Lisa Ling_Website Events

Our annual celebration event will take place on October 20, 2016 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm at the Century Link Center. We are pleased to announce that our featured keynote speaker will be Lisa Ling,  award-winning journalist, author, executive producer, television presenter, and current host of This Is Life on CNN.

Two truly exceptional women with a powerful dedication to making Omaha a better community will serve as our Honorary Chairs—Jane Miller of Gallup and Aileen Warren of UNMC.

Please click here for sponsorship opportunities or contact Michelle at for more information.

Click here to purchase tickets!

Past Events

2016 Ready To Run Workshops

Ready to Run™ is a nonpartisan program for women who want to run for office, seek higher office, work on campaigns, get appointed to local boards or commissions, or learn more about the political system.

The Ready to Run workshops are held the second Friday of each month, February through May from 9:00 am to noon at CASA for Douglas County (2412 St. Mary’s Avenue, Omaha, NE)

Register now to attend one or more sessions in the 2016 Ready to Run workshop series:

  • February 12 – Lunch with Elected Officials
  • March 11 – Communication Is Key
  • April 8 – Reaching the Voters
  • May 13 – Fundraising Made Simple

Register now online or call 402.827.9280 to charge by phone.

25th Anniversary Celebration with Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank

A record crowd of 1,500 people attended the “Lead the Change” 25th Anniversary Celebration on October 15 at the CenturyLink Center. The event raised $390,000 for the Women’s Fund of Omaha.

The event featured Barbara Corcoran, from ABC’s hit series Shark Tank, as the keynote speaker. True to form, Barbara delivered her famously brash, blunt, bold and courageous advice for starting, growing, and expanding business opportunities, while inspiring the crowd to convert ideas and dreams into fortunes.

The event also included presentation of a record $250,000 in grants to local nonprofits for programs benefiting local women and girls. Included in this total is the $5,000 Be the Change grant that went to Inclusive Communities, based on a live vote by audience members. Additionally, this year’s Recycled Rides car, a Saturn Aura, was awarded to Danielle Goodwin who was nominated by Financial Hope Collaborative. A complete list of grant recipients is available on the Women’s Fund website, here.

Honorary co-chairs for the luncheon were Kate Dodge and Dana Washington.

Fall Luncheon 2014

WF 7- Co-chairs

Luncheon co-chairs Karen Goracke and Gail DeBoer with speaker Sallie Krawcheck, center. (Photo by Debra S. Kaplan)

A record crowd of 1,100 people attended the “Lead the Change” Fall Luncheon on October 23 at the CenturyLink Center. The event raised $253,000 for the Women’s Fund of Omaha.

Keynote speaker Sallie Krawcheck, owner of the networking group Ellevate and a former Wall Street executive, stressed the important of diversity and the impact of having more women in leadership. “Great things happen when diverse teams come together,” she said.

The event also included presentation of a record $200,000 in grants to 17 nonprofits for programs benefiting local women and girls. Included in this total is the $5,000 Be the Change grant that went to Girls Inc. based on a live vote by audience members. Additionally, this year’s Recycled Rides car, a Ford Taurus, was awarded to 20-year-old Maurisa Machacha, who was nominated by Goodwill Industries. A complete list of grant recipients is available on the Women’s Fund website.

Honorary co-chairs for the luncheon were Gail DeBoer, president and CEO of SAC Federal Credit Union, and Karen Goracke, president and CEO of Borsheims Fine Jewelry and Gifts.

Check out our blog page for a luncheon recap from a first-time attendee and learn more about Sallie’s presentation. View more luncheon photos on the Women’s Fund Facebook page.

Fall Luncheon 2013

A record crowd of nearly 1,100 persons attended the 13th Annual Women’s Fund Fall Luncheon on October 24 at the CenturyLink Center. The event raised more than $165,000.

Keynote speaker Betsy Myers, author of “Take the Lead” and founding director for the Center for Women & Business at Bentley University in Massachusetts, told attendees that leadership today is about building relationships and nurturing people – making them feel valued and appreciated. “It’s not just about being nice,” she said. “It’s about effectiveness, results and profits.”

Honorary co-chairs were Katrina Becker, managing director – communications, public affairs and events at TD Ameritrade, and Gail Graeve, director for public affairs for Cox Communications. General co-chairs were Stephanie Mattoon, partner with Baird Holm, and Lindsay Cosimano, president of Encounter Telepsychiatry.

From left, Women's Fund executive director Michelle Zych, Women's Fund board president Larissa Johnson, keynote speaker Betsy Myers, Mayor Jean Stothert, and honorary co-chairs Gail Graeve and Katrina Becker.

From left, Women’s Fund executive director Michelle Zych, Women’s Fund board president Larissa Johnson, keynote speaker Betsy Myers, Mayor Jean Stothert, and honorary co-chairs Gail Graeve and Katrina Becker.

More photos from the luncheon are posted on our Facebook page.

Fall Luncheon 2012

Nearly 800 people attended the Women’s Fund of Omaha’s 12th annual fall luncheon Oct. 27 at Ramada Plaza Hotel. The event raised more than $135,000.

Guest speaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom, director and producer of the documentary “Miss Representation,” talked about gender stereotypes and how these subliminal messages influence what girls and boys think they can and cannot be.

Fall Luncheon 2011

Nearly 900 people attended the Women’s Fund of Omaha’s 11th annual fall luncheon Oct. 27 at Ramada Plaza Hotel. Guest speaker Carla Harris, managing director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management and author of the book “Expect to Win,” provided advice on how to thrive in the workplace.

“You should always expect to win and play to win,” she said. “Maximize your success.” Harris shared several of her “pearls” of wisdom learned during more than 20 years on Wall Street.

Previous Luncheon Speakers and Topics

2010 – Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the National American Red Cross, “Embracing Change to Reach Your Full Potential.”

2009 – Audrey Nelson, Ph.D., author, “He Says She Says: How to Effectively Communicate with the Opposite Sex at Work.”

2008 – Susan RoAne, networking expert, “Meet. Connect. Build a Network.”

2007 – Sally Helgesen, expert on women’s leadership and author, “The Female Advantage: Women’s Ways of Leadership.”

2006 – Sylvia Ann Hewlett, author and president of the Center for Work-Life Policy, “Off-Ramps and On-Ramps: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success.”

2005 – Marie Wilson, author and founder of The White House Project, “Closing the Leadership Gap: Why Women Can and Must Help Run the World.”

2004 – Judith Mayotte, Ph.D., expert on refugees.

2003 – T. Marni Vos, humorist.

2002 – Judith Hope, Union Pacific board member, “What Women Want at Work and How it Affects Your Life.”

2001 – Joan Peters, author, “Not Your Mother’s Life.”

Ready to Run 2015

2015 Ready to Run workshop series:

  • January 30 – Launching a Campaign
  • February 27 – Communication Is Key
  • March 27 – Reaching the Voters
  • April 24 – Fundraising Made Simple

Ready to Run 2014

2014 Ready to Run Sessions

January 31 – Nebraska Politics: Getting Involved
February 28 – Crafting Your Message
March 28 – Launching Your Campaign
April 25 – Reaching the Voters
May 30 – Fundraising Made Simple
June 27 – Communication Is Key


Communication Is Key session on June 27.

Ready to Run Rally 2012

Nearly 200 people attended the Feb. 7, 2012, Ready to Run rally promoting the importance of electing women to office.

Speakers Diane Battiato, Douglas County Register of Deeds, and Jennifer Rasmussen, local campaign manager, encouraged women to think about running for office and to support other females in their campaigns.

The rally was followed by a showing of the award-winning “Miss Representation,” presented in collaboration with Film Streams at the Ruth Sokolof Theater. A sold-out crowd watched the 90-minute documentary that exposed how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America.

Ready to Run 2011 Workshop

The 2011 Ready to Run™ workshop program and presenters included:

  • Deciding to Run – Political consultant Mary Johnson and Sen. Kathy Campbell
  • Creating and Communicating Your Message – Campaign consultant Jennifer Mahlendorf
  • Raising the Money – Campaign consultant Victoria Kohout
  • What it Takes in Dollars and Sense – panelists Rebecca Valdez (Nebraska State Board of Education), Diane Battiato (Douglas County Register of Deeds), Marian Fey (Omaha School Board), Liz Campbell (campaign manager), Jennifer Mahlendorf (campaign manager)

Lunch speaker was Jim Green of Arlington, Va., national account executive at the campaign technology company NGP VAN Inc., whose topic was Running Start: Five Things You Must Do before You Tell the World about Your Campaign. Additionally, attendees talked one-on-one over lunch with current elected officials representing a variety of offices.

Talk of the Town – Recent Topics

March 20, 2015 – The State of Domestic Violence in Omaha
December 2, 2015 – #SEXMYTHS
May 27, 2014 – Journey to Emotional Wellness
Feb. 14, 2014 – How Many Nonprofits Does it Take to Pass a Bill?
Oct. 10, 2013 – Connecting Refugees to Resources
June 12, 2013 – Let’s Talk about Sex, Power and Money
March 8, 2013 – We’ve Identified the Issues – Help Lead the Change

‘Sex + Money’ Screening

A full house turned out for the screening of “Sex + Money” on May 7, 2013, at Film Streams. “Sex + Money” follows a group of photojournalists traveling across the United States, seeking to understand how the sexual exploitation of children has become the nation’s fastest growing form of organized crime. As the group encounters brave men and women who fight trafficking on the front lines, they consider what further action can be taken to end the injustice.

While stories in the documentary came from across the country, those told by the local experts during a panel discussion that followed the screening were local. Read a blog post on the event.

To report a tip, connect with local anti-trafficking services or resources or information, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or text BeFree (233733). The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls and texts from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

For more information on the film or how to take action, visit

‘Miss Representation’ Screening

More than 300 people attended the Oct. 10, 2012, screening of the 2011 Sundance documentary “Miss Representation” by producer/director Jennifer Siebel Newsom.

“Miss Representation” features stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics, including Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem.

A post-show panel discussion provided an opportunity for audience members to reflect on what they learned and steps that can be taken to change the way women and girls are portrayed. Panelists were:

  • Joe Jordan, managing editor and investigative/political reporter, Nebraska Watchdog
  • Tammie Kennedy, Ph.D., assistant professor, UNO Women’s and Gender Studies Program
  • Hugh Reilly, associate professor, UNO School of Communication
  • Ariel Roblin, president and general manager, KETV
  • Michelle Zych, executive director, Women’s Fund of Omaha (moderator)

The film was presented in collaboration with the University of Nebraska at Omaha and was sponsored by TD Ameritrade.

Watch a video with local women’s thoughts on “Miss Representation.”

Find out more about the movie and a related call-to-action campaign at