Meet Lisa Henning, executive director of the Nebraska Safety Council.
Tell us a little about your business. – The Nebraska Safety Council (www.nesafetycouncil.org) has been serving the public and businesses since 1961. In our 60th year, we are proud to say that we have helped improve the lives of thousands of people through worksite safety training, worksite wellness services, and consultation and traffic safety education.
How did you get started in the business? – Our services started through a request by Governor Morrison to reduce the incidence of automobile fatalities on our roads and highways. We started offering traffic education classes appointed by the courts and expanded to driver’s education. In 1971, we expanded our services to worksite safety due to the newly formed Occupational Safety and Health Association standards established by the federal government. In 2013, we acquired WorkWell, a longstanding leader in worksite wellness, and thus our three main arms of service – worksite safety, worksite wellness, and traffic safety education – were complete.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – Without a doubt the pandemic. Keeping a nonprofit alive while also trying to maintain as many positions at our organization as possible was a difficult time. It is still spilling over into this year with staffing shortages, stress, and emotional well-being challenges among staff.
What has been your most important achievement professionally? – Helping shape and change a culture across Nebraska through the development of the Governor’s Wellness Award. Prior to the award, worksite wellness was only established in Lincoln and Omaha. Now, more than 400 businesses across the state have evidence-based wellness programs. Businesses that have established programs have a better chance of recruiting and retaining young talent.
Tell us a little about your family. – My husband Kent and I have been married for 37 years. He is the property manager at Speedway Properties. We have two wonderful children, Makaela and Brendon. Makaela is married and is a special education coordinator. She and her husband (also in special education) have two beautiful children, Kiptyn and Kaelyn. Brendon is a web developer at Union Bank & Trust. We are very close, and the entire family gets together every Sunday evening for dinner.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – Meeting my husband. From him, many good things have happened in my life. Kent showed me patience, kindness, faith, and unconditional love. He is the greatest blessing in my life.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – Kent and I like to bike ride. A perfect day is riding, probably eating out halfway through the ride, and then having the kids over that night for dinner.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – I played soccer on the boy’s high school team as my high school did not have a girl’s program. I enjoyed it a lot but being 5’ 3” wasn’t ideal for going up for a head ball!
Who inspires you? – My son-in-law is a wonderful person. He is so patient, which I am not, so he role models that for me. My husband when it comes to forgiveness. My daughter as she is such a hard worker. My son as he has the best personality.
What local nonprofit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why? – Nebraska Safety Council because it saves lives and helps make people’s lives safer, healthier, and better quality. Child Advocacy Center because no child should suffer abuse of any kind!