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This is a regular feature where we spotlight NLC Omaha alumni. The NLC Omaha family is a diverse group with a wide range of experiences in business, politics, government, non-profits, entrepreneurship and more. Today, we’re catching up with 2015 NLC Omaha fellow and current board member and Finance Chair, Patrick Leahy.
Patrick was born and raised in Omaha and is currently a member of St. James Parish. He is a campaign manager for the Steier Group, a national public relations and development firm based out of Omaha, and he has previously worked for U.S. Senator Ben Nelson as the Eastern Nebraska Field Representative.
Patrick is also an elected official, currently running for re-election 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. Patrick also serves as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and is currently working on a Master’s Degree at Creighton University.
Why did you originally decide to apply to the NLC Institute?
To learn more about progressive causes I could become better involved with throughout different communities in Omaha.
What was one NLC Institute training that had a big impact on you – taught you a valuable new skill, opened your eyes to something you weren’t aware of before, fostered a new connection, etc.
I was unaware of how many great progressive leaders are sprinkled throughout our city who I had not met before. Each of them are doing small things (and sometimes big things) that are making Omaha an even better place to live, work and raise a family.
What has NLC meant to you? What have been your most meaningful NLC experiences?
To me, NLC mostly means the people. These individuals, both ordinary but at the same time great, are coming together to make sure that Omaha is going to remain a city where progressive ideals are the norm for a generation.
How has NLC played a role in your personal or professional life?
I cannot overstate or begin to quantify how important being a part of the NLC Omaha network is, in terms of both personal friendships and professional relationships.
What piece of advice would you give a young person looking to make progressive change in our community?
Be like a tree and plant deep roots before starting to grow out and make a positive difference. There are going to be all types of challenges trying to push you down when you try to change something. If you have strong, deep roots, these challenges will not blow you over.
What qualities would you look for in a person considering applying to NLC Omaha?
Humble, Intelligent, Positive Attitude, Courage.
What do you see as the future of NLC Omaha? What type of role will NLC Omaha play in the community?
In ten years or so, those who have gone through NLC’s program will be key leaders in Omaha – on civic and non-profit boards, in business and industry and political positions.
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