2020 Midlands Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Awards

Junior League of Omaha members Colby Jensen, Alyson Manning and Alysia Radicia are not just leaders within the League, they are leaders in business and service, earning the 2020 Midlands Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award. The 19th edition of the prestigious awards program for Omaha’s
entrepreneurs, executives and professionals was announced in September.

From left to right: Colby Jensen, Alyson Manning, Alysia Radicia

“I was blown away when I found out I was among the other great professionals on the 40 Under 40 list,”
said Colby, an Audit Senior Manager with BKD, LLP, and the League’s Diversity & Inclusion Treasurer and a Nominating Committee member. “Receiving this award displays my commitment to my career and community and acknowledges the progress all recipients have made professionally and in the greater Omaha area. It provides reassurance to ‘keep up the good work’ to create rewarding opportunities and experiences to those surrounding us, allowing others within our community to flourish and thrive. I’m so thankful to part of this list and a citizen on the Omaha community.”

Alyson, Employee Relations Director for Kiewit Corporation, agreed.

“It’s a true honor and privilege to be awarded this honor, along with the 39 other individuals recognized with such impressive volunteer and professional credentials,” she said. “Recognizing the great accomplishments of young people in these areas in our community each year also helps set a
precedence for everybody to understand and agree on. More so, it can help inspire others to exceed
these standards and foster the continuous improvement in our society.”

Alyson became a Sustainer after serving as the 2018-2019 Recording Secretary. She also previously held
the positions of Executive Vice President, Cookbook Chair and American Girl Models Coordinator Chair,
among others, throughout her time as an Active Member.

Alysia is the Executive Vice President-Elect. She works as an interior designer at RDG Planning & Design
while balancing her roles in the League and other community organizations.

“I don’t do the work I do for the title or the recognition,” she said. “In my role as a designer I strive to
design spaces that best position the organizations for success; same is to be said for the work I do as a
volunteer. The best recognition I can receive is when the organization is able to meet their goals and
better serve the community due to the design or volunteer time I have done. In this instance, receiving a 40 Under 40 Award solidifies that the work I do matters and makes a difference.”

Over the next several days, JLO Connections will profile Colby, Alyson and Alysia. Each woman will also be featured in the Midlands Business Journal’s Dec. 8 edition.

Junior League of Omaha Nominations

Each year the Junior League of Omaha has nominations for slated positions that are included in board and management. Included in the positions are:

Board of DirectorsManagement Team
President
President-Elect
Corresponding Secretary
Executive Vice President
Financial Vice President
Member-at-Large
Member-at-Large
Diversity and Inclusion Vice President
Nominating Committee Chair
Recording Secretary
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President-Elect
Communications Council Director
Communications Council Asst. Director
Community Impact Council Director
Community Impact Asst. Director
Finance Manager
Fundraising Council Director
Fundraising Council Asst. Director
Membership Council Director
Membership Council Asst. Director
Recording Secretary
Bylaws Vice Chair

The nominations of these positions are important as it allows the committee to hear names of people they may not otherwise know or be aware of that could be a good fit for the position. The majority of the slated positions prefer League committee experience paired with some professional experience in that field. 

Nominations are every fall. The deadline for nominations for 2020 is November 20 with applications due December 13. To nominate someone for one of the positions email nominating@jlomaha.org.

Member Spotlight – Jessica Sock

This month we are getting to know Executive Vice President Jessica Sock.

Jessica is in her seventh Active Year in JLO and has held a variety of roles, including Community Impact Council Director, Done-in-a-Day Committee Chair and Board Member-at-Large. Her favorite role has been EVP as it allows her to connect with so many amazing members.

Jessica, her husband Don, and their five year-old Eliot enjoy camping, having fun outdoors and spending time with family.

Yoga Training at the Highlander

On a cool Saturday morning in September, members of the Junior League joined the Training Committee for a yoga training at the Highlander Accelerator hosted by Lindsay Decker.

The Highlander Accelerator is a 65,000 square-foot commercial and public complex aimed at connecting the community through education, engagement, and enrichment.  The Highlander Accelerator is part of the broader Seventy Five North community whose mission is to facilitate the revitalization of a healthy, sustainable, mixed-income community in the Highlander neighborhood. Seventy Five North works to break the cycle of poverty and community deterioration by partnering to create high-quality housing, thriving schools, recreational facilities and other neighborhood enrichment amenities. By holding the yoga training at the Highlander Accelerator, League members were able to visit this vibrant community and learn more about its mission.

The yoga training was held on the beautiful community lawn where the Highlander has offered free workout classes to the public throughout the summer. All CDC guidelines were practiced to ensure the safety of all participants. The training was a great opportunity for League members to practice yoga and to build strength, awareness, and harmony, in both mind and body.

During these difficult times, the Training Committee is diligently working to hold fulfilling and enriching trainings for our League members that provide the opportunity for personal and professional growth. Keep an eye out on Digital Cheetah for upcoming trainings. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Fall 2020 Bucket List

Junior League of Omaha President, Katie Triplett is excited to introduce a new autumn campaign for all our members: the JLO Fall 2020 Bucket List. She has pulled together some fun ways to enjoy the season, engage with League volunteer and development opportunities and support community partners.

This list includes things like making Game Day Wings, participating in the Food Bank of The Heartland’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Challenge and more!

As you work through this list, be sure to snap a pic, post on social and use the hashtags #jlofallbucketlist and #jlomaha. Each social post will be entered into a drawing; at our December GMM, one lucky winner will receive this super stylish (and functional!) tortoise shell mask chain. If your social accounts are private, you can post in our Junior League of Omaha Facebook group, or email a screenshot of your post directly to Katie.

Member Spotlight – Lauren Hellmen

This month, we are getting to know Financial Vice President Lauren Hellman. Lauren is in her sixth Active year in the Junior League of Omaha. Lauren is married and has a very sassy 2.5 year-old daughter, Lucy.

She loves being outside and active, including running and hiking on trails. She has had so many great League experiences, but planning the first-ever bRUNch 5K was one of her favorites. Her committee was amazing, and the experience made her want to continue being in the League year after year.

Trans101 Training

The Junior League of Omaha Diversity and Inclusion Committee is proud to bring Eric Reiter from OutNebraska for Trans101 training on September 23 from 7-8 p.m.

The mission of OutNebraska is “To empower, celebrate and grow LGBTQ+ communities in Nebraska” and their vision is “Nebraska communities that embrace and celebrate the full spectrum of LGBTQ+ people.”

In this training, participants will learn about the history of the trans community, correct language and how to use it, how trans people intersect with multiple other identities, how present-day trans people are being affected by public policy and discrimination in the public sphere, as well as how folks can become accomplices to trans liberation.

As a League, we aim to be inclusive and welcoming to all women. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee sees value in helping JLO members and sustainers understanding the ins and outs of the LGBTQ experience as well as the trans community.

From Diversity and Inclusion committee member Sheena Helgenberger on the training: “Being an ally to the transgender people in my life, and to transgender people overall, begins with understanding the basics.  Our presenter Eric will cover trans history, terminology, and ways to be advocates. I hope you can join us in this interactive zoom session!”

We also see value in understanding the experiences of the trans community based on the volunteering that JLO members do. From Community Impact Council Director Catherine Harrington: “As human beings, we are all so different and I think it is so important to learn and appreciate how other people experience life. It helps me keep an open mind and be a better advocate for equal human rights. Most of all I think people want to be heard and respected for who they are and me listening is the first step.”

Members: sign up for Trans101 on Digital Cheetah today!

Maximize Your League Experience with Mentorship

Brunch 5K. Project Hope Pack. The Jumble Shop. And multiple cookbooks including 2018’s A Century of Serving: A Centennial Cookbook Celebration. Some projects and events, past and present, are what the Junior League of Omaha is known for around the community.

Others quietly inspire within the League, like Mentorship, which during the 2020-2021 League year celebrates eight years of engaging and retaining current members by fostering relationships between Active Members with 1-2 years in the League and those with three or more.

Mentorship is a “unique way to make connections with others in the League,” said Sustainer Lizzy Darling, who was a mentee for one year and a mentor for three. “As someone newer to JLO, it was an awesome way to build relationships with more seasoned members who could offer guidance on League involvement. Everyone involved in Mentorship seems to be eager to get to know one another, help and raise each other up. It’s an incredible program.”

Want to be a part of it? Complete this registration and profile form by August 21 to get paired with a mentor or mentee.

“I believe that Mentorship strengthens the League,” said Lakelyn Hogan, a former Mentorship Chair and current Mentorship Committee Sustainer Advisor. “It allows members to form new connections and it gives newer members a chance to connect with someone who is more seasoned.”

Lakelyn and a former mentee Allison Kousaie enjoying happy hour at Timber in Countryside Village.

The Mentorship program is for first- and second-year Active Members (mentees) who are paired with a mentor who is a minimum three-year Active Member based on common interests.

“The most rewarding part of Mentorship for me was getting to meet women that I normally would not have encountered during my time in JLO,” Lakelyn said. “I was always paired with great mentors and mentees. Because of that, I have made a lot of good friends through the program.”

Matches are made in the fall and introduced at Mentorship’s kick-off where they undergo a brief training to discuss the program expectations.

“You have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” Lizzy said. “If you enjoy socializing with your peers, getting brunch or a glass of wine, playing a round of golf or doing a craft project, you will love being part of this program. The matching process is quite intricate and impressive. There is a lot of thought that goes into making a good connection between you and your match. Participate in this program to make the most of your League experience.”

The Mentorship Committee pairs together a mentor and mentee(s) to help facilitate social interactions outside of the normal League engagements and offer a special 1:1 or 2:1 connection. Through the program, participants can gain a deeper understanding of the League, find opportunities to network and form new friendships.

“By far the relationships” are the most rewarding part, Lizzy said.

“Make the most of your match,” she said. “Try to connect often, even if only by email. Everyone is busy. Agree what amount of time you can give and then be responsive. Everyone in the match has something to learn and to impart.”

Mentorship requires only a commitment for the League year, but many find themselves coming back year after year.

“I’ve been involved with Mentorship for seven years,” Lakelyn said. “I was involved from the very beginning. It has been my favorite part of my League experience.”

To learn more about the Mentorship Program, read these frequently asked questions.

Mentorship Chair Allison Zach can be reached at Mentorship@JLOmaha.org.

Snapshots from Mentorship

“Books are incubators” – Stories Cultivating Empathy

“Books are incubators.” Jason Reynolds’ words resonate. I imagine books hatching open worlds, creating images, and stories not only of things we love but questions and conversations. Right now, we need the incubators of stories to cultivate empathy.

Librarians curate book collections, which represent our students, their backgrounds and stories. They are mirrors into their lives and windows into someone else’s life.

Now think of that favorite book as a child or even a current one. Did it mirror your life?  What is it a window into someone else’s life? What is a sliding glass door where you became part of the story? When was the last time you or your family read a book with a character that looked different than you? Or had a religion or an experience that you did not understand?

I ask this because our books lack diversity, creating singular viewpoints of stories. Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in her Ted Talk explains when she was young, she only saw windows into other people’s lives and didn’t know that her story too could exist in literature. 

When we only hear one continual narrative about a culture, it creates stereotypes and that is the only story we hear. The need for diverse books is to expand the single story and use stories as incubators to begin the work of cultivating empathy and allowing us to have hard, vulnerable conversations.

Below are two incredible lists of sources.

Made with Padlet

Race, Anti-Racist, Equality & Social Justice Resources for all Students, Librarians, Teachers, Families and Communities

Let us curate a bookshelf that amplifies diverse voices!

Jess Winter, 2020-21 Communications Project Management Chair 

Junior League of Omaha Virtual Training

The Junior League of Omaha is a training organization first and foremost. Since we can’t be together IRL, the training committee put together a list of (mostly free) digital resources. While tie-dying sweatsuits and making your own sourdough starter are worthy endeavors, we might be social distancing for a long time. Please comment and share anything you’ve learned or DIY successes during this time! 

Community

Did you know that even before the pandemic, AJLI has tons of resources on their site? To access their library of content available to Members, log in to jlomaha.org. In the top right click on AJLI. This will take you to the AJLI website as a logged-in Junior League member. Beyond COVID-19 resources, you can find past webinars, materials from past AJLI trainings and conferences, self-paced online courses, and more. They’ve also added a bunch of COVID-19 specific resources, such as webinars about serving communities from a distance and leading teams virtually. 

If you want to further your nonprofit knowledge, take a look at nonprofitready.org and join for free. They’ve curated over 500 free online courses, videos, and downloadable guides to support the most common nonprofit jobs including: Fundraising, Grant Writing, Leadership, Governance, Accounting and Finance, Operations, Marketing and Communications, Volunteer Engagement, and Program Management.

With the Nebraska primary election around the corner on May 12, and politics on the mind, She Should Run is an excellent resource to get more women elected and involved in policy. Check out their Road to Run 2020 Virtual Series.

Continued Education

Harvard is offering the opportunity to audit select digital courses and webinars. Topics range from science and math to humanities and current events. There’s a webinar on Nonprofit Accounting and Financial Statements that looks like a great intro to nonprofit finances (looking at you, incoming treasurers!). 

Coursera is a collection of digital courses offered by a huge variety of educational institutions and has almost 2,000 free online courses. Some interesting courses we saw: The Arts and Science of Relationships: Understanding Human Needs, through the University of Toronto, Stanford Introduction to Food and Health, and Project Management Principles and Practices Specialization

Udemy is another online learning platform with tons of Free Courses. Take a look at Becoming a Service Leader.

Interested in learning the basics of software development, design, business, photography, or web development? New users get a free month on Lynda.com.

Try Free Fridays at General Assembly. Topics include data, marketing, career development, coding, UX design, and business.

Buddy up and split the cost of the Buy One Share One promotion on Masterclass. Learn Creativity and Leadership with Anna Wintour, Entrepreneurship with Spanx founder, Sara Blakely, and many other courses with masters of their fields.

There are so many free resources for schools out there, but a lot of the content is helpful beyond childhood education.

Money Moves

Sophia Amoruso founded Girlboss a few years ago, and it’s an excellent resource for all things branding and professional development. Given that we’re in SUCH an uncertain time, they’ve rounded up some timely links and articles called Girlboss Guide to Pivoting Like a Pro.

By subscribing to the Ladies Get Paid Institute for Higher Earning, you’ll get an all-access pass to over 30 hours of expert content, with new courses added weekly, designed to help you advance in your career, manage your money and grow your wealth. Try a 30 Day FREE trial with code: 30DAYSFREE

New to investing? Consider joining Ellevest, which guides women through finances to level the playing field. From their site, “86% of Investment Advisors Are Men, With an Average Age of 50+. So the “gender-neutral” investment industry defaults to men’s salaries, career paths, preferences and lifespans. That’s not good enough. So, we’re changing the game.” Even if you don’t want to commit now, follow Ellevest and founder Sallie Krawcheck on Instagram for helpful money tips with women’s interests in mind.

Here are 5 podcasts for professional development and 10 career podcasts for your listening pleasure. We also love Second Life, Women at Work, and Gallup Theme Thursdays.

Arts & Entertainment

Who remembers places? While we can’t travel, we can explore online. Here are 10 Virtual Experiences in the State of Nebraska. Architecture geeks and interior design lovers can enjoy Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Visits. Joslyn Museum is offering Art From Afar. Check out this virtual tour of the British Library’s virtual exhibit of “Harry Potter: A History of Magic.” Fun fact: the first book came out 23 years ago this coming June.

Take guitar or ukulele lessons. Learn piano. Lin-Manuel Miranda announced free theater classes. Moma is offering free art courses through Coursera as well. If that’s too intense, get out your finest gel pens and enjoy some Manolo Blanik Coloring Sheets.

Mind & Body

Beachbody has a free 14-day trial right now.

Cloud 9 has a free 90-day trial of meditation resources. 

JCC in Omaha is streaming free fitness classes

Some of Todd Smith’s trainers are posting some free at home workouts.

Sanvello is an app offering free premium access during the COVID-19 crisis. You’ll find tools like meditations, mood trackers, and guided journeys to help navigate the complicated world of mental health.

We understand that time is a luxury that not everyone enjoys, and even with potential extra time, not everyone is feeling productive or ambitious right now. That’s okay! No matter what your situation is, however you’re coping, you’re doing the best you can. The training committee just wanted to provide some useful content to our fellow members.

We are in this together.

Sara Huse, Training Coordinator