Founder & CEO
Jeremy currently serves RISE as the Founder and CEO. Prior to joining RISE, he served for 7 years as Associate Vice President of Development at Creighton University.
Jeremy has 19 years of leadership experience in higher education and non-profit organizations in New York City, Baltimore and Omaha. He earned a BA in Communications from Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania and a Masters of Science in Leadership from Creighton University.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | (402) 981-4119
Director of Public Policy & Advocacy
Jasmine Harris, MPH, CHES
Jasmine brings 12+ years of experience to RISE that includes non-profit program management, community engagement, and coalition building. Most recently, Jasmine served as Co-Founder/CEO of WayMaker, LLC, an organization that motivates women and girls to overcome setbacks from being involved in the criminal justice system.
She also served as a Health Educator at Creighton University and as Civic Engagement Committee Chair for the Urban League of Nebraska Young Professionals, where she focused on advocacy and awareness around criminal justice issues. Jasmine received a Bachelor’s in Biology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. In 2017, Jasmine was awarded the Omaha NAACP Freedom Fighter Award and was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Omahans (TOYO) by the Omaha Jaycees.
Director of Operations
Brittany received a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Evangel University. During her time at Evangel, she worked as the Public Relations Director for Evangel University Activities Board. Since completing her studies, she worked as the Director of PR/Communications for Venel, The Authority in Orthopedic Marketing.
Most recently, Brittany served as Co-Founder/Director of Marketing for Drink Local Think Global, an organization that partners with craft breweries to raise money to provide clean water in developing countries.
Nasya serves as RISE's Office Administrator bringing years of experience in administrative support, customer relations and event planning. Nasya is an incredible communicator and excited to be one of the first people you meet at RISE!
In additional to organizational and administrative experience, Nasya is a proud mother and full time student finishing her degree in Business and Paralegal Studies, with a focus in Non-Profit Management and Entrepreneurship from The College of St. Mary's. In her free time Nasya is learning the Korean language and developing recipes for her future retirement business ventures (in the far, far future).
Director of Marketing
McKenzie has been a Midwest photographer and content creator for 13 years, specializing in documentary-based work.
She is passionate bridging communities and building empathy through storytelling. McKenzie received her Associates degree from ITT Technical Institute in Multimedia, and also has over 20 years of experience in marketing, graphic design, and social responsibility.
Director of Annual Giving & Stewardship
Emma has earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from University of Nebraska at Omaha. She brings years of experience working with local nonprofits like the ACLU of Nebraska, Women’s Fund of Omaha and The Bay. In 2020, Emma helped coordinate a historic $250k voter education campaign focused on traditionally marginalized voters. This diversified and widely successful campaign led to record voter turnout in Nebraska.
Most recently, she has ventured into the startup world and launched Modus Coworking, a coworking space designed to empower women and minority-owned businesses. By utilizing her strong connections, she leased over 60% of the space in just six months. Through these experiences, she’s discovered her true passion is in connecting others and cultivating strong community relationships. She will be putting her expertise in community building to work as the Director of Annual Giving and Stewardship.
During her free time, you can find Emma roller skating or riding her scooter around Omaha. She also drinks way too much matcha, loves baking pumpkin cookies and spoiling her dog, Paco.
Volunteer Relations Manager
Chantal is passionate about reaching and connecting with people. You'll often find her meeting with leaders in the community, visiting with students and families, and creating meaningful conversations with all who cross her path. All of these assets make her an incredible Volunteer Relations Manager for RISE.
A 2019 RISE Graduate, Chantal uses her lived experience to help encourage others. In addition to being a RISE graduate, she is an esteemed TedX speaker.
Director of Research & Evaluation
Erin Cooper, MS
Erin graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with her Masters of Science in Criminology and completed her thesis studying the delinquent effects of placement instability among foster care youth in Kansas.
Over the past 10 years, Erin has served various non-profits and state organizations a multitude of capacities. Her roles include serving as high risk, re-entry parole officer in Kansas City, Kansas, managing juvenile assessments for the Johnson County (KS) Department of Corrections, and managing a group home for at-risk teens in Omaha, Nebraska.
Most recently Erin served as an Administrator of Workforce Services for the Nebraska Department of Labor where she managed 10+ federal grants requiring her to develop and evaluate program efficacy and compliance with federal regulations. Erin also successfully wrote two grants for the Nebraska Department of Labor bringing in over $2 million of federal dollars benefiting re-employment programs. She successfully implemented research and data driven best practices in several programs garnering national recognition from the United States Department of Labor.
Program Data Specialist
Fred Collins, Jr.
Fred is a Nebraska native with several years experience in recruiting, sales, real estate, and public speaking. With a Communications degree from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, Fred spent a number of years as an admissions counselor, transfer recruitment liaison, education talent search coordinator in higher education, in addition to being a highly successful Realtor.
A 2017 RISE graduate, Fred learned to use his incarceration as an opportunity to work through his past and further improve himself as an individual. “Programs like RISE helped me to realize my potential, and also my responsibility to the community. RISE has helped me be the change I want to see.”
In addition to cheering for his alma mater, Fred enjoys cooking, singing, and eating at Chick-Fil-A.
Director of Programs
Maria received her Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Over the past 10 years, Maria has served in a variety of roles in organizations addressing social justice, community development, and community engagement issues. Most recently, Maria worked as Country Manager & Interim Volunteer Program Manager for the FutureSense Foundation in Cambodia. At FutureSense she managed day-to-day operations including developing sustainable community health and education programs, organizing logistics over 11+ project sites, cultivating strong community relationships, monitoring evaluation of projects, and developing and managing budgets.
Prison Program Associate (OCC)
Dr. TJ Dickson
TJ Dickson has earned her Doctorate in Metaphysical Science and Bachelor's and Master's degrees in both Business Administration and Metaphysical Science and certificates in Law of Attraction Coaching and Corporate Wellness. She started Taraji, LLC, a business and personal holistic wellness organization, in 2012.
She also owned a successful accounting service for 19 years. She has coached, consulted, taught, or trained over 400 adults in business, accounting, math, wellness, healing, and career preparation. Her mission is to empower others to heal, transform, and be well to live their best lives.
TJ is currently teaching in the Omaha Correctional Center (OCC).
Prison Program Associate (NSP + RTC)
Bryan has been a business owner, owning and operating 3 different businesses which included a commercial roofing business, landlord of rental properties, and a Scooter’s Coffee Shop. He would eventually step out of the self-employed world to work for Olsson Associates, a national civil engineering firm, for 10 years, only then to be called into a Protestant pastorate serving two local churches.
Upon ministering to families, men, women and children, Bryan grew a deep love for his diverse group of neighbors and developed a food sharing ministry collaborating with Community Crops. In addition to his local work, Bryan also served in Russia and Mexico over the fourteen-plus years he served as a pastor/elder.
Bryan would finally serve as the Director of Operations for Catholic Social Services before joining the RISE staff. He has always found a way to serve others which he continues to do today as a Vincentian at Sacred Heart Church and the President of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Lincoln.
Bryan is currently teaching in the Nebraska State Penitentiary and the Reception and Treatment Center.
Prison Program Associate (NCCW)
Ali has 21 years’ experience in the financial services technology industry. A recently retired Fortune 250 VP, Ali has served in a variety of leadership roles across the U.S. ranging from operations, professional services, business development, client management, and most recently consulting & advising organizations. She has built teams from the ground up, served on councils, as well as developed a soft-skill curriculum and training for associates.
Ali has a Bachelor of Science in Communications from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, is a small business and commercial property owner focused on community health and equality for all its citizens.
Ali’s passion for connecting with others forms a common thread throughout her life and is what drives her today.
In-Prison Program Associate
Dr. Tommy Moore
Dr. Thomas Moore (aka Dr. Tommy) has a Ph.D. in Business Administration (Financial Management) with over twenty years experience working in recovery and life coaching. After serving nine years and three months in the Florida Department of Corrections, he brings his lived experience and zeal for "withness" to the reentry workspace.
Dr. Tommy shines when working with people ready to put effort into taking steps needed for positive and productive change. Through accountability, the focus on one's well-being, and SMART goals for healthy living, he has seen hundreds of lives changed.
In his free time, Dr. Tommy enjoys weight lifting, swimming, deep sea fishing, and spending time in nature. A fun fact about him is one leg is slighter shorter than the other, so that swagger in his walk? He's turned a so-called "defect" into a strength.
Reentry Specialist (NSP, LCC, CCC-L M)
Demetrius (Dee-Dee) Gatson
Demetrius (Dee-Dee) has found her most fulfilling positions through helping others. She is an excellent communicator and relationship builder, which suited her previous positions as a welding instructor for the TRADE program and Peer Support Specialist with the Mental Health Association of Nebraska.
Demetrius currently facilitates WRAP (Wellness and Recovery Action Plan) classes at the Honu Home in Lincoln, NE and is a REAL dog lover. She began training dogs while incarcerated in Nebraska and uses the skills she learned in that role to this day.
In addition to earning a degree in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Dee-Dee is currently enrolled in Southeast Community College, majoring in Human Services with an emphasis in Prison reform and Re-entry. In her free time, she loves spending time with her four dogs and facilitates teacher trainings across the United State for Dance to be Free.
Demetrius is currently the RISE Reentry Specialist working with Builders associated with the Nebraska State Penitentiary (NSP), the Lincoln Correctional Center (LCC) and the Community Correctional Center in Lincoln for Men (CCC-L M).
Director of Reentry Services
Erica Raetz, MSW
Erica received her Bachelor’s in Social Work with a minor in Criminal Justice from Texas Christian University (TCU). She recently graduated from Columbia University with a Master’s in Social Work (MSW).
While pursuing her BA, Erica served as a Jail Advocate for The Net, visiting women in jail, and providing resources such as job training, education, and housing. She also worked as a Research Assistant at TCU’s Department of Social Work, where she performed statistical analysis to determine the effects of supportive housing, and as a Rape Crisis Advocate at The Women’s Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
Most recently, Erica served as a Special Victims Counselor at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where she provided supportive counseling, court accompaniment and case advocacy for victims of violent crime.
Eduardo has his Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. By the age of 20, Eduardo had already experienced years of addiction and incarceration. The years that followed placed him in various type of employment which has helped him develop the communication skills he possesses now. In addition to Eduardo's personal experiences, he has spent time working in the mental health and substance abuse treatment field.
In 2019 he successfully remodeled and flipped his home, published a poetry book, participated in local poetry readings, and was part of organizing and participating in two art shows. Furthermore, Eduardo enjoys walks, hiking, and making music.
Jason Kotas involves himself in the community by being an active member of his Church, St. James United Methodist, East Campus in Bellevue NE, locally co-facilitating weekend workshops for the Alternative to Violence Project, and sharing his experience, strength, and hope at area treatment facilities and other venues.
Mr. Kotas would like you to know that he has not always been this version of himself, as he initially got involved with RISE while he was a resident of the Omaha Correctional Center. He graduated from RISE’s inaugural cohort at OCC, stayed involved as a Peer Facilitator until he was transferred to Community Corrections. Today, Jason is living a life that a few years ago he would not have dared to dream about, thinking that his time had come and gone to ever live a life that was meaningful and fulfilling. By finally taking responsibility for his own life, he has risen up out of the ashes that were once his reality, and is dedicated to helping others rise up out of their own.
For the last 10 years Damian has mentored, trained dogs, and facilitated gang intervention. He brings a wealth of knowledge as an accomplished mentor in the community, leading youth basketball as well.
Damian has hands-on experience in re-establishing himself in society and great experience working with adults who are doing the same. He's very serious about the social impact of the community - from violence, to homelessness; unemployment to male trauma - his heart is to help people in these situations. He believes every voice should be heard because everyone in your community does matter!
Kerry is a Nebraska Wesleyan University graduate in social work with a minor in gender studies. While pursuing her bachelor's degree, she began volunteering with a local agency assisting with programming in local correctional institutions. After finding a passion for helping those incarcerated, she was hired by a local nonprofit to help facilitate classes on job-readiness, life skills, and women’s empowerment and trauma healing.
While at Nebraska Wesleyan, Kerry served as Coordinator for Gender Advocacy Place providing a safe space for those of all gender expressions and sexual orientations and creating educational events for campus.
While at Wesleyan, she also received a national scholarship from the US Department of State during undergrad to conduct research abroad in Rwanda on African women’s perceptions on gendered issues, as well as to study genocide and its trauma.
Kerry excels at finding others strengths, creating a comfortable environment for all, and being an activist for all social justice issues.
Director of RISE Youth & Family Program
Alana Alexander leads family programming for RISE where she is developing services to meet the needs of families impacted by mass incarceration practices. Alana is creating partnership opportunities to assist system-impacted and incarcerated youth and provides resources and services within Nebraska to support reentry, reunification, and the rebuilding of family relationships. The goal of family programming is to: maintain meaningful and close connections while a family member is incarcerated, provide a community of support for families during and after incarceration, facilitate activities that utilize creativity as a means to reduce risk factors — stress, conflict, emotional distress — and increase protective factors — social support, effective communication, family organization. The Family Program intends to encourage open discussion, build family strength, and facilitate healing to support the RISE mission that all people find freedom from cycles of incarceration.
Before coming to RISE, Alana worked within child welfare where she led parenting classes, provided parental coaching, and offered individualized family support services within the boundaries of trauma informed care.
Alana is also a formerly incarcerated person. After her release from prison, she obtained a Bachelor of Science in sociology and neuroscience and a graduate degree in biomedical sciences. Community wellness and delivering public health in a socially and culturally appropriate manner has been at the forefront of her educational goals. Alana believes communities should be engaged and invested in the lives of those who are being released from prison, not just for the emotional and financial benefit of the formerly incarcerated, but because this action makes the whole of society stronger. She is most passionate about what steps we can take individually and as a community to improve the health and well-being of us all.
Get information on the RISE Family Wellness Collective.
Ken Stinson – Chairman Emeritus, Peter Kiewit Sons', Inc.
Jeff Slobotski – Founder, Router Ventures
William Ochsner – President, National Everything Wholesale
Leah Smejkal – Senior Vice President, Operations, Dundee Bank
Naomi Hattaway, Director of Communications and Community Initiatives, Front Porch Investments
Jeremy Bouman – Founder & CEO, RISE
Dr. Mark Foxall Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Nebraska Omaha
Wallace (Todd) Johnson Senior Vice President of Economic Development, Greater Omaha Chamber
Dan Walker - Senior Analyst, Bridges Trust
Jamie Berglund - Executive Director, Spark
Ava Thomas President and Publisher, Lincoln Journal Star
Carla Walker, RISE Board Ambassador
Bill Hobbs, RISE Board Ambassador
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