River City Six – Kari Lundeen
Meet Kari Lundeen, donor recruitment representative with Nebraska Community Blood Bank (www.ncbb.org).
Tell us a little about the organization and your role.
Nebraska Community Blood Bank provides lifesaving blood generously given by volunteer blood donors to local hospital partners in seven counties, including Omaha and Lincoln. NCBB is celebrating 50 years this year and we are thankful for our many donors and blood drive sponsors who’ve helped us reach this milestone. The need for blood is constant so it’s my role to discover new partnerships and foster current ones so we can continue to help save more and more lives. I work directly with people in the community and at corporations, schools, churches and military organizations to coordinate blood drives, with Omaha being a part of my territory.
How did you get started in the business?
My father was an avid blood donor and worked in the non-profit sector most of his professional career. His stories and advice were a testament to how rewarding it was for him to be part of something that truly impacts people’s lives in a positive way. I wanted to have the same kind of stories and energy around something I spend most of my day doing so I joined the Nebraska Community Blood Bank team. Not only did I start a new career, I also started my journey as a blood donor. Most of my life my father walked around in blood donor shirts and sipped from NCBB mugs and I figured if he was doing it, so were a lot of other people and that they didn’t really need my blood. How wrong I was. We actually need to see about 1,000 donors each week to meet the needs of local patients and that number continues to grow as we serve more hospitals. Donating blood is important and if you’re able to, you should.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
Finding my passion. I previously worked in sales at two Fortune 500 companies and I didn’t think I needed to feel passion for what I was selling. If it was a good product, I could effectively sell it but at the end of the day, that product didn’t really matter to me. It was a job. When I accepted this position over three years ago it changed all of that. I am lucky to have found a job I am truly passionate about.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
At Nebraska Community Blood Bank we have five core values: Respect, Integrity, Synergy, Excellence and Service or RISES. When someone goes above and beyond we are encouraged to share that with the organization by nominating them for a RISES. Each year there is an overall RISES award which is nominated by our peers and voted on by leadership. I am honored to have been the 2017 RISES recipient.
Tell us a little about your family.
I’m surrounded by boys, including our dog and cat. My husband Jon and I have three children, Colin (14), Reid (6) and Ellis (3). We are also blessed with many wonderful extended family members and friends.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
Family time is a big one, but if given the chance, I could binge watch Bravo shows for hours on end.
What are you the most proud of?
My awesome kids. We are not raising jerks. They are compassionate to others and we couldn’t be more proud.
What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?
Nebraska Community Blood Bank has a special place in my heart, of course, and I’m also very passionate about any non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping children.
What is your favorite local restaurant?
Blue Sushi Sake Grill.
If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?