Board of Directors
Tri-Faith Initiative is committed to responsible and responsive governance for the benefit of its stakeholders.
Our Board includes 25 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.
Please direct your email correspondence to the Board Chair at: email@example.com
Dr. Ali Khan, MD, MPH, Chair
Rick MacInnes, First Vice Chair
Amee Zetzman, Second Vice Chair
Nuzhat Mahmood, Secretary
Karim Khayati, Treasurer
Trisha Hoffman-Ahrens, Development Chair
Dr. Paul Williams, Clergy Representative
Dr. Maryanne Stevens, RSM, PhD, Immediate Past Chair
Wendy Goldberg, 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.
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.
Bio coming soon!
Bio coming soon!
Countryside Community Church
Nancy has lived in Omaha since 1980 having moved with her family from Pittsburgh, PA because of a job transfer for her husband, George. She found Omaha to have many wonderful opportunities for meaningful volunteer work for many nonprofit organizations that enabled her to raise three children and participate in the community in fulfilling ways for the past 40+ years. The Westside School District, Omaha Symphony Association, Henry Doorly Zoo and, dearest to her heart, Countryside Community Church all allowed Nancy to achieve leadership positions that gave her a sense of accomplishment in the Behringer Family’s adopted city. She is a past Moderator of Countryside and recently was one of six members of the Countryside Relocation Committee which guided the church through raising $26 million, construction of the building, and establishment of the congregation on the Tri-Faith Commons…a most rewarding and challenging undertaking!
Curiosity and a sense of adventure led Nancy and George to live and work in Saudi Arabia for 4 years, 1998-2002. That curiosity has prompted them to travel the world upon retirement visiting about 60 countries.
Nancy and George’s family has grown to fifteen widely scattered family members including 7 terrific grandchildren. Nancy’s interests include travel, books and learning about the natural world.
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.
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.
Bintou Taal is Senior System Administrator for Metropolitan Utilities District (MUD). Bintou graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and an MBA in Management Information Systems from Bellevue University. She is currently serving as the past president of the MUD Employees Speakers Bureau, president of Dickinsons Landing Home Owners Association, Board member of the Green Omaha Coalition, and member of the T&L Key Communicator committee for Westside District 66 schools. She is passionate about education, environmental justice and loves volunteering.
Bio coming soon!
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.
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.
Nuzhat Mahmood moved to Nebraska as a young adult after completing her masters degree at Iowa State University, and made her home in Lincoln and Omaha for more than 25 years. During that time, she served in many of Omaha’s civic organizations, including the board of Omaha’s Tri-Faith Initiative, American Muslim Institute, Nebraska Appleseed, Nebraska Medicine’s Chancellor’s Board of Councillors, Girls Inc., and as President of the Omaha West Rotary club. She is passionate about serving others and working to create thriving community. She now pursues her career in fintech in the state of New Jersey, where she lives with her family. She has many hobbies including reading, hiking, and tennis.
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.
Anthony Scioli is a partner at Kutak Rock LLP, a national law firm. He has served and continues to serve on non-profit boards dedicated to serving children, the elderly, families in crisis, and the community. Anthony is honored to have learned from Jesuit priests and Chabad Rabbis. He embraces the Jesuit teaches of homines pro aliis (men and women for others) and cura personalis (care for the whole person). He also values the Chabad approach to reach out to others with acts of good and kindness. Anthony and his wife, Andee, have two sons.
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.
Barry Thomas the Senior Consultant for Human Resources and Diversity Equity and Inclusion projects at BCT Partners. He also is an adjunct professor in the Black Studies Department at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Barry previously served the students of Omaha Public Schools in Nebraska as an educator for 19 years as Director of Equity and Diversity, a social studies teacher on the middle and high school level, as well as Supervisor of Social Studies. In the Omaha community, he is on the advisory board for the African American Empowerment Network Leaders and recently accepted a role on the Board of Directors for Heartland Family Services and the Urban League of Nebraska. Barry is also an Executive Board member of the Omaha Branch of the NAACP and a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. A dedicated husband of 17 years to Sherie, a captain in the Omaha Police Department, and father of three young women, Barry’s biggest joy comes at watching the success of his girls.
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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