Get to know
the passionate group of individuals that have volunteered their time and expertise to serve on the Greater Omaha Young Professionals Board of Directors:
Board Chair – YP Board: 2011-2013
@PatrickFalke Finance Manager at Project Harmony Child Protection Center
Patrick’s professional experience was solely focused on finance and banking for the first 10 years of his career. He will always love the financial aspects of organizations, but Patrick feels fortunate for the opportunity to take a new career path focused on helping children in our community. His relationship with Project Harmony started in 2008 when his sister-in-law involved him as a volunteer with the Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Fundraiser. Over time he became much more involved and realized he could be a greater asset to the community by serving others. Patrick strongly believes that no matter what you do for a living, you can always get plugged in to community organizations and change things for the better.
Patrick is also involved with The Partnership for our Kids and the Omaha Rotaract Club. “I was born and raised in this amazing city, and I feel fortunate every day for the way it has positively shaped my life. I did a considerable amount of traveling for business purposes and as I traveled it became easy to see that there is something special about this town. Omaha maintains a balance between the welcoming qualities of a small town, while at the same time adding components that you would normally see in major metropolitan areas.”
Connect with Patrick if you are interested in chatting about community engagement, politics, music or GOYP Programs. I can talk about politics or music anytime and anywhere. I also do not understand what all the fuss over Facebook is about – Dan Holke knows what I am talking about.
David M. Arnold
YP Board: 2012 – 2014
@David_M_Arnold Director of Account Management at MindMixer
Born and raised in the central Nebraska town of Sutherland, David moved to Lincoln to pursue his Business Administration degree at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Following his undergraduate studies, David decided to continue his education at the University of Nebraska College of Law. During his studies he had the opportunity to work in a broad array of work environments including the United States Senate, Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, as well as the University of Nebraska Civil Law Clinic.
After finishing his Juris Doctor degree, David took a position as the Deputy Communication Director for the Omaha Mayor’s Office where he was to get a first-hand look at the inner workings of municipal government. In 2011, David currently works for MindMixer – a local internet-based community involvement company – in the role of Account Manager where he collaborates with clients across the nation to improve their outreach efforts. “I live in Omaha because it presents a unique opportunity to experience an urban setting while remaining connected to the other opportunities our state has to offer. Omahans have an infectious pride in their community that ensures good people are always be willing to dedicate their time and resources toward the betterment of the city. It’s this broad civic dedication that makes me excited for the future of the entire metropolitan area.”
Connect with David if you are interested in discussing neighborhood-based economic development, entrepreneurial issues, & workforce training. Fun Facts: There were 35 people in my high school graduating class.
Ryan Curtis Engagement Chair
YP Board: 2012 – 2014
Associate, Professional Structural Engineer at LEO A DALY Company
Ryan was born and raised in Omaha and graduated from Millard South High School (after winning the Mr. Millard South pageant in 2001 that is not based on good looks, he is quick to say). He studied Architectural Engineering at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he was also a scholarship athlete with the Men’s Basketball program.
After earning his Master’s Degree in Architectural Engineering at UNO, Ryan was hired by LEO A DALY Company in 2007 as a Structural Engineer. His work enables him the opportunity to create, design and deliver the built environment in which we all live in. Ryan has worked on various large scale projects across the United States and is truly grateful for the responsibility that he has been given.
He currently lives in downtown Omaha with his wife and son. They are members of Coram Deo, a Gospel Centered Missional Church Community that is relentless about engaging the city of Omaha. He is passionate about serving our metro area while running alongside fellow Omaha YP’s that are deliberate about making Omaha an exceptional place to call home. Ryan is also involved with the Greater Omaha YP Council of Companies, the LEO A DALY YP Council, inCommon Community Development, the Society of American Military Engineers Student Mentoring Program and the Durham School-Architectural Engineering Mentoring Program. “Omaha is consistently voted one of the top cities in America for Young Professionals to live. I love the charm Omaha possesses – the museums, restaurants, music scene, and historic neighborhoods amongst other attractions, are simply a snap shot of all Omaha has to offer. Sure, our city has its issues, but that is why engaging in an emerging YP scene that constantly shapes the landscape of our community is so essential.”
Connect with Ryan if you are interested in discussing mentorship opportunities for Omaha’s youth, Omaha YP engagement events, starting a YP Group at your Company, NES’s Mike Tyson’s Punch-out, les Paul Gibson Guitars, running marathons and India Pale Ale’s (IPA’s). Fun Facts: I stand 6’-8” tall, and I am often times asked by strangers at the grocery store to grab the items off the top shelf.
Chad Eacker Communications Chair
YP Board: 2012 – 2014
@delineadesign Co-Owner/Creative Director at Delinea Design
Chad grew up in Lincoln and went to UNL, receiving a degree in English – Film Studies. Knowing full well that options were limited with said degree, Chad joined forces with Matt Bross to start Delinea Design (a multimedia creative studio). What started out as a way to pay for extraneous items in college (rent) became a lifelong obsession and legitimate business. Our hobbies became our passion, our passion became our company. Delinea Design grew, moved to Omaha and now resides in a beautifully restored warehouse in the Market West neighborhood of downtown Omaha; filled with a talented, creative, innovative team (come visit, coffee on tap).
When not playing owner, creative director, manager, marketer, designer, videographer, coffee maker, janitor, etc. at Delinea, Chad is active in the Market West Neighborhood Alliance, acting as president and helping to create an urban oasis just west of the Old Market. Other passions involve making Omaha a more inclusive community for everyone, as well as a creative/tech magnate that is the envy of the rest of the country. You’ll also find Chad at the Hanscom Bark Park with his pound-rescued lab-mix, Suki. Chad is also the President of the Market West Neighborhood Alliance and founder of Equal Omaha. “My business moved me to Omaha; Delinea Design started in Lincoln, but all of our clients were in Omaha. Early on we threw around the idea of relocating to someplace warmer, someplace larger, etc. but in the end, we decided that Omaha had so much potential and we wanted to be a part of that momentum.”
Connect with Chad if you are interested in chatting about: politics, human rights, urban development, alternative transportation, art, design, architecture, film… (just not the weather – in NE it’s a depressing subject for the most part). Fun facts: My minor was Japanese in college (I can barely speak a word now, but one of my fondest memories was visiting Japan). I have an unnatural fear of kites (can’t explain). I prefer the “flavor” red over all others beverages (pink & orange tie for second place; I despise blue). I’m extremely sensitive to the sound of Styrofoam, as it irritates my senses. Orange is my favorite color since grade school (I felt bad for it because nobody else liked orange, so I was ahead of the curve). I’m a nerd for tall buildings and can identify cities by their skylines (obscure places that I’ve never been to).
2014 Summit Chair
YP Board: 2012 – 2014
Environmental scientist at HDR
Meagan grew up on a hog/grain farm in small-town, South Dakota. Following a high school teaching career and graduate school, she, along with her daughter, made the move to Omaha for a job at HDR. Her main duties at HDR include writing NEPA documents, permitting and obtaining environmental clearances, and wetlands fieldwork. However, her passion for connecting young professionals led her to start a Young Professionals Group (YPG) in the HDR Omaha office in 2007 and the Omaha Council of Companies in 2008. Meagan then went on to serve as the Chair for the National YPG program at HDR from 2009-2011. Meagan also has been volunteering for the Greater Omaha YP Summit since 2008, including acting as the Programming Chair starting in 2009, and as Vice-Chair in 2013.
In her free time, Meagan is fixing up her and her husband’s 100-year-old farm house, attends her daughter’s high school activities, shops for antiques, reads, and obsesses over home improvement blogs. Meagan is also involved in the Greater Omaha YP Council of Companies and as an Omaha YP Summit volunteer. “I came to Omaha for my career, but I stayed because it became my home. I easily developed close friends and a professional network that makes me feel as if I’ve always lived here. While I don’t live within Omaha city limits, I am one of the thousands that commute to and from Omaha each work day.”
Connect with Meagan if you are interested in chatting about starting a YP group in your workplace, herpetology, growing up in small-town South Dakota, or even how to improve commuting to Omaha. Fun Facts: My dad is a huge history buff and when I was young our family participated in Civil War re-enactments. With that experience, my dad instilled in me an interest in early American history.
Anne Meysenburg Engagement Chair
YP Board: 2012 – 2014
Arts Administrator at The Kent Bellows Studio & Center for Visual Arts
After graduate school, Anne fell into the arts doing audience development, event planning and community fundraising at a symphony in Columbia, MO. She had no intention of returning to Omaha, only to come down with a strong case of homesickness due to lack of family. Her move back to Omaha also brought her to The Kent Bellows Studio where she, due to her lack true artistic talent and skill, was tasked with building the infrastructure for the organization. She also found, up her return, Omaha to have evolved into a place she truly wanted to be and became engaged in the community. Anne is involved in the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, Friends of Planned Parenthood, Opera Omaha, and the Film Streams Education Committee. “I live in Omaha because I can make an impact in measurable and meaningful ways. Here, I have a voice as an engaged citizen and as a young professional. And the community is on the brink of something exciting and energizing; this is truly a place that people want to stop and stay rather than fly over.”
Connect with Anne if you are interested in chatting about arts & culture in Omaha, yoga, baking, biking or running.
YP Board: 2011 – 2013
@benrouch Senior Manager, Investor Services at TD Ameritrade
Ben was born and raised in Omaha, so after attending NYU and starting his career outside the Midwest he returned home. He and his wife have enjoyed raising their family here and spending time with friends and extended family, all of which has made Omaha is a very special place to them. Ben likes to say that Omaha is “big enough to offer anything you want, but small enough that you can still make meaningful connections.” He enjoys a community that cares about one another, which is why Ben has served on his neighborhood association and is active in various Young Professional groups across Omaha. Be sure to contact Ben if you are interested in chatting about Dundee, New York sports teams, or 2am poker games.
YP Board: 2012 – 2014
Founder and Executive Director at Impact One Community Connection Inc.
Jannette Taylor was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. She is a Community Activist in North Omaha and has volunteered for many nonprofit organizations throughout Omaha over the last eleven years. She has always been involved in youth development and has worked with youth throughout the city in various capacities for several years. In 2006 she served as the District Executive at the Mid-America Council and revitalized the Umoja District of Boys Scouts in North Omaha. She focused her efforts on the Bridge to Success Program, an early entry college program for disadvantaged youth in Omaha Public School serving on the African-American Achievement Council and volunteering for their events. Through this program she and others helped many high school students get a jump start on college, taking courses at Metro Community College and University of Nebraska Omaha. She created Impact One Community Connection in 2009 and began focusing her energy on the marginalized youth and young adults in North Omaha. Working with the Empowerment Network of Omaha, Impact One began managing the Great Summer Jobs Program that has provided over 750 employment opportunities for high-at-risk youth and gang members in Omaha. Impact One provides gang intervention and prevention to young people on the street, in addition to providing intervention services at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Creighton University Medical Center.
Jannette’s personal life experiences has aided her in working with at risk youth in the city and has positioned her to be the perfect advocate for the marginalized people in the community. Jannette recently became a certified Nebraska Mediator through the Werner Institute at Creighton University School of Law and the Concord Center through the State of Nebraska. She is currently pursuing a JD in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at the Creighton University Law School.
Why Omaha? “I was born and raised in Omaha. There’s no other place I’d rather be.”
Connect with Jannette if you are interested in knowing more about how to get involved with helping the youth in Omaha. Fun facts: I’m a twin and my sister is 6 feet tall. Being as I am vertically challenged, we look like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in the movie Twins. My two favorite places in Omaha are Red Mango and Ted & Wally’s. I reluctantly admit I have visited these locations more than my church this year….I’m working on that.
YP Board: 2012-2014
Donor Relations Manager-Joslyn Art Museum
A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Kenley moved to Omaha in 2008 from New York City to marry his wife, former GOYP board member, Jara Sturdivant-Wilson. Kenley has spent over 10 years as a fundraising professional working at the National Civil Rights Museum (the former Lorraine Motel and the site of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.), the Orpheum Theatre (the Memphis version), Grace Church School (a small independent school in the East Village of New York) and now here in Omaha at Joslyn Art Museum. As a product of a multi-cultural family, Kenley is passionate and committed to initiating and sustaining a cross-cultural and cross-racial dialogue that has been fostered by watching his parents and grandparents.
Kenley is involved with inCOMMON Community Development, The UNION for Contemporary Art,The Octopuses Garden Art Alliance and Joslyn’s Young Art Patrons My wife, Jara, and I live in Omaha because this city has provided amazing professional and social opportunities. Having lived on other regions of the country, I have found the professional opportunities in Omaha have been more available no matter your age. Socially, Omaha offers community activities equivalent to those offered in larger cities that are more affordable and convenient.
Connect with Kenley if you’re interested in chatting about the Arkansas Razorbacks, tennis, college football, Memphis barbeque, your multi-cultural identity Fun Facts: I changed my last name when I got married, have two chiweenies (Dachshund and Chihuahua mixes named Earle and Franklin) and I cannot catch poison ivy.
YP Board: 2012-2014
Director, Account Planning - Ervin & Smith Advertising and Public Relations
Katie grew up in Schuyler, Nebraska – and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After graduating, Katie caught the ad agency bug and has worked in a variety of roles/departments throughout her career, including account coordinator, copywriter, creative director and account planner. In her current role, she is able to combine her love for business, creative problem solving, entrepreneurship and management. She helps facilitates strategic direction and development as it relates to the client’s business objectives through consumer insights, trend tracking and competitive research.
Outside the 8 to 5, Katie and her husband, Justin, have made it a top priority to live a creative lifestyle and be active citizens and participants in their communities. Katie is a fan of/supports the work for Omaha Creative Institute, Women’s Fund of Omaha, Special Olympics Nebraska, and design alliance OMAha. “Me and my husband live in Omaha because this is a place where there’s a growing creative class and outstanding YP opportunities. There are lots of exciting things happening in Omaha . . . and we feel that this city is just getting started! Plus, there are so many fantastic local venues, art galleries and more that we love to support. There’s always something fun for us to do, new people to meet, and new ways to connect to the community.”
Connect with Katie Kemerling if you’re interested in chatting about local shops + restaurants, movies, travel, YP challenges + opportunities, YP Summit, crafts, interior design and crime shows. Fun Facts: My maternal grandmother is from Japan – and I hope to make the trip someday! I got my very first pet 3 years ago . . . a mischievous Wheaten Terrier named Jezebel. And, I love French Fries.
Healthcare Banking Group | First National Bank
Born and raised in Norfolk, NE, Chris grew up traveling to the “big city” a couple of times a year. An opportunity to become a student athlete and play football at UNO brought him to Omaha in 2001. It was during this period, playing football at UNO, where he met some of the core people in his life and realized the importance of a relationships. Chris singed with the Buffalo Bills out of college and spent three years playing professional football. When he began looking for a career outside of athletics, everything circled around Omaha…centers of influence, core friends, family, etc. This led him back here, off and running with a “real job” in Omaha.
Chris came to know and understand the value that Omaha has when he spent a few years living outside the state. The connections and trust that we are able to build within this community was evident when he lived in the Northeast and South. Chris lives in Omaha because of family and the relationships that we can build here to accomplish what we believe in…and in Omaha, most of these are just a simple phone call or coffee chat away.
Chris also supports the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the UNO Alumni Association.
Connect with Chris Denney if you are interested in chatting about the current model of the State funded University of Nebraska system, Council of Companies, transportation, and sports; well, any sport but Nebraska Football.
YP Board – 2012-2014
Designer – DLR Group
A Kearney native, Scott began his journey eastward at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. From there, Scott took the long road to Omaha, earning his Master of Architecture at Ohio State University (he refuses to say ‘The’), and marrying his college sweetheart, Audrey. Following this was an enjoyable – and educational – detour through Chicago, which served to prove Jane Jacobs’ concept that the best cities are actually federations of great neighborhoods. Throughout five years in Chicago, however, Scott and Audrey found that Nebraska continued to grow in their minds. Finally, the decision was made: the Dobbe’s moved to Omaha in spring of 2012, settling in a 98-year-old bungalow (labor of love) in Dundee.
Scott spends his days (and sometimes nights) designing schools, stadiums, and more with the fine people at DLR Group. In his free time, he can be found re-imagining the city with the Public Engagement Committee, attending a Young Art Patrons event, taking in a design alliance OMAha lecture, leading a neighborhood recycling pickup with friends from Coram Deo Church, or enjoying the latest offering at Film Streams. If you get Scott talking about why he lives in Omaha, be prepared for something like this: “I hold a fascination with cities – like living, breathing organisms comprised of overlapping systems complete with auto-catalytic processes and feedback mechanisms. I therefore see Omaha as an ever-changing entity – evolving to reflect the collective mindset of its residents. As a result, I’m not one to believe ‘that’s just the way things are’ or ‘there’s nothing we can do about it.’ Omaha is and will be what we make of it. Let’s make it awesome.”
Connect with Scott if you’re interested in talking density, spontaneous European travel, triathlons, the Cubs, biking to work, scotch, or living vicariously through other people’s dogs. Fun Fact: I like to believe I can identify any city in America from the air. (Strangely, my wife does not find it as fascinating when I nudge her awake to point out Toledo some 30,000 feet below) If you’re not ready to buy me a flight to test that claim, Google Earth will do as well.
Director of Operations-Building Bright Futures
Julia J. Parker is a native Omahan and has worked in both the public and private sector over the past ten years. Since 2006, Julia has worked for Building Bright Futures (BBF), a local education non-profit dedicated to measurably improving lifelong education outcomes for every child in Douglas and Sarpy County. She currently serves as Director of Operations. Prior to joining BBF, Julia worked for the City of Omaha in the Mayor’s Office as a Communications Assistant during Mayor Mike Fahey’s administration as well as a Legislative Intern for United States Senator E. Benjamin Nelson.
Julia is passionate about the Omaha community and is a strong advocate for a variety of local non-profits. She currently serves on The Union for Contemporary Art Board of Directors as Treasurer, the Girl Incorporated: girlFRIENDS Guild Board of Directors as Treasurer, the Omaha Economic Development Corporation (OEDC) Board of Directors as Vice President and is a member of the Omaha Jaycees and Joslyn Art Museum Young Art Patrons.
I live in Omaha because I *love* the unique opportunities for both personal and professional growth that are readily available. I believe there is truly a niche for everyone in Omaha and if you disagree – well – call me and let’s work on making it happen!
Fun Fact: On the top of my bucket list is to visit every continent and I have 2 left: Antarctica and Australia.
Connect with Julia if you are interested in chatting about diversity in Omaha, coffee beans, giving your time or resources to local non-profits, 80s movies or if you have free tickets to Australia.
Education Project Director-Plains States Region Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
Jessica grew up on a small, family farm in the village of Howells, NE, and attended Dana College in Blair, NE, where she earned her degree in English for Secondary Education. In 2002, she began her teaching career at Fremont High School in Fremont, NE, instructing sophomores and coaching competitive speech. In 2005, Jessica scared her parents by moving to Omaha without a steady job, but soon joined the Burke High School staff teaching sophomore and senior English and working part-time to coordinate the Institute for Holocaust Education’s Tribute to the Rescuers Essay Contest. June, 2008, she joined the staff of the Plains States Region ADL, a non-profit, civil rights organization where she has become a certified A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE ® Institute facilitator and provides resources on cyberbullying, bullying and anti-bias education.
Named one of the Omaha Jaycee’s 2010 Ten Outstanding Young Omahans, Jessica is also a graduate of the Non-Profit Association of the Midlands, Non-Profit Executive Institute, Class 5, and is currently a part of Leadership Omaha’s Class 35. One of her proudest moments, both personally and professionally, was working with the Equal Omaha coalition to pass the ordinance ensuring workplace fairness for all Omahans in the spring of 2012. “I moved to Omaha because, growing up, I always wanted to live in the ‘big city.’ I have stayed in Omaha because there are a solid network of people here who really care about making Omaha the best possible place it can be; I am proud to say that this is my home.”
In her free time, Jessica enjoys singing with the jazz, a cappella group, MasterSingers, reading (fav authors include Margaret Atwood, Charles Portis and John Steinbeck) acting in community theater and keeping up with her adorable nephews.
Connect with Jessica, if you are interested in discussing education, civil rights, politics, music, theater, movies, yoga, traveling and TV – especially The Wire, Season 4 – arguably the best TV ever created, Arrested Development’s reboot, and, yes, I’ll say it, Star Trek: TNG!
Marketing Manager - Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands
Phil was born and raised in St. Louis, Missou-rah and graduated from Truman State University with dual degrees in Journalism (to pay bills) and Philosophy (because college, that’s why).
Like a salmon finding its way home, Phil followed the Missouri river upstream to Omaha in 2008 and has become increasingly involved with community causes: especially those relating to poverty and education (shout out to The Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands, Youth Emergency Services and The Midlands Mentoring Partnership).
Phil has spent years in working in photo processing, photojournalism, actual journalism, video production, the wild world of marketing things that people don’t actually need and now marketing for non-profit organizations. He currently is the Marketing Manager at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands – an absolutely amazing organization feeding, educating and nurturing over 1,500 kids every day.
Phil is absolutely thrilled to be working with the Omaha Young Professionals and hopes to work with the organization to activate even more parties into creating a city they can proudly call home.
Connect with Phil if you want to make something artsy that will really open people’s minds about needs or possibilities in this city.