Women United: Community compass

Women United is a global, growing force dedicated to creating lasting change and uplifting the community.

Welcome to the first edition of Women United Community Compass! This newsletter will be published twice a year to provide the opportunity to read all about the great work Women United is doing, and share meaningful updates to celebrate your collective impact in the community!

Mental Health First Aid Initiative Update

Women United has prioritized mental health to help address the increased demand for services and access challenges across the metro. Mental health impacts each of us, our families and our community.

In partnership with Region 6 Behavioral Healthcare, the initiative is increasing access to and awareness of Mental Health First Aid training by funding an awareness campaign and providing an additional Coordinator and trainers at Region 6. In partnership with OBI Creative, the awareness campaign seeks to increase the community’s knowledge of the MHFA training and remove the stigma of coming forward with a mental health need.

Learn more about the initiative.  

video: The Caring Spirit of Women United and the Tocqueville women's initiative

To learn more about the history and impact of Women United and the Tocqueville Women’s Initiative, please enjoy this video featuring members of our Tocqueville Women’s Initiative Advisory Council: Diny Landen, Mary Lopez, Karen Hawkins and Sue Seline.

2022-23 Fiscal Year Goals and Updates

We are beyond grateful to see the incredible participation supporting this critical work. The first year of the initiative was a great success, overperforming on fundraising and training goals.

  • The Tocqueville Women’s Initiative Advisory (TWIA) Council set a goal to raise $600,000 in the next three years, with a yearly goal of $200,000. 
    We are honored by our community’s caring spirit to support this vital work and help us raise $530,841.46 in the first year and a half!
  • The next largest goal established was to facilitate 30 Mental Health First Aid trainings and engage 600 participants in the first 12 months.
    •  In the first 18 months alone, 126 trainings were held and they engaged more than 1,600 participants across the community.
We are not stopping yet! Help us reach our goal by donating today!
Together, we are creating change for our community

Members of Women United are integral to this work. Your support allows United Way of the Midlands to create system-wide change. And your leadership inspires others to get involved and make a difference. In addition, your ongoing generosity will help ensure that people throughout the community receive the proper mental health care at the right time.

Register for a MHFA Training class

To register for an upcoming Mental Health First Aid training, click a link below:​

Steering committee

Women United celebrates the power of women to bring about positive change in our community through philanthropy and service. Led by passionate leaders across the metro, the Women United Steering Committee champions this vital work to serve and strengthen the community. Thank you to our current Steering Committee members:

Pam Beall-Hill

Chair of Women United

Sue Seline

Chair of the Tocqueville Women’s Initiative Advisory Council

Ia Hagan

Wells Fargo

Mary Ann O’Brien

OBI Creative

Kate Vavak

Holland Basham

Angela Rock


Leslie Volk

Security National Bank

“Every one of us has mental health and the more we know and talk about the factors that cause strain or enhance our mental well-being, the stronger we will be for ourselves and others, and within our community. Participating in the MHFA training provided me greater understanding and tactics to spot potential signs of a struggle. I feel empowered to ask simple questions to invite others in conversation and share resources to direct them, should they be open.”
Angela Rock

Angela Rock, a member of the Women United Steering Committee, is one of the community members that took part in MHFA training. Her team at FNBO has also engaged 107 employees by offering MHFA trainings and overview sessions.

Join the steering committee

If you are interested in learning more about the Steering Committee and how to join, please contact Maureen Irish, Director of Strategic Relationships at womenunited@uwmidlands.org.

JOIN us at Women United Events
Breakfast with champions

Hosting the Breakfast with Champions on May 24, 2023 at the Omaha Country Club was a joy. This event allowed members of the Tocqueville Women’s Initiative to come together and celebrate women in philanthropy, and we had the honor to have Barbara Siemer as our keynote speaker for the event. Barbara and her husband, Al, are two of the leading philanthropists in the country. For the past decade, United Way of the Midlands has partnered with Barbara and Al and the Siemer Institute to improve outcomes for local families facing the imminent risk of homelessness in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro.

At the event, we also enjoyed recognizing Karen Hawkins. Karen was Chair of our Tocqueville Women’s Initiative Advisory Council for nine years (2014-2023), recently transitioning to Advisor in February. Karen is a founding member of the Women’s Leadership Council, now Women United, and she has played a vital and profound role in championing our meaningful initiatives and transforming lives across our community.

To view photos from the Breakfast with Champions event, click: TWIA Breakfast of Champions Gallery – United Way of the Midlands (unitedwaymidlands.org)

Recap of October Event: “Challenges for Today’s Youth”

The Mary C. Lopez Lunch & Learn was held on World Mental Health Awareness Day, Tuesday, October 10, 2023. The luncheon provided a thoughtful and in-depth look at many of today’s youth challenges. This event was sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Omaha Chancellor’s Office. We had the honor to engage a panel of community experts across various fields to lend their unique insights and perspectives on this critical topic. We want to give a special thank you to Cathy Pettid, Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students at the University of Nebraska – Omaha; Becca Bradley, Regional Manager for Jobs for America’s Graduates – Nebraska; Carla Rizzo, Chief Executive Officer at Completely Kids; and Melissa Valek, Senior Development Director with College Possible. Guests had the opportunity to recognize World Mental Health Awareness Day by packing 144 wellness kits for Completely Kids.

Join us on February 20: “Empowering Women”

 Please join Women United for the Mary C. Lopez Lunch & Learn on Tuesday, February 20, 2024. Roughly 58% of UWM’s clients served are female, and this panel will highlight the supports in place to uplift women in our community. We are honored to be joined by a panel of community experts across a variety of fields to lend their unique insights and perspectives.

Learn more

Please visit here to learn more about Women United, and don’t forget to connect with us on social media!

Information updated as of 2/13/24.

We hope you enjoyed the first edition of Women United's Community Compass! Look out for the next publication in August 2024! If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about the information shared and how to get involved, please contact Maureen Irish at womenunited@uwmidlands.org.