River City Six – Sandy Spady
Meet Sandy Spady, membership development representative for the Greater Omaha Chamber (omahachamber.org).
Tell us a little about your business.
My role at the Chamber allows me to connect with people, listen to their stories, and learn their business, life, and dreams. I plant each person I meet in my mind like a seed so that when I see an opportunity to connect, build, or promote them, I can effectively do so. This is how I bring value to our membership. I love to connect the dots. That’s why the Greater Omaha Chamber is a perfect match for me. I am able to work with prospective businesses and share the benefits of the Chamber by providing information on programs we offer, as well as orient the client to take advantage of the extensive professional development opportunities, events, and resources available.
How did you get started in this business?
I believe it all started as a young girl growing up in the small town of O’Neill, NE, where I spent most of my Sundays hanging out in my family’s restaurant, Lee & Carol’s Specialty Hut. My five siblings and I would all help out. My older brothers would be in the kitchen helping my father cook, and my two older sisters would waitress with my mother. My twin brother and I would buss tables. Unfortunately for my twin, I was often found sitting at customers’ tables, chatting away. That’s when my love for meeting people all began. In my career, I’ve gone from retail management, recruiting and training new team leads, to working in media as an executive for cable TV, print, and radio. This is where I found my specialty in planning events and coming up with promotions. I was also lucky enough to be spend the next years raising my two stepchildren, Mariah and Adam, and my daughter Katie, which gave me opportunities to volunteer on many boards. That’s where my love for nonprofits began. I was a high school cheer coach, Brownie troop leader, Teammates mentor, and many other community roles. I moved to Omaha three years ago. On my first day after getting settled, I went to the Greater Omaha Chamber and volunteered.
What’s your biggest challenge you’re faced professionally?
Time. There is never enough time to do what I would like to do.
What has been your most proud achievement professionally?
One that stands out would be when I worked at CableONE in Norfolk and collaborated with Town & County Insurance agencies in five different surrounding towns. I came up with a promotion for The Weather Channel that included informational, 30-second commercials. I had each agent take a 15-second commercial. Then, I worked with the surrounding grade schools in Norfolk, and we brought in a weather channel educator. Together, we created a program to educate children on the safety of lightening and tornado storms. I won The Weather Channel promotion of the year.
Tell us a little about your family.
It’s my daughter Katie and me, now. I moved to Omaha because she was living here, and I wanted to be close to her.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
I spoke on live TV on the Dr. Oz show. It was seven years ago when my girlfriends and I took a trip to New York. We had all applied to be an active participant in the audience six months prior, but we had completely forgot about it. On our second day in NYC, I got a phone call to be at the studio at 6 a.m. the following day. I had my own greenroom and my wardrobe and makeup done. It was a dream.
Who inspires you?
My daughter, Katie Breidenbach, inspires me. When she was 13, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, but she has always persevered and stayed positive no matter what life throws at her.