Board of Directors
Tri-Faith Initiative is committed to responsible and responsive governance for the benefit of its stakeholders. Our Board is comprised of twenty-five Directors. There are five representatives from each of the three faith partner congregations and ten local community representatives, all with strong ties to the Omaha community. Our work would not be possible without a strong, dedicated network of community representatives and volunteers.
The Board of Directors believes that communication is an important part of the governance process in carrying out its oversight duties of Tri-Faith Initiative. The Board has adopted the following procedure to facilitate any need to communicate with the Board.
Please direct your email correspondence to the Board Chair at: email@example.com
dr. ali khan, md, mph, chair
Rick macinnes, first vice chair
bob freeman, second vice chair
karim khayati, treasurer
dr. syed mohiuddin, md, secretary
dr. maryanne stevens, rsm, phd, immediate past chair
rabbi brian stoller, clergy representative
wendy goldberg, interim executive director
Bob Freeman is a senior partner at Fraser Stryker PC, LLO and is a founding member of the Tri-Faith Initiative, and served as chairman of the Tri-Faith Board of Directors from 2006-2015. He is a past Board President of Temple Israel and remains an active member of the congregation. Mr. Freeman has served in leadership roles and as counsel to numerous Community Boards, including the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority (MECA), the Omaha Sports Commission, and the Crane Trust. He is also was an adjunct law professor at Creighton University Law School. Bob and his wife, Robyn, have three daughters and three grandchildren.
Andie Gordman is a life-long resident of Omaha and, in fact, grew up in Trendwood, very close to what is now the Tri-Faith Commons. She has been an active member of the community most of her adult life. She currently serves as the President of the Board of Trustees of Temple Israel. She was a member of the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Leadership Omaha Class 38 and current serves on the alumni committee. She is past board member of the HR Nebraska State Council. Andie has been a Human Resource professional for her entire career, and she spent 20 years in corporate HR before joining SilverStone Group, a HUB International Company as a Senior Consultant in 2013. Andie is married to Dan Fitzgerald.
Lisa Lewis has been a member of Temple Israel for 40 years, and currently serves on their Board of Directors, as well as on the Tri-Faith Initiative Board. She was a co-chair of the initial Temple Israel Tri-Faith Committee. Lisa is an attorney, retired from the practice of law, where her work was focused primarily in the areas of Juvenile and Family Law. She has historically served on boards of several community and civic organizations, as well as on the boards of numerous Jewish-focused organizations. Lisa is widowed with one married son, who has an MD/PhD in neurology, and resides in Philadelphia, PA.
rabbi a. brian stoller
Rabbi A. Brian Stoller is the Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel in Omaha, Nebraska. A dedicated student of Torah and Jewish thought, Rabbi Stoller has published articles on Reform Judaism and Jewish law, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in halachah. Before entering the rabbinate, Rabbi Stoller had a career in politics and served as press secretary to then-U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois. Rabbi Stoller lives in Omaha with his wife Karen and their two children, Lindsay and Zachary.
Annette van de Kamp
Annette Van de Kamp was born and raised in the Netherlands and has been in the United States since 1996. She has a bachelor’s degree in American Cultural Studies (Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht) and a Master’s in British Literature from the University of Nebraska–Kearney. Since 2010, Annette has worked for the Jewish Federation of Omaha as the Executive Director of the Jewish Press. Married to Jeremy Wright, they have two children: Isabella, a senior at Millard North High and Mendel, an eighth grader at Millard North Middle. Annette hopes to bring listening skills to the Board and believes any new experience requires opening your ears to others’ perspectives. She shares, “I know there is so much we can learn about each other.” Her biggest wish is to make Omaha stop talking about tolerance, and instead, start living it.
Countryside Community Church
Rev. dr. Eric Elnes, Ph.D.
Rev. Dr. Eric Elnes, PhD is a biblical scholar, with a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Senior Minister of Countryside Community Church (UCC), Omaha, NE. Elnes is the author of several books, including Gifts of the Dark Wood: Seven Blessings for Soulful Skeptics (and Other Wanderers), and The Phoenix Affirmations: A New Vision for the Future of Christianity. In 2006, Elnes co-led a walk across the U.S. to raise awareness of the diversity that exists within Christian faith and practice. His journey was documented in the film, The Asphalt Gospel. He and his wife, Melanie, have two daughters who live in Denver and Juneau.
Trisha Hoffman-Ahrens is a communications strategist and entrepreneur with over 25 years of c-level experience in the publicly traded real estate and nonprofit arts and entertainment sectors. Recognized as a transformational leader, innovator, and activator, Trisha works with executives and nonprofit and for-profit organizations to harness new opportunities, embrace change, and achieve breakthrough results. Her current work includes raising $8.5 million to establish a placed-based arts initiative in Houston, Texas, helping publicly traded companies increase their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Score, and licensing and packaging professional development eLearning specific to the tech industry. Trisha is also founder and managing partner of RE Imagined Residential, LLC, a creative real estate solutions company revitalizing neighborhoods one home at a time. Active in the communities in which she lives and works, Trisha has served on the boards of Avondale House, a residential facility for children and adults with autism (Houston, TX), University of North Texas School of Business (Denton, TX), River Oaks Women’s Breakfast Club (Houston, TX), and Police Athletics for Community Engagement (PACE – Omaha, NE). She joined the Board of Directors for the Tri-Faith Imitative in 2019 and is a member of its Development Committee. Trisha is an engaged member of Countryside Community Church, having served as Chair of the Board of Art and Music for two years and beginning a three-year term on the Board of Trustees in February 2020. A life-long learner, active speaker and IBSTIPI certified facilitator, Trisha holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre and Voice from the University of Kansas and a Master of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Michigan. She has two adult children, Drew and Lindsey.
Rick MacInnes spent his career in the telecommunications industry meeting the growing digital demands for small businesses and consumers. Experienced in leading strategic operations, marketing, communications and customer experience, he retired most recently after 7 years as COO & EVP Marketing for JButler Group, a sales, marketing and fund development consulting business. Previously, Rick retired from a 33-year career with Qwest Communications (CenturyLink), as Director – Strategic Product Sales & Marketing, focusing on high-speed internet. He holds both a master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Iowa State University. As an active member of Countryside Community Church, Rick is a past Moderator of the Church Council and was Chair of the Countryside Relocation Committee leading the church’s building project on the Tri-Faith Commons. He has been Chair of both Deacons and the Youth boards at Countryside. Rick, a graduate of the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Leadership Omaha program, also held other board and leadership positions for the Omaha Children’s Museum, AIM Institute, Crèche Child Care Center, Youth Leadership Omaha, Phi Delta Theta fraternity, Henry Doorly Zoo, and the Westside Community Schools. Rick and his wife, Cathy, have two married daughters and three grandchildren.
Mary Fraser Meints
Mary Fraser Meints is a leading advocate for at-risk-children and youth in Nebraska as the Executive Director of Youth Emergency Services (YES) in Omaha, Nebraska. Her many years of experience in the world of child welfare and juvenile justice provide a good basis of knowledge in working with the at-risk and homeless populations served by YES. Mary has worked directly with children and families and served in administrative roles with the Department of Health and Human Services and at Uta Halee Girls Village and Youth Emergency Services. Mary serves on the Young Adults Voluntary Supports and Services (Bridge to Independence) Advisory Committee. As an advocate for homeless youth, Mary is on the board of Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless. Mary is married to husband Ray, a freelance video producer/videographer/editor and director.
Mark Stursma is a City Planner and has worked in both the private and public sectors over the past twenty-five years. He is currently the Planning Director for the City of Papillion where he manages the Planning Department, oversees development regulation and negotiation, guides long range planning initiatives, and advises the Mayor, City Council, Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment on all things related (and sometimes unrelated) to City Planning. Mark earned a BS in Community & Regional Planning at Iowa State University. More recently, he received an MS in Negotiation & Conflict Resolution from Creighton Law School. In conjunction with this degree he was inducted into the Alpha Sigma Nu Honor Society and received certification in mediation. Mark and his wife, Brenda, have two sons, Luke and Matt. In his free time, Mark enjoys cycling and photography.
American Muslim Institute
Dr. Hesham Basma
Dr. Hesham Basma has been a member of the AMI board of directors since 2014. Hesham completed his bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences and his master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences (biochemistry) from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. He was then awarded a two-year scholarship to complete the research component of his Ph.D. training at the University of Tennessee (Memphis) and subsequently received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Al-Azhar University.Hesham and his family moved to Omaha in 2001 and he joined the biochemistry department at the University of Nebraska Medical Center as a post-doctoral research associate. He is currently an instructor in the department of internal medicine at UNMC and is also an on-call pharmacist at Lakeside Hospital’s inpatient pharmacy. Hesham and his wife, Lobna, have 3 daughters.
Imam Mohamad Jamal Daoudi
Imam Mohamad Jamal Daoudi was born in Damascus, Syria, and graduated from Damascus University in 1988 with BA in English Literature. He continued education to achieve a BA degree in Islamic Theology and Arabic Language from “The Islamic Call College/Damascus” and graduated in 1991. He came to the United States in late 1995 and started his first position as Imam at The Islamic Center of North Valley, Lancaster-CA in 1997. He then moved to Charleston-WV where he served The Islamic Association of West Virginia and achieved his “Doctor of Ministry” degree from United Theological Seminary, Dayton-OH in 2005. That same year, he became a US citizen. Imam Daoudi joined the American Muslim Institute in 2017. During his last 25 years of ministry, he received the following awards: Chaplain of the day, Hardie Davis, Jr. Mayor of Augusta-GA (04/19/ 2016), Martin Luther King’s Living The Dream Award, “Advocate for Peace” (2005), CAIR Islamic Community Service Award for Political Activism (2005), Certificate of Commendation, Secretary of State of WV, Betty Ireland (2007), and Certificate of Recognition “Honorary Mountaineer”, Governor of State of WV, Joe Manchin III. He has three children, a daughter and two sons.
Farhan Khan is a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Communities. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and is a member and past president of the Entrepreneur Organization of Nebraska. Farhan serves on the Board for the American Muslim Institute (AMI) and helped to lead building AMI on the Tri-Faith Commons. He also serves on the board for the Omaha Community Foundation and is a member of the Assisted Living Federation of America and the Nebraska Assisted Living Federation. Farhan and his wife, Fatima, have two children.
Karim Khayati is a founding member and Vice-President of the American Muslim Institute. He a Technology Professional and Consultant covering a diverse range of industries and technologies. He holds both an MBA from Creighton University and a Bachelor’s degree from the IHEC Carthage and is a graduate of the Leadership Omaha program. Karim is married to Olfa and they have 4 children.
Dr. Syed Mohiuddin, MD, DSC
Dr. Syed Mohiuddin, MD, DSC is a founding member and President of the American Muslim Institute. He is a cardiologist and a member of the Division of Cardiology and Department of Medicine at Creighton University School of Medicine. He has served as President of the American Heart Association and Governor of the American College of Cardiology (Nebraska Chapter).
Rabbi Aryeh Azriel
Rabbi Aryeh Azriel has been a visionary in directing the focus of the Tri Faith Initiative in Omaha, NE as a globally unique project together on one campus with a common desire to foster mutual understanding, respect and friendship. Rabbi Azriel received his ordination and Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters in 1983 from Hebrew Union College and served as the Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel from 1988 until his retirement in 2016. He was the recipient of the Otto Swanson Spirit of Service Award in 1993, and in 1997 received the Martin Luther King, Jr. – Living the Dream Award, recognizing his continuing work on building cooperation with projects such as the Mitzvah Garden, Black/Jewish Dialogue, and Habitat for Humanity. He also received the Human Relations Award from the Omaha Education Association, and in 2008 he received his Doctor of Divinity from Hebrew Union College. Additionally, in 2019, Rabbi Azriel was among the six Tri-Faith leaders who accepted the Maurice N. Eisendrath Bearer of Light award at the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial. The Eisendrath award is the highest honor given by the URJ, and it is presented to leaders who showcase the progressive, change-making core values of the group. Rabbi Azriel is currently the Rabbi Emeritus at Temple Israel and a Scholar-in-Residence at Countryside Community Church. Rabbi Azriel and Elyce, his wife of 44 years, reside in Omaha. They have two children, Leora and Yaniv, as well as two grandchildren, Gabe and Mia. In his free time, Rabbi Azriel enjoys listening to classical music, reading, and traveling.
Susan A. Buffett
Susan A. Buffett serves as chair of The Sherwood Foundation®, The Buffett Early Childhood Fund, and the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. Ms. Buffett also serves on the ONE Board, the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority (MECA) Board, and several other local boards.
Joe Gerstandt is a speaker, author, and advisor bringing greater clarity, action, and impact to organizational diversity and inclusion efforts. Joe has worked with Fortune 100 corporations, small non-profits, government entities, and everything in between. He speaks at numerous conferences and summits and is a featured contributor for the Workforce Diversity Network Expert Forum. His insights have been published in Diversity Best Practices, Diversity Executive, HR Executive, numerous other print and on-line journals, and he co-authored the book Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships. Joe serves on the Intersectional Culture and Diversity Advisory (ICD) Council for the social networking platform, Twitter, the U.S. Technical Advisory Group’s Diversity and Inclusion Working Group within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and joined the Board of Directors for the Tri-Faith Initiative in 2020. Joe served four years in the United States Marine Corps, including participation in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, attended Iowa State University and then spent 6 years working in management and business development for technology and communication companies. Following a career change, he went to work for a grassroots non-profit organization where he was drawn to issues related to diversity and inclusion and then became actively involved in that work. His keynote messages and interactive workshops have brought greater clarity, action, and impact to existing and new organizational diversity & inclusion efforts for such clients as Boeing, Toyota, Nestle, Mutual of Omaha, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, ConAgra Foods, Target, John Deere, TD Ameritrade, Eli Lilly and Marathon Oil.
Andy Holland was born and raised in Omaha, and graduated from Westside High School. She was raised as a Unitarian, attending the First Unitarian Church of Omaha. With degrees from Texas Woman’s University (MLS), and the University of Texas at Arlington (MBA), she worked as an university librarian at Texas Christian University. She returned to Nebraska in 2005, and is a community volunteer, devoting time to various causes including the Tri-Faith Initiative.
Dr. Ali S. Khan, MD, MPH
Dr. Ali S. Khan, MD, MPH is Professor and Dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and a retired Assistant Surgeon General with the US Public Health Service. Dr. Khan’s professional career has focused on health security, global health, and emerging infectious diseases. He is committed to education with a purpose measured by impact and supporting efforts to make Nebraska the healthiest and most equitable state in the Union as a national and global model for wellbeing. Dr. Khan’s passion for public health and social justice drives his service to communities. He currently serves on the boards of The Wellbeing Partners and the Metro Omaha Medical Society as well as being a member of the Nebraska Colon Cancer Medical Advisory Group. He is also a member on the World Health Organization Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network Steering Committee. Dr. Khan moved to Omaha in 2014.
Deb McCollister is the retired owner of HMS Toys in Omaha and a founder of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and logged miles as a consultant and trainer for several American and European toy manufacturers. She is a long-time member of Countryside Community Church, past Moderator of the congregation, Chair of a senior minister search committee, a Sunday School teacher for 30+ years as well as a writer of Sunday School curriculum, and Chair of the Tri-Faith program committee. Deb and her husband John have three adult children and two grandsons.
Nuzhat Mahmood is a Nebraskan by choice, moving to Omaha after getting a master’s degree in Economics from Iowa State University. She has made her home in the Omaha community for more than 25 years, working in financial services and technology, and participating in many of Omaha’s civic organizations. She currently serves on the board of Omaha’s Tri-Faith Initiative, American Muslim Institute, Nebraska Appleseed and on Nebraska Medicine’s Chancellor’s Board of Councilors. Other past service includes President of the Omaha West Rotary club from 2017 – 2018, and six years on the board of Girls Inc. prior to that. She is passionate about working to ensure our shared values of community and fairness, goodwill toward others, honesty, and nurturing the seeds of the future are thriving and on full display. She has many hobbies including reading, tennis, and spending time with her family.
Martha “Mart” L. Sedky
Martha “Mart” L. Sedky is Vice President Human Capital (HC) with the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) and was division manager of Human Resources for five years previous to being promoted. In her current position, Mart has overall responsibility for OPPD’s Human Capital functions, including Labor and Compliance, Total Rewards, Organizational Development, Business Partnering, Talent Acquisition, Change Management, and Diversity and Inclusion. Mart joined OPPD with more than 25 years of experience in the Human Resources field including several leadership positions. She held progressively responsible positions with Parker Hannifin Corporation, Evenflo Company, and Kansas City Power & Light. She holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Western Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Nazareth College, both located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management and the Corporate Executive Board CHRO Council. Mart has previously held board positions with WELLCOM and the Institute for Career Advancement Needs (ICAN) and currently serves on the boards of Grief’s Journey, Urban League of Nebraska, Heartland Workforce Solutions, and joined the Tri-Faith Initiative Board in 2020.
Dr. Maryanne Stevens, RSM, PhD
Dr. Maryanne Stevens, RSM, PhD serves as President of the College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Stevens has a bachelor’s degree in math and sociology from College Misericordia in Dallas, Pennsylvania; a master’s degree in theology from St. Louis University; and a PhD in religion and education from Boston College. Dr. Stevens was honored with the Chief Executive Leadership Award at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education District VI Conference and the Mactier/Clark Literacy Educator Award, both in 2015. In 2018, Dr. Stevens was inducted into the Greater Omaha Chamber Business Hall of Fame. She serves on several community boards and has made numerous presentations to local and national professional groups on women’s issues, the value of gender specific education, and the value of meaningful work.
Dr. Paul A. Williams, PhD
Paul A. Williams, PhD is an Associate Professor of Religion and the Chairperson of the Religious Studies program, University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). Born in central Africa and raised both in Congo and in Texas, he earned a BA degree (Anthropology and South Asian Studies) from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Arts in Religion (MAR) from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, and a PhD from the University of Chicago, where he specialized in the historical anthropology of religions (esp. African Religions, Buddhism, Christianity) and theological ethics. An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), he has served both Disciples of Christ congregations in Illinois and the Korean Presbyterian Church of Omaha, Nebraska. Currently, he teaches courses on African Religions, History of Christianity, Islam, New Testament, and a survey of World Religions, conducts research in central Africa and east Asia, and has played a key role in the development of the Goldstein Center for Human Rights at UNO, where he serves as Assistant Director. He also works as a board member for Education Congo (dba NALB), a non-profit organization that supports capacity building projects in higher education in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dr. Williams welcomes the opportunity to speak with community and religious groups about (1) inter-religious encounters, both dialogue and conflict between and among Jews, Christians, Muslims, and other religious communities and (2) the role of religious organizations in socio-economic development in central Africa.
We are also grateful for the many key volunteers from all three faith groups who have donated large amounts of time to this project.
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