Ameritas CEO JoAnn Martin was named Woman of the Year on Wednesday at the fourth annual Inspire-Celebrating Women's Leadership Awards. Martin was one of 11 women honored for both their professional achievements and their contributions to the community.
Others honored at the ceremony held at Pinnacle Bank Arena were: Rhonda Peed, co-founder of Sandhills Publishing: Excellence in Philanthropy. Khamisa Abdalla of Asian Community and Cultural Center: Excellence in Nonprofit. Melissa Newton, executive vice president of talent and organizational strategy at Olsson Associates: Excellence in Business (Large). Rachel Henry, senior marketing consultant with Unanimous: Excellence in Business (Small). Jen Landis, Pincurl Girls: Excellence in Entrepreneurship. Peggy Reisher, executive director of Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska: Excellence in Healthcare. Brigadier General Wendy Johnson, commander of the Nebraska Air National Guard: Excellence in Government Service. Patsy Koch Johns, Nebraska State Board of Education member: Excellence in Education. Ina Bhoopalam, founder of Like a Girl Lincoln Public Schools: Founders Award. Azcia Fleming, Lincoln High School: Future Business Leader and Scholarship winner.
The Inspire awards are sponsored by the Lincoln Journal Star, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Assurity, DA Davidson, Dillard’s, HomeServices of Nebraska, Husker Auto Group, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Lincoln Community Foundation, Molex, Stem Gallery, Tabitha, Union Bank & Trust, University of Nebraska, University of Nebraska Online and Woods & Aitken LLP.
Preeta Bansal, a Lincoln native and Harvard Law School graduate who has worked as general counsel and senior policy adviser at the White House as well as solicitor general for the state of New York, was the keynote speaker at Wednesday's event.