DSA's leaders represent a cross-section of our community and have a passion for our organization and those we serve. They work hard to ensure long-term sustainability of the organization and oversee that the funds raised directly affect our DSA families.
Leah Boldt, Executive Director Email
Samantha Kruse, Events Coordinator Email
Amanda Clark, Program & Volunteer Manager Email
Marcus Sikora, Self-Advocate Administrative Assistant
Mariela Tribulato, Bilingual Family Navigator Email
Stacey Carnazzo, Outreach Coordinator Email
L'ara Davison, Programs (Early Childhood & Kids Connect) Email
Kirk Henningsen, Program Assistant Email
Denise Gehringer, Sheltering Tree - President
From the day her 4th son was born with Down syndrome, her life was set on a new trajectory. She immersed herself in learning everything possible to better understand and assist him. That grew to a love of helping all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve their full potential to live healthy, fulfilling and meaningful lives.
Denise is the Executive Director at Sheltering Tree Communities providing safe Independent Apartment Living for adults with Intellectual Disabilities. Prior to working at Sheltering Tree she was program coordinator for several programs for the Arc of Omaha at Ollie Webb Center, Inc.: The Next Chapter Book Club, The First Chapter Book Club, Parent to Parent, Stars Basketball, Tween Scene, The PRISM Project, the Ultimate Life Program and Legislative Advocacy. Currently, she is the Legislative Advocacy Chair for two non-profits; Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands and Brian Injury Alliance of Nebraska. Her goal is to enhance and elevate the lives of people with diverse needs, to provide information to them, their families and the community, and to advocate on behalf of those she serves.
Her passion for helping those with special needs has filled every facet of her life. She currently serves on the Board of Directors at the Munroe-Meyer Institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center as President, the Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska, The Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands and the Education Rights Counsel. Denise is a 2019 ABLE National Resource Center Ambassador and a member of the Nebraska State ADA Task Force. She is the founder & director of the BSC TOPSoccer Program for athletes with special needs and is the Nebraska State Soccer Special Needs Commissioner. Denise is also a member of the National Down Syndrome Advocacy Coalition and a former National Down Syndrome Society Ambassador.
Denise and her husband Jeff have been married for 33 years and are the proud parents of 4 interesting and socially conscience men. Also, part of their family are five beloved pups and a speedy tortoise.
“My son, and all of the delightful people I have met along my journey, have inspired me to strive to raise awareness that all people are valuable, have abilities and deserve the opportunity to pursue their unalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Ranae Keckeisen, Heritage Foundation - Vice President
Ranae Keckeisen became the Director of Corporate Relations for Union Pacific Railroad in June 2014. In her role, she oversees Union Pacific’s Community Ties Giving Program, which includes the company’s Foundation, National and Regional Key Partnerships, corporate contributions and charitable giving, employee matching gifts programs, and its annual employee giving campaign. Prior to her work in corporate giving, Ranae held various positions within Union Pacific’s Finance department. She started her career in Corporate Audit and spent five years in Chicago as the Director of Accounting for Union Pacific’s Commuter Rail division. Ranae has volunteered with a number of organizations in Chicago and Omaha, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Ronald McDonald House, Chicago Lights tutoring, and has traveled to San Lucas, Guatemala, several times to serve at a local orphanage. Ranae previously served on the Board of Directors for the Greater Chicago chapter of Women’s Transportation Seminar, an organization dedicated to advancing women in transportation. She became passionate about advocating for and educating people about Down Syndrome after having a son with Down Syndrome in 2018. She recently joined the Board of Directors of the Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands and currently serves as Treasurer. Originally from Michigan, Ranae holds a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Michigan State University.
Laura Baum - Secretary
Sarah Schulz, Executive Director, Human Resource Association of the Midlands (HRAM) - Treasurer
Sarah and her husband, Nick, their son, Nicholas, and daughter, Olive live outside Omaha, NE in the smaller community of Bennington. She enjoys the small town lifestyle just minutes from the heart of the city. Sarah enjoys reading, traveling, family movie nights, and volunteering at her children’s school and her church. She is an avid Husker fan, and enjoys cheering them on any chance she gets.
Sarah is the Executive Director for HRAM, she is responsible for the operational management and direction of the organization. She oversees the financial activities as well as the strategic plan for the association. Sarah has been with HRAM since 2005. Before she became Executive Director, she served as Chapter Manager after starting as the Program Coordinator for HRAM.
Prior to her time with HRAM Sarah worked for ICAN (Institute for Career Advancement Needs) as a Program Coordinator. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and has a Bachelors in Journalism, with a major in Advertising and Public Relations.
Jennifer Koley - Self-Advocate
Jenny is serving her second term as a self-advocate member of the DSA board. She has worked as a part-time receptionist for ten years at the Ollie Webb Center, Inc. She graduated from Bryan High School in 1999. She also attended Metropolitan Community College where she earned forty credit hours in business, math and theatre classes. Jenny volunteers one afternoon a week at the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store. She also participated in the 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s -Sarpy County by setting up and managing her own team, KOLEYS FOR THE CURE. Jenny has lived independently for three years in her own apartment. Her hobbies and interests include Special Olympic bowling, golf and swimming; acting, reading, book club, line dancing, Broadway plays, singing and travel. She is currently acting in a play called MOROZKO, a Russian fairy tale which combines a cast of professional actors and actors with disabilities. She is a huge Nebraska football fan! Jenny loves to advocate for herself and others. She had the honor of going to the national NDSS BUDDY WALK ON WASHINGTON, to lobby for the ABLE Act. She has also gone to Lincoln to speak directly with senators of the Nebraska Legislature on important bills that impact people with disabilities, and regularly attends the Senatorial Dinner.
Rachel Curry, Medical Outreach Chair
Clete Samson, Kutak Rock - Legal Advisor
Tashone Pine, Insurance Advisors
Sean Purcell, OneStaff Medical
Bret McKeever, Charles Schwab
Mary McHale, United Healthcare
Paul Turner, retired