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New Leaders Council

2015 Fellows

Emily Andersen, Partner, DeOld Andersen Architectureheadshot_emily.jpg

Emily Andersen is a partner at DeOld Andersen Architecture, an architecture, interiors, and urban design firm founded in Brooklyn, NY and relocated to Omaha, Nebraska in 2012. As a partner at DAA, she has led a streetscaping project for a non-profit developer in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn, urban design visioning for a neighborhood in Omaha, corporate interiors for a media and engineering company, as well as other commercial and residential architectural work.

Emily currently teaches introductory design coursework as an adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Emily's experience comes from working on a wide range of project types and scales while living and working in New York City from 2001-2012. She was an Associate at Slade Architecture in New York City prior to forming DAA. At Slade she was the project architect for several projects, with various programs and scales. Such projects include an award-winning retail flagship store in Shanghai, a variety of commercial and residential projects, and the Staten Island Zoo Farmstead and Leopard Exhibit, a project that is part of NYC's Design Excellence Program to promote design excellence in the public realm.

Prior to joining Slade she worked with TEK Architects in New York, and Min Day Architects in Omaha. She has acted as a visiting critic to Texas Tech University in both Lubbock, TX and Montreal, QC, NYIT in Old Westbury, NY, the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and Parsons The New School for Design, in New York, NY. Emily received her BSAS and MA from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.

Nick Arreola, Data Mining Analyst, West Corporation headshot_nick.jpg

Nick is originally from South Sioux City, Nebraska. Nick moved to Omaha, Nebraska to attend college. Nick completed his BA in psychology at the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) where he was active in the UNO College Democrats. As part of the UNO College Democrats, Nick was a member of the executive leadership team. Nick's role on this team was to track meeting attendance and topics that were discussed at the meeting. In addition, Nick helped coordinate volunteer events including fundraisers for the Nebraska AIDS Project (NAP), volunteer support on local political campaigns, and events to raise funds to support the group. While working toward his degree in psychology, Nick sought additional academic enrichment by working as a research assistant in multiple labs run by two professors of psychology.

Toward the completion of his undergraduate degree, Nick worked as a student researcher for the Global Innovation and Strategy Center, a division of the Department of Defense. As part of his assignment, Nick researched ways to prepare for natural disasters in Southeast Asia, as well as co-managed a project examining legal and non-legal barriers that arise when the Government collaborates with the private sector to secure critical infrastructure in cyber space. Following the completion of his undergraduate degree, Nick attended graduate school at the University of Nebraska Omaha where he received his masters degree in industrial and organizational psychology. During this time, Nick worked as a research associate at the Center for Collaboration Science where he researched group dynamics in decision making and creative cognition.

Currently, Nick is completing his Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology. Nick's dissertation topic is looking at how the creative problem-solving ability of customer service representatives might result in improved customer service evaluations. Nick also adjuncts for the Psychology Department and Business College at UNO where he teaches personnel psychology, managerial leadership, and introduction to psychology.

In addition, Nick works as a Data Mining Analyst for West Corporation, a global telecommunications firm, where he applies analytic, data driven insights to solve business problems.

Erin Bader, Permanency Programs Supervisor, Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, Inc headshot_erin.jpg

Erin Bader, Permanency Programs Supervisor at Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, Inc Erin Bader is a social work professional who plans to dedicate her career to strengthening the public child welfare system so that children can grow up in safe and loving environments. Erin is currently the Permanency Programs Supervisor at Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska. At LFS, Erin oversees the development and implementation of all adoption programs which include private domestic and international adoption as well as adoption from foster care. She manages Nebraska's only Wendy's Wonderful Kids program, a signature program of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption whose purpose is to find a forever family for every child waiting in foster care. She is also pursuing licensure as a clinical social worker (LCSW).

Erin is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a B.S. in Human Resources and Family Sciences and the University of California-Los Angeles Masters in Social Welfare program. While at UCLA, Erin participated in the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program and completed internships with the Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center and the Los County Department of Children and Family Services, Older Youth Adoption program. Erin has worked in public child welfare for the last ten years and has a strong passion for advocating for our most vulnerable population abused and neglected children. This passion has led to employment with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Nebraska Foster Care Review Board, and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Throughout her work, Erin has developed an interest in wanting to improve the child welfare system for the betterment of the children and families it serves. In addition to her role as an advocate for children and families, Erin is mom to a spunky dog Harrison, a devoted Husker fan, a proud volunteer of Launch Leadership, an alumni advisor to Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and someone who is eager to learn and travel to new places.

Mandy Benes, Operations Manager, Fremont Machine, Inc. headshot_mandy.jpg

Amanda Benes is currently the Operations Manager for Fremont Machine, Inc. She has been employed with FMI since 2013 and loves working in the family business. She has been a key factor in navigating the company to successfully capitalize on the current resurgence of the manufacturing sector. As a woman in a male-dominated field, Amanda finds herself in a unique position in her profession.

During the previous five years, Amanda has been involved with the local non-profit organization, Ted E. Bear Hollow. She volunteers as a grief facilitator for pre-teens who have been impacted by the death of a family member or loved one. Amanda's own experiences have led her to seek out those who need the support of their community when surviving the loss of a loved one. In her spare time, Amanda enjoys (most of the time) rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs with her husband, Kyle, and their 1 _ year old daughter, Adelaide.

In the fall of 2013, they moved to Gifford Park in midtown Omaha where they are able to enjoy all that their tight-knit community has to offer. Amanda attended the University of Nebraska-Omaha where she majored in Gender and Women's Studies.

Melissa Breazile, Content Coordinator, Board of Certification, Inc. headshot_melissa.jpg

Melissa Breazile is a Nebraska native and has called Omaha home for over a decade. She recently received her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and she holds a bachelor’s degree in digital media from Northwest Missouri State University.

Melissa is currently Content Coordinator at the Board of Certification, a nonprofit organization that offers credentialing programs for healthcare providers. Prior to her current position, she held research and communications positions for other Omaha nonprofits; served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Armenia; and worked as a newspaper reporter and editor.

Her community involvement includes past membership in Women’s Fund Circles, service on the Friends of Planned Parenthood board, and volunteerism with various other organizations and political campaigns. In her free time, Melissa enjoys traveling, reading, and performing, having appeared recently in The Vagina Monologues and as a member of a local spoken word troupe.

Elizabeth Evans headshot_elizabeth.jpg

Elizabeth is a Nebraska native, who completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota, and her Law degree at the University of Nebraska, College of Law.

Prior to law school, she worked in residential treatment programs for adolescents in Omaha, and later as a case manager for Child and Family Services, NDHHS. During law school, she commenced a career in corporate immigration.

Sarah Hanify, Family Permanency Specialist, Nebraska Families Collaborative headshot_sarah.jpg

My parents are originally from South Dakota, and I claim that as my home state, as well. My dad was in the Army and my family moved around quite a bit when I was younger. We eventually stayed in Iowa long-term, where I graduated from both high school and college. I attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and received degrees in public relations and psychology in 2007.

In the spring of my senior year of college, I realized that I wanted to pursue social work as a career and spend a year in a service program and use that time to apply for graduate school. I had always been interested in volunteerism and service so AmeriCorps seemed like the perfect option. I participated in the AmeriCorps VISTA program and worked as the volunteer coordinator at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota, from August 2007 August 2008. I was accepted at the University of Nebraska at Omaha School of Social Work and started graduate school in August 2008.

While in graduate school, I also added an additional masters program in public administration. I graduated with my Masters in Social Work and Public Administration in December 2011 and I currently work as child welfare case manager for Nebraska Families Collaborative.

I also work part-time at Nebraska Medicine on the weekends as a social worker. I feel really lucky to have selected UNO and Omaha as the place to do my masters programs and to have been able to stay in Omaha after graduation as a young professional. I enjoy being involved in the community and in addition to participation in the New Leaders Council, I also am currently a member of All About Omaha, Junior League of Omaha and the Moving Company, a community modern dance company affiliated with UNO.

Beth Haubert, Director of Operations, Omaha Code Schoolheadshot_bethh.jpg

Originally from Ohio, Beth found her way to Omaha via the United States Air Force. She served as an airborne cryptologic linguist, deploying to the Middle East and Asia.

After completing her service, she attended the University of Nebraska Lincoln and earned a B.S. from the College of Architecture. She joined Omaha Code School and Big Wheel Brigade as their Director of Operations in 2014 where she has been instrumental in the rapid growth of the company and the creation of numerous valuable community partnerships.

Ashten Hughes, Executive Administrator, NorthStar Foundation headshot_ashten.jpg

Ashten Hughes is a staff member at the NorthStar Foundation, a 501(c)3 created to address the afterschool needs of boys in North Omaha. There, she serves as Executive Administrator, and is responsible for the President's daily schedule, facility rentals, and managing and executing special events. In 2013, Hughes staffed Suttle for Mayor of Omaha, where she managed Mayor Suttle's campaign calendar, as well as assisted in managing the campaign's field program.

In 2012, Hughes joined Nebraskans for Kerrey, Senator Bob Kerrey's U.S. Senatorial campaign, as the Deputy Campaign Scheduler. There, she assisted in managing the Senator's daily campaign schedule. In 2010, Hughes was an Advocacy and Outreach Intern at Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, where she recruited and trained volunteers for the organization's bi-weekly phone banks.

During the same time, Hughes was a member of a research project, which gathered, and interpreted data regarding how puritan beliefs drive voting patterns. Hughes presented the findings at the Midwest Political Science Association Conference in Chicago, IL.

Hughes graduated in 2012 from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science.

Patrick Leahy, Campaign Manager, The Steier Group headshot_patrick.jpg

Patrick Leahy was born and raised in Omaha and is currently a member of St. James Parish. He graduated from Skutt Catholic High School before getting his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science with an Economics Minor from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Patrick really enjoys his present position as a Campaign Manager for the Steier Group, a national public relations and development firm based out of Omaha, Neb. He has previously worked for U.S. Senator Ben Nelson as the Eastern Nebraska Field Representative.

In that position he liaised with many constituent groups looking to affect federal, state and local government issues. He was recently elected to the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board in the Omaha area. In this role, Patrick helps manage an over $80 million dollar public budget to meet the District's mission to reduce flooding, improve water quality, enhance wildlife habitats and more. He is currently working on his Master's degree at Creighton University. Patrick also serves as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Outside of his work, continuing education, military and public service, Patrick enjoys playing hockey, basketball and golf and is an avid traveler, both domestically and internationally. He rarely forgoes an opportunity to enjoy comedy clubs, concerts and theater productions.

Brooke Masek, Program and Outreach Coordinator, Film Streams at the Ruth Sokolof Theater headshot_brooke.jpg

Brooke Masek returned to her native Omaha in 2011 after completing her Masters degree in the History of Art at the University of Oregon. While at the University of Oregon, Brooke was the Accreditation Intern at the at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, working on the Museums reaccreditation bid to the American Alliance of Museums.

From 2011-2014, she worked as Executive and Curatorial Assistant at Joslyn Art Museum and recently made the move to Film Streams at the Ruth Sokolof Theater, Omaha's only nonprofit movie theater, to take on the role of Program and Outreach Coordinator. In her free time, she strives to make the Omaha community more inclusive and welcoming to people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives. She serves on the board of the Friends of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and volunteers her time counseling at Nebraska AIDS Project.

With experience as a freelance grant writer, she has worked with several local organizations, artists, and grassroots efforts to find funding opportunities for various projects. When shes not working, she likes to find isolated corners of the world to pitch her tent and explore a bit.

Candice Price, Sales Manager, Union Pacific headshot_Candice.jpg

Candice was born in west Texas and raised in Broward County Florida. She holds a Bachelors degree from The University of Oklahoma, in Norman, Oklahoma, and currently resides in Omaha, Nebraska working as a Marketing and Sales Manager for Union Pacific Railroad. Holding several positions with Union Pacific since 2008, including Operations Management in Houston, Texas, then transitioning to Train Dispatcher in Omaha, before finally being promoted to her current role as Manager Truck Brokerage Sales in March of 2014.

Preceding her path in the rail industry, Candice's career took shape in oil and gas, interning with top companies such as Schlumberger, ConocoPhillips, and Williams Companies. She is an active member of her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and works to stay involved in philanthropic work in her community. Candice is an entrepreneur, with a passion for real-estate, and a strong desire to grow her portfolio. She is most interested in political issues surrounding the justice system, with a primary focus on juvenile justice.

Though her next core area of interest surrounds land and urban planning, going hand in hand with her business goals. She is a highly driven, charismatic leader looking to make a name for herself in the coming years.

Tiffany Seibert Joekel, Policy Director, OpenSky Policy Institute headshot_tiffany.jpg

Tiffany Seibert Joekel is Policy Director at OpenSky Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank focused on tax, budget, and education finance policy in Nebraska. OpenSky’s mission is to improve opportunities for every Nebraskan by providing impartial and precise research, analysis, education and leadership.

Prior to joining OpenSky, she served as Director of the Coalition for a Strong Nebraska, bringing together advocates, researchers, funders, and community leaders who advocate for a great start, the Good Life, and a better future for all Nebraskans. Tiffany has also worked as a Legislative Aide for a state senator in the Nebraska Legislature and as a policy coordinator and researcher for a child advocacy organization.

Tiffany has an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Justice and Peace Studies and a masters degree in International Relations from Creighton University. She currently resides in downtown Omaha with her husband, David, and dog, Liam.

Amy West, Project Everlast Director of Program Evaluation, Nebraska Children and Families Foundation headshot_amy.jpg

Amy West is a lifelong resident of Omaha. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Social Work and a dual Masters in Social Work and Public Administration. She has worked in the field of child welfare for the past 7 years in various positions and is currently the Director of Program Evaluation at Project Everlast, a local program dedicated to improving outcomes for youth who have experienced foster care.

Amy is also currently teaching a masters level social work course on program evaluation at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and serves on the Board of Directors for the Nebraska Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

Amy has a strong passion for utilizing data in improving policies and has both personal and professional experience in legislative advocacy. She previously worked for Nebraska Appleseed, a public interest law firm seeking justice and opportunity for all Nebraskans. Amy is particularly invested in social justice and is a regular volunteer for Inclusive Communities, which strives to raise awareness, foster leadership, and encourage advocacy for a just and inclusive society. During her (somewhat limited) free time, Amy enjoys spending time outside, with friends and families, and with her new dog, Benjamin.

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