LeadDIVERSITY Advocate Portal

Introducing LeadDIVERSITY!

LeadDIVERSITY is a program of Inclusive Communities in partnership with OPPD, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and The Business Ethics Alliance.  This year long program is designed to build a network of leaders dedicated to creating localized solutions to diversity and inclusion opportunities in Nebraska. During this program, leaders will engage in topics that will leave them well versed and experienced in anticipating diversity and inclusion needs in the workplace as well as the community.

LeadDIVERSITY participants (referred to as Advocates) receive exceptional skills training to move Nebraska workplaces and communities forward. They will work together on a diversity, equity and inclusion focused service project highlighting the imperative nature of implementing serious social change.

LeadDIVERSITY will redefine leadership both for the individuals who participate and the organizations and business they represent.


LeadDIVERSITY redefines leadership to build inclusive and diverse teams.

Introducing Our 2019/2020 LeadDIVERSITY Advocates

The inaugural class of LeadDIVERSITY participants, known as Advocates, were carefully selected from a pool of over 40 applicants.  The 25 Advocates chosen provide an inclusive representation of Omaha’s diverse community. 56% of participants are people of color, and three identify as LGBTQIA+. The class is evenly split between corporate and nonprofit representation (10 participants from each), with 5 participants from the public sector (education, government, and healthcare). 60% of participants are female, 36% male, and one person identifies as non-binary.

“We were so impressed with the multitude of amazing leaders in our community who applied for this first class of Advocates,” said Cammy Watkins, Inclusive Communities’ Deputy Director. “I am thrilled to start working with the individuals who were selected!”

We are proud to introduce our 2019-2020 LeadDIVERSITY Advocates:

Abigail Moland, Attorney/Shareholder with McGrath North Mullin & Kratz PC LLO
Al Hoffer, Behavioral Health Case Manager with Heartland Family Service
Angie Balsarini, Community Engagement Manager with Film Streams
Angela Cooper, Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer with Mutual of Omaha
Barry Thomas, Director of Equity and Diversity with Omaha Public Schools
Bradley Ekwerekwu, Director, Financial Sustainability with United Way of the Midlands
Christopher Whitt, Vice Provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion with Creighton University
David Scott, Director of Sales & Marketing with The Peregrine Hotel, Curio by Hilton
Dulce Sherman, Chief Operating Officer with Whispering Roots, Inc.
Erika Volker, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Coordinator with CHI Health
Gina Ponce, Director, Latino Community Outreach with Bellevue University
Amelis Long, Director, Inclusion and Diversity with First National Bank of Omaha
Jennifer Deitloff, Senior Associate General Counsel with The Scoular Company
John Staup, Director, Talent Acquisition with Omaha Public Power District
Kara O’Connor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones
Keesha Davis, System Director of Locomotive with Union Pacific Railroad
Kirsten Case, Service Learning Academy Community Liaison
Molly Mullin Verble, Director, High School and Post-Secondary with Partnership 4 Kids
Nancy Melby, Vice President, Director of Operations with LEO A DALY
Peter Edwards, Director, Process Improvement with Conagra Brands
Polly Harris, General Director, Diversity & Inclusion with Union Pacific Railroad
Rafael Llorens, Guest Experience Manager with Omaha Children’s Museum
Shawntal M. Smith, Chief Professional Development Officer & General Counsel with Omaha Home for Boys
Stephen Osberg, Director of Transportation Development with Greater Omaha Chamber
Wayne Brown, Vice President of Programs with Urban League of Nebraska


Thank you to our Sponsors!


Frequently Asked Questions

Who should apply?

The LeadDIVERSITY program approaches diversity and leadership issues from a no-fault, interactive foundation with the goal of affecting positive change. Participants of LeadDIVERSITY can be from various corporate, non-profit, governmental, educational, health and community organizations. The program is for any leader who has an interest in the impact of diversity at work, in their personal lives and/or communities, including Managers, Human Resources professionals, Diversity Councils, and other community, business and organizational leaders.

Application and Participation Information

Application period for Cohort #2 is May 1 – June 5, 2021. All applications will be notified by July 15th. The selection committee seeks applicants with proven leadership skills who have exhibited a strong community commitment.

Tuition is $1,750 (partial scholarships are available).

Applications require:

  • letter of recommendation (optional)
  • participation note from supervisor
  • resume
  • essay

Workshop Dates and Information

All workshops are from 8:30am – 4:30pm unless otherwise indicated.  Applicants are only allowed to miss one session.

August 22, 2019 –9am – 10:30am – Group Meet and Greet – MANDATORY
September 11, 2019 – Laying the Foundation
Begin working with classmates to explore group dynamics, leadership roles and communication.  Northstar Foundation
October 9, 2019 – Identity
Examine identities and their intersections with power and privilege. Location TBA
November 13, 2019 – Leaving a Legacy – Legacy Service Project
Take the opportunity to think more deeply about leaving a class legacy through service. Greater Omaha Chamber
December 11, 2019 – Institutional Inequities
Investigate systemic inequities in our community and explore ways to begin addressing those issues. UNMC
January 8, 2020 – Surviving Hate/Growing Empathy
Tour the Tri-Faith campus and discuss religious diversity by addressing hate through the understanding of others. Tri-Faith Campus
February 12, 2020 – Omaha: East & West
Participate in a guided bus tour of City neighborhoods and learn where we have been and what we can do moving forward as a city. OPPD
March 11, 2020 – Learning and Leading
Learn about LGBTQ+ issues in the community and ways leaders can be better advocates for LGBTQ+ rights. Location TBA
April 8, 2020 – Ethical Leadership
Explore the dimensions of what it means to be an ethical leader and practice tools to elevate their ethical leadership influence. Creighton University
May 13, 2020 – Creating Inclusion
Discover the possibilities of an inclusive workplace for all identities and how to create it. Outlook Nebraska
June 2, 2020 – Graduation – Holland Performing Arts Center 3pm  – 6pm
Applications for the 2020-21 class will be accepted May 1st – June 5, 2020.


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