Leadership Kearney was created to identify, educate and nurture potential, emerging and existing leaders that are committed to improving the quality of life in Kearney and the surrounding communities. Learn more about we do.






Through our program, Leadership Kearney creates connections with the Kearney community as well as with like minded individuals that are looking to contribute to the progressive mindset of our community. 

Learn more:              Program Benefits              |              Program History              |              Program Leaders



Leadership Kearney participants have the opportunity to explore what's happening in Kearney and meet with community leaders. Making connections with Kearney's business, health care, education, non-profit organizations, and government industries. This is a great hands on learning opportunity that will help participants become informed, skilled, and invested into the community.

Businesses that support participation benefit by having staff members who are more involved in the Kearney community and better connected with other from all walks of life, building their network and your business's network. 

The Kearney community benefits by the education and nurturing of potential, emerging, and existing leaders who are committed to improving the quality of life in Kearney and the surrounding areas.



The beginnings for Leadership Kearney started in 1990 at a Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors planning retreat.  Discussion centered on ways the Chamber could insure a constant flow of qualified volunteers and leaders for the organization while supplying a pool of ready emerging leaders for other boards and committees throughout the area.

In 1991, Chamber Chairman of the Board John Boomer forged the formation of a leadership development program by making it one of the chamber's top priorities that year.  Chairman Boomer appointed a committee chaired by long time Chamber leaders Ben Homan of Edward Jones Investments to create and develop a leadership training program for the community.  Other members of the committee included Patty Shefte (Nebraska Organ Retrieval Program, Dan Brosz (Kearney Public Schools), Mike Baldwin (attorney), Mark Sutko (Platte Valley State Bank), Nancy Etzelmiller (Good Samaritan Hospital), Glennis Nagel (UNK) and Chamber President Bruce Blankenship.

The committee set out in earnest to create a program that could inspire and train "the next generation" of leaders in Kearney.  The committee researched already established programs in other Nebraska communities including Lincoln and Omaha as well as the LEAD program that provides training for agricultural leaders.  The group poured over mission statements, selection criteria, session itineraries and more to create a program that best suited Kearney's unique and growing needs.

In the end, Leadership Kearney was born as a hybrid of other existing leadership programs coupled with the unique needs of Kearney in mind.  The Leadership Kearney organization committee felt strongly that the program should be dynamic and interactive.  Instead of lectures at the monthly sessions, the organizing committee worked hard to provide participants with role playing opportunities, tours, roundtable discussions and much more.  The committee also chose to move the location of each session to insure participants experience first hand many of the facilities essential to the operation of the community.

Finally, in September, 1991 the first Leadership Kearney class was selected from a large field of applications and the program was off to a very successful inaugural year.




Ensure Leadership Kearney is achieving its mission and complies with all financial and legal obligations.

OFFICERS 2021 - 2022

  • Bill Maendele, President - CHI Health Good Samaritan

  • Jake Williams, Past President - Play Station

  • Bergan Schumacher, Vice President - Bruner Frank Schumacher Husak, LLC

  • Kristen Sedlacek, Treasurer - Nebraska State Education Association

  • Lynelle Fritzen, Secretary​ - University of Nebraska at Kearney

OFFICERS 2020 - 2021

  • Jake Williams, President - Xpanxion

  • Brenda Jensen, Past President - City of Kearney

  • Bergan Schumacher, Vice President - Bruner Frank Schumacher LLC

  • Jamie Bernu, Treasurer - Great Western Bank

  • Megan Telecky, Secretary​ - Telecky Construction

CLASS 2016 - 2017

  • Brenda Jensen, Class Chair - City of Kearney

  • Nikki Erickson, Class Co-Chair - United Way of the Kearney Area

  • Cody Krull, Youth Chair - Krull Agency

  • Megan Telecky, Youth Co-Chair - Telecky Construction

  • Shanna Schulte, Alumni Chair - Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce

CLASS 2017 - 2018

  • Jake Williams, Class Chair - Xpanxion

  • Chuck Kreis, Class Co-Chair - C&S Project Services LLC

  • June Collison, Youth Chair -  Good Samaritan Society

  • Nathan Dorsey, Youth Co-Chair - First National Bank (fnbo)

  • Megan Berry, Alumni Chair - Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce

CLASS 2018 - 2019

  • Bergan Schumacher, Class Chair - Bruner Frank Schumacher LLC

  • Bill Maendele, Class Co-Chair - CHI Health Good Samaritan

  • Katie Rickard, Youth Chair - Make A Wish Foundation of Nebraska

  • Kristen Sedlacek, Youth Co-Chair - Nebraska State Education Association

  • Ellie Schroeder, Alumni Chair - Educational Service Unit 10

CLASS 2019 - 2020

  • Erin Howard, Class Chair - UNK Nebraska Safety Center

  • Nicole Berggren, Class Co-Chair - Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services

  • Ryan Dennhardt, Youth Chair - Ward Laboratories Inc.

  • John Icenogle, Youth Co-Chair - Bruner Frank Schumacher LLC



  • Lynelle Fritzen - UNK


  •  Kearney Catholic High School 

  •  Kearney High School


PO Box 692, Kearney, NE 68848