Delivering Infinite Book Shelves (DIBS) for Kids
🏆Winner of the National Book Foundation's 2020 Innovations in Reading Prize🏆

Board of Directors

President – Blair Freeman Group

Ashley Kuhn is the President of Omaha-based construction and real estate services company Blair Freeman Group. Previously Kuhn was the Executive Vice President of White Lotus Group where she played a significant role in the evolution of the company from a startup to a well-known and reputable firm in Omaha. As a child, Ashley’s interest in real estate development was first sparked when she became fascinated with the differing conditions of real estate in her North Omaha Neighborhood. Her fascination led her to want a career as someone that is able to impact the face of real estate in Omaha. Ashley serves on the Board of Directors CREW Metro Omaha, is Chairman for Girls Inc.’s Girls Nite Out, is a Girls Inc. mentor, a member of the Omaha CRE Summit Planning Committee and the Secretary of DIBS for Kids’ Board of Directors. Kuhn majored in real estate/land use economics and investment finance at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where she received a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Regional Director – Gallup

Scott Brown is a Regional Director of Business Development with Gallup. Brown is responsible for Gallup’s mid-market business development strategy. He manages an international sales team and oversees delivery of Gallup’s consulting solutions, which help organizations create exceptional workplaces. Prior to his current role, Brown was a Senior Consultant and responsible for business development and management of Gallup’s healthcare client relationships. In this role, he worked with clients to align the right Gallup teams and solutions to overcome their organizational challenges. He excelled at helping his clients achieve improvements in human capital outcomes, talent selection, leadership development, succession planning, employee engagement, and patient and physician engagement. Brown received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and master’s in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and is on the University of Nebraska-Omaha faculty.

Director of Finance & Infrastructure, Northstar Foundation

Maria brings to DIBS over 25 years of diverse financial and business management experience. Recently, Maria became the Director of Finance & Infrastructure at NorthStar Foundation, managing all financial functions in addition to overseeing daily administrative operations. That followed 10 years with the University of Nebraska system holding similar positions with both the Buffett Early Childhood Institute and UNO Alumni Association. She also has experience in the for-profit industry including construction and project management. Maria received both her masters’ degree in public administration and bachelors’ degree in accounting from UNO, and an International Business degree from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. Maria serves on the Board of Directors for the No More Empty Pots organization, and looks forward to applying all that she’d learned from both her financial, educational, and volunteer experiences in her Treasurer role for DIBS for Kids to further its impact within the Omaha community.

Attorney, Kutak Rock

Jeff McGuire is an attorney with Kutak Rock’s employee benefits and executive compensation practice group. Previously, Jeff served with the Teach For America 2009 corps, where he taught high school special education on the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota. In this role, he taught in the classroom as both a lead teacher and a co-teacher, and worked with students in small group and one-on-one instruction. Jeff’s experience on Rosebud sparked an interest in working toward educational equity and ensuring that all students have the resources they need to succeed. At Kutak Rock, Jeff advises retirement plan committees sponsored by private, nonprofit, and governmental clients on fiduciary and governance issues. Jeff received his bachelor’s degree in history, philosophy, and classical languages, juris doctor, and master’s in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As a voracious reader, Jeff believes strongly in inspiring a love of books in children.

 

President & Founder – Reality-Based Leadership

Cy Wakeman is a drama researcher, international leadership speaker, and consultant. In 2001, she founded Reality-Based Leadership. She is the author of three books: Reality-Based Leadership: Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace and Turn Excuses Into Results (2010), NY Times Bestseller, The Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace: Know What Boosts Your Value, Kills Your Chances, and Will Make You Happier (2013), and her new release No Ego: How Leaders Can Cut the Cost of Workplace Drama, End Entitlement, and Drive Big Results (2017). In 2017 and 2018, she was named as one of the Top Global Leadership Gurus by Global Gurus, a Top 100 Leadership Expert to Follow on Twitter, and was deemed “the secret weapon to restoring sanity to the workplace.” Cy lives with her husband and 8 sons in Waterloo, Nebraska.

Assistant Principal – Prairie Wind Elementary

Dr. Danita Webb has a passion for public education and a wealth of expertise and leadership. After spending years in the classroom as a teacher, Dr. Webb served as School Improvement Manager to Omaha Public Schools and now works as an Assistant Principal at Prairie Wind Elementary. In 2018, Dr. Webb was awarded Educator of the Year by Urban League of Nebraska Young Professionals. She has a long history of collaborating with the community and is particularly passionate about using research-based strategies and smart public policy to address the opportunity gap in high-poverty schools and neighborhoods.

Retired Teacher

Connie is a lifelong reader and learner who started reading at the age of four and never stopped. For 32 years she dedicated her life to inspiring young people to develop a passion for reading and learning. She is an advocate for public schools and teachers and believes strongly that kids need to get their hands on as many books as possible. During her career, Connie taught kindergarten, first grade, second grade, remedial reading grades K-8, and sixth grade reading and writing. She wrote reading and writing curriculum for grades K-8 and made presentations at the Iowa Reading Association. Connie led in-services to share information with teachers on strategy-based reading processes and writing across the curriculum. She was named Iowa Reading Teacher of the Year by the Iowa Reading Association in 1983. Connie has a BA in Elementary Education and Special Education from the University of Iowa and a Master’s Degree in Reading from Morningside College.

Freelance Journalist

Katy Spratte Joyce is a freelance journalist based in Omaha. She covers everything from travel to tech for a variety of print and digital publications. Originally from Minnesota, Katy has called Omaha her homaha since moving here in 2006 to attend Creighton University. Besides DIBS, she volunteers for the Junior League of Omaha, St. Margaret Mary’s Ladies Guild, Women’s Center for Advancement Guild Board, and Nebraska Community Blood Bank. Past community service has included the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands Family Guild Board, Food Allergy Research & Education: Omaha Walk Committee, Friends of Nebraska Children Board, All About Omaha, American Heart Association: Go Red For Women Committee, and the Bacchanalian Society of Omaha. Katy lives in the Morton Meadows neighborhood with her husband Skip and dogs Molly and Murphy.

Katie Lessman, M.D., Nebraska Medicine

Katie Lessman is a faculty obstetrician and gynecologist at Nebraska Medicine, where her responsibilities include patient care, training medical students and residents, and participating in and championing faculty and resident research.  Outside of the hospital, most of her time is devoted to her young family, as she recently welcomed her 4th child to the bunch.  Her passion for children’s literature predated her role as a mother, and has only grown with her family.  When child #3 was born with critical congenital heart disease, this interest in children’s literature expanded into clinical research in recovering lost neurodevelopmental potential in at risk populations.  In addition to these things, Katie also volunteers with Junior League of Omaha in research and development.