LeadDIVERSITY Advocate Portal

Introducing LeadDIVERSITY!

LeadDIVERSITY is a program of Inclusive Communities in partnership with OPPD, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and The Tri-Faith Initiative.  This year long program is designed to build a network of leaders dedicated to creating localized solutions to diversity and inclusion opportunities in the Midwest. 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 Midwestern 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.


Applications for Cohort 4 are open from May 16 – June 17, 2022.

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 #4 is May 16 – June 17, 2022. All applications will be notified by July 15, 2022. The selection committee seeks applicants with proven leadership skills who have exhibited a strong community commitment.  Session Dates will run September 2022- May 2023.

Tuition is $2,200 (scholarships are available).

Applications require:

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

2022-23 Session Dates

All workshops will be from 8:30am – 4:30pm Advocates are only allowed to miss one session.

  • August 12, 2022  – Group Meet and Greet
  • September 14,  2022
  • October 12, 2022
  • November 9, 2022
  • December 7, 2022
  • January 11, 2023
  • February 8, 2023
  • March 15, 2023
  • April 19, 2023
  • May 10, 2023
  • Graduation – June 9, 2023
  • All LeadDIVERSITY participants also receive a free ticket to the Inclusive Communities Humanitarian Brunch.


Congratulations 2020-2021 LeadDIVERSITY Graduates – Cohort 2:
Christina Arellano, Inclusion and Diversity Experience Ambassador, Signature Performance Inc.
Kimberly C. Barnes, Director of Programs, Women’s Center for Advancement
Deana Blount, Site Director, Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands
Damien Coran, Program and Curriculum Supervisor, Partnership 4 Kids
Sarah Ericson, Director of Organizational Effectiveness, Mosaic
Eric Ewing, Executive Director, Great Plains Black History Museum
Alexander Foreman, Credit Analyst & ERG Leader
Rebecca Forsyth, Creative Director/Master Stylist, Bungalow 8 Hairdressing
Wendy Goldberg, Executive Director, Tri-Faith Initiative
Cynthia Gooch-Grayson, Associate Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, Metropolitan Community College
Denise Hall, Member, Delta Sigma Theta
Steve Hogan, Attorney, Fraser Stryker PC LLO
Liz Kendall Weisser, Education and Community Engagement Manager, Omaha Symphony
Tracy Leavelle, Director of the Kingfisher Institute for the Liberal Arts and Professions, Creighton University
Kat Lopez, Director of Communications and Events, Centro Hispano Comunitario de Nebraska
Teresa Mardesen, Community Relations Manager, Farm Credit Services of America
Amanda Martinez, Engineering Manager, Chromatic
Noah McClain, Product Development Manager, Mutual of Omaha
Lonnie Michael Jr., Database Marketing Manager, Mutual of Omaha
Craig Moody, Managing Partner, Verdis Group
Astrid Munn, Child and Family Managing Attorney, Immigrant Legal Center
Kathy Peissig, Senior Director of Talent Development, Werner Enterprises Inc.
Amanda Ponce, College Success Navigator, Metropolitan Community College
Lucy Puentes, Program Manager, Omaha Outward Bound School
Mindy Rush Chipman, Director of Equity & Diversity, Lincoln Commission on Human Rights
Graciela Sharif, Cultural Diversity Coordinator for Leadership in Education and Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND), Munroe-Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation, UNMC
Comi Sharif, Senior Associate, Koley Jessen
Alejandra Sinecio, Senior Program Director, National Able Network
Jeffrey Southall II, Assistant Director for the Office of Civic and Social Responsibility, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Nicky Sullivan, Homeownership Success Coordinator, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha
Jannette Taylor, Executive Director, Women’s Center for Advancement
Kimberly Thomas, Executive Director, CASA for Douglas County
Ashley Rae Turner, Marketing Communications Specialist, North End Teleservices
Drew Weitz, Director of Equity Research, Portfolio Manager, Weitz Investment Management
Dan Whisler, Manager Radiation Protection & Chemistry, Omaha Public Power District

Congratulations 2019-2020 LeadDIVERSITY Graduates – Cohort 1:
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 Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, University of Denver
David Scott, Director of Sales & Marketing with The Peregrine Hotel, Curio by Hilton
Dulce Sherman, Chief Operating Officer with Whispering Roots, Inc.
Erika Volker, HR Director for the Physician Enterprise for 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, Chief Diversity Officer with The Scoular Company
John Staup, Director, Talent Acquisition with Omaha Public Power District
Kara O’Connor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones
Keesha Davis, Superintendent of Dispatching-Northwest with Union Pacific Railroad
Kirsten Case, Service Learning Academy Community Liaison with UNO
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, AVP Workforce Operations with Union Pacific Railroad
Rafael Llorens, Bilingual Career Specialist with Dynamic Education Systems. Inc. 
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!


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