her acute awareness of being the remembers feeling in the 1990s like she wasn’t only female employee at the department of roads being taken seriously because she was both young break down barriers and take a lot of criticism and early in her career, but she saw discrimination as and female. focus groups at the time revealed that behavior that is no longer acceptable. they really early as college. started it off.” many older men said women didn’t belong on a

THESE

WOMEN LEADING THE WAY FOR OTHER women 8

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stOry by KARA SCHWEISS • phOtOs prOvided cOurtesy Of FEATURED PERSONAS

magazine magazine •m •m

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your story Sasha Shillcutt is a medical professional and professor, and she’s also the founder of a company that empowers women.

Heidi Wilke is an advocate for sexual assault victims and founded a local program which provides expert and compassionate emergency care and evidence collection.

Sherie Thomas is a member of the police department who was recently promoted to captain, and is often recognized in the community for her recent role as a public information officer.

REALIZATION AND INSPIRATION Dr. Sasha Shillcutt has been successful by all counts—one of the youngest members of her department to earn tenure, recipient of an nih grant, more than 50 articles published in peer-reviewed publications—yet she was surprised to discover that as time went on and she advanced in her medical career, she experienced more discrimination and disengagement. “in about 2013 i came to a pivotal point in my medical career where i had a lot of success speaking, doing research, and writing and publishing. but i felt very isolated as a woman in medicine,” she said. it eventually led to burnout, shillcutt said, but also a realization. “i went through a year of intense self-discovery and putting my health and well-being back in first place in priority. i also realized i needed female friends and peers,” she said.

“that (group) became my company, brave enough (becomebraveenough.com), which now has thousands of women in my community,” she said. “i started a community online, and then i started a conference and events, and wrote a book, and now i teach classes for women professionals on how to create work/life balance and success on their terms.” by the time Sherie Thomas entered training for the omaha police department in october of 1998, law enforcement was already welcoming more women in the ranks. “if it’s a traditionally male-dominated field, it does not mean that you cannot pursue a career or break a barrier or shatter a ceiling because of what people say, or what they’ve been told or what tradition is. what do you believe you can be? what do you want to be?” thomas said. “with hard work and determination, you can be anything. i mean that, and i hope that women truly believe that.”

shillcutt reached out to women she’d met throughout the country and created a group of nine women that became a community. she also realized she was not alone in her experiences from wanting to be seen to contending for leadership to figuring out how to lead.

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celebrating WOMEN

WOMEN leading THE WAY FOR OTHER women

YOU CAN shake up THE CONVERSATION AND THE WAY THINGS ARE THOUGHT ABOUT AND REALLY contribute TO A GROWTH THAT WOULDN’T happen OTHERWISE.

~ BEVERLY KRACHER creightOn university heider cOLLege Of business

“everybody handles it in their own way after they’ve been through a rape or a sexual assault. i can understand why people would hesitate to report everything; i’ve known women who have waited years. i don’t know how you hold that in; that was never my path, but there are women and men who do that… whatever path you choose, know that path is okay. and nobody should tell you it isn’t,” she said. “you should choose what works for you, and if you decide you do want to tell somebody, you should not feel bad about it and will hopefully find somebody who listens and doesn’t judge.” wilke has been that listener for many other survivors and still talks to community groups occasionally. she’s seen the stigma surrounding people who’ve experienced sexual assault decrease over 20 years, “but we still have a long way to go.” BEVERLY KRACHER intervieWing dr. gOLd, unmc chanceLLOr, at the bi-annuaL executive breakfast Of the business ethics aLLiance

in 2003, she and her husband, Jeff, were instrumental in establishing methodist hospital’s heidi wilke sane/sart survivor program. the program, which was the first of its kind in the area, her nearly 23-year career has been diverse—inFIGHTING THE STIGMA provides survivors of sexual assault with expert and service training, internal affairs unit, domestic Heidi Wilke was a trailblazer of a different type. in compassionate emergency care and evidence violence unit, on patrol, in schools, public 2002, she survived being abducted, robbed and collection. wilke said she’s proud to lend her name information office, front desk unit—with raped. she chose to come forward and openly speak to a program that now serves both women and men, universal success punctuated by steady about her experience despite the stigma of sexual and its team also receives special training to serve advancement. in march, thomas attained the rank assault still culturally prevalent at the time; she the lgbtQia+ community. in 2020, the program of captain and now oversees several units. even faced discouragement from other female cared for 264 survivors. family members. wilke, however, said she felt she “of course i wasn’t the first, but i do believe that i give other women encouragement. you know how could help others by being forthcoming. she faced “it’s a whole different experience now, having a her attacker in court. she also began speaking to nurse who’s specially trained to deal with you and the saying goes, ‘if you can see it, you can believe access to advocates from women’s center for it?,’” she said. “i know that there were women who groups about finding support after sexual assault and discovered that every time she shared her story, advancement, and having a special place to be came before me and i’m very thankful for those where you’re not sitting in an emergency room who paved the path before me. i look to continue to “it became a little less intense.” wilke emphasizes that she always says women who choose not to talk with other people,” wilke said. “it takes away the further that path and continue to inspire other shame factor.” about similar experiences should be respected. women and young girls to be all that they can be.”

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WORK/LIFE BALANCE creating a path for others is not without its struggle. “you’re wearing multiple hats,” thomas said. “it’s a balancing act.” she became pregnant with her oldest daughter while in college. “i had a lot of responsibility plus school as a single mom at the time,” she said. “i was determined to finish—and i did. i graduated and later on started my career with the police department.”

• mmagazine

WHATEVER path YOU CHOOSE, know THAT PATH IS OKAY. AND nobody SHOULD TELL YOU IT ISN’T.

~ HEIDI WILKE methOdist hOspitaL’s heidi WiLke sane/sart survivOr prOgram

thomas married and had two more children during her career, plus has some additional responsibilities with her parents after her mother experienced a life-changing health crisis. none of it is easy, she said. “i am a wife, mom, daughter and a community leader but still trying to strive to be successful in my professional career,” she explained. “police officers are people, too, and they have challenges as well. and it’s a stressful field where you have to be mentally and physically present, ready to show up and deal with the unknowns of the day.” shillcutt said she found that other women related to the quandary of achieving work/life balance. for her it was difficult “trying to show up fully as a mom without sacrificing my career” while simultaneously “showing up for patients but not sacrificing family.”“it’s very hard. i think it’s like that for most women in most professions, certainly,” she said. “there are many studies to show—it doesn’t matter what profession you’re in—that women do nine more hours of domestic duties (than their male partners) in a week, on average, in the u.s. it’s funny because women go, ‘what’s wrong with me?why can’t i do this?’ it’s not you.”

JEN TRAN team Leader Of fOrensic nursing fOr methOdist sane/sart survivOr prOgram

when she travels for speaking engagements, people still ask who’s watching her children, shillcutt added. “but nobody would [ever say something like thatv to my husband.“

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celebrating WOMEN

WOMEN leading THE WAY FOR OTHER women

IF YOU LEARN TO

adapt AND grow WITH YOUR CAREER, YOU CAN HAVE IT forever.

~ JULIE CORNELL, ketv

JULIE CORNELL On the set Of ketv neWsWatch 7

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cornell and her husband bill randby (who’s a meteorologist on the Ketv news team alongside his wife) welcomed twins 18 years ago when their first child was still a toddler. cornell said it could be “overwhelming” at times, but she didn’t want to let go of her meaningful career. “a lot of women think they have to do one or the other, but i think there are creative ways to do both…i was fortunate enough to able to take eight years and go part-time; my bosses offered it at the time,” cornell said. she focused on feature stories and documentaries during that period. “i felt like i did some good work while launching (her children) into their school years.”

• mmagazine

I’M PROUD OF CREATING A community WHERE WOMEN CAN empower THEMSELVES AND GET advice FROM OTHER women.

~ DR. SASHA SHILLCUTT, brave enOugh

SLOW CHANGE Kracher has the benefit of both perspective and hindsight, but she said one struggle for women in the workplace is that change can be frustratingly slow. “because of the nature of the transfer of knowledge, change doesn’t happen in one generation. it’s one step forward, two steps back,” she said. “it’s the delicate generational dance, when to advise or when to simply smile and say, ‘you will learn through your own experience.’”

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shillcutt said change is still slow in her sector. in medicine, women make up the majority of workers but a small percentage of leadership. “so there is a massive disconnect. we are many in the ranks, but we are few at the top and we are not where decisions are being made routinely,” shillcutt said. and in any profession, she added, women can face backlash if they are considered too assertive or the opposite. “so you might as well be yourself.”

SASHA SHILLCUTT giving a ted taLk at tedx

looking back at her career, shillcutt said she would do some things a little differently

“i think i would have waited less for someone to give me permission to start my community, write my book, do my own thing,” she said. “i think as women we work above and beyond to be noticed and we

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celebrating WOMEN

WOMEN leading THE WAY FOR OTHER women think if we work hard and have good outcomes and “it is progressing,” she said. “you see more women produce a lot, naturally we’ll get promoted or we’ll who are chiefs of police. i’ve met black women who be recognized, or someone will select us for this are chiefs of police in different police departments leadership course or some professional throughout the company, which is very encouraging development. but that doesn’t happen, and i wish and inspirational. and it seems like there are more that i would have not waited for someone to give women going into law enforcement.” me permission to do the things i know i could have done earlier in my career.” cornell said she’s witnessed a similar, welcome shift in the broadcast news sector.

SHAKING UP THE CONVERSATION

“it’s so much better. it’s evolved so much. women are working every shift and every job; they’re involved in every aspect of newsgathering and putting a newscast on the air and putting a website online. “when people have been doing the same thing for a they are general managers, they are news directors, while, they often want something that wakes them anchors, technical directors—they do up again. when a woman walks in the room and everything… i would say there are more women in there hasn’t been one in the room, that wake-up the field now than men,” she said. “especially in the happens: ‘there’s something new going on!’” she last 10 years, there has really been an effort to look said. “you can shake up the conversation and the like our audience, to represent our audience; they’re way things are thought about and really contribute the ones watching us. we have such great diversity to a growth that wouldn’t happen otherwise.” at Ketv and i’m very proud of our team.” Kracher said there are advantages of being the first woman in any environment.

the process is not only productive, it can even sometimes be fun, Kracher said. and over time she’s seen less delineation between ‘male’ and ‘female’ management styles. “i would not say i brought femininity; i brought being a female leader to my community,” she explained. there is a lot of hope for future generations, Kracher added. homogenous board rooms of caucasian middle-aged males are dissipating and being replaced with teams of greater diversity in most sectors. things may not be ideal, but it’s still better for women in the workplace today than in past decades. and they’re still fighting for equality.

Kracher said she’s happy to see more women in business find their presence. “as i’ve matured, i’ve thought about having a voice. it’s important to recognize our unique voices and use them,” she said. “we are each different; don’t hide and don’t be afraid. we have to have the courage to really be ourselves. “ wilke has watched the sane/sart program she established grow locally and serve as a model for other communities.

“so many good things came out of one bad thing,” she said, adding that she’s proud of being a survivor and overcoming trauma. “i relate it to putting it on a shelf. i know it’s on the shelf, but i don’t have to “the joy i feel when i see the strength and courage of our young leaders; i am so proud. they dream the pick it up every day. i can pick it up and look at and think about, not being afraid and not being impossible dream, too. they fight the unbeatable ashamed.” foe—yes, this is a song,” she said, with a smile. thomas said she’s seen improvement in diversity throughout her time in law enforcement.

“i didn’t have a lot of funding, i didn’t have a lot of business experience. but i trusted my gut and i went for it,” she said. “i’m proud of creating a community where women can empower themselves and get advice from other women. because what i’ve found is that almost everything you’ve faced as a woman, someone else has already faced and figured out. when we share that, you get great advice and great feedback and you get confidence: ‘she faced this and figured it out, i can too.’” thomas has not only has excelled in her career, the self-described “people person” enjoys her work. “i think it’s a perfect fit.” “there are so many different ways officers can impact the community,” thomas said. “one of my favorite quotes is, ‘be the change you want to see in the world.’ i believe that and i try to walk that out and exemplify that in what i do… i actually am eligible to retire now if i wanted to, but my future aspirations are to continue to rise in rank and serve my community.” cornell said she looks forward to pioneering into the future. “i’m the first generation to really transition into the digital world in media. i started with an electric typewriter and five-ply paper scripts. now you can change things on the fly, and internet and social media is 24/7. if you learn to adapt and grow with your career, you can have it forever. you have to be willing to change, and it’s constant,” she said. “what’s next? who knows?”

shillcutt said she’s glad she created the supportive community she needed and shared it with others.

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• mmagazine

CAPT. SHERIE THOMAS

WITH HARD WORK AND determination, YOU CAN BE anything. I mean THAT, AND I HOPE THAT WOMEN TRULY believe THAT. ~ CAPT. SHERIE THOMAS, Omaha pOLice department

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celebrating WOMEN Educator Jacqelle Lane considers teaching a calling, and she strives to make sure every student in her classes knows they matter. She has also created an antibullying and teen suicide prevention platform the goes well beyond the classroom. “I THINK IT’S GOOD FOR KIDS TO KNOW THAT ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, AND YOU SHOULD NEVER SELL YOURSELF SHORT,” JACQELLE LANE SAID. “I LIKE TO TELL MY STUDENTS THAT I NEVER THOUGHT A LITTLE GIRL FROM OGALLALA, NEBRASKA— POPULATION 5,000—WOULD BE A PUBLISHED AUTHOR AND HAVE A PODCAST AND THE KIND OF REACH I HAVE.” She’s accomplished a lot, but Lane sees herself first and foremost as an educator since launching her teaching career in 2009, and she also is a passionate advocate for students and teachers alike. It’s surprising to discover that Lane didn’t envision herself as a future educator when she was growing up in western Nebraska. “It’s interesting the paths in life that we take, because I didn’t want anything to do with education. With the exception of my father, who was an attorney, I come from a whole host of teachers… I really did not think that was the plan for my life,” she recalled. “I graduated with a degree in communications and marketing from the University of Nebraska. I actually wanted to do ad sales.” It was a promising path. Then, former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne came to the publishing company where Lane interned and spoke to the group about his TeamMates mentoring program. Lane was inspired to sign on to mentor a young woman, an experience she said was unexpectedly life-changing. “I was going to go to grad school for marketing, and this one young lady totally changed the trajectory of my life,” she explained. “I felt like I was making a difference. I liked having that kind of an impact on someone else.” TRANSITION TO TEACHING So it was back to school for Lane, who enrolled in the Transition to Teaching program through the University of Nebraska. She ultimately earned a master’s degree in educational administration and several certifications, and she is currently studying for a master’s degree in school counseling. As much as she loves being a teacher, it’s not an easy profession, Lane said. Her

practicum and first teaching position were at My mother is an advocate for at-risk the B.E.S.T Education Level III Alternative adolescents and started alternative schools in Education Program in Lincoln, where she taught western Nebraska.” some of the most challenged, at-risk youth in Her father’s compassion came from a the region. She often shares the story of the different position. vastly different outcomes for two teenage “My dad was a defense attorney. I remember students, brothers Tyrone and Nate: Tyrone asking him one time, ‘Why do you defend—and I ended up shooting and killing another young probably said it this way—the bad guys?’ And man and is serving life in prison. Nate earned he said, ‘That’s interesting. What is your his high-school diploma and went on to become definition of bad?’ He said a lot of the people he a successful barber. He still sends Lane a defended weren’t given a lot of things that I had, Christmas card every year. they didn’t have loving and supportive parents “It’s a very poignant and kind of sad story and all the resources we had, and they had to about how you can come from same family and make decisions based on what they were given. you can be raised in the same circumstances, And if you were in that position, you might have but one brother took a drastically different done the same thing.” turn and made different choices than the She thinks of that wisdom imparted like a other,” she said. “Scout/Atticus Finch” exchange from her favorite Lane also taught English at Lincoln Northeast book, To Kill a Mockingbird , Lane said. “I will High School before moving to Omaha in 2015. never forget that moment.” It became especially She now teaches 6th-grade language arts and precious after her father died when she was still English at Omaha Public Schools’ Alfonza W. a teen. Davis Middle School and also serves as sponsor Lane said she hopes she is providing some for several student activities. Even after a wisdom in turn to the next generation, but it’s decade, Lane said, she still mulls over what only to her kids in the classroom—so far. She more she could have done for Tyrone, and she isn’t entirely kidding when she tells people who never stops thinking about what educators can ask if she has children, “I have 136 of them.” do for other youth like him who are slipping “I feel like I do have kids. I do feel I am, in a through the cracks in the system. sense, like a parental figure to them where I’ve “While I wanted desperately to make a been so blessed to have that moment in time difference, I learned that, unfortunately, there with them,” she said. “Hopefully they learned a were going to be things that were out of my little bit from me, and I get to see them grow control,” she said. “But I will always try to do my and change.” best to support my kids in any way that I can.” EVERY CHILD MATTERS And like a parent, she loves those kids dearly, MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS There have been other devastating losses Lane said. That love is behind her anti-bullying and suicide prevention advocacy she calls among her past students, including suicides. “Every Child Matters: Preventing Teenage But Lane sees far more wins, and she’s still Suicide and Reducing Bullying” intensely committed to making meaningful connections to her students even after a dozen (jacqellelane.com) that is reflected in several major efforts she introduced in 2020: a years of teaching. She also continues to take podcast called “Education with an Edge” that the responsibility of her influence on young features guests who’ve overcome challenges; a people very seriously. children’s book From Bully to Bestie that “I had great parental support. I never wanted emphasizes positive coping skills for children to for anything… That’s not a given for every kid,” use when they feel they want to lash out at she said. “I did understand, however, social justice and what that meant, from both parents. others, and helps counselors, parents and 16

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HELPING STUDENTS FIND THEIR LIGHT JACQELLE LANE A CALLING TO THE CLASSROOM teachers start a conversation; and Lane’s platform as both Miss Douglas County for America and Miss Nebraska for America 2020. “Everybody wants to be in an environment where they feel like they’re cared for… In order to be successful with as many kids as possible, we need to make every child feel like they matter,” she said. “There are no negative children. There are only negative behaviors. Children aren’t born broken. They come to us from all different walks of life and it’s our job to teach them how to love and how to be kind and how to interact within society.” Effective educators get to know their charges and allow imperfection, Lane added. “Really good teachers not only relate to kids, they enable kids to be themselves… You have to look at being a teacher as a vocation and a calling. You can’t look at it as a job. If you look at it as just a job and a paycheck, you’re not going to last very long.” Lane intends to last. She said she sees herself in the years ahead continuing to be an advocate for anti-bullying and suicide prevention. “I never want to place limits on myself; I definitely want to continue writing books geared toward helping children and helping the education profession as a whole,” she said. Lane said she’d like to apply beyond the classroom what she’s learned and observed as an educator, and what she’s learned from “some phenomenal mentors who have changed my life and so many kids’ lives.” “I would love on a broad scale to be a motivational speaker for educators. There’s no one who deserves and needs motivation more than teachers,” she said. “I would also love to— at the state level and maybe at the national level—be an advocate for teachers.” In the meantime, Lane is making a difference in the classroom and beyond, every day. At the end of every podcast I say, “You matter and your light matters. You have something to give to the world,” she said. “DON’T GIVE UP.”

We need to make every child feel like they matter. ~JACQELLE LANE

“EvEry Child MattErs: PrEvEnting tEEnagE suiCidE and rEduCing Bullying” jaCqEllElanE.CoM) • “EduCation with an EdgE” PodCast • “FroM Bully to BEstiE”


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celebrating WOMEN Jill Orton’s two-decade american Red Cross career has been diverse and interesting and she’s had the opportunity to grow as a leader as she helps execute the organization’s life-saving mission to alleviate human suffering. WHEN NEBRASKA IOWA REGION CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER JILL ORTON BEGAN WORKING FOR THE AMERICAN RED CROSS 21 YEARS AGO, SHE KNEW SHE WAS CONTINUING A FAMILY LEGACY OF SERVICE CAREERS; BOTH PARENTS WERE TEACHERS. BUT SHE HAD NO IDEA HOW DEEPLY THE ORGANIZATION WAS IN HER BLOOD. “My grandma actually was a Red Crosser. She used to set up the Red Cross dances, and this is where she met my grandpa,” Orton said. “And she was a 20-year blood donor! I was looking at her donor cards and discovered that 10 years prior to my birth—to the day, my birthday—she gave her first Red Cross blood donation. We even have the same blood type… It was just like it was meant to be.” LEAVING HER COMFORT ZONE Orton is from St. Paul, Nebraska, a town of around 2,200 north of Grand Island. She considered following in her educator parents’ footsteps but instead studied chemistry and biology (pre-med) at Mount Marty University in Yankton, South Dakota. Marriage and her husband’s career brought her to rural Nebraska. “So I’m not a teacher and I’m not a nurse. I will say that it was a scary time in my life when I said, ‘Oh my goodness, what am I going to do?’” Orton said. She started volunteering for the American Red Cross and also landed her first nonprofit job, working seven years as an assistant aquatics director for the YMCA in Hastings. “I coached every single swim team available: the high school team, a club team, the Y team. Those were my ‘kids’ before I had my own kids.” When she and her husband moved to the eastern part of the state for better auto industry opportunities for him, Orton said she admits she was reluctant to leave her comfort zone. “But it opened so many doors for me. I started out as a safety specialist at the American Red Cross (then called the Heartland

Chapter) in Omaha,” she said. “Within four years I was the director of the Health and Safety Services department, Training Services now. Then I decided I wanted to do something new, so I took my sales and marketing skills— transferable skills—and learned how to do fundraising.” She put those fundraising skills to use on a national scale during 2012’s Hurricane Sandy. “I’m not afraid to try new things,” she said. “I was able to help the Greater New York City Chapter build capacity.” LIFE-CHANGING OPPORTUNITIES Orton praises her employer for supporting professional development opportunities throughout her career. In 2009, she was allowed to be part of a one-month young professionals exchange to Taiwan with one Rotarian and three other non-Rotarians, an experience she calls “life-changing.” She was also connected with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent during that time. Later, Orton received executive-track training through the Red Cross’s Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) program. In 2010, she was promoted to executive director of the Loess Hills Chapter (Council Bluffs, Iowa). In 2013, she became the regional disaster officer for the Nebraska/Southwest Iowa Region, serving during the major June 2014 tornado outbreak that included twin twisters that decimated Pilger, Nebraska. Orton also experienced significant national deployments to disaster sites including Hurricane Irma in 2017 and Hurricane Florence in 2018. “It was eye-opening to help people get back to a new normal,” she said. “My job was to interface with elected officials to give them the skinny on what’s going on and to make sure we are listening to what their constituents are saying.” When her predecessor and champion at her chapter retired, Orton saw it as her call to action to become a region executive. She was named regional CEO for Kansas, Nebraska and Southwest Iowa in 2014.

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“It was one of the most difficult and challenging, yet rewarding jobs I’ve had. I have the same type of job now with a different team, but this first team I built from the ground up; it took five and a half years,” she said. “I built that team and I adjourned that team as well; not everybody gets that opportunity. Fun is the reward of a highly-functioning team.” RESILIENCY In 2020 Orton began her current role overseeing services in the realigned Nebraska Iowa region. “Our communities see us as the one Red Cross, so we’re becoming more integrated into a culture shift by not having two separate business models for our biomedical services, which are FDA regulated, and our humanitarian services,” she said. “We’re all humanitarian services; we have a life-saving mission to alleviate human suffering.” It’s a huge mission that spans a wide breadth of services, and Orton’s career has given her the opportunity to have a hand in all of them. “By leading by example, I can inspire others to get involved. I can share my experience and mentor and coach others,” she said. “It’s about leading others to be successful, not just you, and something that takes being a leader from the front, sometimes being a leader from behind, and being adaptable and flexible. The Red Cross really lives that skill set of resiliency, whether it be in communities, whether it be personally, whether it be for a family. I live that daily.” Orton added, “The Red Cross certainly has gotten into my blood. My aspiration is to inspire the next generation of Red Cross leaders so someday I can transition back into volunteering full time.” To volunteer with the American Red Cross, visit redcross.org/volunteer.

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SLEEVES UP. HEARTS OPEN. ALL IN. JILL ORTON LEADING BY EXAMPLE All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well. ~JULIAN OF NORWICH

aMEriCan rEd Cross, 2912 s 80th avE, oMaha, nE 68124 rEdCross.org/nEBraska • (402) 343-7700

We have a life-saving mission to alleviate humane suffering. ~JILL ORTON

It was eye-opening to help people get back to a new normal. ~JILL ORTON

I’m not afraid to try new things. ~JILL ORTON

2912 S 80th Ave, OmAhA, Ne 68124 • redcrOSS.Org/NebrASkA • (402) 343-7700


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DRIVING CHANGE • EMPOWERING OTHERS MARY ANN O’BRIEN OBI CREATIVE

Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon. ~PAUL BRANDT

MARY ANN O’BRIEN Founder and CEO of OBI Creative

DRIVING CHANGE BY EMPOWERING OTHERS—NOT JUST WITH BIG IDEAS, BUT ALSO WITH GENUINE CONCERN AND ATTENTIVENESS TO THEIR DEVELOPMENT—IS KEY TO SUCCESS, ACCORDING TO MARY ANN O’BRIEN, FOUNDER AND CEO OF OBI CREATIVE. “The best way to recognize someone is to entrust them with responsibilities that they are ideally suited to execute with diligence, skill and grace. That’s why I hire so many women—not because I’m biased against men, but because I don’t let gender stop me from seeing or believing what a person is capable of achieving for my business or our clients,” O’Brien said. O’Brien said much can be learned from others about how to deal with difficult people and situations, juggle responsibilities and forge forward without losing hope. For this reason, O’Brien mentors other women and is mentored by them, as well.

Early in her career, O’Brien was on a relatively fast track to corporate management at Gateway Computers. As a trailblazing CMO of Gateway, she directed one of the earliest recorded UGC (user-generated contest) campaigns. In the midst of the company’s heyday, she left the comfort and security of corporate America to dive into the startup world. Eleven months after making the move, she brokered a deal to sell the startup for millions of dollars. That success set the trajectory for her entrepreneurialism and reinforced her confidence in herself and her choices. “I went from having security and a great salary to possessing substantial wealth and skills that only few of us are privy to,” O’Brien said. “It was a huge change for me and required a leap of faith, but it opened a new world of possibilities for me, ones in which I didn’t just work for a successful company, but ran one.” O’Brien followed up that success with an intrapreneurial startup within Gateway that would become OBI Creative. She launched the company in 2001 with her first project, Digital Home Solution, for Gateway Computers. It was the first of many successes that led to the growth and capabilities of her agency. OBI Creative has since led numerous other national and global strategic initiatives for companies including

Microsoft, Sony, Viewsonic, Stericycle, Borsheims, Nebraska Crossing Outlets, Creighton University’s Heider College of Business, and Travel and Transport. Today, OBI Creative is an internationally recognized research, strategic communications and advertising agency with offices in Omaha, Des Moines and San Diego. O’Brien and OBI have earned various regional, national and international awards, but her favorite was winning an Integrity Award from the Better Business Bureau. O’Brien also strives to make change by serving on a variety of boards including the Greater Omaha Chamber, University of Nebraska Omaha’s College of Business Administration, Creighton University’s Heider College of Business, Business Ethics Alliance, Boys Town Development Advisory Board, FBI Alumni Association, United Way Women’s Leadership Council, Rescue Me Today and the First Responders Foundation. As someone in the prime of her career, O’Brien said she channels her inner confidence by practicing positive thinking, visualizing what she wants and viewing every day as an opportunity to learn something new.

402-493-7999 • www.oBiCrEativE.CoM • FaCEBook.CoM/oBiCrEativE twittEr.CoM/oBi_CrEativE • instagraM.CoM/oBiCrEativEagEnCy • linkEdin.CoM/CoMPany/147017/ 20

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GREAT PEOPLE TO HAVE ON YOUR SIDE MARY VANDENACK VANDENACK WEAVER LLC

Build a strong network of safe longterm friends who support you, cheer sincerely for your successes, and are there to care for you when you fall down now and then. ~MARY VANDENACK

MARY VANDENACK, CAP® Founding and Managing Member Vandenack Weaver LLC IN 2005, MARY VANDENACK FOUNDED VANDENACK WEAVER, LLC (FORMERLY VANDENACK WILLIAMS LLC), CREATING A TOP-DRAWER TAX, TRUSTS AND ESTATES, AND BUSINESS BOUTIQUE TO CATER TO CLOSELY HELD COMPANIES AND THEIR OWNERS. It’s hard to believe that Vandenack’s first career, before entering the legal profession in 1992, was training thoroughbred racehorses. “My whole family consisted of lawyers and I wanted to do something different. I took a career inventory with a skilled coach who told me I was a perfect fit to be a lawyer, a teacher, or a writer,” she said. “Choosing law gave me the opportunity to do all three.” Vandenack was recently appointed as a fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Council. She’s served as editor-in-chief of Law Practice Magazine and is currently secretary of the ABA Law Practice Division, and is a commentator for Leimberg Services, a prestigious law publication. With a CAP® (Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy)

designation, Vandenack said she enjoys working on philanthropic projects and helping families cultivate philanthropic values. Her other past and present honors include being named to the America Bar Association (ABA) Women of Legal Tech, receiving the James Keane Award for E-lawyering; serving in several positions in the ABA Real Property Trust and Estate Section; serving on the Nebraska State Bar Association Legislative Committee; and serving on the Creighton University Law Advisory Board and the Boys Town Fundraising Board. She received a presidential appointment to the ABA Youth At Risk Commission, was also appointed to the Commission on the Future of Legal Services, and serves on the Standing Committee on Technology and Information Systems. “I believe my success is attributable to the core values that we have identified for our business. Instead of thinking about what we can sell, we think about how we can help people. If you really care about people and find ways to help them, services

sell themselves,” Vandenack said. “Additionally, you find employees who love their jobs because they get to spend their days doing something of value in helping people. I admittedly have a strong work ethic. I sometimes laugh at suggestions of taking more time off because I love what I do. Helping clients inspires and energizes me. My clients are such amazing people who have done such incredible things that every conversation is like receiving a special gift.” Vandenack strives to stay on the leading edge for her clients. “I have long wanted to provide concierge-level services for clients that go beyond just legal services,” she explained. “We are working to adopt the latest innovations and technology available to take our service level to a concierge level and to offer related services via a comprehensive network of providers on a national basis.”

MvandEnaCk@vwattys.CoM • twittEr: MvandEnaCk • linkEdin.CoM/in/Mary-vandEnaCk-508020a/ • www.vwattys.CoM

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HERE FOR OUR CUSTOMERS BRENDA WICHMAN

BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NEBRASKA

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~MAYA ANGELOU

BRENDA WICHMAN Vice President, Member and Provider Services Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska TO BE THERE FOR OUR CUSTOMERS WHEN THEY NEED US. THAT’S THE HEART OF A COMMITMENT MADE BY EVERY BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NEBRASKA (BCBSNE) CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE—A TEAM LED BY BRENDA WICHMAN, VICE PRESIDENT OF MEMBER AND PROVIDER SERVICES. “Early in my career, I found that I loved the opportunity to serve customers; to make a difference,” Wichman said. “Our members need help in situations that touch their families’ health and financial well-being very personally, and we’re able to partner with providers to ensure they’re well taken care of.” Wichman got her start on Team Blue in 2007 and, over the past 14 years, has worked closely with BCBSNE’s service, enrollment and customer experience

teams. Prior to joining BCBSNE, she was an awardwinning customer service leader at American Express. She found her niche combining a customer-first mindset, operational process improvements and an inclusive, nurturing management style. Anyone who spends time with Wichman can attest to her warmth, wisdom and humility. “I have been extremely fortunate to have been surrounded with high performers who are supportive of me and the company we work for. We understand the vision we’re working toward and the importance of the role we play in achieving that vision. We all help each other succeed,” Wichman said. In the past year, Wichman’s team fielded over 270,000 member calls and 255,000 provider inquiries. “We genuinely care about our customers, so the work itself is reward enough,” Wichman reflected, “But it’s amazing when a member or provider goes out of their way to acknowledge how someone at BCBSNE helped them or that we made their day easier.” To quote Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will

never forget how you made them feel.” Of the more than 230 people in Wichman’s organization, 83% are women. In fact, women comprise 67% of BCBSNE’s over 1,100 employees across Nebraska and 57% of the executive leadership team. In recent years, BCBSNE has been recognized by the Better Business Bureau for Excellence in Customer Service and as a Community Hero through the pandemic. This spring, the company earned a Business Excellence Award for Leadership from the Omaha Chamber of Commerce. Other commendations include Best of Omaha, Best of B2B and Omaha’s Choice for Health Insurance, as well as Forbes’ lists of the Best Employers in Nebraska and America’s Best Mid-sized Employers. “I enjoy supporting and lifting up women in the workplace,” Wichman said. Having learned so much from women over the years about the type of leader she wants to be, she said she aspires to continue helping others build confidence, overcome obstacles and grow, professionally and personally.

1919 aksarBEn drivE, oMaha, nE 68180 • nEBraskaBluE.CoM • 402-982-7000

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STORYTELLERS JILL THOMAS HURRDAT MEDIA

You can tell more about a person by what they say about others than by what others say about them. ~AUDREY HEPBURN

JILL THOMAS Director of Podcast Services, Hurrdat Media STORYTELLING IS WEAVED INTO EVERY ASPECT OF HURRDAT’S MEDIA, MARKETING AND ENTERTAINMENT WORK, ACCORDING TO JILL THOMAS, DIRECTOR OF PODCAST SERVICES, WHO SAID THE GOAL IS TO CREATE MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES THAT TELL A CLIENT’S STORY THE WAY IT SHOULD BE TOLD. Interestingly, the motivating force behind her career choice began with an experience as a rodeo queen for Phoenix Jaycees Rodeo of Rodeos. “The rodeo didn’t directly inspire my career, but because of a chain of events, that opportunity led to where I am now,” Thomas said. “At the time, radio was not on my radar, but one of my responsibilities as an ambassador for the rodeo included a lot of travel and several promotional and media appearances. That’s where I developed relationships with some media personalities. It was through one of

those friendships that I had a conversation with a well-respected radio personality that guided and mentored me into my radio career. And that radio career brought me to Hurrdat Media.” Thomas said her radio career highlights are what some might call “inside baseball” milestones, but she is extremely fortunate to be celebrating over 30 years in this career.

Be careful with what you tolerate. You’re teaching people how to treat you. ~UNKNOWN

When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time.

“I’ve experienced station ownership, launching new stations and formats and working with talented creators who have a huge respect and love for their craft,” Thomas said. “And now, I couldn't be happier to find that I’m still surrounded by talented creators who have a huge respect and love for their craft in my work for Hurrdat Media.”

www.hurrdatMEdia.CoM • FaCEBook.CoM/hurrdatMEdia twittEr.CoM/hurrdatMEdia • 402.885.8567

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~MAYA ANGELOU

Everything will kill you, choose something fun. ~UNKNOWN


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THE ZENDY WAY WENDY MOORE ELEVATE & CREATE RETREATS

Be the change you wish to see in the world. ~MAHATMA GANDHI

WENDY MOORE “ZENDY WENDY” Elevate & Create Retreats

“OPENING A ZEN RETREAT CENTER HAS BEEN A DREAM OF MINE FOR YEARS. LIVING ON A HILLTOP, TUCKED AWAY IN NATURE, I ENJOY THE SERENITY OF OPEN FIELDS, LUSH FORESTS, WINDING TRAILS AND VIBRANT GARDENS,” WENDY MOORE SAID. “I WOULD ENVISION HOSTING RETREATS THAT ALLOWED GUESTS TO RELAX AND RECHARGE.” Elevate & Create Retreats is Moore’s dream come alive, providing mindfulness retreats, hosting intuitive speakers, offering virtual meditations, and educating about all things holistic. “Our events provide a calm, safe space to rest and renew, and some are simply ‘ZEN-tertaining’,” Moore said. “Examples are ‘Chakras & Chardonnay’ and ‘Evolution Meditations.’”

In addition, Moore said, “Morning Mindfulness retreats allow guests to detach from schedules and responsibilities and settle into a state of zen. Businesses can rent the space to host retreats, and renovations to the Garden House will provide an overnight option.” Moore began using the word ‘Zendy’ to describe feeling joy and balance years ago. “I have become ‘Zendy Wendy.’ I know my purpose is to help others navigate through life, embracing joy and curiosity. I have experienced changes and challenges in my own life, with career, relationships and parenting, which includes many years of foster care and subsequently adopting four amazing children, for a grand total of seven,” she said. Moore regularly speaks to groups about foster care and adoption as well as the importance of tapping into one’s unique purpose. She became a Certified Life Coach in 2018 and started Zendy Life Coaching. “This interaction allows me to coach about mindfulness and energy flow, so people can stop spinning their wheels and begin to move in the direction they

desire. I offer guidance on how to release negativity, rather than holding onto it, redirecting the energy to connect with the joy of life’s experiences,” she said. “It elevates my soul to witness how sometimes the smallest decisions can make the biggest changes.” She’s also taught hundreds of classes about essential oils, and her favorite classes, like Aroma Freedom Technique, focus on emotions and intuition, Moore said. She’s participated in many forms of meditation around the globe, using those experiences to develop her own unique type of zen meditation. Moore is also creating an online course called The Zendy Way: The Map To Mindfulness that includes energy courses with supportive coaching calls. Beyond the online courses, The Zendy Way offers travel “AbSOULutley Aligned” immersive zen retreats. “I want to be the change that reduces stress, adds joy and supports curiosity. I want to offer a map for those who dare to step off, slow down, and seek the truth that lives inside us all,” Moore said. “That is where the magic is.”

4550 n 216th st., Elkhorn, nE 68022 • ElEvatEandCrEatErEtrEats.CoM • (402) 850-0121

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SHARING women inspiring WHEN I WAS GROWING UP in Minnesota, there weren’t hundreds of job choices for women. I was told women could be nurses, flight attendants, secretaries or teachers. None of these options appealed to me mainly because I got seasick, hated hospitals, and had recently failed a typing class. I couldn’t see who I could or should be, and this created a ton of stress because adults were always asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. About that time, there was a television show entitled “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” It was about a 30-year-old woman from Minnesota, making it on her own, in the television business. On the show, I watched “Mary” break into a new field, woo the people she worked with, get promoted, manage her peers, and be successful. She was a new role model, and she taught me if I worked hard, I could break into any field I wanted because if Mary Richards (assistant television producer) could do it, so could I. Many real women have guided my life but watching someone I wanted to be like helped me take a risk, and gave me the courage to go to school in England, work internationally, and own my own company. Hats off to you, Mary! 26

BC Clark Bridgett “Biddy” Mason went from slavery to woman business owner. I first heard about Biddy some time ago. It gave me great strength when I read her story and understood she was in slavery, overcame and gained her freedom, and then continued on to open a successful business in the 1800s as a Black woman. That told me, like my mother and other women have said to me, you can do whatever you want if you have faith to believe and are willing to go after it.

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CURRENTLY THERE ARE 80 million people displaced around the world with no home to return to. One of the women who inspires me the most is Yazidi refugee and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad. In 2014, Nadia was kidnapped at the age of 21 by ISIS from her home in northern Iraq and held as a slave for three months. After her rescue, she has since dedicated her life to bring awareness and justice to the thousands of people who were slaughtered or disappeared during that genocide. She has met with leaders from around the world (including the United Nations, heads of state, and the pope) to advocate for the Yazidi people. Nadia also began her own organization called Nadia’s Initiative to provide advocacy and assistance to victims of genocide and human trafficking, and was the first ever Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations. Nadia won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018. Nadia’s work is especially relevant to Nebraskans, as Lincoln has one of the largest Yazidi refugee populations in the United States. Nadia’s commitment to peace and justice proves the resiliency of the human spirit. She is truly inspirational.

Jill Slupe

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I REMEMBER SEEING AN announcement from Netflix last year about a new hire. This woman immediately struck me as powerful, bold and authentic. I began to read more about her and follow her on every social platform possible. Her brand “Bad Ass” is all about living an authentic life and offering zero apologies. Bozoma Saint John has inspired me so much and especially over the past year. I not only identify with her as a Black woman but am empowered by her to live boldly even in the face of adversity. She is acquainted with grief and failure, yet she continues to reinvent herself. When I hear her speak, it’s as if we are friends. Here is a quote from her that I adore: “We have abilities to do more than one thing. We’re complex human beings. I can wear a leather dress and still have an 8-year-old and wipe up the eggs that are on her face. Because we can do it all, absolutely.” I am often told that I am so busy or that I should pick one thing. However, I don’t subscribe to that. God has blessed me to do multiple things well. That is a gift I am grateful for, and I’m grateful for women like Bozoma.

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Rachel Fox

Dawn Gonzales “SO AS LONG AS THIS DISEASE persists, I say we need more pink for all those who are suffering and dying. So I wear my pink proudly and I hope you do, too. It isn’t soft and fluffy. Pink is passionate and bold. Think of it as your membership card in a global community working to end a disease that will kill almost half a million people this year,”said Nancy Goodman Brinker. Nancy Goodman Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen (Race) for the Cure, is the woman who inspires me. With a promise to her dying sister to stop the progression and social stigma of breast cancer, Nancy got to work creating the largest funding organization, outside of the U.S. government, for breast cancer research and leading the global charge to end breast cancer. In 2009, she was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Komen has funded a portion of research for every major breast cancer drug on the market today, and if not for Nancy and her tireless efforts, life as I know it would be much different. Her push for education about early detection and annual mammography screenings helped to reduce deaths from breast cancer by 40 percent. Few people get to meet their heroes and I’ve met Nancy twice. She inspires me to never give up and to believe in the power of research.


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OUR VISION other women

WOMEN share THEIR STORIES OF THE WOMEN WHO inspire THEM

AS A SINGERSONGWRITER who started writing at age 14, one of my major inspirations in the music world is Taylor Swift. When her second studio album, Fearless, came out, I was 13 and just beginning to find an interest in songwriting. I was amazed at her ability to write such solid lyrical messages with strong melodies— song after song. I remember thinking,“Every song on this album is a hit!”Swift truly was fearless at 19 years old, blowing away even the most seasoned songwriters. Her success showed me that if your song is truly genuine enough, it will succeed. I carried that inspiration with me as I began writing for the band I formed with my brothers called Clark & Company. As I moved through high school and college and through experimenting with different musical styles, Taylor was transforming her musical styles as well. My favorite Swift album, Reputation, came out in 2017 when I was sophomore in college. The album is a dark, unapologetic pop masterpiece that seems to cut to the core of Swift’s personal life at the time. That same year, my band Clark & Company released our third album. Again, Swift reminded me that no matter how much your style and your life changes, it’s the strength of the song that counts.

Anne Branigan Poet Amanda Gorman. I found “The Hill We Climb” and her delivery of it in January to be incredibly powerful and inspiring. The words themselves were amazing, especially “For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” It encourages me that as a young women she not only knows her own voice but that she is also eloquently articulating it. Ms. Gorman and her words remind me to recognize and celebrate the journey of others, and to be brave and true to myself.

women inspiring women CELEBRATING WOMEN 2021

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THIS HAS BEEN MY ANSWER since my Miss Nebraska days— and it’s a little provocative—it’s Madonna! I have so much respect for the courage she demonstrated in going to New York City to pursue her career aspirations with only a few dollars in her pocket. That is the definition of grit, and it speaks to my entrepreneurial soul. I also love how she continually reinvents herself. It reminds me it’s never too late to start again and take a new direction. You are never too old to be the woman you want to be!

Sophie Clark

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Brook Hudson

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I ADMIRE WOMEN who know how to admire themselves, people who blaze confidence, people who expect what they deserve and those who don’t wait for permission to pursue whatever they are compelled to create and achieve. Women with irreverence for how things are supposed to be done inspire me most. One woman who comes to mind is 20thcentury minimalist sculptor Ruth Asawa, who deftly balanced her ambitious career goals, motherhood, romance and her wide circle of friends, which included some of the most influential artists of her time. She forged an unconventional path in everything she did—whether raising a multiracial family of six children, founding a high school dedicated to the arts or pursuing her own practice independent of the mainstream art market. Her art and life embody the values of feeling responsible for something that is greater than yourself and building community while maintaining your own individual values and goals. I admire her so much.

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Megan Hunt

Kirsten Case Fuller THE WOMAN WHO INSPIRES me is someone you might know well. Not because she is famous or well-known. She isn’t talked about on the evening news or presented with awards at banquets. The woman that most inspires me is often unknown to most. She is juggling family and work. Building a start-up and helping a friend. She is living her truth and at times shaking in her boots. She is fighting for a seat at the table and making room for others that will follow her. She is solutions-oriented and not afraid of the messy work that goes into accomplishing her goals. She is loyal and she is fierce. She is every woman and she is my inspiration. I have her to thank for the freedoms and opportunities afforded to me. I don’t know her name, but because of her, I am me.


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game CHANGERS

• presented by

MY BOARD service LIFE HAS BEEN A GREAT KIND OF second CAREER FOR ME OR MAYBE MORE OF A LABOR OF love.

~ MELANIE MORRISSEY CLARK

MELANIE MORRISSEY CLARK 28

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stOry by KARA SCHWEISS | phOtOgraphy by JIM SCHOLZ

• mmagazine

Melanie Morrissey Clark has long been an advocate for women, children and families through her service to nonprofit and community organizations. this support extends into the marketing and advertising agency she founded with her husband; nearly a third of the client roster is made up of nonprofits and the small company has always offered its employees family-friendly flexibility.

family-focused PRESENTS

game changers

• MELANIE MORRISSEY CLARK

COntinued


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game CHANGERS

• presented by

family-focused MELANIE MORRISSEY clark WAS ONLY 26 YEARS OLD WHEN SHE AND HER NEW HUSBAND FRED CLARK started their own marketing and advertising agency, clark creative group, out of their home in 1992. today the downtown firm employs a core team of 16 and has served more than 300 nonprofit and business clients all over the nation as full-service advertising agency specializing in marketing, communication strategies, video production, graphic design, media planning and web design.

Kidz…times three clark, a graduate of marian high school, earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from university of nebraska omaha and began her career as editor for Kidz Magazine. in 1989, a colleague persuaded her to be set up on a blind date, and when she came home to a message from fred clark on her answering machine, something piqued her intuition.

“i know this sounds weird, but i played it and got chills at just hearing his voice,” she said. “i called my best friend and said, ‘i think i’m going to marry this guy.’ i clark said she’s pleased with the company’s professional hadn’t even met him.” successes, but she’s especially proud of its longstanding policies to support families. clark chuckles at the memory, however, of ducking “Because i was raised by a working mother who was a strong feminist, providing flexibility and maternity leave for our staff has always been a priority for me,” clark explained. “although only 12 percent of businesses with fewer than 99 employees offer any paid maternity leave at all, we have always offered eight weeks of paid leave for new mothers and three weeks of paid leave for new fathers.”

down in her car to assess her date as he walked into the restaurant, “just in case.” But her intuition served her well. “we hit it off right away and that was it. we got engaged a year later and then got married another year after that.” clark creative group launched the following year.

from the effort, not to mention the hormone treatments, was taxing. the couple were in the midst of the adoption process as they tried another round of in vitro. “the second time, i became pregnant with triplets,” clark said. although she’s not particularly religious, she said she likes the idea that, after three miscarriages, perhaps those “three souls were waiting to come back to us.” cooper, simon and sophie are now young adults.

Women, children and families in 1994, a few years before the triplets’ birth, clark had coauthored a book called Straight Talk About Breast Cancer: From Diagnosis to Recovery that included personal accounts from survivors along with input from medical specialists and was written to serve as an accessible resource for women with breast cancer. she saw parallels between her fertility struggle and some of the stigma described by the women who participated in the book project. “people didn’t talk about infertility like they do now. it’s something that affects so many women,” she said.

“i kept working at Kidz Magazine so that somebody that experience and her work with Straight Talk about would have a steady income,” clark said, adding that Breast Cancer, which is still in circulation, led clark to the magazine was at one point called Kids, Kids, Kidz; write the similarly user-friendly The Fertility coincidentally, when she wrote a column announcing Handbook: A Guide to Getting Pregnant (2002) with she was expecting triplets. as joyous as she was to her oB/gyn and fertility specialist, c. maud doherty. share the news of a healthy pregnancy, the experience “we have always found a way to offer flexibility to our of starting a family was preceded by a long period of “i started a year after the triplets were born, but it took working parents, so they can attend to their family struggle and heartbreak. four years,” she said. clark had been simultaneously needs and continue to work. some come in later, after working from home part-time for clark creative group dropping their kids off at school, while others leave at “my fertility journey lasted four years,” clark recalled. she and had also started an endeavor with the women’s 3:00 to be home afterwards. some work three or four was still in her twenties—typically a time of peak fund of omaha. days in the office and one or two days at home,” she fertility for women—when the couple started trying to said. “you’re never not thinking about your kids. But conceive, but stage iv endometriosis (the most severe “dianne lozier and mary heng Braun came to me when can you be focused at work and get your job done and form) lowered the odds of conception and the couple i was pregnant—not knowing i was pregnant—and be great? yes! our employees who are raising kids are also lost three pregnancies. their first attempt at in vitro asked if i’d help start the magazine Today’s Omaha fertilization failed. clark said the emotional roller coaster Woman,” she said. “i love journalism, so i was always a all incredible.” the owners were the first in the company to start a family, which led them to create a working environment that promotes work/life balance for their entire team.

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MELANIE MORRISSEY CLARK

• mmagazine

This special feature is sponsored by planitinc.

YOU’RE never NOT THINKING ABOUT YOUR kids. BUT CAN YOU BE focused AT WORK AND GET YOUR JOB done AND BE GREAT? yes! ~ MELANIE MORRISSEY CLARK

little bit hesitant to go feet-first into clark creative group 100 percent; i always wanted to keep my magazine work, so i was still trying to both. Today’s Omaha Woman wasn’t as demanding as doing a magazine that came out every month. i was able to do

“my board service life has been a great kind of second career for me or maybe more of a labor of love, and i really think of it that way,” she said. “it’s inspired me because it’s been meaningful to me.” her company’s work reflects those interests, too.

that and clark creative group, and it lasted 22 years.”

“we’ve also been fortunate in that we have been able to primarily choose the clients we want to do work for, the magazine was distributed four to six times a year and many of our clients are nonprofit organizations,” until its last regular issue was published in 2019. it has clark said. “although we find gratification and now evolved into an annual publication celebrating meaning in marketing our for-profit businesses, too, working with nonprofits and delving into their local women in conjunction with the women’s fund missions from a communication standpoint is major annual event. something our team really enjoys.” “it was such a great thing for me. it allowed me to use clark returned to work full-time when her trio turned my journalism skills and meet so many fantastic five, and upon their graduation from high school she women in omaha who are so inspirational and have has been “focused on the business more than ever.” done great things. and it’s also allowed me to stay on this fall will mark both 30 years of marriage for the top of women’s issues,” she said. “i’ve served on a lot of clarks and 29 years of owning a successful company together. boards, but this was a favorite.” “at first there was a little bit of a dance, i would say, between the two of us to figure out how to stay out of women, children and families. she volunteered for the each other’s way and not step on each other’s toes,” women’s fund even before serving as the longtime clark said. “what we finally came to years ago was that we both do everything together on the big things, editor of its magazine and has been active on the but primarily fred runs the creative show and i run the organization’s board for a total of 14 years, including business show.” two years as board president. her other past and

This special feature is sponsored by planitinc. planitinc. is dedicated to honoring women whose influence not only impacts the boardroom but the community.

“Welcome to

one of the largest and most prestigious meeting planning firms in the midwest omaha magazine B2B winners since 2008 national, regional and local meetings and events nationally recognized as a leader in the meetings & event industry

clark has always gravitated to organizations that serve

present board service includes girls inc., casa for

the couple continue to share the title of president. douglas county, planned parenthood, women’s center clark not only oversees business functions like human for advancement (formerly ywca), phoenix academy, resources and accounting, but she also writes copy and serves as one of the agency’s account managers. inclusive communities, crcc (formerly children’s respite care center) and voices for children.

PRESENTS

“we have found our strengths in the business,” she said.

game changers

• MELANIE MORRISSEY CLARK

supporting our community through our nonprofit work and the boards/organizations we are members of planitinc. has been providing event and meeting management solutions for over twenty years. we are a client-centric firm that provides unmatched service and professionalism. while proudly located in the midwest, our crazy-talented event team works from NEW YORK to LA and everywhere in between.


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Marjorie M. Maas, SHARE Omaha executive director

lifting up do-gooders

• SHARE OMAHA

join in DOING GOOD every day Who is a do-gooder? Either you are one, or you know a few. SHARE Omaha defines do-gooders as those who see a need and do good for others or the community; those who raise their hands to help when a crisis or challenge arises around them; and those who regularly prioritize this good work, even in the light of personal sacrifice. SHARE Omaha tells stories of volunteers, donors and general do-gooders regularly on our blog at SHAREomaha.org, and with this column we seek to act as a megaphone for those making our community and metro area better. These do-gooders could be individuals, businesses, families or nonprofit organizations. Our community needs you Let’s state the obvious right off the bat: the last 12 months or so have been tough. Really tough. It’s been hard on all fronts: our health, our careers, our families, our friendships. Our entire community has been changed, compromised or stretched thin in one way or another. Many people—like you, undoubtedly—have stepped up to help their neighbors. All of us in the Omaha/Council Bluffs metro area owe each other a big thank-you. We all assisted each other through an unbelievably difficult time. Unfortunately, we are still very much in the thick of our challenges. The stark reality is that our local nonprofits are still struggling to keep up with ongoing, increased demand. And with COVID preventing in-person fundraising events, a significant revenue stream has been cut to a trickle. Our present state means that everyone is needed. Now is the time for you to join in giving back. Good for you Giving back and doing good things is not only beneficial to nonprofits and our community, it’s also good for you: • Physically: Volunteering has been shown to improve blood pressure levels among older adults. • Mentally: That warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you do something nice for someone else is real: generosity has been shown to lower cortisol (the stress hormone) and performing acts of kindness has been proven to make people happier. • Socially: Connecting to a favorite cause or nonprofit can expand your network and introduce you to a whole new group of friends. • Upwardly: Consider volunteering your time in a targeted way by using your education or skills to benefit a nonprofit.

First, you need to decide where to give. And most experts agree that fewer is more in terms of how many organizations you want to support. Choosing two or three favorite nonprofits helps you make a bigger impact. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

marjorie m. maas

• What causes are important to you? • Do you prefer to give to a larger nonprofit working on bigger issues, or a smaller nonprofit that may be on the front lines of helping individuals? • Check out the SHARE Omaha profiles and websites of the nonprofits you are considering. Are they transparent with their work? Are they clear about their mission? Do their values align with yours?

Next, decide how much of your resources you’d like to give. Consider making charitable donations a part of your year-round budget. How to do the most good In this strange time we’re experiencing, volunteering has changed. Because of public health considerations, organizing volunteers is not always feasible for nonprofits. What nonprofits really need today is money. Cash is indeed king, and it’s the most valuable gift you could give your favorite organization. All in When we all contribute gifts of time, dollars and items, we are taking action today that will impact future generations tomorrow. Please hear our rallying call for everyone—individuals, families and employees alike—to act now and join us in doing good in every way we can. One good thing each day Don’t let your desire to do good overwhelm you. Just remember: one good act each day. That’s it! If we all do one good thing each day, we’ll see a remarkable difference in our community. One of the easiest ways to plug into ways to do good is to use SHAREomaha.org as a resource. Who are your do-gooders? SHARE Omaha exists to be a conduit between nonprofit needs and public doing good. The best ways, we think, to spur that action is to inspire through telling stories of do-gooder actions and emphasizing that tiny acts of goodness add up to a healthy and engaged community. Tell us about the dogooders in your life by shooting an email to info@SHAREomaha.org or find us on social media.

• Financially: Don’t forget about potential tax benefits from your charitable donations.

Delivering the goods While any donation of time, items and money is appreciated, how do you decide for yourself how much of your resources to give?

Find your fit for volunteering and supporting the causes you care about at SHAREomaha.org. 32

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metroMAGAZINE inspires – SHARE Omaha connects. There are thousands of ways to do good for our neighbors. At SHAREomaha.org, you can 昀nd your 昀t and connect passion to ac琀on. Choose who to support and where to donate your 琀me.

HEART MINISTRY CENTER

COMPLETELY KIDS

You’re 5 clicks away from making a di昀erence at

SHAREomaha.org


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Donna Kush, President and CEO

omaha giving

• OMAHA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

COMMUNITY resilience FUND: SUPPORTING A SUSTAINABLE, EQUITABLE More than one year into a global pandemic, our region continues to face challenges on a level not seen in decades. While acute needs are lessening, the pandemic has impacted the health and economy of our community and will require years of regrowth. In a report from almost 200 nonprofit grantees, organization leaders estimate a revenue loss of over $46 million in 2021 alone. Hearing and seeing this need firsthand, the Omaha Community Foundation launched the Community Resilience Fund to address these long-term needs. The Community Resilience Fund is designed to complement local and federal support, and prioritize an equitable, sustainable community recovery focused on five areas: the achievement gap, arts and culture, housing, mental health, and workforce and economic opportunity. The fund will prioritize organizations and the residents they serve who have been most disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The work of our COVID-19 Response Fund last year, as well as our distribution of $30 million in federal funds in partnership with Douglas County, has positioned us to help lead our community’s recovery and rebuilding efforts. Our community is powerful when we come together. The lessons learned throughout this pandemic cannot be forgotten—and we cannot recover alone. Using the knowledge and insights gained from conversations with nonprofits, stakeholders, and community partners throughout the past year, along with public data, we identified some of the community’s greatest needs moving forward. The Community Resilience Fund will provide resources to local nonprofits to: 1. Support educational enrichment programs and activities to reverse disparities that grew due to remote learning and other educational disruptions. 2. Alleviate operational uncertainty until arts and culture organizations can fully reopen and stabilize earned revenue through programs, performances and exhibits.

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recovery

3. Ensure people can safely stay in their homes through legal assistance or financial support. More than 50 eviction cases have been filed weekly since last fall in Douglas County alone, according to data from Nebraska Legal Aid. This is two times higher than normal. donna kush 4. Meet increased needs for mental health services and work to improve the overall system. Nearly 40 percent of Nebraskans recently reported feeling symptoms of anxiety or depression, up from 11 percent in 2019.

5. Help people gain new skills or education and find employment. New unemployment claims are still three times higher now than they were immediately before the pandemic, according to the Nebraska Department of Labor. COVID-19 caused social, health, and economic crises in our region. Communities of color, who have long struggled against systemic inequities, have been among those more severely impacted. Our recovery must make them a priority. As we consider the long-term effects from job loss, distance learning, evictions, and more— we as a community have an opportunity to rebuild in a more equitable, sustainable way. The Omaha Community Foundation exists to inspire giving when our community is faced with unprecedented need. We will continue to listen, learn and respond.

To join us in supporting the Community Resilience Fund please be in touch at giving@omahafoundation.org, by calling (402) 342-3458, or by visiting omahafoundation.org/resilience.

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MARY E. VANDENACK Mary Vandenack, while a lawyer by profession, has studied extensively in mind/body areas of fitness and wellness. She is Yoga Alliance RYT-200, Power Pilates certified and ACE certified.

identifying unsafe PEOPLE I have written in the past about the importance of surrounding yourself with safe people. Safe people result in relationships that are healthy for you. The qualities of safe people include being responsive to your feelings, admitting when they are wrong, taking responsibility for their part in the relationship, respecting boundaries, taking responsibility for their own emotional health, and being encouraging to you and supportive of you. Recently, I was on the wrong end of an unsafe person. The experience reminded me that it is important to identify those in your life who are unsafe. Sometimes we cannot avoid unsafe people in our lives. They may be someone we work with and have to accept. They may be a sister-in-law. What is important is to identify those who are unsafe and conduct yourself in a way that protects yourself. Unsafe people can destroy relationships, lives and careers. There are many great sources on identifying safe and unsafe people and finding relationships that include them but the one that I am using as a source for this article is Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. When seeking to identify unsafe people, look for the following: • UNSAFE PEOPLE often present themselves as though they have it all together. Presenting oneself in an effort to make it appear that way is different from actually having it together. • UNSAFE PEOPLE tend to defend themselves when you raise an issue with them. They aren’t open to feedback and will argue that their behavior was appropriate rather than acknowledging they were wrong. In my situation, the “unsafe person” had engaged in inappropriate conversation with no basis and disregarded my boundaries. When I explained that my boundaries had been

disregarded and I simply needed them respected, I was subject to a litany of defensiveness—and frankly, abuse—about why ignoring my boundaries was appropriate. (Do not accept this behavior!) • UNSAFE PEOPLE blame others, often you, rather than owning their responsibility for the conflict. In my situation, I continuously explained that all I was seeking was respect for my boundaries. The repeated response was “I did nothing wrong; you were the problem and you refuse to see it.” If you are feeling crazy in this conversation, be clear that the person is unsafe. • UNSAFE PEOPLE resist your efforts to establish healthy boundaries. Note that one of the hallmarks of a healthy relationship is the ability to establish mutual boundaries and have them respected. The unsafe person will find reasons why your boundaries are not okay. • UNSAFE PEOPLE condemn rather than forgive. They will hurt you with your own challenges. • UNSAFE PEOPLE do not validate your feelings. • UNSAFE PEOPLE make assumptions and tell themselves stories to support their self-view and avoid taking any responsibility for their own actions. If you find yourself being defensive in response to assumptions that you know are inaccurate, you are likely on the wrong end of an unsafe person.

It is important to identify unsafe people and structure our lives to avoid the pain they inflict. It is also very important to identify the ways in which each of us can be unsafe, and seek to constantly improve. Life is difficult. Being a safe haven for others is an amazing gift. None of us will ever be perfect at it but if we understand it, seek it, learn from our mistakes and seek to improve and heal, we can make a difference in our circle of influence.

ENVISION YOUR FUTURE: PREVENT DISEASE DISCOVER HEALTH! YOU DESERVE A BEAUTIFUL, HEALTHY SMILE! Dr. Stephanie Vondrak • Dr. Ashley Rainbolt Vondrak Dental (402) 289-2313 info@drvondrak.com

THE CHOICE IS YOURS! 35

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planning matters

• WITH VANDENACK WEAVER LLC

INSURANCE issue WITH transfer ON DEATH DEEDS Many people use transfer on death deeds and other forms of designating beneficiaries in estate planning. In a recent case out of Minnesota, the Eighth Circuit ruled that a home that burned down four days after the death of the owner was not covered by insurance.

A transfer on death deed results in the immediate transfer of property to a beneficiary upon the death of the owner. There are other types of assets, such as investment accounts, that can also be passed by transfer on death provisions. In the Minnesota case, Dawn StropeRobinson became the owner of a home owned by her uncle pursuant to a transfer on death deed. Several days after her uncle’s death, her uncle’s exspouse intentionally started the house on fire. StropeRobinson filed a claim against the insurance company with

whom her uncle held a policy. The insurance company denied the claims related to the real property. The Eighth Circuit ruled in favor of the insurance company on the basis that transfer to StropeRobinson occurred immediately upon death, that StropeRobinson was not covered under her uncle’s policy, and that her uncle’s estate had no insurable interest in the property.

mary e. vandenack

Insurable interest is a concept that requires that those who seek to

protect an investment from financial loss are those who will incur financial loss or hardship in the event of loss or damage. Insurance is taken out to protect someone with an interest to protect. Insurance mitigates the risk of loss. Homeowners insurance provides compensation to a policyholder who suffers a financial loss if a destructive force destroys some or all of his or her home. Because losing one’s home creates a catastrophic loss for a policyholder, the homeowner has an insurable interest in the property. Someone who will not experience financial loss does not have an insurable interest. While a homeowner may buy insurance for his or her own home, he or she would not be able to purchase insurance on a neighbor’s home. Doing so creates incentive to cause damage to the neighbor’s house to collect the insurance. Nebraska is part of the Eighth Circuit and

has legislation similar to that considered in the Minnesota case. As a result, use of a transfer on death deed to avoid probate could result in an uncovered loss. Many people do not tell their beneficiaries that they have been named as beneficiary beneficiaries can be changed. Even if a beneficiary is aware that he or she is a recipient of property pursuant to a transfer on death deed, when the transferor dies, he or she may not know right away. In addition, the beneficiary’s first thought is unlikely to be about getting insurance for the property. Insurance coverage should be considered

by anyone using transfer on death provisions. In the Minnesota case, the deceased’s insurance contract did not provide coverage for a beneficiary of a transfer on death deed. If the beneficiary had been a spouse or child living in the home, or a personal representative, coverage would have been available. The key is to consider how insurance coverage will work in the event of death on any asset that will pass immediately to a beneficiary. 36

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motivating EMPLOYEES

WITH wellness PROGRAMS YOU HEARD THE QUOTE, “If you take care of your people, they’ll take care of HAVE your business?" Does your company show that they care about an employee’s total well-being? You should, especially considering that an employee’s physical and mental well-being can affect productivity and consequently cost the company money. With so many of us working from home, this philosophy is even more important today! One great way to show employees you are invested in them is through a wellness program. Many things need to be considered when you decide to offer a wellness program. One of the most important is figuring out how to motivate employees to participate and invest in living a healthy lifestyle. • SUCCESSFUL WELLNESS PROGRAMS typically use these incentives to give employees that extra push: Financial (gift card or decreased health insurance premium) Social recognition (awards) Surprise incentives (periodically, surprise employees with an additional award; the element of fun will help keep employees motivated) • TO REALLY CREATE A WELLDESIGNED WELLNESS PROGRAM, we suggest also incorporating these tips: Personalization: To increase motivation and engagement, make the wellness program personalized and fair to all participants. Understand that not all employees are at the same level. It is possible to marginalize those who are already doing everything right. Try to find a way to recognize all employees. If employees can participate at their own fitness or readiness level, they will be more likely to participate. Communication: To ensure higher participation, make sure you are properly communicating with your employees. Low participation may simply mean people do not understand the program or are unaware of it. Be sure to explain why the employer is offering the program and what it hopes to accomplish. Most effective communications include frequent, short

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your money

• SWARTZBAUGHFARBER & ASSOCIATES, INC.

reminders on the incentives using a variety of mediums: emails, text messages, intranet site or employee meetings. Peer pressure: No one wants to be the only employee not participating. Be careful not to call out any employee, but do get employees talking about the wellness program. Perhaps make motivating other employees to participate mary drueke-collins one of the ways to obtain points toward a wellness credit. This allows employees to demonstrate they are a positive influence in the company and increases participation in the wellness program! Spread incentives out over time: To develop a pattern of healthy behaviors, spread incentives out over time. Employees will be less likely to “take the money and run.”Some employees will participate for the incentive, but over time the healthy behaviors will become habit. Some may even realize that they enjoy living a healthy lifestyle more than an unhealthy one as they experience the benefits of living well. Compliance: Wellness programs must comply with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). It is extremely important to ensure your wellness program incentives comply with these legislations. KEEP IN MIND that a wellness program is not one size fits all. While turnkey programs are easy to implement, companies should carefully think about their culture and what they want to achieve. People are motivated by different things, so what works for one person in your company may not work for another and what works for your company may not work for other companies. For more information, please contact your trusted advisor at Swartzbaugh-Farber – ‘Client Centered – Client Advocates™’. Securities and Investment Advisory services offered through M Holdings Securities, Inc., a Registered Broker/Dealer and Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. Swartzbaugh-Farber and Associates, Inc. is independently owned and operated.

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impact!

• WITH STEPHANIE VONDRAK

beyond THE tipping POINT! DEFINED by Webster: “The tipping point: the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place.”

For those of you unfamiliar with “the tipping point,” it is the concept that an escalating amount of stimulus will initiate unstoppable change in an individual’s life and, similarly, in the world. Never have I felt this theory to be so relevant as I did March 10, 2020, the day the government shutdown forced me to lay off all of my employees/team/mothers/friends. This is the day the COVID pandemic became real in my life. Wow. Hard to believe I wrote this intro almost a year ago today. The theory that “every action has an opposite and equal reaction,” could not be more true. Without fail, we have all been impacted by quarantines and cotton-swab-up-the-nose testing and have adapted to a reality of wondering if we know the masked face across from us in the grocery store. As a dentist, I survived the heartbreaking task of understanding how unemployment compensation works, purchased vast amounts of PPE, learned how to configure my body to perform dental procedures wearing “hazmat-like” gear and prayed daily that we would be safe, our patients would be safe and that our world would someday be okay.

My quarantine memories include screaming into the iPad in the hopes that my hard-of-hearing 97-yearold grandpa would understand me as my mom smiled back at him unable to talk, her eyes filled with love. His bewilderment was apparent as he stated, “Jacque, these talking machines are amazing,” stephanie vondrak d.d.s. looking at the iPad and then staring at my mom. The joy on his face as pure as a child seeing snow for the first time. I was beyond blessed with the chance to throw my mom’s last birthday party, an impromptu drive-by with sidewalk chalk and honking horns. I dug in the dirt with my boys and fulfilled my daughter’s dream of a household with two rambunctious dogs (which I assure you is much louder than one). And the list goes on. Nevertheless, I hope this pandemic is the only one in my lifetime and yours. I pray for the normalcy of smiling faces, concert crowds, and for my less-cautious first-grader to out stretch his arms, hug his teacher, and experience real human connection again. But for now, I will try to be positive and grateful for all we have endured and for the opportunity to endure more in the future. I will remind myself and my children that the pandemic was a learning experience in patience and persistence, and compassion and understanding. I will hug my kiddos close and remember that life is short, and the world is ever-changing. I will breathe in the pain of struggle and breathe out the disharmony of 2020, making space for a something worthwhile and something beautiful to come.

Now it is 2021, and—God willing—we did it. My practices not only survived, but we THRIVED and grew stronger amongst uncertainty. We welcomed new team members and patients. We connected on a deeper level with our loyal employees and patient base. We chose to embrace the change becoming a part of the healing process by providing individualized, health-centered dental services with greater meaning than ever before. I am so grateful to the trust my team and my patients bestowed as we navigated these waters together. It is crazy to think that the message blasted across our media was to fear dental procedures and transmission risk when in reality “they” could not have been more wrong. According to the American Dental Association (October 2020), the risk of transmission in a dental office of a patient to a dentist during a dental procedure (when the patient is not wearing a mask and giving off aerosols) is less than one percent and as little as a half of a percent in some states. As it turns out, the standard dental protocols of washing our hands incessantly, wiping down our rooms with CaviCide and sterilizing everything in sight could have been the COVID handbook for safety. But hindsight is 20/20—ironic, right? For me personally, COVID has been a mixed blessing. I experienced the loss of community and purpose when shut down and unable to care for my patients and team. I felt the financial burden of lost income and the pressure of being the sole provider in my household. But I have also found the gift of time and the benefits of clarity as I stopped to examine what is most important to me in my life. I am also grateful for the additional time I had with my mom as she fought through the final stages of ALS. Her courage and fortitude were nothing less than miraculous.

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spotlight on

• OMAHA HOME FOR BOYS

coming a long way

OHB: A COMPREHENSIVE, EMPOWERING APPROACH A CENTURY AFTER OPENING IN 1920 AS A SINGLE HOUSE FOR ORPHANED, NEGLECTED AND WAYWARD BOYS, OMAHA HOME FOR BOYSLONG KNOWN IN THE COMMUNITY SIMPLY AS OHBNOW SERVES MORE THAN 1,100 YOUTH, YOUNG ADULTS, CHILDREN AND FAMILIES EVERY YEAR. THE ORGANIZATION’S CONTINUUM OF CARE ADDRESSES A NUMBER OF VITAL AREAS TO HELP CLIENTS GAIN THE SKILLS AND CONFIDENCE TO BE SELFSUFFICIENT. OHB has come a long way from its 1920 origins responding to the community’s need for a safe haven for orphaned boys. Today’s OHB has a mission “to support and strengthen youth, young adults and families through services that inspire and equip them to lead independent, productive lives. The organization’s core programs represent a comprehensive approach, empowering clients with the skills needed to transition from a state of crisis to one of safety and growth. Programs and services address a spectrum of needs: education, employment, housing, health and wellness, life skills, mental and behavioral health, substance abuse treatment, transportation, and mentorship. OHB’s commitment to adapting to meet the ever-changing needs of the community continues as the doors recently opened to the organization’s newest programs: Supportive Housing, Clinical Services, and Crisis Stabilization. These programs meet a critical need for housing, support, education and therapy for struggling youth and their families, expanding services beyond clients enrolled in one of OHB’s programs to include members of the general public. OHB turned 100 years old last year and invites the public to help them commemorate this milestone at their 100 Year Anniversary Celebration on September 9, 2021. Keynote speaker Michael Oher, whose journey from the streets of Memphis to the NFL is portrayed in the movie The Blind Side, will be sharing his inspiring story. Tickets can be purchased at OHB.org.

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event galleries | charity support

updated local event info LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE ORGANIZATIONS IN THE GIVING GUIDE 2020!

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Photos courtesy Omaha Fashion Week

VIRTUALLY

Fashionable Omaha Fashion Week

Spring 2021 Beyond the Runway

THAKOON PANICHGUL

STUDENT NIGHT DISCUSSION PANEL: GRANT REID, LUKE WELLS, ALYSSA DILTS, AGUSTIN DELGADO, VALERIE ST. PIERRE-SMITH, KEITH RODGER

STUDENT NIGHT DISCUSSION PANEL: DEMETRIA GERALDS, KATE BETTS, KEITH RODGER, ALYSSA DILTS.

JAMES SCULLY, INDUSTRY WHISTLE-BLOWER ON THE ABUSIVE TREATMENT OF MODELS

Omaha Fashion Week has hosted runway shows twice a year since 2009. In 2021, we transformed our spring season to be accessible to all of Omaha’s fashion community by taking things virtual. The Spring 2021 season was called “Beyond the Runway” because of the fashion industry’s rich opportunities to learn and grow long before a garment hits the runway. The season consisted of a week-long series of discussions with industry experts set to inspire creatives amidst a difficult year. The conversations were held with local creatives with specialties in the arts who answered questions about what it takes to be successful, how to boost creativity, and the protection of mental health. Industry whistle-blower James Scully shared the abuse that he witnessed against models and how call-out culture radically transformed the system. Fashion Designer Thakoon discussed his adjustments to his design process during the pandemic and his Nebraska roots. The free fashion discussions were held virtually to foster community engagement. Omaha Fashion Week is proud to announce it will return to the runway in August 2021 for another season of runway showcases. When: March 23-28, 2021

DESIGNER THAKOON FITS SUPERMODEL LILY ALDRIDGE (PUBLICITY IMAGE)

JAMES SCULLY WITH MODELS BACKSTAGE (PUBLICITY IMAGE)

Where: Online Special Guests: Thakoon Panichgul and James Scully Attendance: 3,000 Mission: Omaha Fashion Week is a socially conscious organization with a strong mission and purpose - to serve as an incubator for fashion industry talent and provide opportunities for the Omaha community to enjoy a unique, red-carpet experience. For more information: (402) 937-1061

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event galleries

Photos courtesy Lutheran Family Services

REAL Rally! Lutheran Family Services Rally for Kids, A Week to Celebrate Lutheran Family Services When: March 7-11, 2021 Where: Virtual: Nebraska statewide and western Iowa

LISA SHKOLNICK DELIVERING DONATIONS IN UHAUL

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EVENT CHAIRS, CASSIE & MIKE REMMENGA; COMMITTEE MEMBER, KASEY LINDE; CAPTIONS HONORARY CHAIRS, BRENDA & NIC SMITH, MARK VERSEN, LISA SHKOLNICK

Why: Many children face stress-filled, negative realities. From food insecurity, poverty, anxiety, isolation, abuse and neglect to the ongoing devastating impact of the COVID pandemic and uncertain landscape, families need our help. LFS is meeting those needs. We quickly responded to the pandemic by expanding telehealth services and providing extra help to families who are most vulnerable. Additionally, thousands of people received LFS’s COVID care packages containing items like diapers, formula and hygiene products as well as receiving help with utilities and other necessities. But the need is still there. That is why Rally 4 Kids evolved into a statewide, week-long endeavor to provide several opportunities during “Rally Week” to raise awareness and support for LFS programs and families in crisis. We take immense pride in responding to each individual and community through a holistic, client-centered approach for all, and through the generosity of our sponsors and donors, we will continue to “rally” for our kids, families, and communities year-round. Attendance: 275 Amount Raised: $114,000

SUSAN PALOWSKI DONATIONS DELIVERED TO COUNCIL BLUFFS CENTER FOR HEALTHY FAMILIES

SOUL & SWAG: COLA HENDERSON SVEC, TAMMIE BAUMERT, ANGIE SVEC, JACKIE KEITHLEY, MARIA CORPUZ

ALLI BROBST DONATIONS DELIVERED TO NORTH OMAHA CENTER FOR HEALTHY FAMILIES

MANDY GONZALES DONATIONS DELIVERED TO FREMONT CENTER FOR HEALTHY FAMILIES

Event Summary: Rally for Kids Week culminated in the Live Virtual Event and Raffle Drawing on March 11, and four lucky individuals took home one of the following raffle prizes: A TopGolf package for 12 people, a Big Green Egg Griller, a $1,500 shopping spree at Nebraska Crossing , and a duck hunting trip for four. A special thank-you to our generous sponsors and donors for making a true impact on the people we serve. Mission: Lutheran Family Services expresses love for all people by providing quality human care services that build and strengthen individual, family and community life. Our Vision is to provide safety, hope and well-being for all people. About: Our Vision is to provide safety, hope and well-being for all people. LFS leads throughout the state of Nebraska and western Iowa as an organization placing the people we serve at the center as experts in their own experience, and effectively delivering health and human care that meets the social, cultural, and linguistic needs of individuals and communities. LFS offers a continuum of services in two core competencies: Community Based Services and Health & Wellness. For more information: (402) 214-7278

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Photos courtesy OPPD & M.U.D.

THE WARMTH OF

Compassion Omaha Public Power District and Metropolitan Utilities District

Heat the Streets Run & Walk for Warmth CAPTIONS

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Omaha Public Power District and Metropolitan Utilities District held their 14th annual Heat the Streets Run & Walk for Warmth Saturday, March 6. This year, the fundraiser for energy assistance programs was held virtually—but that didn’t limit participation. Runners and walkers took to local trails and neighborhood streets and some four-legged friends even joined in on the fun. Awards were given to those with the fastest times for the 5K in various age groups. Registrants could choose a one-mile walk instead, or they could simply donate to the cause without taking part physically.

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The utilities report a 38% increase in customers applying for help with their bills since the COVID-19 pandemic began, so they set a high goal: to raise $100,000 this year. They reached that goal and then some. With registrations, donations, and sponsorships (including metroMAGAZINE), the event pulled in $103,000 for customers in need throughout the utilities’ service territories. OPPD and M.U.D. estimate they will be able to support more than 300 households struggling to pay their utility bills, thanks to the generosity of our community.

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When: March 6, 2021 Where: Virtual (various locations) Why: Raise money for energy assistance programs Special Guests: Co-Chairs: Tanya Cook, M.U.D. Board of Directors; Janece Mollhoff, OPPD Board of Directors; Wayne Mollhoff, Dir. Mollhoff’s husband Attendance: 500 Amount Raised: $103,000

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Mission: OPPD mission: Provide affordable, reliable, environmentally sensitive energy services; M.U.D. mission: Provide safe, reliable and cost-effective natural gas and water services to our community About: Omaha Public Power District is publicly-owned, serving more than 380,000 customers in 13 counties. They provide electric service throughout a 5,000 square-mile footprint. Metropolitan Utilities District provides natural gas to 235,485 customers in Omaha, Bennington, Fort Calhoun, Springfield, Yutan, and Bellevue. The utility also provides safe drinking water to 220,625 customers in Omaha, Bennington, Carter Lake, La Vista, Ralston, Waterloo, and the Papio Missouri Natural Resources District (which supplies water to Fort Calhoun). For more information: (531) 226-3524

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event galleries

Photos courtesy Visiting Nurse Association (VNA)

CHARITY DU Jour! Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) Art & Soup

VNA SHELTER NURSE SERVING CLIENT

VNA SHELTER NURSE AND CLIENT

A week of virtual art purchasing and silent auction bidding culminated on April 18 as Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) celebrated its 24th Annual Art & Soup event with a festive drive-thru style art-and-soup pick-up at VNA’s Omaha office. Art & Soup was planned this year as a hybrid fundraiser; all ticket purchasers gained exclusive access to an engaging online platform that included interviews with local artists, chefs and shelter nurses, then onsite pick-up of delicious soup sampler packs and a Soup Passport entitling supporters to a free cup of soup at each participating restaurant. When: April 18, 2021

ART & SOUP PARTICIPANT WITH SUSAN TRINKLE TAMAYO AND ROSE RUTHERFORD

ART & SOUP CHECK IN STATION

Where: VNA’s Omaha office located at 12565 W. Center Road Why: Art & Soup supports VNA’s public health nursing program. The program is 100% community funded, and participation in Art & Soup ensures a VNA nurse is in every Omaha and Council Bluffs domestic and homeless shelter. Sponsors: Life-changing: Lozier Foundation; Empowering: Nebraska Medicine; Impacting: Methodist Health System and Omaha Track; Community and Media Sponsors: Metropolitan Community College, Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue and Boomer Radio

PARTICIPANT PICKING UP SOUP SAMPLER PACK

PARTICIPANT PICKING UP ART PURCHASE

Attendance: 364 Amount Raised: $138, 220 Mission: Delivering community-based care that provides peace of mind, quality of life and independence. About: VNA is shaping tomorrow’s care. Today. For more than a century and counting, our community has counted on us—to provide expert and compassionate care to all, no matter their age, income or ability. We believe that everyone deserves the best care. For more information: (402) 345-6555, vnatoday.org

SHELTER NURSE VISITING CLIENT

PARTICIPANTS PICKING UP ART PURCHASES

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SOUP DU JOUR

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Photos courtesy Debra Kaplan

SERVICE WITH A

Smile

SHARE Omaha Do Good Week

DOING GOOD: HOPE CENTER FOR KIDS

DOING GOOD: NEBRASKA HUMANE SOCIETY

DOING GOOD: COUNCIL BLUFFS YOUNG PROFESSIONALS

DOING GOOD: IOWA WESTERN COMMUNITY COLLEGE

SHARE Omaha created Do Good Week, which was held for the first time April 19-24. The event was five themed days developed to promote and fill the needs of participating local nonprofits. On Mission Monday the community was invited to connect to causes that matter most to them and plan how they would participate throughout the week; New Donor Tuesday encouraged donors to give to a new organization; Wish List Wednesday fulfilled material needs; Volun-Thursday promoted yearlong volunteer opportunities both virtual and in person; and Fund It Friday was the day to give, as generously as possible, to bolster the work of nonprofits. The final day, Celebration Saturday, closed the week with virtually shared successes, cash prizes, and thanks to the donors and volunteers. When: April 19-24, 2021 Where: Omaha metro and southwest Iowa Why: Five themed days were developed to promote and fill the needs of participating local nonprofits Sponsors: FNBO, Omaha Community Foundation, Omaha Steaks, Pottawattamie County Community Foundation Attendance: 25,000

DOING GOOD: NEBRASKA HUMANE SOCIETY

DOING GOOD: HOPE CENTER FOR KIDS

Amount Raised: $2.6 million (Full results here: shareomaha.org/stories/share-omaha-releases-do-goodweek-2021-results) Mission: Our mission is to help local nonprofits fulfill theirs, by recruiting support and service for their causes. About: SHARE Omaha is a single, nonprofit website source connecting donors and volunteers to the needs of over 600 area nonprofits, year-round. For more information: (402) 502-0360, shareomaha.org

DOING GOOD: IOWA WESTERN COMMUNITY COLLEGE

DOING GOOD: COUNCIL BLUFFS YOUNG PROFESSIONALS

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DOING GOOD: NEBRASKA HUMANE SOCIETY

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event galleries

Photos courtesy American Red Cross

REAL LOCAL

Heroes

American Red Cross of the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metro Area Heroes in the Heartland

SHELLY SCHWEDHELM, RIGHT

DENNIS SVOBODA, LEFT

The American Red Cross Heroes in the Heartland celebrated its 20th year of honoring individuals who are examples of ordinary people who have done extraordinary things in our community. Honorees are nominated by peers and the general public and are selected by a committee of community members. They include individuals who have dedicated their lives to helping others or answered a call to action and helped someone in need. The 2021 event was held virtually. When: March 9, 2021 Where: Virtual (recording link:) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSLM-bdqNOk Attendance: 200 Amount Raised: $122,000 For more information: (800) 733-2767

SCOTT GRAY, OMAHA POLICE DEPUTY CHIEF, RIGHT

DAN SCHRECK, MIDDLE

Photos courtesy This Featured Organization

event galleries

CHANGE THIS

Header Name of Org Name of Event When: Friday, May 10, 2019 Where: Omaha Hilton

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Why: The annual Women’s Power Luncheon supports and celebrates Habitat Omaha’s Women Build Program. The event provides a venue for powerful Habitat Omaha advocates to rally around the mission of the Women Build: to recruit, educate and inspire women to build and advocate for safe, stable and affordable houses in our community. Honorary Chairs: Kathy and Gary Gates, Event Chair: Paige Ritter, Power Woman of the Year: Caren Woodruff Sponsors: Moglia Family Foundation, Pinnacle Bank, Union Pacific, Annette & Paul Smith, C & A Industries, Kathy & Gary Gates, Lamp Rynearson, Streck Attendance: 661 Amount Raised: 262,416 For more information: (402) 457-5657 | habitatomaha.org

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Lighting THE WAY

Heartland Family Service Carnival of Love Gala

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The 2021 Carnival of Love Gala celebrated the 30-year anniversary of this fundraising event, Heartland Family Service’s largest annual fundraiser, with all proceeds going to support more than 40 life-saving programs and services HFS offers.The virtual event kicked off on February 20 at 7 p.m. with the silent auction and a pre-recording on the Heartland Family Service YouTube channel by Master of Ceremonies Dave Wingert. On Friday, February 26, the “Carnival of Love” Gala event finale featured a Live auction led by auctioneer Mike Bunach along with Dave Wingert via livestream and concluded with our “Hope for Families” raise the paddle donation request. Sponsors: Platinum Sponsors American National Bank, Kiewit, Lockton; Gold Sponsor Valmont; Silver Sponsors OPPD, Relevant Community Church Auctioneer: Mike Bunach Amount Raised: over $170,000

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Photos courtesy This Featured Organization

event galleries

For more information: (402) 552-7400, HeartlandFamilyService.org

CHANGE THIS

Header Name of Org Name of Event When: Friday, May 10, 2019 Where: Omaha Hilton

CAPTIONS

CAPTIONS

Why: The annual Women’s Power Luncheon supports and celebrates Habitat Omaha’s Women Build Program. The event provides a venue for powerful Habitat Omaha advocates to rally around the mission of the Women Build: to recruit, educate and inspire women to build and advocate for safe, stable and affordable houses in our community. Honorary Chairs: Kathy and Gary Gates, Event Chair: Paige Ritter, Power Woman of the Year: Caren Woodruff Sponsors: Moglia Family Foundation, Pinnacle Bank, Union Pacific, Annette & Paul Smith, C & A Industries, Kathy & Gary Gates, Lamp Rynearson, Streck Attendance: 661 Amount Raised: 262,416 For more information: (402) 457-5657 | habitatomaha.org

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event galleries

Photos courtesy TeamMates Mentoring Program

TAILGATE WITH

Bill Murray TeamMates Mentoring Program TeamMates Tailgate Gala When: November 6, 2020 Where: EVEN Hotel, downtown Omaha HONORARY CHAIRS: KRISTA AND MICKEY ANDERSON

BILL MURRAY, TOM OSBORNE, AND WARREN BUFFETT

Why: The funds raised from the event will make up one-third of the TeamMates Mentoring Program’s budget. That money goes to help recruit and support matches in the program. Special Guests: Actor Bill Murray, special guest; Warren Buffett, friend of TeamMates; Tom Osborne, TeamMates co-founder Amount Raised: More than $1 million Mission: Founded in 1991 by Dr. Tom and Nancy Osborne, the TeamMates Mentoring Program’s mission is to positively impact the world by inspiring youth to reach their full potential through mentoring. Under normal circumstances, mentor/mentee matches meet in school during the day once a week to play games, work on a project, or just talk.

FRONT ROW: MEGAN MORRIS, TAYLOR CARLBERG, JULIA HERNANDEZ, AND KIRTI TRIVEDI BACK ROW:CAPTIONS BILL MURRAY, HANNAH MILLER, MIKE’L SEVERE, SARAH WALDMAN, TOM OSBORNE, CARLA PATTON-OCHSNER, WARREN BUFFETT, KRISTA AND MICKEY ANDERSON, DR. DEEPAK GANGAHAR Photos courtesy This Featured Organization

event galleries

For more information: teammates.org Honorary Chairs: Krista and Mickey Anderson

CHANGE THIS

Header Name of Org Name of Event When: Friday, May 10, 2019 Where: Omaha Hilton

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CAPTIONS

Why: The annual Women’s Power Luncheon supports and celebrates Habitat Omaha’s Women Build Program. The event provides a venue for powerful Habitat Omaha advocates to rally around the mission of the Women Build: to recruit, educate and inspire women to build and advocate for safe, stable and affordable houses in our community. Honorary Chairs: Kathy and Gary Gates, Event Chair: Paige Ritter, Power Woman of the Year: Caren Woodruff Sponsors: Moglia Family Foundation, Pinnacle Bank, Union Pacific, Annette & Paul Smith, C & A Industries, Kathy & Gary Gates, Lamp Rynearson, Streck Attendance: 661 Amount Raised: 262,416 For more information: (402) 457-5657 | habitatomaha.org

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Photos courtesy Stephen Center

STAY-AT-HOME

Toga!

Stephen Center Cruise Away to the Greek Isles When: April 9, 2021 Where: Virtual BETH LU, MISOON KIM, GAYLA RUSHING, ROBIN WASHINGTON, KIRSTIN WOODBURY, CAPTIONS KRISTIN MORGAN, PAM HESSION, AMIE RHODES AND RHONDA VEST

Why: A Virtual Event and Silent Auction Benefiting Stephen Center Special Guests: Greg McDermott, Head Coach, Creighton University Men’s Basketball; Bruce Rasmussen, McCormick Endowed Athletic Director, Creighton University Sponsors: Tom and Tami McNeil, American National Bank, Mackintosh Family Trust, Friends of Stephen Center Catered by: Lola’s Attendance: 150 Amount Raised: $170,000 Mission: Stephen Center partners with the community, individuals and families to overcome homelessness, addiction and poverty.

JENNY PETERS

JANE AND JOE KAVAN

Photos courtesy This Featured Organization

event galleries

For more information: (402) 715-5442

CHANGE THIS

Header Name of Org Name of Event When: Friday, May 10, 2019 Where: Omaha Hilton

CAPTIONS

CAPTIONS

Why: The annual Women’s Power Luncheon supports and celebrates Habitat Omaha’s Women Build Program. The event provides a venue for powerful Habitat Omaha advocates to rally around the mission of the Women Build: to recruit, educate and inspire women to build and advocate for safe, stable and affordable houses in our community. Honorary Chairs: Kathy and Gary Gates, Event Chair: Paige Ritter, Power Woman of the Year: Caren Woodruff Sponsors: Moglia Family Foundation, Pinnacle Bank, Union Pacific, Annette & Paul Smith, C & A Industries, Kathy & Gary Gates, Lamp Rynearson, Streck Attendance: 661 Amount Raised: 262,416 For more information: (402) 457-5657 | habitatomaha.org

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event galleries

Photos courtesy Omaha Public Schools Foundation

CHEERS TO

Education Omaha Public Schools Fdtn.

STU SMITH FROM SMITH-MADRONE, HONORARY VINTNER

SUPERINTENDENT OF OMAHA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

GRADUATE OF NORTH HIGH SCHOOL AND PARTICIPANT IN OPSF FUNDED PROGRAMS

DRS. JIM AND GEMA SIMMONS HONORARY CHAIRS VINNEBRASKA 2021

TIONS

CAPTIONS

2021 vinNEBRASKA Virtual Wine Experience When: April 17, 2021 Where: Virtual Event Why: Raising funds to benefit the Omaha Public Schools Foundation Special Guests: Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan Catered by: Hy-Vee Attendance: 200 Amount Raised: N/A Mission: The Omaha Public Schools Foundation enriches students’ lives by funding learning experiences that inspire hope, open doors and help students to achieve their dreams. About: To carry out this mission, the Omaha Public Schools Foundation seeks private and corporate contributions and gifts. The Foundation also develops proposals for projects and programs for presentation to private, corporate and philanthropic organizations for sponsorship and funding. For more information: (402) 502-3032

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metroMAGAZINE • CELEBRATING WOMEN 2021


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Photos courtesy This Featured Organization

VENTURING

Forth

Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska artVenture: A Virtual Celebration of Creativity and Collaboration Raises $200,000 For Girl Scout Programs artVenture is a unique arts education program that matches groups of Girl Scouts with professional artists in a collaborative setting. Working together in a CAPTIONS variety of mediums, they create original works of art that are sold in a silent auction. Through the wonders of technology, this year’s art collaborations took place online, allowing girls from across the state—and even from other states—to work with any artist no matter their location. Their collaborative artwork, as well as pieces submitted by some of the state’s most well-known artists and unique experience packages, were available in the artVenture Silent Auction: A Virtual Celebration of Creativity and Collaboration held April 22-24. Virtual event attendees had the opportunity to enhance their artVenture experience by purchasing Tasting Boxes that included their choice of wine, craft beer or nonalcoholic mocktails expertly paired with Girl Scout cookies, snacks and appetizers. On April 24, Kamri Sylve CAPTIONS of Lincoln’s 10/11 NOW hosted a grand finale Facebook livestream event to celebrate the auction closing.

When: April 22-24, 2021 Where: Virtual/Facebook Live Why: artVenture is Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska’s only fundraising event. Proceeds from the silent auction support leadership development programs across the state, providing opportunities for every girl who wants to participate. Sponsors: Lozier, Pinnacle Bank, Richard P. Kimmel and Laurine Kimmel Charitable Foundation, Union Pacific, Moran’s Liquor Works, Zipline Brewing Company CAPTIONS Attendance: Over 300 bidders registered for artVenture, and more than 500 viewers tuned in for the grand finale livestream event. Amount Raised: $200,000 About: Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska is the largest girlserving organization in the state. We give girls the tools they need to empower themselves. Girls learn their voices count, and they have the strength to take the lead. Our one-of-a-kind leadership development program provides age-appropriate, progressive opportunities. Girl Scouts offers every girl the opportunity to make the world a better place by discovering her strengths, passions, and talents. For more information: (402) 558-8189, girlscoutsnebraska.org

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metroMAGAZINE • CELEBRATING WOMEN 2021


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CONNECTING AREA BUSINESSES FOR OVER 40 YEARS

 

MAXWELL: ADRIANA CISNEROS BASULTO

OMAHA BY DESIGN: SCOTT DOBBE

MIDWEST MAINTENANCE: JAMIE GUTIERREZ

DUANE FOSTER: D’S CATERING

A YEARLY SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS:

• • • •

More than 200 feature stories spotlighting unique local businesses 52 weeks of focus sections with insights from area experts National columns on trending business and financial topics Profiles of MBJ's 40 Under 40 Award winners

1 year ONLY $75 SUBSCRIBE TODAY! www.MBJ.com 402-330-1760

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Omaha, NE 68144


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CONNECTING OUR COMMUNITY

PRESORTED STANDARD U.S. POSTAGE

PAID OMAHA, NE PERMIT NO. 2013

P.O. Box 241611 • Omaha, NE 68124

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metroMAGAZINE Celebrating Women Issue 2021  

metroMAGAZINE presents our CELEBRATING WOMEN Issue 2021 online now! metroMAGAZINE is published bi-monthly by ALH Publications, serving the O...

metroMAGAZINE Celebrating Women Issue 2021  

metroMAGAZINE presents our CELEBRATING WOMEN Issue 2021 online now! metroMAGAZINE is published bi-monthly by ALH Publications, serving the O...

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