Member of the Month - February, 2017 - Kari Schmitz 

Kari Schmitz

Claflin, Kansas
B.A. in Political Science, International Studies, and Pre-Law with minors in music and Spanish M.A. (2007) in Political Science

I worked at Kansas State University as an Admissions Representative for four years before moving onto the International and Selective Admissions Manager position for the next five years. After that I began working at GTM Sportswear as the Executive Assistant to the Owner and CEO for four years until I moved back to Lincoln, Neb., working at Nebraska DHHS as an Operations Consultant. I am currently attending University of Nebraska College of Law (2L) and working as a law clerk at Hudl and UNL General Counsel.

I’ve been married for six months to Bryan, who works at Kidwell, and we have a dog named Oliver.

What is your favorite NWLN memory?

I am SO IMPRESSED with NWLN - and jealous it doesn’t exist at my former alma mater! It has tremendously lifted my pride in being a Husker. I’ve been involved with the Network since 2015, and each of the conferences I have attended has strengthened my professional network, renewed my spirit, and inspired me to connect with fellow members. I loved hearing from Brittany Jones-Cooper at our most recent conference, and the personal messages she shared from the women who impacted her life caused me to reflect on how fortunate I am to also have strong women who have positively influenced my life.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

I need all the help I can get! I have received valuable advice throughout my life. Something that has always stuck with me is a gem of wisdom from my former boss, Dr. Pat Bosco, Vice President of Student Life at K-State. I requested a short meeting with him to go over some market share reports. We sat down at his desk and I saw the piles of papers, messages to return, and unanswered emails. He had a million things going on, and here I was, a 22-year-old newbie in my first job. I apologized for taking up his time since he was obviously busy and asked him how he dealt with distractions and remained focused enough to get anything done. He replied that when he meets with someone, that person is his #1 priority. He said to sit down, look the person squarely in the eyes, and listen intently to what the person has to say. Nothing else is more important at that moment than that person; people should always come first. They want to be heard. This advice has served me extremely well in so many ways, and I always strive to give people my full attention and make them feel valued.

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?

Selfishly, my wish right now is to do well on my upcoming law school exams! Ha! Aside from that, I wish that there was a 24-hour waiting period before a social media post was made publicly/privately available. I think giving people a chance to rethink their position and responses outside of the heat of the moment could reduce some of the negativity and bullying I see on social media.





Member of the Month - January, 2017 - Gloria Mwiseneza 

Gloria MwisenezaFirst Year Student 
Integrated Science

What is your favorite NWLN memory?

My favorite memory was the dinner during this year’s fall conference!

What is the best advice you have ever received?

The best advice I have received is to love and listen to each and every person.

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?

I would wish to be independent and useful to my community.





Member of the Month - December, 2016 -  Alyssa Amen

Alyssa Amen

Graduate Student
Master’s Degree in Integrated Media Communications
College of Journalism and Mass Communications

What is your favorite NWLN memory?

I just joined NWLN in September of this year, so I’d have to say my favorite memory is how easy it has been to get connected with other women! My mentor, Liz, has been fantastic. Liz lives in Dallas, Texas, and we met up several weeks ago while she was in town for a football game; she and her husband are big Huskers fans! It is so great knowing you have other women in your corner supporting you and wanting to see you succeed.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

I’ll go with the most recent advice that stuck out to me. I was reading a recent ESPN article on Husker coach Mike Riley (funny, because I don’t follow football at all—but I love a good feature story). In the article, his wife talked about why she admired Mike: He’s not a worrier, but rather, he focuses on ‘the next right thing.’ I love that, and I think it’s also great advice. Yes, it’s great to plan and be proactive about the future. But ultimately, life is also a series of small next steps. Staying focused on ‘the next right thing’ sounds like the perfect antidote whenever you feel overwhelmed with the size of your to-do list, the scale of your career ambitions, or whatever else it is you’re facing.

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?

That’s a tough question! There are so many compelling issues, from poverty to gender equality. However, if I could just have one wish, I would want everyone to have an opportunity to take a trip of their choice. Through travel, I’ve experienced such rich personal connections and natural beauty—from National Parks to foreign countries to adventures in my home state (Nebraska). I think there’s something really special about traveling that allows you to see “home” through a new lens and makes you even more appreciative of the adventure in your own backyard.






Member of the Month - November, 2016 - Genon R. Murray

Genon MurrayFacebook Name: Genon Rost Murray 
LinkedIn: genonmurray

Genon offers an eclectic background with BS in Education, an MA in Counseling and MFA in Creative Writing. She has over twenty-five years of experience developing and delivering projects for private business, education, health and entertainment through her storytelling company. Her work includes original creative concepts, brand story development, digital marketing content, broadcast communication content and training curricula development. Notable clients include Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World, Nickelodeon, Lockheed Martin, Melia International, WestGate Resorts, Arizona State Parks and IBM among others. In addition, her background and experience in counseling offer next level understanding of demographics, coaching and team building. Genon’s specialties include creating original stories and engaging communication tools, leading diverse teams of professionals toward achievement of storytelling and business goals, and facilitating group work in self-development and team building. Genon is a Nationally Certified Counselor who holds a certification in Digital Storytelling from the University of California – Berkeley and certification from the Gallup organization as a CliftonStrengthsfinder assessment provider and coach.

What is your favorite NWLN memory?

My favorite NWLN memory is difficult to choose. Each conference I have attended has provided me with inspiration, professional development, trending insights and best of all – fellowship with some of the most amazing women ever; many of whom have become dear friends. I do have a few moments that stand out including a long phone call from my first mentee when she was choosing between internships, running into a fellow member by accident at a function in New York and sharing the experience together and the Gallup EP10 workshop that led me to coaching. I think the common thread of these experiences for me is the incredible power of the fellowship of this collective group of dynamic women as well as their impact on me both professionally and personally. My life has been permanently and positively changed by the NWLN.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

I received some of the best advice I have ever been given at the beginning of my career. It came from Bob Meyers who was at that time the Executive Vice President of Special Projects for Viacom Networks. He told me to “never underestimate the power of being brave, staying genuine, remembering to be kind and believing in (my) dream”. I think the fact that I could see he lived those words on a day to day basis had as much impact on me as his taking time to share them with me. 

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?

If I could have one wish, it would be achievement of the United Nations' goal of reducing the number women and children effected by extreme poverty by half through global gender equality and global availability of primary education to all children. I really believe that by maintaining a strengths based focus of supporting and mentoring each other, women worldwide including those of us who are members of NWLN can be the leaders in ending the cycle of poverty, and I continue to watch for opportunities to do my part in making this wish come true!





My own personal map quest 

By Jane Hirt

When I was in Paris this spring, I walked 180 miles.

At least, that’s what my iPhone said (and my sore feet back it up).

I’ve visited Paris many times, but recently I’ve become curious to know what it would be like to live there. And this year, my husband and I had the opportunity to try it for five weeks.
There are so many wonderful things about that city—from food to history to culture -- but I think walking is my favorite thing. 

Every day, I set out from our apartment in the 2nd arrondissement toward something new.
I walked down street after street, up to 10 miles some days.  I took unknown routes through charming passages and abrupt lefts down tiny streets flanked by medieval buildings. When I got really lost, I got out my phone. But after weeks of wandering, I slowly but surely started to know where I was.

Bit by bit, the dizzying Paris grid – if you can call it a grid—started to connect in the  map in my head. And soon I no longer had to consult the map in my phone as often. I kind of knew where I was going.

In that way, walking Paris was a little like career networking: Each path taken contributes to a larger map; new routes lead to better places, until eventually you kind of know where you’re going and can march on with confidence.  

Now, if career networking only included more chocolate tours, it would be exactly the same. 
I managed to activate my Nebraska Women’s Leadership Network while I was there. My husband and I rented a big enough apartment so friends and family could visit. No fewer than three members of The Network stayed with me for some of the time. My friends of 30 years Shannon Harner and Shaun Vanneman came to stay, as did one of my mentees, Hailey Konnath, who is currently traveling the world on her post-grad gap year.

So five weeks and 180 miles later, my networks are stronger – the human kind and the brain kind. 

And I’m looking forward to the day when I can go back and add another 200 miles to my Paris map.