Quarterly Conversations: Werner CEO Shares the Impact of Lending a Helping Hand with Emerging Leaders


Emerging Leaders is a United Way of the Midlands affinity group for passionate professionals driven to make a difference through volunteerism, advocacy and philanthropy. Comprised of more than 600 individuals from across the metro, they engage the next generation of leaders to influence positive change with opportunities to dedicate their time, talent and financial resources to make a difference in our community. By supporting the JAG Nebraska program, Emerging Leaders aim to provide in-school support for students to be set up for success in the classroom and the workplace.

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Emerging Leaders holds an event series called Quarterly Conversations, where young professionals can hear from community leaders about the impact of JAG Nebraska and network with change makers.

The second Quarterly Conversations event was held on January 25, 2023, and generously hosted by Werner Enterprises. Emerging Leaders heard from Derek Leathers, Werner Chairman, President & CEO, as he shared his personal story and gave advice about decisions he made early in his career that led him to where he is today.

Mr. Leathers also talked about  the vital role mentors played in his life, and the importance of being willing to lend a helping hand to those who need it most.

Derek Leathers

“I’m a strong believer in making our communities better than when we found them through both our time and treasure. Key community programs, like JAG Nebraska, create opportunities that change a student’s life trajectory. Looking back, I wouldn’t be where I am today without benefactors paying it forward in life-changing programs during my youth.”

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Our most vulnerable youth face challenges that often prevent them from finding success in the typical classroom. JAG steps in with a tailored program of support and services to help students reach their fullest potential and gain an advantage in today’s emerging workforce.


Emerging Leaders members help students grow their professional skills by engaging in various volunteer opportunities, including a mentorship program with JAG Nebraska students.  If you would like to learn more about Emerging Leaders’ in-class volunteerism opportunities, please fill out the form linked below:

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Quarterly COnversations | April 13, 2023

Join us at our next Quarterly Conversations event to hear from keynote speakers, Chanda Chacon, President & CEO of Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, and Carol Henrichs, Vice President of Patient Care Services at CHI Health, on preventative care for young professionals and access and equity in healthcare.

More details coming soon.