Jessica Barry – Conagra Brands

I was born and raised in Nebraska, moved away for a couple years and boomeranged back to complete my undergraduate and graduate studies and to be closer to my family. Nebraska always felt like home to me, and during my time as an intern here in Omaha, I met my husband and we decide that Omaha is where we wanted to raise our family and grow our community involvement. I have been with Conagra for almost 13 years now, growing my technical skillset in various roles, and I currently lead a team of software developers. Over my time there, I ran and scaled our intern program for 4+ years, created an internal rotational career development program, and led a large scale organizational transformation. I absolutely love individual and team development – coaching, mentoring, and building deep connections with others!

I have been participating in various NTC initiatives over the past 3 years, but I am currently building and scaling a Educator Externship program that I created in partnership with Conagra and NTC. This program gives Nebraska educators an 8 week experience at a Nebraska based company where they can learn how an IT organization works with technology and business process, and they take those learnings back to the classroom to help provide students with a realistic view of technology careers. I am continuing to strengthen the framework of this program, as well as recruit other business leaders to participate to grow the impact.

Personally, I am working towards growing my network and meeting new people to share ideas with. Technology education for all is very important to me, technology provides amazing opportunities and upward mobility so one of my main missions is to work in the community, specifically delivering the message that technology is a welcoming career for anyone at any level of technical aptitude. I always love giving my time to work with public schools and organizations to provide education and speak on technology trends as it relates to people and the community.

A couple fun facts about me… hmmmm. I am an avid video gamer, I play across all platforms with my family and it’s a large part of my stress management strategy. Second, my educational background is not in technology at all! I did my undergraduate in marketing and thought that was my passion…. but I fell into a tech job and have been hooked ever since!

If I had five minutes to prepare an hourlong lecture, I would teach about imposter syndrome, the importance of psychological safety in the workplace and in high performing teams, and the effects pressure, perfectionism and being self-critical can have on mental and physical health.

Brent Comstock – BCom Solutions

I grew up in Nebraska, moved away for college, and had no anticipation of returning home when I left. I had received multiple scholarships on the East Coast and, from my perspective at that time, it seemed like the world was calling me elsewhere.

While away, I held on to this “small little side gig” that helped bring in some part-time income…. Little did I know my connection to a small town and my passion for helping others tell their story would really set me on an interesting path; one that led back to Nebraska after completing my college education.

I’m currently building BCom – a digital-first agency that specializes in communicating messages for campaigns and causes in rural America. We’ve worked on small, local media strategies, helped launch presidential online fundraising campaigns, and partnered with some of the biggest names in the state and country to communicate messages to, or on behalf of, rural communities.

As we’ve grown, our team has grown, our areas of expertise have grown, and the work we do has often grown out of rural communities. Still, though, our team remains committed to our rural roots. From our two office locations in Auburn and Lincoln, Nebraska to a hybrid company hiring policy that allows our teammates to work wherever they want (some choose Los Angeles, others choose rural Nebraska), we continue to make a lasting impact on the communities we call home; no matter how large or small.

I’m really hellbent on changing the perception people have of rural communities – both people living IN the rural communities and people living in more urban settings. BCom, and our social impact space the Rural Impact Hub, are just a small portion of the many great things happening in our rural communities and I’m honored to be a part of it.

Two fun facts about me:

1. In high school, the majority of my “income” came from playing the piano and pipe organ at churches in Southeast Nebraska.

2. I’ve been to 6 continents with Antarctica being the only one left to check off the list!


Company website:

In-person: Happy hours are great!

If I had five minutes to prepare an hour long lecture, I’d teach about the importance of mentors in the life of every successful I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. Companies, textbooks, and college degrees don’t have ideas. People do.

Jay Wilkinson – Firespring / Do More Good Movement

My family settled in the Nebraska Sandhills in the 1800’s and my grandfather and father later sank their entrepreneurial roots in North Platte. I figured out pretty early in life that I wasn’t very good at following directions and ended up becoming an entrepreneur myself. Before graduating from college, I started 8 businesses, most of which failed miserably. After living in NYC for 4 years, I moved back to Lincoln and founded Firespring which became Nebraska’s first Certified B Corporation in 2014 and was featured in Inc Magazine in 2016 as one of America’s “50 Best Workplaces.”

These days, I spend the majority of my time working building the Do More Good® Movement with the intention to educate, empower and amplify companies and business leaders doing more good. Our founding board includes the leaders of Conscious Capitalism, 1% for the Planet and Certified B Corps — the largest frameworks around putting purpose into business.

The long term goal of the Do More Good Movement is to be a catalyst for inspiring 1 million companies to pursue a path to purpose rather than only focusing solely on putting money in the owner’s pockets.

Two fun facts about me: 1) my wife Tawnya and I go to Burning Man every year, and 2) we have a couples goal to have a meaningful experience together (layovers don’t count) in all 50 states and 100 countries. We’re on track to finish in about 10 years.



Do More Good Movement

If I had five minutes to prepare an hour long lecture, the title would be “Conscious Leadership is an Inside Job” and I’d share strategies I’ve picked up over the years to live up to my personal mission statement, which is to “cultivate my own consciousness and be a catalyst for others to do the same.” I’ve got a lot of work to do but have learned a lot along the way. 🙂

Chad Johnson – Grain Weevil

We moved to Nebraska to be closer to my wife’s family 20 years ago! This eventually led us to Aurora where I began working at the Edgerton Explorit Center.

Currently, we are creating a grain bin safety and management robot that directly engages the surface of the grain. Grain bins are dirty, dangerous workplaces. We keep that farmer with a shovel out of the bin by leveling, breaking crusts, doing inspections and feeding grain into the extraction augers.

We are working towards bringing a complex robotics solution to market that includes autonomous capabilities, product safety and reliability challenges, and the fact that a grain bin is no place for a human or a robot!

Two fun facts about me are:

Fact #1: I graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in elementary education – and participated in the decathlon on the track team – Rock Chalk.

Fact #2: I had never been inside of a grain bin before we started building the Grain Weevil robot.


If I had five minutes to prepare a lecture, I would teach a lesson on the process of innovation and the value of including students in all aspects of the process.

Jina Hwang – Job Share Connect

I am originally from Colorado Springs, CO and have lived in all four corners of the United States including Portland, OR: Boston, MA: San Diego, CA: and Chattanooga, TN. In 2014, my former spouse had a job opportunity which brought me to the Heartland of America.

I spent the first two years in Omaha, working as a Senior Human Capital Consultant, and brought more than 12 years of experience working with a variety of industries in talent and performance management, organizational development, strategic planning, leadership development, executive coaching, employee development, organizational culture/ engagement, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. With two Masters’ Degrees and a PhD, I have always been passionate about learning and advancing my career. My diverse experience as an organizational psychologist gives me unique insight and perspective to help clients navigate the complexities and challenges needed to be successful now and in the future.

In 2019, Jessica Charlsen (a Nebraska Native) and I co-founded Job Share Connect.

Jessica and I have a shared vision and complimentary talents and skill sets that make us ideal co-founders and job share partners. Together, we leverage our unique superpowers to dismantle the status quo of how we work and live, through job sharing. Job share partners share the role, responsibilities, hours, and compensation of one full-time position. This allows us to access untapped talent pools who are looking for flexible work opportunities that set job share partners and their companies up to meet and often exceed their business goals and objectives.

Job Share Connect standardizes the job share sourcing, matching and on-boarding process for companies looking for innovative ways to recruit and retain talent. Our job share matching platform and proprietary matching process is grounded in science (think eHarmony for job sharing). We simplify the process and take the guesswork out of the matching process and make job sharing easy and accessible.

Job Share Connect is working towards evolving how we live and work. We are working towards creating mutually beneficial job share opportunities that promote work-life integration. We help companies hire, engage, and retain diverse talent for the multi-generational workplace of the future that is more equitable and allows everyone to reach their full potential.

We are empowering individuals to lead happier and more fulfilling lives that value human connections at work and with others to positively impact the family unit, their communities, and society as a whole.

Job Share Connect was inspired by my 5-year-old twins and Jessica’s three kiddos.

Jessica and I order the same thing to eat 95% of the time and often find ourselves wearing matching or coordinating outfits!

Jessica is definitely more active on social media. You can find us at:





Instagram: jobshareconnect

TEDx Lincoln 2020 “Unlocking Human Potential through Job Sharing ”

I would definitely geek out on job sharing as a full Talent Management Solution that can be used to:

-Attract, engage, and retain talent

– Build talent pipelines and succession plans

– Upskill, reskill and cross train employees

– Provide career pathing and mobility

– Transfer knowledge

– Reduce stress and burnout

Scott Henderson – Nmotion Powered by Gener8tor

Both sides of my family came to Nebraska in the 1800s. My great-grandmother was born in Chadron, my great-grandmother died in Scribner, my dad’s family was four generations deep in North Omaha, my mom’s family was four generations in South Omaha, and I was born in Lincoln then raised in Omaha. After I graduated from the University of Nebraska, I moved away for what became a 20-year adventure with stops in Atlanta, Indiana and Boston. I returned to Nebraska in September 2020 to take on the role of leading the NMotion startup accelerator and to be near my parents, who are now retired. It was an easy decision because I could apply my expertise and experiences to help the community that shaped me grow even stronger. I have a keen sense for being where great things are about to emerge and I feel we are on the cusp of something great.

Through NMotion powered by gener8tor, I am helping create the next wave of Nebraska startups. Working with a group of partner organizations, I’m leading the More Founders movement to help those people solving challenges withtheir startups and encouraging more people to become startup founders or join as early employees.

My goal is to start and grow 24 Nebraska startups in the next two years.

Two fun facts about me are that I was born with my two front bottom teeth and my sourdough bread is among the best you’ll ever eat.

You can follow on linkedIn at or Twitter @

If I had five minutes to prepare an hourlong lecture, I would present on how to create connected awesomeness within and between communities of creative people.

Matthew Wegener – ISoft Data Systems Inc.

I was born and grew up in rural south-western Nebraska. I’m a fourth- generation Nebraskan. 

The last two years have been a growth opportunity for many of our projects under the ISoft umbrella with Presage Analytics growing rapidly and our relaunch of the LawnHiro platform. We’re experimenting this summer with the 1st Job Lincoln program and are in the process of onboarding six high school interns this summer. I’m excited to learn from them and offer them a first glimpse of working at a technology company. Our Turbine Flats entrepreneurial community continues to be in a state of bursting at the seams, and we’re looking for new ways to build and grow the community and our offerings for our tenants.

My biggest challenge is managing projects across four different organizations and keeping them all in check. We are also learning about building, growing and marketing a business-to-consumer business for the first time in our 25 years as a technology company.

Two facts about me are that I have way too many motorcycles and I like to build Tesla coils.

You can follow me on Facebook, where I spend too much time, and Twitter, which I’m trying to get better at. My LinkedIn is for business purposes only, so I find that boring. Our company web sites are at and

If I had five minutes to prepare an hourlong lecture, the biggest contribution I could make would be my experiences from the standpoint of “What Not to Do.” There’s more than an hour’s worth of content there, but maybe in five minutes, I could pare it down to stay in the limit.

Jon Rhoades – Yo City

I was born and raised on the Platte River near Central City, Nebraska.

Yo.City partners with rural employers and economic development agencies to identify and attract top talent to their communities. Channel partners use proprietary content manager tools to automatically populate rural experience content, once aggregated this content is interacted with by visitors to find deals, earn rewards, plan trips and build loyalty, while rural employers and economic development agencies promote opportunities.

Rural population loss, and brain drain is a real problem and being based in central Nebraska, we feel it every day. 48% of the nations GDP comes from outside of the top 25 largest cities. This sizable slice of the pie consists of rural employers who struggle to find qualified local talent in this ever shrinking talent pool.

A couple of fun facts about me? I created a real time cooperative card game that shipped to 10 different countries and climbed cell phone towers for a rural wireless internet provider.

If I had five minutes to prepare an hourlong lecture, I would talk about the full lifecycle of building an app. From ideation and user experience to development and continues delivery.

Interested in learning more about me and my work? I invite you to check out the following links:

Paula J Abbott – Western Nebraska Community College

I have over 21 years of experience in higher education. I’ve spent 10 years with Morgan Community College in Fort Morgan as an academic advisor, career counselor and ADA coordinator and Campus Director in Wray, Colorado. I have been with Western Nebraska Community College since 2010, and have held several positions at WNCC including Executive Campus Director at Sidney, Partnerships and Inclusion Executive Director, Community and Business Partnerships Executive Director, and currently the Alliance & Sidney Campuses Executive Director. I was instrumental in developing the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center on WNCC’s Sidney Campus in partnership with Sidney Economic Development and Cheyenne County Chamber. The I & E Center launched successful businesses such as NexGen Outfitters and Karuna Counseling, both located in Sidney, Nebraska. I hold a Master’s Degree in Organizational Development, Bachelors’ Degree in Business Administration: Management, and I have a graduate credit towards a PhD in Higher Education Leadership. I’m a rural Colorado native and married with two children, four stepchildren and seven grandchildren.

In 2017, during one of the toughest economic times Sidney and surrounding communities had undergone, the Chamber of Commerce director, Economic Development director and WNCC came together to develop Business Resource Meetings throughout the panhandle of Nebraska. These meetings gathered state and federal programs and entrepreneurs in one space for a meeting to share the free or low cost resources available to the communities in Nebraska. WNCC also went one step further and created an Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center on the Sidney Campus. Entrepreneurs are give two years free office space and are then mentored to transition to a brick and mortar business after the two years. The I & E Center has proudly helped launch NexGen Outfitters and Karuna Counseling in Sidney, Nebraska.

WNCC’s service area covers 17, 100 square miles in the panhandle of Nebraska. It is my intent to hold Business Resource Meetings and entrepreneurial trainings for individuals throughout our 13.5 counties.

A couple of fun facts about me? I survived Stage 4 cancer at the age of 26 and I raise ‘mini’ pigs named “Pork Chop” & “Pee Wee”.

If I had five minutes to prepare an hourlong lecture, I would love to lecture on “Outlasting the Temporary”. This topic encompasses health concerns, work problems, personal issues that seem to paralyze some people. There is always something GOOD to find in each day. I tell people I’ve never had a bad day, I never let anything ruin a whole day, time is too precious!

Interested in learning more about me and my work? I invite you to check out the following link:

Ed Mejia – Nelnet

I came to Nebraska to attend college. My family had just moved to the Midwest while I was a Junior in High School.

I’m currently juggling several branding and marketing projects at my full-time job while making time for freelance creative projects. Recently, my design for the new Lincoln city flag was selected as the winner as part of a city-wide contest. It’s been a real honor to have had my design selected and a real joy to work with local civic and business associations in order to implement the new flag brand throughout the city.

A goal I’m working towards is organizing my work life and my home life in a way that best serves and honors all my relationships to the extent that I believe they deserve. Maintaining a high level of integrity in my work is as important as the integrity of my time with my family. I’m setting quarterly goals for both my professional and personal life as part of trying to achieve much needed balance in my life.

A couple of fun facts about me? I was born in a tiny town on the foothills of a volcano in the country of El Salvador. And between kindergarten and when I graduated high school, I had switched schools fourteen times. As stressful as that might seem it made me really good at making new friends! The second half of my life has been trying to offset my upbringing by trying to connect to friends and acquaintances on a more profound, qualitative level.

If I had five minutes to prepare an hourlong lecture I would tile it “The Art of Art Direction” and would talk about my experiences in advertising and design these last 22 years. The highs, the lows and everything in between.

Interested in learning more about me and my work? I invite you to check out the following links:

My personal site: