Heartland Women’s Network would not be able to gather and uplift women in our community without our guest speakers. We sincerely thank you for volunteering your time with us as we come together each month to network, learn and bring together women from all backgrounds in order to grow in our minds and hearts, not just as a human race but as a collective.

With gratitude,
The Board of Directors
Heartland Women’s Network

November 2020

Michele Magner, Navigating the Adventure of Aging

Ms. Magner smashes up how the market is changing towards the new powerhouses with money and an invitation of areas to consider in order to feel your best as you age. Michele Magner has a passion for connecting with people as they navigate the exciting adventure of aging!   She has been working in the Senior Living Industry for over 5 years and is currently the Public Relations Coordinator at a skilled nursing community.  Her experience in an Assisted Living Memory care and facilitating a caregiver support group through the Alzheimer’s Association have provided a unique insight into some of the challenge’s families face on the dementia journey.  She recently earned her Master’s Certificate in Gerontology through UNO and is a Certified Dementia Practitioner.  Michele was gifted 7 years of experience as the primary family caregiver of her 2 grandmothers, which led her to the privilege of serving seniors and their families. Through her research, she is encouraged that we can age well and with continued purpose.


October 2020

Tony Veland, AIM Institute – Director of Community Engagement

Mr. Tony Veland, the Director of Community Engagement for the AIM Institute, is an Omaha native who is known for his past accomplishments in the sports arena as former Nebraska Cornhusker and Denver Bronco.  As a two-time National Champion and a Superbowl Champion, he has experienced success at the highest levels, and he loves to use his platform to encourage the next generation to be successful in life beyond the areas of athletics.  The AIM Institute helps to accomplish this as they provide exposure to a growing technology industry that abounds in opportunity.  With the mission being to increase the tech talent pipeline, they have created platforms for individuals of all ages to take advantage.  Tony speaks to the impact they are having in the community and the ways that an individual or business can get involved. His key discussion points were as follows:

  • Demand/opportunities for careers in technology in the area
  • The need for more women and minorities to be recruited for careers in tech
  • AIM’s training/career development opportunities, community outreach programs and involvement opportunities to grow and support the tech talent pipeline.

September 2020

Ms. Moniki Gunn-Cannon, Community Advocate

Moniki Gunn-Cannon is an advocate for her community which is displayed in all aspects of her personal and professional endeavors.  Moniki serves as the Employment Director for Step-Up Omaha!, a youth employment program in Nebraska.  In addition she is a national speaker, development coach and consultant with Gunn & Cannon Empowerment Group where she focuses on helping people and teams increase their performance. Prior to starting Gunn & Cannon Empowerment Group, Moniki was a District Human Resources Manager at Kiewit Corporation where she was also trained as a Certified Gallup Strengths Performance Coach. Cannon holds an undergraduate degree in Human Resources Management and graduate degree in Organizational Leadership.

Cannon is an adjunct instructor at Metropolitan Community College in the Social Sciences department and has spoken at the National Title 1 Conference.   In addition to her professional career she serves on many boards and advisory committees, including the Women’s Fund of Omaha and Greater Omaha Chamber YP Council.

Moniki’s personal mission and life’s work is to reach as many people as she can and provide an arsenal of information that allows individuals and teams to explode to the next level.

Ms. Moniki Gunn-Cannon covered the following discussion points: 1) Explore where biases come from and how this impacts our views of different races
2) How to make the unconscious conscious
3) Strategies for building strong communities and workplace


August 2020

Robyn Burnett, Best Care EAP, Manager Account and Education Services

Ms. Burnett covered the following topic: Love and Belonging-the strains on relationships during turbulent times. Since joining BCEAP’s team in January 2018, Robyn’s developed a passion for exploring ways to combat workplace distress and boost the mental health and well-being of an organization’s workforce. She also works to educate the community about support services available through Best Care EAP and actively works to help reduce stigmas and stereotypes surrounding mental health. With over 12 years of experience in mental health (private practice, hospital behavioral health and community behavioral health), it became evident the high rate of burnout of those in a helping profession was much more prevalent than even statistics indicate and that there was much more work to do on the preventative side of employee health and wellness.
Robyn manages BCEAP’s business development, account management, training and communication/marketing. Robyn holds a BA in Psychology, MS in Clinical Counseling, MS in Community Counseling. She is a licensed professional counselor and licensed mental health practitioner.


June 2020

Beth Ostdiek Smith, Saving Grace

Beth Ostdiek Smith is the founder, CEO/President of Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue. She is an accomplished professional with over 25 years in leadership roles in for profit and nonprofit businesses. She has traveled the world and loves learning about other cultures. She has volunteered as a mentor for inner city kids and visited homebound and the elderly and is a current NE Representative with the US Global Leadership Coalition Starting Saving Grace in 2013, to address food waste and hunger, Beth and Saving Grace has received:

  • 2013 SCORE “Sam Epstein” Entrepreneur Award
  • The Greater Omaha Chamber 2016 “Excellence Award for Innovation”
  • 2018 Food Day and 2019 Earth Day, Non-Profit of the Year Awards
  • In May 2019 Beth was flown to Washington DC to receive the FBI’s Director Community Leadership Award by Director Wray.

Beth believes we all have a purpose to honor, live and adjust as presented through life.


May 2020

Julia Hebenstreit, The Kim Foundation

Julie Hebenstreit is the Executive Director of The Kim Foundation.

She received her J.D. from Creighton University in 2005, and her BS in Journalism from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2002. She has been with The Kim Foundation since December of 2011, and prior to that focused on development, strategic planning, communications and advancement in non-profit organizations. She has a passion for helping people and improving lives, and currently serves as the Past President for the Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, as the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Hill Day State Captain since 2015, and as an active member of the Nebraska Suicide Prevention Coalition, Metro Area Suicide Coalition, Connections Advisory Committee, and BHECN’s Advisory Committee.


April 2020

Gary Clark, TEDx Speaker and Author

Mr. Clark has been in the economic development field for over 12 years. In early 2019, Clark published his first work as a published author, with the memoir, Unlikely Viking – From the D.C. Projects to Rural Nebraska.  Clark recently completed at TedxOmaha Talk at Creighton University in Nov. 2019, his talk was titled, “Running shoes, food stamps, and cornfields “, the talk can be found on YouTube. Clark currently works as the President & CEO of the Greater Fremont Development Council, in Fremont, Nebraska. Clark joined the Greater Fremont Development Council in September 2017.  Prior to his GFDC role, Clark worked as the NIFA Opportunity Fund Manager out of the Omaha and Lincoln, NE offices and before that served as Cuming County Economic Development Director and Zoning Administrator for 5 years in Northeast Nebraska.  Clark is the Vice President of the National Rural Economic Developers Association and has served as the Northeast Development Network Chair in 2015. Clark currently serves on the Nebraska Economic Development Association Board. In late, 2018, Clark was awarded the Midland Business Journal’s 40 under 40 award for his aggressive workforce housing efforts in Fremont, Nebraska. Garry received his BA in Sociology from Dana College, Blair, N.E. and his Master of Science in Urban Studies/Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Although his Alma mater (Dana College) is no more, Garry was inducted into the Dana College Hall of Fame for Track and Field in 2010 and received the Outstanding Young Alum Award in 2018. He holds 11 records (most ever in the school’s history) and was the first male National Champion for Dana College. Prior to his work in Nebraska, Clark started out as a City Planner-Mainstreet Manager and Economic Development Specialist in Florida and in Washington, D.C.


February 2020

Carri Lyons, Empowerment Coach

Carri Lyons engages the audience as she invites women to ignite their SPARK! Carri is the founder of Victory Lane Consulting. She is a published author, national public speaker, 2-time Cancer survivor, and angel mommy. Additionally, she is a world-traveler, 6-time marathon finisher and long-distance cyclist. She leaves you feeling excited and motivated to take on your next challenge whether it be losing weight, tackling a new hobby, or having the courage to do your OWN impossible.


January 2020

Neil Wattier, Resilience and Mental Performance Coach

Neil is currently the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) Resilience Coordinator and has attended Army and Air Force Master Resilience Trainer courses.
On the topic of “Resilence”, his (3) key points were:

  • Counter negativity by focusing on positive emotion and analyzing what is good
  • Understand how thoughts drive emotions and physical reactions
  • Optimize mental performance by controlling thoughts for productive outcomes