Advance Omaha!

Advance Omaha!
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Collaborative


In 2011, the Empowerment Network partnered with local African-American corporate managers and executives to form the African-American Professionals Network (AAPN). 

One of the first efforts was to conduct a survey of African-American professionals in the Omaha community.  The 130+ respondents came from a variety of fields and industries including, but not limited to:  Transportation, Food & Health, Telecommunications, Insurance, Non-profits, Finance & Banking, and Education.  The participants were primarily between the ages of 25-54, with 60% born and raised in the Omaha metro.

The survey responses provided insights regarding:  the strengths of Omaha; areas for improvement; reasons why African-Americans leave Omaha; reasons why African-Americans stay in Omaha; and, their recommendations for making Omaha a great place for African-Americans to live, work, play and worship.  The top priorities identified were:  Leadership Development; Career Advancement and Coaching; Professional and Social Networking; Community Engagement and Influence; and Corporate and Community Alignment.

The plan is now updated annually with input from Advance Omaha participants and partners.


Vision for Advance Omaha!

To transform Omaha into a city that is recognized as a great place for African-Americans to live, work, play, worship, and raise a family.  We will work together to ensure the representation of African-Americans in all sectors at every level of Omaha’s workplace meets or exceeds the percent of African-Americans in the community.


10 Point Strategy:

  1. CEO Racial Diversity Leadership Cabinet
  2. Racial Diversity Scorecard and Survey
  3. CHRO Racial Diversity Leadership Roundtable
  4. Strategic Thinking and Cultural Diversity Training
  5. Redefine the Game Institute – Career Advancement & Leadership
  6. Leadership Development including Summits and Conferences
  7. African-American Employee Resource Groups
  8. Pathways and Pipelines:  Youth and Adults
  9. Supplier Diversity
  10. Community-based Engagement & Leadership

Mission for Advance Omaha!

To strengthen multi-generational, cross industry professional relationships and increase employment opportunities for African-Americans at all career stages (entry, middle management, senior management, and executive) by implementing and enhancing successful communication, networking – socially and professional, career development, community engagement, and leadership strategies.

Since that time, the Empowerment Network and several members of the original AAPN planning team have helped move several important initiatives forward.


Start-up to Launch of Redefine the Game

    • African-American Leadership Summits – Seasoned and Emerging Leaders – 2006
    • Step-Up Omaha! Career Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship and Engagement – 2008
    • African-American Professionals Network & Survey – 2010
    • African-American Leadership Conference– Career Advancement/Leadership Development – 2011
    • African-American Entrepreneurship & Small Business Development – 2011
    • Revive! Black Business Expo at the African-American Leadership Conference
    • Revive! Black Business Luncheon/Workshop – Monthly – 5 Years
    • North Omaha Small Business Development with OEDC
    • Entrepreneurship Training with George Fraser, Pamela Jolly, Randal Pinkett and others
    • Entrepreneurship Collaborative
    • African-American Young Professionals – 2012
    • Networking – Established with Empowerment Network and merged with ULYP
    • AAYP Engagement – Decision-making, Brainstorming, Implementation & Evaluation
    • Leadership Opportunities – Leadership Conference, Network Leaders, Non-profit Boards, Advisory Councils, Commissions
    • African-American Communications and Connections
      • Revive! Magazine and Web-site – 2008
      • Village Connector – Weekly E-mail:  Events, Opportunities, Resources and More
      • Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, etc.
    • African-American Cultural Events and Opportunities
    • African-American Professionals Network Events
      • Major Annual Community Events
      • African-American Young Professionals Events (merged with ULYP)
      • Red Carpet Events – Red Tails, Selma, Hidden Figures and others
      • Empowerment Network Conference and VIP Receptions
      • African-American Leadership & VIP Receptions at 24th & Lake
      • Christmas in the Village at 24th and Lake
      • Black History in the Village at 24th and Lake
    • Wealth-Building: Legacy Wealth Workshops and Training with Dr. Pamela Jolly – 2015; Legacy Wealth Initiative – 2018
    • Initial Omaha Racial Diversity Scorecard – Sept. 2017 and Racial Diversity Initiative – 2018


Communications and Connections

      • Improve communication among African-American professionals using various tools including – social networking, e-mail, web-sites, video conferencing, and other means
      • Enhance connections between African-American professionals through various forums – including conferences, workshops, site visits, professional networking events, social events, and other

Career Development, Coaching and Employment

      • Increase the number of African-American professionals with an effective Career Development Plan
      • Increase the career developmental opportunities for African-American professionals
      • Increase the number of African-American professionals with a coach, mentor, and sponsor
      • Increase the number of African-American professionals employed at entry level positions in business, corporate Omaha, and other professional positions
      • Increase the number of African-American professionals in middle management, senior management within businesses, corporate Omaha, and other professional positions

Community Engagement & Influence:

      • Increase the number of African-American professionals that are serving in the community (volunteering, mentoring, etc.)
      • Increase the number of African-American professionals that are actively involved in the Empowerment Covenant and Empowerment Challenge
      • Increase the number and fiscal responsibility of African-American professionals that contribute and invest financially in the community (example: consumer power, pooling of resources, supporting AA businesses and organizations)


    • Increase the number African-American professionals serving and leading on for profit boards
    • Increase the number of African-American professionals serving in leadership positions on non-profit boards and commissions in the community
    • The African-American Professionals currently participate in the Empowerment Conference, African-American Leadership Conference and the Strategic Meeting held each December.
    • Launch the Redefine the Game Institute

Some participants have expressed an interest in more frequent, possibly monthly meetings. If you are interested in assisting with this initiative, please contact the Empowerment Network at 402-502-5153.