River City Six – Sonia Keffer
Meet Sonia Keffer, M.A., learning and development training coordinator at Heartland Family Service (heartlandfamilyservice.org).
Tell us a little about your organization.
The mission of Heartland Family Service is to strengthen individuals and families in our community through education, counseling, and support services. Founded in 1875, Heartland Family Service serves more than 52,000 individuals of all ages each year from more than 15 locations in east central Nebraska and southwest Iowa. Our 50 programs provide critical human services to the individuals and families who ultimately shape the future of our community in the following focus areas: Child & Family Well-Being, Counseling & Prevention, and Housing & Financial Stability.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
While I was working as an independent consultant, I was approached by a good friend of mine about authoring a book for a series he was putting together. I had always wanted to write a book and was thrilled about the opportunity. I chose to write about a topic dear to my business heart, mission statements. Small Business Guide to Developing Mission, Vision, and Value Statements was the end result. It was a great experience and I love that my work is helping others create the work they love.
Tell us a little about your family.
I am the proud mom to three amazing teenage daughters.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
My first job as a training consultant came shortly after college. I worked for Curtis and Associates, Inc. out of Kearney, NE for 8 years. I moved twice and traveled the country delivering workshops to welfare recipients, social service case managers and leaders on job search skills and motivation. I was devastated when the position was downsized in the early 2000’s. Like most of us, my job was my life. However, I took the lemon I was handed and turned it into lemonade by starting my own consulting and coaching business. It was during the next 16 years that I really honed my craft and I’m honored to get to share what I’ve learned with Heartland Family Service as their training coordinator now.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
Have lunch with friends, take a long walk, or be pampered at the spa.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
In addition to being in the training and development field for over 25 years, I am also an active member of the Omaha theater community. I was in a play at the Omaha Community Playhouse in November and will be in a show at Creighton University this October. I’ve acted, directed and taught theatre all over Omaha and Council Bluffs.
What are you the most proud of?
Being a lifelong learner. In my opinion, the only way to keep growing is to keep learning.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?
Heartland Family Service, of course, and I’m also a passionate supporter of the Theatre Arts Guild and Girl Scouts of America.
What is your favorite local restaurant?
M’s Pub. I was devastated the day it caught fire. I had celebrated birthdays, holidays, weddings, theatre openings, and just because days there for over 30 years. I teared up when I got to go back after they reopened.
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