Naomi is wearing a green sweater and a brick highway is behind her in the distance. She is looking away from the camera with a confident look on her face.

Pillars of Leadership

August 6, 2020

Leadership is something I used to simply study. I voraciously read all of the books I could get my hands on. I became more aware of – and interested in – the leaders in India and Singapore, the countries we lived in from 2009-2013 and contrasted their tactics and values to the leadership of our own country. I learned more about corporate culture and leadership as I watched my husband’s journey in the private aviation industry. Most recently, I absorbed (and sometimes repelled) traditional leadership mindset in the real estate industry, the nonprofit sector and in the space of online leadership.

Initially, I referred to myself as an accidental leader when thinking about the Rock n Tot business I co-founded in Cleveland OH / Washington D.C. as well as recalling the initiatives I helped to spearhead while living overseas (including an English learning collective in India introduced by First Lady Michelle Obama). While the “accidental nature” originally held true, I quickly elevated my awareness and competency inside leadership when I founded and grew an online community to over 17,000 individuals from all over the world, and then led them through change leadership and change management, when we moved from Facebook in early 2017 to a more private social platform.

I was born in North Platte and then moved to Omaha as a young teen. I have innate ideals and traits that align with being a true Nebraskan, which I am proud of. I also have a perspective and awareness from my four years overseas, as well as an internal thread of personal history that skews towards insisting on empathy and equity to those who present differently than I do. I have a nuanced understanding of established systems and how they play out in the Midwest, on the East Coast, in foreign countries and places in between.

My through-line values sit squarely with contribution, collaboration (compounding, not additive) and community. Equitable economic advancement tops the list of what I fight for, and humility, integrity and love is the mechanism by which I get invited to the table. Accountability, meaningful dialogue and innovation are incredibly important to me. Add justice and collective healing to the mix, and that’s me in a nutshell.When our family left Nebraska in 2003, we didn’t know that we would be back in 2017. What I did know was that upon arriving back home, I would feel a tug to do more, and be more civically engaged.

First, I became involved in a gun violence prevention movement and helped to re-energize the leadership in the State of Nebraska. Next, I worked on affordable housing in the nonprofit world and led multiple large-scale initiatives. Currently, I am designing a housing stability program for pandemic crisis response and beyond (so proud to share that it received national HUD attention!) with a local homelessness prevention organization.My public-facing work in the community continues to expand: numerous City Council meetings attended, testimonies given before the State Legislature, speaking engagements with large corporations like Union Pacific, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha and Creative Mornings, and mastering the art of bringing together government representatives with funders and non-profits for the benefit of the community. My on-the-ground work also exponentially grows: executive leadership experience with oversight of multi-million dollar land and property acquisition and development projects.

In addition, I successfully designed and managed program creation for workforce housing, youth assimilation programming, data analysis and reliability and mortgage readiness. My board and committee experience spans an international storytelling collective to a local entrepreneurial collaborative.It’s been a true joy to step alongside the leaders of the Omaha community to bring my perspective as a Nebraska native who has returned home, and continue and bolster the work that’s been started. It’s an honor to bring my leadership and vision to the projects and organizations I’ve worked with over the last three years.It is now time for me to shift my impact in Omaha and offer my leadership in service of the community from the place of an elected seat on the Omaha City Council.The Omaha Chamber, in its Prosper 2.0 missive, states

“an ambitious and prosperous future is within our reach, but it will require “all-in” engagement – everyone doing their part to help achieve our greatest potential as a region.”

It is clear to me that this requires a bold reimagining of how our elected city leaders show up for our community.The values of Omaha are dynamic, energetic and to be a city that is continually transforming itself. I bring a grounded and visionary version of leadership that the City of Omaha is ready for. Leadership that is accessible, welcoming, equitable, involved and engaged. If you’d like to financially support my campaign for Omaha City Council, your contribution is appreciated! Stay tuned for more ways to participate and volunteer!