Questions & Answers with Some of Lincoln’s Most Inspirational Women | Local
President and CEO, Foundation for Education Services and Filament Essential Services
• Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, Nebraska – Bachelor of Arts, 1987.
Past professional and civic activities / organizations:
• Midwestern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA);
• Rocky Mountain Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (RMASFAA);
• Kansas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (KASFAA);
• Nebraska Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NeASFAA);
• Student Loan Servicing Alliance (SLSA), member of the executive committee, chairman of the technical committee, Washington DC;
• Member of the ANSI X-12A working group;
• Chairman and Board Member, Post-Secondary Electronic Standards Council, Washington DC;
• Member of the Nebraska Wesleyan Alumni Fund committee;
• Chairman of the marketing sub-committee of the NWU Alumni Fund;
• Member of the Steering Committee of the National Council for Higher Education Loan Programs (NCHELP), Washington DC;
• Member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, President, Past President 2001-2009 – Named Volunteer of the Year, 2011;
• Member of the Board and Executive Committee, Downtown Lincoln Association, 2009-2017, including Chairman of the Board, 2013-2015, Past Chairman, 2015-2017;
• President of the Parents’ Council and of the foundation, DLA, 2015-2017;
• Chairman of the Board of Directors of Downtown Civic Ventures, DLA, 2018, and Treasurer, 2015-2016;
• Lincoln City Council BID – Appointed by Mayor Beutler, 2016;
• Selected in 2017 for the Downtown Lincoln Association Hall of Fame.
Current professional and civic activities / organizations:
• Member of the Board of Directors of Inspire 2019-2020;
• Habitat for Humanity Volunteer;
• Steering Committee, FES Community Volunteer Group.
Who inspired you?
My great aunt Lucy. She was a lieutenant colonel and nurse in the United States Army during World War II. She served in New Guinea. She was a world traveler and cared deeply for her family. She was a woman ahead of her time. As a child, I was in awe of her. I was always delighted to go to base with her and see her receive a lively salute. She was strong and powerful.
What book or podcast inspires you currently?
I read “The life of artists” by Giorgio Vasari. Vasari was a famous Renaissance painter and architect, but he also wrote biographies about the early artists who developed cutting-edge techniques or new approaches to their art, and how they inspired the great artists who followed.
The Inspire Women’s Leadership platform launched Inspire Girls for young women leaders in our community. What inspiring advice would you share with them?
Try new things. Step out of your comfort zone and have the courage to experience something new. You will benefit from it every time. You will surprise yourself with things you like and learn from things you don’t. Be an observer. You can learn more by looking at the styles of different leaders than you can get from any book.
How can we better inspire, include and invest in others in our community?
Well, first of all, everyone should feel valued and invited to share their opinions and ideas. Community members should be encouraged to join boards of directors and help identify priority projects or areas of need.
What does leadership mean to you?
For me that means making sure everyone understands what we’re here to do and that we share a vision for the future. This means that there is no ambiguity in what each person contributes to the whole. Leadership is about establishing and maintaining a culture of how we do our work. It is about listening and making the final decisions after gathering a range of perspectives.
What’s your favorite quote or motto?
“Strength does not come from physical ability. It comes from indomitable willpower. – Mohandas K. Gandhi
I like this! I don’t believe in giving up.
How would you describe a beautiful day?
A great day at work for me is when a nonprofit client comes to us with administrative issues or obstacles that prevent them from focusing on their important work, and we find a solution for them. More than ever, we need nonprofits that deliver on their missions, because the whole community benefits. It’s a beautiful day!
What is the best advice you’ve ever received and who gave it to you?
A friend of mine once reminded me that you have to recognize mistakes, learn from them, and then let them go.
What is the biggest challenge or adversity you have faced in your life – professionally or personally – and how did you overcome it?
Losing my sister to MS and ovarian cancer during the pandemic. Isolation did not help the grieving process. I made it a point to reach out to some great friends and ask for their support. These women gave up everything and allowed me to go through the most difficult times.