2022-2023 Cohort

Guiding the Next Generation of Leaders


Adelle Burk

Adelle Burk is Senior Manager of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood North Central States, where she works to protect reproductive freedom and health care access for all Nebraskans. She was previously a Policy Aide to Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird, leading the mayor’s One Lincoln initiative to advance equity and inclusion in City Hall and in the community. Adelle has also worked on statewide and local political campaigns, including Anna Wishart for Legislature, Barbara Weitz for Regent, and Leirion for Lincoln Mayor. She currently serves as the Vice President of the NeighborWorks Lincoln Board of Directors and as a member of the Mayor’s Commission on Women and Gender. She and her wife Amy enjoy craft beer (#DrinkLocal) and Dungeons & Dragons.


Ang Bennett

Ang R. Bennett is an artist, curator, model, and non-binary queer activist. They are the creator and host of ohMahART!, a podcast that aims to strengthen the visual arts in Omaha through well-informed conversations with visual artists and makers. Ang has won several awards for their contributions to the art community, including two Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards – one for Outstanding Emerging Visual Artist and another for Outstanding Non-Traditional Presentation for the curation of Unapologetic Me: A Celebration of Black, Queer Art. They were a 2020 Young, Black and Influential Award recipient for creativity.

Ashley Stuhr

Ashley Stuhr is a Creative Director at KidGlov, a marketing and advertising agency that works with nonprofits, social causes, and businesses that are making a positive impact in our world. She is the current chair of KidGlov’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) committee. Ashley is passionate about design and the power of design to change hearts and minds. Her process is connecting with brands emotionally and intuitively, then translating that information into a visual story. She serves as the Education Director on the AIGA Nebraska board of directors. In her free time, you can find Ashley and her wife, Amanda, exploring Omaha or fixing up their Benson home.

Jenna Lopez

Hello, my name is Jenna Lopez, she/they, and I am a trauma and sexuality therapist. I have an amazing partner and 2 wonderful little humans who we show the world to together. I prioritize joy by being in community with chosen family, enjoying nature and watching T.V.

Jodi Benenson

Jodi Benenson is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska Omaha. Her primary research interests include civic engagement, nonprofit organizations, social policy, and social equity. Her research has been published in a variety of academic and practice-based outlets, and she is engaged with several local and national organizations that center civic engagement, equity, and representation. Jodi received a B.S. and M.P.A. from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in social policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. You will often find Jodi scoping out the vegetarian options at a local restaurant, hiking in the woods, searching for the best ice cream in town, and showing up at events to support the amazing organizations and humans we have in Omaha.

Justin Ray Parsley

Justin is a nurse by background and currently serves a Clinical Education Specialist on the Cardiac Care Unit at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center. He is also the co-lead and co-found of the PRIDE Employee Resource Group at Children’s. Justin holds his Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Nursing Administration and Leadership and also had the honor of being a Huespring Scholar for the 2021 cohort. He is excited to help give back to this wonderful program as a mentor and looks forward to meeting the new group of scholars!

Kenna Barnes

Kenna has worked as a sexual health educator for both youth serving professionals and young folks for over 5 years. She believes that queer and trans people should have full lives that center joy and pleasure. Kenna works to abolish the prison system, dismantle anti-LQBTQ+ policies, advocate for reproductive justice, and organize their community to make that a reality.

Lydia Cooper

Lydia Cooper is a professor of contemporary American literature at Creighton University and chair of the English department. They specialize in Indigenous North American literature, queer and 2S literature, and trauma studies. They are the author of numerous academic books and articles and cat-parent to Gandalf the Gay Wizard Cat.

Melissa Webb

Melissa is a single mom who in her professional life is a Director of a tech company based a crossed the US. In her personal time, she runs a small baking business out of her home, volunteers for women’s right groups, and spends time with her 2 children and senior dog.

Michaela Breault

I’m originally from Hastings, Nebraska, where I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education K-8 and Special Education K-12. After graduating, my partner and I moved to Chicago for 6 years where we enjoyed lots of fun and adventure. We then relocated back to Omaha in 2016. I enjoy traveling, sports, board games, and spending time with family. I work as a Supervisor of Developmental Disability Services at KVC Nebraska, a nonprofit that provides services for youth, adults, and families. As a manager, I work with an incredible team of people who supervise residential services for our clients. I enjoy using my relationship building skills and strategic mind to help keep my team engaged in the work we do.

Ralph A Kellogg

Ralph Kellogg is the Vice President for People Training at Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska. Ralph has an extensive background in human resources, training, employee relations, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Ralph has been published in Forbes.com, the Society for Human Resources Management Blog, the HR Gazette, and has presented as a keynote speaker for McLean & Company. Ralph also works with Hummingbird Speaks – an organization that promotes the voices of those in the LGBTQIA Community. Kellogg also works with organizations to implement constructive practices in the areas of communication, effective conflict management, and authenticity in the workplace. Ralph is a passionate advocate for practices related to mental and emotional well-being in the workplace. Ralph has been with is husband for almost 30 years and is the proud dog dad of Daisy and Lily.

JohnCarl Denkovich

JohnCarl Denkovich is the founding executive director of Omaha ForUs, launching a nonprofit Omaha-based LGBTQ+ center to deliver culturally responsive community supports to LGBTQ+ individuals & families of eastern Nebraska, western Iowa. They seek to be an instrument of transformative systems change by living according to the Jewish principle of “Tikkun Olam” (repairing the world). 

They hold a Master of Public Administration degree and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Psychology. Additionally, JohnCarl chairs the City of Omaha’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Board and is a member of the City of Omaha’s DEIA strategic planning board, Douglas County Board of Health’s Equity Committee, and Nebraska Institute for Holocaust Education’s Governance Council.  


Aaron McCormick

Mr. McCormick is a counselor at the Child Saving Institute working with at-risk youth.

Allison Duncan

Allison is a software engineer at Great Plains Communications. She is the mother of a wonderful second grader. She enjoys knitting, baking, and watching horror movies.

Andre Tan

Andre Tan is a Math Therapist, aspiring Learning and Development specialist, generalist and lifelong learner. He enjoys working on helping others access learning experiences and applying them to make life more enriching and enjoyable. His mission in work is to develop tools that enable quality collaboration, quantitative learning and discourse, creative problem solving, and continuous improvement/development for human flourishing. He lives in Omaha with his savior and Australian shepherd mix, Croissant

Bud Mathey

My name is Bud Mathey, born and raised in Omaha, NE. I’m the co-owner of a small sex shop, East Oh!. I am passionate about pleasure-based sex education and cultivating a sex-positive community. I graduated from Creighton with a degree in Biology and I recently completed Planned Parenthood of MA’s Sexuality in Education Cornerstone Series. I’m a dog parent, foodie, and craft and game enthusiast.

Cameron Koenig-Barker

Cameron originally grew up in New York, but has lived in Omaha since 2013. He currently works as a mental health therapist and is particularly passionate about working with LGBTQ+ youth. Much of his work with youth focuses around empowering youth so that they have the tools they need to make social change. In his free time, he likes to play board games, bother his cats, and continue his search for the best latte in Omaha.

Charles Pratt

Charles Pratt is the LGBTQ+ student advocate specialist for Lincoln Public Schools. They have a BFA in studio art with a concentration in LGBTQIA studies. They are a Nebraska transplant moving here to pursue a graduate studies in Teaching and Learning.

Chelsea Lemburg

Chelsea is an Omaha-based aspiring child advocacy professional in her role at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center. She works in the Neurosurgery office as a Clinic Support Assistant and strongly believes in the transformative power of free and accessible information, libraries and other public spaces, and the bright queer future. She lives with her fiance, roommate, and three unruly animals just outside of Benson.

CJ Elliott

CJ is an Early Childhood Educator and budding Social Worker who is passionate about all things people. From social/emotional skills to mental health, CJ cares deeply about the well-being of others and is committed to learning and growing into a person their younger self would’ve benefitted from knowing.

Claudia Granillo

Claudia Granillo is the Community Wellbeing Specialist at The Wellbeing Partners, an Omaha area nonprofit whose mission is to build wellbeing into the way our communities and businesses grow through advocacy, collaboration, and education. Through this role at The Wellbeing Partners, Claudia aids in the brainstorming, strategy, and implementation of various community programs such as a mental health stigma reduction campaign, a youth mental health pilot in schools, and a Safe Routes to healthy places project at Southside Terrace. Claudia earned a Master of Science in Political Science from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 2018 and was a 2016 American Political Science Association Ralph Bunch Summer Institute Scholar. Claudia lives in Omaha and is a proud cat aunt to Mavis. During her free time, you can find Claudia crocheting while listening to a true crime podcast.

Darcy Covert

My name is Darcy Covert. I am co-owner of East Oh!, a sex shop focused on pleasure-based adult sex education for all bodies. I am a dog dad, a partner, a mentor, as well as a part-time barista & hairstylist. I have spent the last ten summers supporting youth through music education at Omaha Girls Rock camps and I don’t eat shrimp.

Demi Kulper

Demi is a nonprofit professional, social butterfly, and community change-maker who is a believer of inclusive and equitable outcomes for all. She serves as the Social Impact and Communications Coordinator for Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska, and is passionate about astronomy, practicing kindness, and Harry Styles.

Dominique Whitehead

Dominique started her career 14 years ago as a journalist and currently has 11 years of strategic B2B and B2C marketing experience under her belt. She has been involved in communications, digital and traditional marketing strategies as well as tactical marketing execution for a variety of national, regional and local brands in industries including indie film, nonprofit causes, healthcare, collegiate sports, the financial sector, agriculture, education, consumer products, IT/healthcare staffing, real estate, restaurants, app technologies and more. She also has experience with nonprofit event planning, promotion, and execution. She currently works in digital marketing for the nonprofit healthcare sector while actively participating in several intersectional advocacy efforts on a local level whose activities include issue amplification, public organization for policy change, and community education.

Elias Wilson

Elias Wilson (he/him) is passionate about protecting LGBTQ+ people in rural Nebraska. He excels at relating to people with different values in order to shift cultural norms to make the greater community safer for all. Professionally, he facilitates Green Dot Bystander Intervention workshops and domestic violence intervention programming. 

Henry Nelson

Henry is a long time resident of Omaha, having only moved away for a bit to earn his bachelor’s degree in Anthropology at Kansas State University. He’s currently working and learning as an intern with Planned Parenthood’s group Teen Council and as paraeducator at a local middle school.

Kate Ng Shi Qing

Kate Ng is an aspiring writer who wishes to write things that matter to the community, especially marginalized groups. She currently works with newspapers, community outreach groups, and self-motivated projects to keep this flame going.

Lupe Márquez Eberly

Lupe has experience working with youth at the Latino Center of the Midlands and at the University of Nebraska – Omaha. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of Nebraska – Omaha. She aims to use student’s strength and culture to help them attain their current and post-secondary school goals.

Ross Mumford

Ross is starting his 5th year as a 4th grade teacher for Omaha Public Schools. He is passionate about empowering youth of all ages and backgrounds, experiencing the performing arts, promoting civic engagement, and enjoying the great outdoors. He believes in the magic of optimism, grit, and an open mind as a way to bolster and grow oneself and others.

Sherae Sawyer

Driven by curiosity, Sherae Sawyer is an Omaha native and community artist that has the ability to identify the beauty in everything. While they are currently using their analytical story telling talents in the field of fraud risk investigations, they hope to return to the art of storytelling using mixed media.