Launch Leadership Foundation Forms Board of Trustees

Launch Leadership Foundation Forms Board of Trustees to Ensure Long-Term Success and Impact on Developing Young Leaders

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Launch Leadership Foundation announced the formation of its Board of Trustees, which gathered for its first meeting on March 19.

The Board of Trustees is a member board that serves as an advisory committee and provides high-level guidance to the Launch Foundation. They help set the strategy and policies/priorities to help sustain the organization long-term. The Foundation has launched a five-year capital campaign to raise $1 million.

“We feel so fortunate to have assembled such an impressive group,” Launch Foundation president Randy Hawthorne said. “With their diverse, professional and life experiences and deep connections into the community, we are even more excited about their potential impact as a collective to shape the Foundation and ensure Launch’s impact continues for generations.”

Members of the Board of Trustees for the Foundation were selected by virtue of their commitment to developing leadership skills, particularly in young people. Trustees believe in the importance of inspiring the next generation to engage with their communities and serve as positive change agents to help shape a better future. They are dedicated to setting the Foundation on a firm and stable path to success and will actively work to further the mission of the organization and help sustain its development.

The inaugural 33-member board includes 17 winners of Launch’s Lux Award (the organization’s highest honor), 11 Sylvia Awards winners (those recognized for significant contribution to Launch’s spirit and culture) and a combined total of more than 360 years of experience at Launch’s Summer Leadership Workshop.

Launch Board of Trustees Members
MICHELLE SULLIVAN, chair, Kids Development Executive at Amazon Studios
BARRY BEDLAN, Sports Products Director at The Associated Press
BEN SPENCE, Director of Brand Strategy at Firespring
BRYAN SEYFARTH, Director, Consumer Goods at Sopheon
CATHY BIRD, Lead Physician Relations at Via Christi Health
CHRISTINE KELLOGG HENNINGSEN, Director Nebraska Youth Advocates at University of Nebraska-Lincoln
DAVE NUCKOLLS, Sr. Vice President, Head of Production, Executive Producer at FiveCurrents
ELAINE GALE, Associate Professor of Communication and Journalism at California State University, Sacramento
ERIC WESTRA, Junior High Religion Teacher at St. James/Seton School, Omaha NE
ERIN BADER, Director of Permanency and Well Being Programs at Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska
FRANK KROS, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at The Children's Guild
IAN BARNES, Supervisor at PepsiCo
JENN BERNARD WALKER, School Counselor at Omaha Public Schools
JEN LUETTEL SCHWEER, Associate Director, Health Education Services/Sexual Assault Response and Prevention at Georgetown University
JOHN ROOD, Consultant at The Walt Disney Company
JON MA, Executive Director at Morgan Stanley
JULIE BOGENREIF LOPEZ, Senior Project Accountant at Haley & Aldrich, Inc.
KARA HARBERT MARKIN, Resident Physician at University of Nebraska Medical Center
LILLY CONIGLIO, Managing Director at The Strategic Organization
MAGGIE DIERS YOST, manager at Deer Pointe Corporation
MAHER JAFARI, Producer/Manager at Scenario Entertainment; COO at MM&L Int'l
MARY BETH RICE, owner at MBR Strategies
MIKE GREENE-WALSH, teacher at Omaha Public Schools
MITCH PARKER, Silicon Valley Software Company Executive
PAT HAZELL, Chief Creative Officer at Sweetwood Creative
RICK ZAPOROWSKI, Senior Training Consultant at ACI Worldwide
RYAN BASYE, Real Estate Investor at Nebraska Realty & BREC, Inc
SEAN MORRISON, Sr Marketing Consultant at Salesforce
SHANNON PARKER, Case Manager at Trustforte STL
SUSIE SISSON, English Department chairperson at Omaha Marian High School
THAD STANDLEY, Director, Organizational Development & Learning at Honeywell
TRACY WERNSMAN, Assistant Principal at Omaha Public Schools
WENDY SCHWANINGER DOTY, Property & Casualty Product Manager at Nationwide Insurance

About Launch Leadership
Launch Leadership is an all-volunteer organization that provides leadership training and development for middle school and high school students. Launch facilitates various services throughout the year, including One-Day Workshops and Leadership Retreats that take place at local schools. Its Summer Leadership Workshop attracts more than 400 students for an action-packed week of fun activities and lifelong learning. For more information, email or visit

About the Launch Leadership Foundation
The Foundation is charged to bring funds and expertise, as well as educational and consulting
services that promote and develop youth leadership as a tool with which to better student leaders, schools and communities. It supports and endows the programs of Launch and other similar organizations. For more information about the Foundation, email

Randy Hawthorne, Launch Foundation president,, 402-­437-­0111
Lincoln Arneal, Launch Foundation executive director, , 402­-437­-0011