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Published:  July 20, 2020

“This is a pivotal moment for our country,” said Dr. Randal Pinkett, CEO and Co-Founder of BCT Partners.  “If we work together, as the Network says, we can transform the country and transform Omaha.”

Three years ago, Damita Byrd and Willie Barney of the Empowerment Network and WDB Resultants worked with Dr. Pinkett & Dr. Jeffrey Robinson of BCT Partners to convert their bestselling book, “Black Faces in White Places,” into a year long curriculum and cohort.  The response and results have been overwhelmingly positive.

Pinkett is no stranger to Omaha.  He has been a featured keynote speaker and strategic partner with the Empowerment Network for the past five years.

“Omaha is like a second home for me,” said Pinkett.  “The Redefine the Game Institute is expanding nationally, especially with the racial equity and diversity issues facing our country, but it started in Omaha in partnership with the Empowerment Network, WDB and BCT Partners.”

One of the goals of the program is to help facilitate the movement of African-Americans into leadership positions within corporations, organizations and to the next level with entrepreneurial endeavors.  Over half of the original participants have received promotions or moved into new positions that are more aligned to their purpose and life mission.

The program has captured the attention of local and national media.  Julie Cornell, co-anchor for KETV Channel 7 in Omaha, featured the Redefine the Game Institute on Thursday, July 16th in a 2 minute news story.  Cornell was so intrigued and impressed by the program and the results that KETV decided to dedicate a 30 minute Chronicle edition to it on Sunday, July 19th.

The special segment includes interviews with Dr. Pinkett and two graduates of the program, Maurice Kimsey II, an Electrical Engineer with OPPD, and LaKeisha Gatson-Dunham, a Senior Director with Union Pacific.

“Redefine the Game can be whatever you need it to be,” said Kimsey.  “The program takes high potential African-Americans and helps them grow in managerial and leadership skills.”  In his interview, Kimsey focuses on building trust and creating pathways and pipelines for African-Americans.

“The group process allows you to learn strategies from others in different sectors and organizations who are like you that have similar experiences,” said Gatson-Dunham, who started with Union Pacific right out of college and has been promoted to Senior Director of Commercial Strategy and Pricing.  Gatson focuses on common voice, strategies and the classroom perspectives brought by different personalities.

Now headed into its third cohort, Redefine the Game works with African-American professionals, community leaders and entrepreneurs to maximize their gifts and strengths, enhance their leadership skills, build their network and advance their careers, businesses and communities.

“I believe it is more important now, than ever before, to teach black business professionals how to organize, strategize, network, plan and create a successful career plan,” said Damita Byrd, Sr. Director for Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at BCT Partners.

Applications for the 3rd cohort are open until July 31st.  To learn more or to apply:  Redefine the Game Application

Here’s the link to the 2 minute news story:  Redefine the Game Story

Here’s the link to the 30 minute Chronicle story:  RTG Chronicle

The Redefine the Game Institute is part of the Empowerment Network‘s Advance Omaha Racial Equity and Diversity initiative in partnership with BCT Partners.  To learn more more:  Advance Omaha

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Careers

Welcome Veta Jeffery, CEO of Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce

Revive Magazine asked some leaders to share their thoughts about the Chambers new CEO and to provide an official welcome to Omaha for Mrs. Veta Jeffery, her husband, Tony and daughter, Toni.  Jeffery officially started her new role in May of 2022.

 

Cheryl Logan
Superintendent of Omaha Public Schools

We welcome Veta to this extraordinary community. The promise of Omaha is fundamental to the success of our students and we look forward to supporting her and the vision of the Omaha Chamber for all who call Omaha home.

 

Pete Festersen
President of Omaha City Council

Omaha City Council President Pete Festersen met Jeffery during her first chamber of commerce board of directors meeting and was very impressed.

“We discussed the huge opportunity that exists right now to address economic development in North and South Omaha. She has a lot of experience with diversity, inclusion and ARPA fund distribution and I am excited to work with her on those issues. Great things happen when business, government and philanthropy work together.”

 

Richard Webb
CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands

“I am excited about Veta Jeffery’s leadership she will bring to the Omaha community. I am looking forward to her leveraging her local, statewide, and federal relationships and experience with internships and recruitment of diverse talent to continue the Omaha community on a path towards success.”

 

Precious McKesson
President of North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance

“Extending a heartfelt welcome to CEO/President Veta Jeffery and her family to Omaha. I am excited to see the ideas and programs Mrs. Jeffery’s will bring to the Omaha market and look forward to working with her to ensure there is an intentional focus on economic and business development in North Omaha.”

 

Dr. Viv Ewing
President & CEO Childrens Square

“Veta Jeffery is a brilliant business and community leader with deep experience in economic development.  She will be a tremendous asset to the OMAHA community. I look forward to her leading a transformation for the city in economic development and engaging young professionals.”

 

Keith Station
Deputy Chief, Diversity and Inclusion, City of Omaha

“Veta Jeffery is exactly what Omaha needs right now; an accomplished, visionary, strategic woman to continue the unprecedented economic development growth of our region. I’m ecstatic that she is a DEI subject-matter-expert, and I look forward to helping her and the family to get acclimated to the City of Omaha!”

 

Aisha Conner
Special Projects and VEC Manager, Empowerment Network

“I would say that with the announcement of the new CEO it shows that Omaha is moving in the right direction.  Circling back to the brain drain it shows that Omaha is being intentional about seeking out talent and diversity. I am excited about what is happening in my city.”

 

Thomas Warren, Sr.,
Chief of Staff, Mayor’s Office

“The appointment of Veta Jeffery as President/CEO of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is historic and monumental.  The OCC serves as a catalyst for business development and economic growth in the City of Omaha and the metropolitan area.  Ms Jeffrey’s background and experience are aligned with the area’s priorities and needs, talent recruitment and retention, workforce development and increasing diversity through hiring and training initiatives.”

“The City of Omaha and OCC benefit from having the support of a very generous donor/philanthropic community.  Ms Jeffery’s skills as a convener will enable her to facilitate public/private partnerships and continue the positive trajectory of our local economy.”

 

Chris Rodgers
Douglas County Commissioner

“I grew up in the St. Louis metro area and her tenure there prepares her to step in and build a business climate that inclusively creates jobs and develop small and big businesses.”

 

Terrell McKinney
State Senator

“It’s refreshing to see that the chamber has hired a black woman to take its organization into the future, bringing her years of experience to Omaha from St. Louis.  I look forward to meeting and working with her in the near future.”

 

Tim Clark
Manager of Community Relations, Metropolitan Community College

This is a serious step towards creating a business community that will become even more intentional when it comes to diversify and inclusion…the Greater Omaha Chamber is key in leading the business community to help strengthen minority and small businesses for start up and escalation.  We welcome the new CEO Veta Jeffery Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce to this place we call the “Good Life”!  We look forward to having the conversations around the alignment Skill training and Associates Degrees that will support Businesses in the Greater Omaha area.

In my opinion strength of a progressive City is how it uses culture and diversity as a strength when it comes to creating vibrant places to live work and place, it becomes very important and I believe right thing to do…The future of the Greater Omaha area is full of Hope and Opportunities!

I was excited when I heard Veta Jeffery was selected to serve as the next President and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber.  She is the first woman and first person of color to serve in this role.

It’s inspiring to see Black women getting opportunities to serve in leadership roles. I am sure she will do an amazing job taking the chamber to the next level.

 

Sherie Thomas
Deputy Chief, Omaha Police Department

“I was excited when I heard Veta Jeffery was selected to serve as the next President and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber. She is the first woman and first person of color to serve in this role.”

“It’s inspiring to see Black women getting opportunities to serve in leadership roles. I am sure she will do an amazing job taking the chamber to the next level.”

 

Carmen Tapio
CEO of North End Teleservices

Veta Jefferey from a leadership perspective is best characterized by strategic development, broad consensus building and convening public and private stakeholders to achieve business, economic and community outcomes. Her approach and achievements in city government, the financial sector and economic development transfer and align with the innovative, impactful and collaborator leader we sought to be the CEO and President of the Greater Omaha Chamber.

Notable of her many achievements Ms. Jeffrey was appointed by the Governor of Missouri to help bring back and rebuild Ferguson and the business community after the riots.

Ms. Jeffrey brought together public and private partnerships to work together on creating plans and bringing about outcomes. Her ability to do that in a divided community is impressive.

The committee consisted of diverse leaders and was chaired by Leslie Andersen, CEO of i3 Bank, and includes Carmen Tapio, CEO of North End Teleservices, LLC, Mindy Simon, CIO of ConAgra, Clark Lauritzen, Chairman and President of First National Bank of Omaha and Mogens Bay, retired CEO of Valmont. The selection committee was assisted by Korn Ferry, a worldwide leader in executive search.

We worked tirelessly, vetting all candidates and coming to a unanimous and enthusiastic conclusion that Veta Jeffery is the best choice and person to lead the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and to bring further transformational change.

 

Welcome to Omaha Veta Jeffery and family.

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Careers

David Pollock launches Code Black to bring people of color into tech

Published:  January 20, 2022

David Pollock is on a mission.  Driven by purpose and a clear vision to see his beloved community empowered, David is helping to bring African-Americans and people of color further into the tech industries.

To accomplish his goal, David has launched Code Black, a non-profit organization focused on fostering collaboration and sponsorship between Black and Latinx who are emerging and experienced professionals in technology.

He launched the organization in the midst of the pandemic which is a great example of his commitment to the cause.  He reached out to professionals in the industry and other leaders in the community to make sure he was creating something that would be of value to others.

Pollock did the work necessary to build a solid foundation.  After years of preparation, he stepped out in faith to make it a reality.

While others pulled back during the pandemic, he continued to push forward.  He is also a strong believer in collaboration and team work.  Others have joined in to support him with his mission.  It’s a beautiful thing to see, preparation meet opportunity.

David not only believes in the importance of education, he is leading by example in that area as well.  David obtained his master’s in Organizational Leadership from Bellevue University.

He is also able to speak the language of those he seeks to see empowered.  David’s tech experience and certifications consist of in IBM Cognitive Analytics (Chatbot), Grow with Google (app development), Drone software developer, Software: Airsim – Unreal Engine 4 – Watson Image Classification system, Languages: Java, C++ and Python.

Before starting Code Black, David worked 3 ½ years as a Fatherhood Coordinator and 4 ½ years as a college success advisor for students of color.  These experiences allowed him to gain additional insights on how he could better serve his own community.

After a successful career in coaching, mentoring and developing programs, David is now leading the way with others to create an organization where Black and Latinx in technology impact the very community that they live in.  His initial focus is the State of Nebraska.

Most importantly, David is a dedicated husband and father.  He and his wife are consistently engaged in work to improve their community and highly regarded in the areas of leadership development, career advancement, tech, diversity and inclusion and innovation.

David is available for community networking and for business collaboration.  You can reach David at 402-515-8865 or david1pollock@codeblackinc.com

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Careers

Shavonne Washington-Krauth inaugural Director of Culture & Inclusion at Children’s Hospital

Published:  January 19, 2022

Shavonne Washington-Krauth is the inaugural Culture and Inclusion Director for Children’s Hospital & Medical Center.

In mid-2018 Children’s Hospital & Medical Center began intensive conversations about their desire to do more focused and intentional work related to diversity and inclusion within the organization.

By July 2019, Children’s had hired its inaugural Culture and Inclusion Manager, Shavonne Washington-Krauth. Since that time, Children’s has been working to provide a more diverse and inclusive workplace experience for employees by focusing on programming, systems, and policy concepts.

They have also been working in the realm of creating a more inclusive experience for their patients and families. Due to the success and level of influence she was having in her role, Children’s promoted Shavonne to the Director of Culture and Inclusion one year after she joined the organization, and is now adding a new member to her team.

Children’s is proud of the progress made in the past 2 ½ years and looks forward to seeing how much more they will accomplish.

Ms. Washington-Krauth’s responsibilities include the creation and revision of systems, policies, opportunities, and environments in which everyone can not only work, but thrive at a more equitable rate without feeling excluded or marginalized.

She also leads the development and implementation of a culture, diversity, and inclusion strategic framework; supervision of six employee resource groups and serves as an advisor or subject matter expert on topics regarding the organization’s culture, diversity, and inclusion efforts.

Ms. Washington-Krauth holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, a master’s degree in health education, is a Prosci-certified Change Management Practitioner, and a trained Bridges Out of Poverty facilitator.  Washington-Krauth is also a graduate of the Empowerment Network and BCT Partners’ Redefine the Game Institute.

Shavonne is dedicated and committed to the success of her community.  She serves on the board of the Latino Center of the Midlands in South Omaha and Union for Contemporary Art in North Omaha.

She is a self-proclaimed “Air Force Brat” currently living in Omaha with her husband, two sons, two dogs, a fish, and three chickens.

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