Our bi-annual Women-Owned Businesses feature gives us the wonderful opportunity to highlight female leaders in our community and inspire other women with entrepreneurial ambitions. When women rally behind each other, amazing things happen. All women are powerful—stay-at-home moms and business owners alike. As a woman-owned and run business publication ourselves, it’s our great pleasure to put this feature together.
All of these women felt strongly enough to invest in themselves and their business or organization by sharing a little bit of their stories with our readers. Please join us in celebrating these women-owned and women-led businesses and organizations in Omaha. Read their stories, support their work, and do business with them. Who knows, one of them might even become your future mentor!
Providing a patient experience based on a philosophy of compassion, care, and the highest treatment standards was the driving force behind Hilary Muhle and Leanne Bata’s opening of Allure Health & Med Spa (www.AllureHealthMed.com) nearly five years ago. Since opening, Allure has been voted Best of Omaha’s First Place for Female Hormone Replacement, First Place Med Spa, Laser Hair Removal and Esthetician. “Helping our clients discover the quality of life, health, and happiness they’ve been searching for is the most rewarding part,” Hilary explains.
Whether visiting Allure for bio-identical hormone replacement—a plant-based, safer form of hormone replacement—or for the variety of med spa services, customers feel welcomed, listened to, and have confidence in the quality of their treatment and results. Leanne summarizes, “The Allure experience is our foundation and we’re excited for continued growth of our female owned business with the values and standards our patients have come to know and trust.”
Nicka Johnson is the owner and founder of Budget to Success, LLC (budgettosuccess.net). This business teaches the importance of financial literacy to help bridge the economic gap focusing on budgeting, savings, and credit. Over five years ago, Nicka began using her social media platform to help educate others about their relationship with money. This was once something she did often amongst friends and family that soon captivated a brand within itself.
Growing up in poverty, Nicka became no stranger to overcoming adversity. She grew up in a single-parent home and quickly learned that her family dynamics may shape who she is, but they won’t determine who she will become. As she continues to break barriers and build futures, she supports individuals by helping them define their level of success they desire through budgeting, savings, and credit.
Not only is Nicka a business owner and community activist, but she is also a devoted wife and mother. This multifaceted and talented woman loves cultivating meaningful relationships with everyone she meets. Her visionary perspective has earned her opportunities to work with the Susan Buffett Foundation, the TeamMates Mentoring Program, and speaking engagements teaching about economic development. Although she has accomplished a lot within a short time, the journey for the trailblazing Mrs. Nicka Johnson has just begun. To learn more about her and Budget to Success, visit budgettosuccess.net or email email@example.com.
Laurie Dunn is an independent insurance broker for individuals and employer groups. Her belief in the entrepreneurial spirit focuses her work toward companies with 20-150 employees.
“The industry is overwhelmed with benefit options and strict guidelines, and I am a resource for the business owner who wants to grow their company and employee base by offering full benefits,” said Laurie.
As a partner in AIS Insurance Specialists and AFLAC (aflac.com), Laurie’s goal is to provide income protection and offset out-of-pocket costs of healthcare by representing multiple companies in the ever-changing market and offering solutions to employers for rising insurance costs to attract and retain the best employees. In addition, she provides complimentary human resource consultations for navigating employee benefits with a customer service emphasis to save time during the application processes and assistance in EASE enrollments and claims. For a consultation or quote contact Laurie Dunn at (402) 525-5797.
Since 1985, Rose McCormick has been a small business owner and entrepreneur. As a little girl, she loved flowers and would delight in visiting a plant store in the Old Market with her mom. From an early age, she knew flowers and plants were her passion and worked in a variety of flower shops. At the age of 23, she purchased her first flower shop, Younkers Flowers, at the Center Mall and opened a second location two years later. In 2003, she moved to West Omaha, expanded into home decor, and renamed her business Beyond the Vine Flowers and Home Decor (www.gobeyondthevine.com), and in 2015 moved into an even larger showroom at 132nd and Grover, where she’s located today. Rose has been a pillar in the Omaha small business community, and she is passionate about sharing her knowledge to mentor aspiring women entrepreneurs, with the goal to find a successor to helm Beyond the Vine. To learn more about her business, visit www.gobeyondthevine.com or contact Rose at (402) 397-4585 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marti Neely, FAPLD and owner of Marti Neely Design and Associates (www.martineely.com), has been in practice as a landscape designer since 1988. She inherited a green thumb from her family, but she recalls a flowerbed project at her church being a pivotal endeavor that put her on her current path.
“People just bought different flowers and planted them without thinking about it, and it looked horrible,” said Marti. “So, I took it over, first planning the design on paper before I started planting.”
Since then, Marti has built a successful career by combining her education in fine arts, sociology, and horticulture to create outdoor spaces uniquely suited for her clients. A keen understanding of how people, places, plants, and patterns interact enables Ms. Neely to develop designs that are not only functional but fresh and dynamic. She served as president of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) and the Nebraska Nursery and Landscape Association.
“I’ve continued my education with professional courses through various organizations, and I’ve traveled to gardens across the U.S., England, and the Netherlands,” said Marti. “I have had the opportunity to see the best of the best and experience the challenges, successes, and failures one finds in the world of gardening. Using this knowledge to create outdoor living spaces that enhance the quality of life of those who use them is what I do best.”
Marti Neely Design and Associates is mainly focused on luxury projects at the time, or a project so unique and intriguing that Marti couldn’t help to add to her portfolio. If this is you, visit www.martineely.com or call (402) 630-0050. Marti is also published in multiple landscaping, gardening, and design publications. You can view some of her articles at www.finegardening.com/author/marti-neely-fapld.
Josefina Loza, the chief executive officer of Lozafina Marketing (www.lozafina.com) and Public Relations firm, is a multi-skilled communication professional with experience covering regional and national entertainment, local community news, local government, higher education, and healthcare. As an award-winning journalist, she’s covered human interest pieces for more than two decades and has been published in national and regional publications. Her strengths lie in publications, writing, editing, digital and print marketing, public relations, and project management. Loza was recently honored by the Omaha Jaycee’s as a Ten Outstanding Young Omaha (TOYO!) award for her career as a longtime journalist and dedication to her community for the boards in which she serves.
She manages media relations for clients such as Fleri, a fintech startup that provides healthcare for immigrant families, K Watson Group, and International Filter Manufacturing Corporation, which produces automotive and industrial air filters. She works as communication director for THE BLOC’s 50 Over 50 NE awards and the Global Leadership Africa Summit.
Loza serves as publication manager of The Gateway, the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s independent student newspaper. She is also the vice president of marketing and public relations for the Midlands African Chamber, Inc.
If you want an articulate communicator who is well-versed in many facets of the communication field or can provide support in these areas, look no further. Contact her via www.lozafina.com or (402) 658-3636 to discuss how she can help you create and grow.
Keana P. SeptMatthews is the founder and director of education at B & K ExSeptional Ones Academy (www.facebook.com/ExSeptionalones). Keana is very proud to be a young, black, female entrepreneur. In her 20+ years of being in the early childhood education field, she has learned a lot and identified ways to make it better. This is the reason she opened her own center that not only focuses on the children in their care but also their families as well as the staff.
Growing up in Chicago before making Omaha her home, Keana ended up studying child psychology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Today she works closely with her husband of 23 years, Brian. He is a great source of support and encouragement. Together, they have two adult children and one granddaughter. Keana’s main passion is spreading the Gospel and making a positive difference everywhere she goes by doing the Lord’s work.
“God has anointed my hands for His work, and in all that I do I put Him first,” said Keana. “I thank God every day for my life and how he is doing wonders and miracles.”
B & K ExSeptional Ones Academy is located in Bellevue. They teach both Montessori practical application and traditional early childhood learning through play. To learn more, visit www.facebook.com/ExSeptionalones or contact (531) 365-6805 / email@example.com.
Teresa Friesen grew up in a sports-loving family, cheering on favorite teams as a regular Saturday activity. However, she never saw women in sports on the screens in her home, a missed opportunity for representation and visibility of positive female role models. This experience is not unique to Teresa. Male athletes get a whopping 95% of televised sports coverage.
After years of employment as a social worker and college professor, Teresa paired her passion for positive social change with her sports-centered past as she develops a new business in Nebraska called SheMate (www.shemate.club).
SheMate connects women in sports with the youth sports industry. With SheMate, female college athletes meaningfully monetize their skills and experience by helping younger athletes find their voice and self-confidence, and offering parents and coaches recommendations for effective athlete development strategies.
Since its launch in November, hundreds of athletes across the country have applied to share their stories with SheMate. Later this month, SheMate will launch the next level of development with a new marketplace. Through this marketplace, athletes and subscribers will be able to engage in meaningful work and advancement towards equity for women in sports will emerge. To learn more, visit www.shemate.club or contact Teresa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helping people is a true vocation for Tara Slevin, chief philanthropy officer for Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital (www.jehfoundation.org) and president of the Jennie Edmundson Foundation.
“Throughout the pandemic and in these increasingly difficult economic times, the financial and emotional support the Foundation provides is a real difference-maker,” Tara said.
Tara came to Jennie Edmundson Hospital in 1989 as teen volunteer coordinator. She also served as director of volunteers and foundation, and vice president of development and volunteers before assuming her current role in 2021.
She is active on many community organizations, including the Iowa West Foundation, Advance Southwest Iowa Corp., and Omaha/Council Bluffs Bridges Out of Poverty. The COVID-19 pandemic put her skills and compassion to the test as a member of the Pottawattamie County Public Health Department COVID-19 Task Force and the county’s Emergency Operations Center COVID Committee.
Still, the people who turn to the Jennie Edmundson Foundation for help come first in her mind and her heart.
“From our large annual fundraising events and capital campaigns to the programs that provide transportation to life-saving medical treatment at Jennie Edmundson or the means to put food on their table, I am proud of the incredible impact the Foundation has on so many patients and their families throughout Southwest Iowa,” Tara said. “It’s what brings me to work every day.”
Nicole Bianchi is an international keynote speaker, author, and award-winning entrepreneur. She is widely regarded as the go-to source for leadership and bravery. Her passion? Inspiring bravery. Her focus? Enabling leaders to stretch into their bravest selves.
Nicole co-founded and scaled a firm, Bravium HD (www.braviumhd.com), specializing in developing leaders at all levels and executive coaching, whose roster includes Google, GE, Macy’s, Union Pacific, Darden Restaurants, and ConAgra Brands.
Additionally, Nicole’s book, Small Brave Moves: Learn why Little Acts of Bravery are the Key to Life-Changing Leadership, was endorsed by the inspiring Daniel H Pink, saying, “Bianchi shatters the false belief that only some of us are brave. Then she shows the way forward with practice steps that can help us advance one small brave move at a time.”
Nicole decided to write this book when she saw the common missing element in leaders was bravery—everyday bravery. She works with executives, leaders, and teams to craft their own small brave moves around the missed conversations, gaining alignment or being more strategic, and the skills + action everyone needs to effectively lead.
When Nicole is not speaking, writing, or leading workshops, she is most likely cheering on one of her children in their collegiate sport or start-up business, planning their next adventure with her husband Dave, or enjoying a full-bodied wine surrounded by friends.
Giving back to her community is important. Nicole and her family have partnered to bring the Butterfly Effect, a national movement to Papillion. The Social Butterfly Installations are an art project mural designed to promote positive community change. Learn more about Nicole and her work at www.braviumhd.com.
Jenny Moraga is the owner/operator of LaborMax Staffing Nebraska (www.labormax.net). With 12 years in the industry and five years of ownership in the Nebraska area, Jenny and her husband Donnie have developed four locations and are continuing to expand. “Changing people’s lives is what we do, putting them back to work is how we do it.” This is the motto LaborMax Staffing lives by every day.
“Balancing business ownership, family, team development, expansion, and working with business and people to create the right match is a passion,” said Jenny. “It is so fulfilling to help an employee find the right job for them as well as helping clients to find the right person and keep their business going.”
LaborMax Staffing has entered into the toughest employee market in history and still has success with matching employees and clients.
“You have to love this industry to do what we do every day!” said Jenny.
Nikki Wulff is the owner of Assisted Living Locators of Greater Omaha (www.assistedlivinglocators.com/omaha), and she offers a no-cost assisted living and memory care referral service. She partners with over 100 communities in the Omaha area and helps seniors and their families find care and placement tailored to their loved one’s unique needs. Nikki earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. After a successful career in telecommunications and healthcare, she stepped into the role of an Assisted Living Locators franchise owner to provide care and guidance to seniors and their families in the community. Nikki’s passion for seniors comes from her own family experience and the lack of support and resources she experienced for her own loved ones.
In March 2022, she celebrated four years with Assisted Living Locators. In addition to running her business, Nikki loves traveling the world and spending time with her family.
Instead of trying to navigate the healthcare maze alone, let Nikki help you! She will guide you through the entire process. You can contact her at (402) 926-9505, by email at email@example.com or visit www.assistedlivinglocators.com/omaha to learn more.
“Hope is believing, encouraging, dreaming, caring…hope is us.”
Carole Kinlow, founder and CEO of Carole’s House of Hope (www.caroleshouseofhope.org), has served the Omaha community for over 24 years as a mentor and role model for young women. In 1992, Carole began her journey in human services when she became an advocate at EPS (then Emergency Pregnancy Services). She served for a seven-year period as an instructor for the Kid Ability program at Girls Inc. and later for YWCA as a legal advocate for victims of domestic violence. She has taught classes focused on life skill development, teen assertiveness, positive youth engagement, and bullying. Her passion to help others led her to become a foster parent and family advocate for youth experiencing homelessness. Carole also worked as a property manager and regional supervisor for 14 years assisting low-income families.
Carole’s House of Hope received a generous donation from Children’s Hospital and Medical Center of the former Carolyn Scott Rainbow House that they have occupied since 2016. Also, Carole and her husband (co-founder) were the recipients of the Angel’s in Adoption awarded by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCIA) for 2021. Congressman Donald Bacon presented the award that was read to the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., and is now a part of the permanent Congressional Record. To learn more, visit www.caroleshouseofhope.org or email Carole at Carole@caroleshouseofhope.org.
Brittney Rexius is a powerhouse in the Omaha community—she leads up multiple ventures that are all centered on self empowerment and healthy living through education, exercise, nutrition, and support. With a desire to bring better products to the industry, Brittney was at the forefront of launching VHi (vhifit.com) with her husband Tim in 2019. The VHi Fit and Wellness lines are the best formulated and clinically dosed supplements on the market. These products can be found online (vhifit.com) or at any of the seven Rexius Nutrition (www.rexiusnutrition.com) locations around Omaha. Rexius Nutrition is owned by Brittney and Tim. They were disappointed in the current retail experience, with most stores being extremely overpriced and a general lack of knowledge by the sales associates. Since founding Rexius in 2010, they’ve achieved over a 90% customer retention rate and opened many more stores in Nebraska and beyond. They also own Optimal Performance Popcorn—the perfect healthy snack for all ages! In addition to Rexius and having six kids at home, Brittney and Tim are also co-owners of Iron Heaven Gym (ironheavenomaha.com). Whether you’re into bodybuilding or simply want to get into shape, Iron Heaven’s exclusive equipment and experienced staff will help guide you along the way. They are focused on building a community of motivators and goal-crushers. Lastly, to achieve the full scope of mind and body health offerings, Brittney established Lotus Transformations. Through Lotus, she does one-on-one coaching to help people accomplish their fitness goals, all while keeping the focus on transforming a wellness lifestyle. As a 19-year recovering drug addict who got pregnant as a teenager, Brittney knows firsthand how life-changing daily exercise and balanced nutrition can be when the world feels like it’s caving in. She’ll help you kick your excuses to the curb! To get in touch with Brittney, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brenda Banks is the founder and executive director of the Omaha-based nonprofit organization Cross Training Center (www.crosstc.com). Her dedication to empowering those living in poverty and her insights into the plights of the underprivileged inspires others to participate in the transformation process. She is known to promote community engagement and collaboration, creating strong relationships and effective partnerships to serve a greater purpose.
“I am driven by God’s declaration that He has a plan to give every person hope and a future, as affirmed in Jeremiah 29:11,” said Brenda. “Faith has always been the foundation of my vision for this organization to help individuals find their paths toward success.”
Cross Training Center provides vocational training and job experience for unemployed and undereducated adults so they can attain employment, become financially successful and break the cycle of poverty for generations to come. To learn more, visit www.crosstc.com or contact Brenda at (402) 590-2100 / email@example.com.
VENUS Vein Clinic (venusveinclinic.com) has been a dream, become reality, for Dr. Kelly Schroeder. She opened VENUS to address the vastly under-treated population with vein disease, as well as educate her community on healthy ways to get the most out of life. Every day, she and the staff at VENUS Vein Clinic change lives. Men and women of all ages with achy, swollen, or restless legs, and even patients with severe swelling, and ulcerations, get competent compassionate care.
Something that’s very different from other medical offices, is that patients become part of the VENUS family the first time they set foot in their office. They love spending time getting to know each and every individual. Kelly and her team look forward to seeing their smiling faces and hearing their wonderful success stories when they finish their treatments. To learn more, venusveinclinic.com.
Teresa Jordan, president and CEO of CareMATRIX Senior Housing Experts, LLC (CareMATRIX.net), has a heart for seniors and for making an impact in this community.
Eight years ago, Jordan founded CareMATRIX Senior Housing Experts, the first FREE senior housing navigation company in the Omaha area. This locally owned company, comprised of Teresa and Senior Housing Consultant Jean Cramer, will personally assess all clients, coordinate and attend senior living community tours, and help navigate individuals through every step of the process. They will personally help make the physical and emotional task of finding the most appropriate housing option easier for CareMATRIX clients.
“As a free, local resource, our value add is that we take away the stress and provide options and education so you can create a plan for your loved one. It is a personal journey, so our process is personal,” Jordan said.
Jordan is the proud wife of a Marine who is a disabled veteran. She understands what it is like to be a caregiver and wants to help others. She has three children and four grandchildren. Jordan was born and raised in Iowa but is proud to call Nebraska home. She enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking, and photography. To learn more about Jordan and her business, visit CareMATRIX.net or contact (402) 885-5693 / Teresa@CareMATRIX.net.
Owned by Kimberly Remmereid and founded in 2015, Contour Construction (contour-construct.com) began with just two employees and has since grown to employ more than 40 highly skilled and talented individuals. With her leadership, passion for excellence in construction, and positive energy, Remmereid leads her dedicated team to provide top-notch services to owners, general contractors, and to all her employees. Just last year, Contour Construction received the ABC Eagle Award and Pyramid Award for their work on the Farnam Hotel and the St. Wenceslaus Church expansions, respectively. While there have been many challenges, Remmereid has navigated the male-dominated industry by building solid relationships, not being afraid to stand out, and learning not to take things too personally.
Contour Construction has a team of experienced project managers and estimators who are available to assist you with your commercial construction projects. Learn more about the company online at contour-construct.com. Kimberly can be reached at (402) 238-2362 / firstname.lastname@example.org.