Tag Archives: Women in Business

Women in Business

December 8, 2017 by
Photography by Jeremy Allen Wieczorek

This sponsored content appeared in the Winter 2018 edition of B2B. To view, click here: https://issuu.com/omahapublications/docs/final_20bb0118/30

According to a 2010 study by the U.S. Department of Labor, women comprised 47 percent of the total U.S. labor force. That same study found that women comprise 91.1 percent of registered nurses, but also 66.1 percent of tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents, and 59.3 percent of all insurance writers.

The National Association of Women Business Owners revealed in 2015 that women-owned firms account for 31 percent of all privately held firms.

The women on these sponsored pages own or represent businesses that have been traditionally male-dominated and work for companies that encourage diversity in the workplace. They are advertising professionals, equestrian center owners, saleswomen for industrial products, and more.


13939 GOLD CIRCLE, SUITE 100 OMAHA, NE 68144


7193 COUNTY ROAD 40 OMAHA, NE 68122


4511 S. 67TH STREET OMAHA, NE 68117




6464 CENTER ST., SUITE 200 OMAHA, NE 68106






2829 S. 88TH STREET OMAHA, NE 68124


1500 N. 24TH ST., SUITE 111 OMAHA, NE 68110




305 N. 97TH COURT OMAHA, NE 68114


Collaboration in Action

November 22, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Many forward-thinking employers emphasize collaboration. Siloed organizations—those with teams, departments, or groups that do not want to share information or knowledge with other individuals in the organization—are increasingly seen as outmoded and inefficient. Collaboration is not just a feel-good philosophy—bottom lines and output benefit from collaborative environments.

At its root, collaboration is a commonsense tactic that simply means working together to produce, create, or execute something. Forbes, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and other business-savvy publications sing the praises of collaboration, and research indicates that women in particular excel in this area.

“I believe that collaboration is key to a successful business or operation,” says Susan Henricks, president and CEO at ICAN, a regional leader development focused nonprofit. “Women, the research shows, are generally better collaborators and more skilled at collaboration than men.”

ICAN offers programs, classes, and events that provide experiential learning. As a happy side effect, participating men and women develop stronger professional networks, which Henricks says often helps them achieve important real-world collaborative efforts.

“Collaboration is a skill we identified many years ago as a necessary, critical characteristic of successful leaders,” says Henricks. “All our programs, many of our speaker events, and certainly the women’s leadership conference focus on what it takes to collaborate and how to get better at collaborating, whether it’s with women, men, or a [coed] group.”

Jami Anders-Kemp, director at Step-Up Omaha!, a youth employment initiative of The Empowerment Network (TEN), also uses the power of collaboration at her organization, where she unites stakeholders from throughout the community. Though her role has expanded and evolved, she was initially hired to direct Omaha 360, a TEN program, where she aimed to build relationships and collaborations to reduce gun and gang violence in Omaha.

Jami Anders-Kemp

“My job was strategizing solutions at a high level and determining who needed to be at the table to address the issue, because we realized we needed to take a holistic approach,” says Anders-Kemp. “We also agreed that we can’t arrest our way out of this situation; a true solution involves many different strategies.”

For Omaha 360, Anders-Kemp says those strategies include enforcement, positive alternatives, re-entry and recovery, and court services, among others. She adds that in all of TEN’s efforts they also look at individuals’ needs at “a basic human level”— such as if the lights are on at home and if they have a job. When looking at a problem from so many angles, collaboration becomes essential to the process and Anders-Kemp brings together representatives from community organizations, OPD, OPS, the mayor’s office, the faith-based community, local business leaders, and others to facilitate action and change.

“With that range of strategies in place, you can see how important it is to ensure you have the right stakeholders at the table,” says Anders-Kemp, who employs similarly collaboration-based strategies when managing STEP-UP Omaha! and taking a major role in other TEN initiatives like Women for Peace, Omaha African-American Male Achievement Council, and Cradle to Career.

“It’s not necessarily that men don’t have this strength, but I think women have that desire to build relationships. And we’re often in environments where we’ve had to find ways to collaborate, whether it’s raising a family or doing business,” says Anders-Kemp. “That relationship piece is key for collaboration. All the strong women I know are good at coming together with that ‘it takes a village’ mentality.”

Certainly, collaboration can go wrong, but more often it goes right—especially for women. According to research from the Women’s Collaboration Project, there are at least five favorable or neutral experiences for every one negative collaborative experience, and 77 percent of respondents said they were “very likely” to employ collaboration again within the next 12 months.

So, what makes someone a good collaborator?

“The No. 1 key strength of an effective collaborator is that you’re not just out for yourself; you desire a good group outcome,” says Henricks. “No. 2 is having empathy, understanding, and willingness to consider other perspectives. Many leaders just don’t want to listen to others, and I really believe that if you’re not willing to listen then you can’t be a collaborator. Third, you must recognize situations where collaboration is needed, and I think women often recognize that faster than some men…the research in this area shows that. While there are certain keys to being collaborative, I also believe an individual can learn to be collaborative even if they aren’t organically collaborative.”

Henricks also stresses “whole-brain thinking,” or holistic team-building, an important focus at ICAN.

“You don’t want all creatives, all numbers people, or all strategic people,” Henricks says. “You need to take all of those different capabilities and include people who represent each set of knowledge, then you’ve got a whole-brain-thinking team. It’s a great way to set up a collaborative situation.”

Anders-Kemp agrees that good collaboration requires a holistic approach.

“There’s no one program or model that fits every need, so it’s crucial to bring the right people together and look at things from all different aspects to accelerate change or success,” she says.

“Everyone’s contributing a little bit, but collectively it makes a huge effect. It’s important to be honest about not being an expert in every area and being able to ask, ‘Who needs to be at this table?’ Particularly when we’re talking about people’s lives, young people, and violence prevention, it’s very important. We have to hear from everyone, put personal feelings aside, and bring everyone in. No one person has all the answers, but together we can always find the answers faster.”

Visit icanglobal.net and empoweromaha.com for more information.

This article appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of B2B.

Susan Hendricks

Dorothy Turley

Photography by Jeremy Allen Wieczorek

“We have an A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau, and we get a lot of repeat business and word-of-mouth,” American Legacy Complex Owner Dorothy Turley says of her equestrian center. It’s a reflection of the family- and child- centered atmosphere she has cultivated.

Turley and her all-woman staff oversee boarding, lessons, and training on spacious grounds north of the city. American Legacy Complex hosts a horsemanship summer camp and three annual horse shows, and is the site for birthday parties year-round. They also provide white horses for Hindu weddings.

Every visit becomes a learning experience. “It’s all geared toward education,” she says. “Besides the horses we have a donkey, two sheep, two goats, probably 19 ducks, and three alpacas. When kids come out, they can see everything.”

7193 County Road 40
Omaha, NE 68122


This sponsored content appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of B2B.

Ashley Batten

Photography by Jeremy Allen Wieczorek

Ashley Batten has served as general manager for Batten Trailer Leasing for two years, but she’s been associated with the business nearly a lifetime, learning from the inside about the many facets of the company her father, Blaine, founded in the mid-1980s.

“This year I’ve really worked on modernizing our fleet and updating. The industry is becoming more and more regulated,” Batten says.

Batten trailers have carried elephants bound for Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and wall pieces for pools used during the Olympic Swimming Trials. They have also hauled supplies to hurricane victims and materials to Habitat for Humanity, an organization the company is proud to support. Flexible rental terms, dependable service, and a willingness to work with both large and small enterprises generate steady referrals and year-after-year repeat business, Batten says.

“We have a wide base of customers in a lot of different industries, and much of what we do is seasonal,” she says. “I really enjoy working with a variety of customers.”

Trucking is still an overwhelmingly male industry, but Batten says she’s seen more women enter the field—not so much as drivers but in essential support positions that keep things running smoothly. The work can be demanding.

“This is not a ‘9 to 5,’ it’s a ‘24/7.’ You can’t just clock out when a load has to get there,” she says. “The work/life balance can be challenging.”

But Batten enjoys a challenge.

“We are a small company,” she says. “And there are not a lot of people in this area that do what we do.”

4511 S. 67th Street
Omaha, NE 68117

This sponsored content appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of B2B.

Erin Strunk

Photography by Jeremy Allen Wieczorek

Licensed real estate agent and certified interior designer Erin Strunk knows each person’s home is special. That’s why she starts each client-agent relationship by learning about the client, the life they lived in a home, and where they are going in the next chapter of their lives. She then coordinates a home inspection so she can see the house’s potential.

“I walk hand in hand with my clients,” Strunk says. “I want to be a part of this transition where I’m helping them turn up the value on their home.”

Strunk stages each home as a complimentary service to enhance a home’s value. She emphasizes each house’s character: Painting walls or purchasing furniture to show off focal points. The end result is that a home’s potential is revealed to buyers and sellers alike, often resulting in a higher sale.

That is why clients put their trust in Strunk. That integrity and emphasis on relationship-building are also why she chose to join Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate, The Good Life Group.

8026 West Dodge Road
Omaha, NE 68114

This sponsored content appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of B2B.

Cindi Incontro

Photography by Jeremy Allen Wieczorek

Colliers International is the fourth-largest commercial real estate company in the world, so Omaha office associates have the resources to provide clients with a full range of commercial real estate and property management services, and assist owners and tenants with their real estate decisions. They’re also proud to share that, in a field that is still male-dominated globally, the Omaha team includes a female chief financial officer, a female vice president, six female brokers, and two female property managers.

Vice president Cindi Incontro, who has 24 years of experience in the commercial real estate business, describes the Colliers Omaha office as “professional, fun, and different every day.”
“Our group is filled with an amazing group of smart people, with multiple women in leadership roles who understand and enjoy helping clients find real-world solutions for their real estate needs,” she says. “Colliers is incredibly family-friendly and work/life balance aware. Our female employees are empowered to be creative, knowledgeable, and leaders in our industry.”
Chris Mensinger, a commercial real estate broker who’s been with Colliers since 2011, says women bring a “new perspective” to the field.

“Women understand what it takes to keep negotiations moving forward. As someone who works between several parties to get the best end result, keeping personalities, emotions, and expectations under control is an important part of brokerage,” she says. “My work is not about me; it is about how real estate decisions best serve my clients. These are important, costly, long-term decisions that make a huge impact on organizations.”

Mensinger says her employer supports the career goals of women and men alike.

“Colliers International is a group of strong and focused professionals that have helped me grow my business and teach me the industry. They have supported my dedication to advancing women in the industry through my participation in CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women), Omaha Metro,” she says.

She is giving others similar support as well. At the end of the day, “I would like to be known as someone of character who promotes other women and appreciates those who have struggled before me to give me the opportunity to work successfully in my field,” she says.

Kristi Andersen, an associate broker who came to commercial real estate after 20 years of working in the communications industry, says Colliers has a reputation for integrity, a characteristic she values highly. But it is up to individual associates to earn repeat business and referrals by making sure clients are satisfied.

“We believe in building relationships and providing our clients personalized service,” she says. “I have built strong relationships in Omaha. Relationship-building continues to be my primary goal in this field…I want my clients to know that I have their best interests in mind at all times.”

It’s part of a bigger picture, too, she says. “Our community is fortunate to have many women who are business leaders and business owners and they, too, have many reasons to need the assistance of a good commercial real estate broker.”

6464 Center St., Suite 200

Omaha, NE 68106

This sponsored content appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of B2B.

Mary Ann O’Brien

Photography by Jeremy Allen Wieczorek

The advertising agency world has historically been male-dominated, OBI Creative CEO and founder Mary Ann O’Brien says. But she’s glad to see that changing.

“I like to think that Don Draper is being replaced with Dawn Draper. More women than ever before are interested in marketing and advertising as a career and they should. Marketing and communications is as much for women as it is for men… I have found that women are great communicators and great at multi-tasking.”

Lana LeGrand, the company’s vice president of operations and leadership, agrees. “We hire high performers. We want people that can work hard, are detail-oriented and strategic-minded,” she says. “Women, more so now than ever, have been able to step into the limelight and showcase their talents in this client service-oriented industry.”

The industry has taken notice, too. OBI Creative, in business more than 15 years, has received numerous awards like a Best of Omaha designation locally and Company of the Year in its category by the prestigious International Business Association two years running.

“We are a full-service advertising agency with integrated marketing experts and we specialize in delivering better marketing communications that drive results. While most agencies are started and run by creatives, OBI is an ad agency with market research, strategy and customer experience expertise at our core,” O’Brien says. “We are as much marketers as we are creatives and we joined forces because the outcome is exponential. Marrying research to strategy to inspire creative that drives results is the niche we fill. We are unlike many others, and we like it that way. The results we drive with our clients speak for themselves.”

“We have in-house research capabilities and a team that’s dedicated to developing research approaches, executing research studies, full- blown brand equity, brand awareness, employee surveys—anything from a research-gathering insights capacity, we have a strong team that leads everything else in our agency,” LeGrand adds.

O’Brien says OBI clients are willing to engage in a customer-centered approach to marketing, “the way that the biggest brands in the world do.” Another factor in OBI’s success is the ability to work with small to very large organizations and initiatives.

“No matter whether it’s an employee messaging or culture issue, or whether you have a new product to launch and aren’t sure what the right message is, or if you’ve had a successful business for years, but know it can be more, we’re the agency to call to help you uncover your unique differentiator and value proposition, package it up from a messaging and creative standpoint and then share it broadly to drive the results you demand,” she explains.

The company is preparing to move into new quarters in the redeveloping Lumberyard district in Millard next year, but O’Brien says the “fun and thriving” environment and culture of engagement will transfer with OBI’s employees.

“Visitors always say, ‘this place has great energy.’ I attribute that energy to our people. They are so talented, smart, insightful, committed and curious,” she says. “And that is what makes us unique.”

2920 Farnam Street
Omaha, NE 68114

This sponsored content appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of B2B.

Barbara Christianson

Photography by Jeremy Allen Wieczorek

Barbara Christianson already had industrial sales experience when she joined Ingersoll Rand Compression Technologies and Services in 2000 as a sales coordinator, but her clients—spanning sectors from retail to medical to manufacturing—were nevertheless often surprised at that first meeting or phone call.

“People would say to me, ‘How did a girl like you get to selling air compressors?’” she says.

Her outstanding product knowledge and exceptional communication and interpersonal skills not only made her a successful salesperson, but led to advancement. Christianson now serves as the business manager for the busy Omaha office, which provides sales and service covering Nebraska, Iowa, and the Dakotas. And Christianson’s title isn’t the only thing that changed in her workplace over the years.

“Back in the days after I was hired, there were only two of us women: the business manager and me. Everybody else was male,” she says. “But now we have more women than men.”

Everyone is treated with respect, Christianson says. “The seven women that are here in the office, we get along well,” she says. “It’s a small office, so we have to.”

Christianson says she’s proud to work for a company that offers both men and women opportunities for career development.

“What I’ve noticed since I’ve been here is that it isn’t a man’s world,” she says. “There are women in (executive) and management positions, and it’s based off experience and fit, not because a person is male or female,” she says. “It’s the personality, and the experience, and the ability to work with your team.”

13205 Centennial Rd.
Omaha, NE 68138

This sponsored content appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of B2B.

Kelly Burns

Photography by Jeremy Allen Wieczorek

Since she founded Payroll Professionals, Inc. in 2004, President/Owner Kelly Burns has offered a full spectrum of services: accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll. She also offers QuickBooks consulting, setup, and training.

“We handle full accounting [services], and we can even set up new businesses from the ground up,” she says. Burns—a certified public accountant with a bachelor’s degree from College of Saint Mary—and her all-female staff have decades of collective experience that makes them well- equipped to tailor services for a diverse group of local and regional clients.

Burns has a special understanding of the needs of small business owners, who use her company’s services so they can focus on their day-to-day operations. She also works with corporations and larger businesses. Her loyal clients, big and small, praise Payroll Professionals’ reliability, accuracy, and quality.

“I think what distinguishes us is that we give the client personal attention,” she says. “We’re a smaller office, so when clients call, email, or drop by they’re always dealing with one of the three of us versus always reaching a different person.”

2829 S. 88th Street

Omaha, NE 68124


This sponsored content appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of B2B.

Carmen Tapio

Photography by Jeremy Allen Wieczorek

When former call center executive Carmen Tapio founded North End Teleservices in partnership with the Omaha Economic Development Corp., the site location was part of the strategy for success in a competitive, longstanding, and internationally known market. It also fit the company’s mission to create jobs and change lives.

“While there are many great call centers around the city, we were very intentional about placing North End Teleservices right here because this area has one of the highest unemployment rates in the city of Omaha,” she says. “It’s allowing people to work where they live.”

Less than two years after its September 2015 opening, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce named North End Teleservices the 2017 Small Business of the Year.

“We fill a high-touch, high-service niche in the contact center industry. We do exceptional work for our clients. That seems simplistic, but we talk about ‘earning the business every single day.’”

Tapio says she is proud of the loyalty and commitment of her team—many of them women—from which she expects to cultivate the next generation of industry leaders.

“It really is a family. We care about how we’re doing as a business, but we care about each other personally as well,” she says. Her employees not only gain marketable job skills, they learn about financial literacy and can access health care, tuition assistance, and other benefits.

“We talk to them about their lives, their hopes, their dreams, their careers. It’s not just about a job. It’s really about helping them create a vision for themselves,” she says.

1500 N. 24th St., Suite 111

Omaha, NE 68110

This sponsored content appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of B2B.