River City Six: Jeff DeWispelare
The Omaha Home for Boys has been serving at-risk youth in the region for nearly a century. Through its residential care, transitional living and independent living programs, the Home empowers vulnerable young men and women with the skills needed to lead independent, productive lives. Jeff DeWispelare is the Chief Operating Officer at Omaha Home for Boys (omahahomeforboys.org).
How did you get started in the business?
More than 25 years ago I began my nonprofit career by volunteering at a teen lock-in at a local YMCA in Dallas, Texas while doing my college internship (not in the nonprofit sector). I was offered a job that night and the rest is, as they say, history.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
Helping staff realize they cannot take failure personally. In the at-risk youth service business there are great success stories along the way, but the path is also filled with youth that don’t quite make it work in their life, which is a very difficult thing to accept and not take personally.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
An important one has been staying persistent in the nonprofit sector when it would have been easy to chase the money and not stay true to my passion to help people. Over the years I have been rewarded for my loyalty by being promoted. I am very proud that I stuck to my plan, and as a result, I have enjoyed a rewarding career.
Tell us a little about your family.
I have been blessed with my wonderful wife Macy. Together we have five wonderful kids ages 16, 17, 19, 21, and 23.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
I experienced cancer twice in my early 30’s. Those experiences changed the way I view life and have made me a better husband, friend, and family member.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
I enjoy golfing and boating. It’s not what you do but more about spending time with friends and family making memories.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
I’m a closet reality TV junkie…I guess not so much in the closet anymore!
What are you the most proud of?
The thousands of amazing and dedicated staff that I have had the privilege to work with, lead, and learn from over the past 25 years in the nonprofit sector.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Your integrity is who you are when nobody’s watching.
If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be?
I have always wanted to be a sports psychologist for a college football team, of course the Huskers!
What local nonprofit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?
I’m most passionate about the impactful work we do at Omaha Home for Boys. I’m also a big fan of the Twin Rivers YMCA where my wife is the Executive Director.
What is your favorite book or the last good book you read?
Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek.
What is your favorite movie?
The Shawshank Redemption.
If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?
I would love to have anyone interested in learning more about the great work we do for at-risk youth contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or a tour. You can also learn more about Omaha Home for Boys online at omahahomeforboys.org.