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Immigrant Legal Center
An Affiliate of the Justice
For Our Neighbors Network
4223 Center Street
Omaha, NE 68105


402.898.1349 | info@immigrantlc.org

An Affiliate of the Justice For Our Neighbors Network

Board

The ILC board of directors serves the organization by providing governance, technical expertise, and support to our growing nonprofit law firm. We deeply appreciate their commitment to our important work.

Daniel Padilla
Chair

Executive Director
Lending Link

Originally from Guatemala City, Guatemala, Daniel holds a business administration degree from the University of Guatemala, and he is a graduate of the 2008 Nebraska Bankers Association Leadership Program. He arrived in the U.S. in 1993, and immediately started to work in the banking industry, particularly with emerging markets in Omaha. Daniel became a leader in developing financial tools and processes to integrate Latino and U.S. financial systems. With over 24 years of U.S. banking experience, he established Latino banking markets across Nebraska before coming back to the Omaha market to develop a new initiative to target un-banked and under-banked markets. He joined the ILC board in 2014 and serves on the Finance Committee.

Mary L. Umberger, Chair-Elect

Professor, Communications
& Humanities
Metropolitan Community College

Mary L. Umberger is a faculty member in the Communications and Visual Arts Department at Metropolitan Community College, where she teaches Communication and Humanities full time.  She earned her B.A. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.  Between degrees, she worked in the Communication and Information Policy Bureau at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC.  Mary joined the ILC board in 2016 and chairs the Fund Development and Communications Committee and its Food Truck World Tour Task Force.

Melissa Baron
Secretary

Mission Advancement Officer
Susan G. Koman-Great Plains

Melissa served as a ILC volunteer over a decade ago at an Omaha clinic. She remembers the stories she heard from clients attempting to escape violence and keep their families together.  Through her experience as a spouse of an immigrant and volunteer work with other nonprofits in the community, she has witnessed first-hand the impact of immigration on families and feels grateful to be a part of the Immigrant Legal Center. Melissa advocates for immigration reform on the local level and co-leads an immigration outreach ministry at her church.  She joined the board in 2014 and serves on the Fund Development and Communications Committee.

Toni Demetria Smith
Treasurer

President & CEO
AccT-Style Tax Service

Toni Demetria Smith is the President and CEO of AccT-Style Tax Service. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and MBA from Bellevue University, both with concentrations in accounting. She is adjunct accounting instructor for Metropolitan Community College and Midland University. Toni is the Financial Secretary at Pilgrim Baptist Church; the Secretary and Treasurer, Administrative Committee Member, Website Committee Member, and Board Member for National USA Foundation, Inc.; Committee Member for the Omaha Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Coalition; and Accounting Advisory Committee Member and Faculty Advisor for the local chapter Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) Club for MCC.  Toni joined our board in 2014 and serves on the Finance Committee and the Fund Development and Communications Committee.

Nicholas Brotzel

Outreach Program Coordinator
Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN)

Nick currently serves as the Outreach Program Coordinator with the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN). He formerly worked as a Government Relations Specialist in the Office of the Chancellor. Prior to joining UNMC he served as Deputy Communications Director in the office of former mayor of Omaha Jim Suttle. Nick also worked as a legislative aide in the Washington, D.C. office of former U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD). He holds an MA in Middle East Studies from the University of Exeter (UK) and a BA in History from Creighton University. He is currently pursuing a MPA in Health Care Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  He speaks Arabic and joined our board in 2016. Nick serves on the Fund Development and Communications Committee.

Lester Katz

President & CEO
LK Design

Lester is the President and CEO of LK Design, an interior design firm that specializes in residential and hospitality design.  Since setting up his practice in Omaha in 2010, he has won Best of Omaha six years running.  He graduated summa cum laude from Watkins College of Art and Design in Nashville, Tennessee with a BFA in Interior Design. For the first two years in interior design, he headed the commercial interior design department for H. Michael Hindman Architects in Brentwood, Tennessee where he designed numerous hospitality projects, such coffee shops, retail stores and spas. While there, he led an effort to get himself and eight architects LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited. Three of Lester’s grandparents were immigrants to the United States and knowing that his family is privileged to have the benefits and rights of being US citizens helps make him keenly aware of the need to protect and help the immigrants that ILC serves.  Lester joined the ILC Board in 2019.

 

Mike McMeekin, P.E., ENV-SP

Senior Advisor to the Board
Lamp, Rynearson

Mike has over 43 years of engineering experience, and . He has played a leadership role in numerous signature projects in the Omaha area, including the Omaha Convention Center-Arena / Riverfront Redevelopment and Aksarben Village. Mike is a graduate of the American Council of Engineering Companies’ Senior Executives Institute, an advanced management, leadership, and public policy training program for current and emerging leaders of engineering and architectural firms.  He is a credentialed professional in the Envision sustainability rating system for infrastructure projects.
Currently, in addition to his role at Lamp Rynearson, an engineering, landscape architecture, and surveying firm headquartered in Omaha, Mike serves as chairman of the board of directors of Omaha by Design and ACE Mentor Omaha. Mike was one of the founders of Engineering Change Lab-USA and currently serves as chair of the Board of Directors.  He took on the role of Executive Director of ECL-USA in August 2019.

Esther Mejia

Founder & Creative Director
E Creative

Esther Mejia is the founder and creative director of E Creative, a brand strategy and design firm headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska. Esther earned her B.S. in Visual Communications and has more than twenty years of experience. She helps mission driven organizations communicate better through intentional brand strategy and design. Esther focuses much of her philanthropic efforts in organizations that serve immigrants, women, girls and LGBTQIA+ individuals. By supporting these underserved populations, she gives back to the communities she identifies with most. Esther joined the ILC board in 2019.

Emily Moody

Ergonomic Specialist
Mutual of Omaha

Emily Moody has practiced physical therapy primarily in geriatrics for 18 years working as a rehab director and director of operations of a home health company. She joined the team at Mutual of Omaha as a certified Ergonomic Specialist where she oversees a proactive program that evaluates and provides interventions for all 5000 employees. She earned a B.S. in Psychology and Criminal Justice and a M.S. in Physical Therapy from the University of South Dakota. Prior to joining the ILC board, Emily served as the Food Truck World Tour Host Committee Co-Chair, leading the fundraising efforts of the committee. She also traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border with a delegation of immigration attorneys and community activists to better understand the challenges faced by migrants trying to gain lawful entry into the country. Emily Moody joined the ILC board in 2019. Emily brings a unique skill set to the ILC board as she has both volunteered on numerous nonprofit boards in the community and has acted as an executive director of a nonprofit.

Mick Mulhall

President
Mulhall's

Mick is the President of Mulhall’s, a local garden retail and landscape contracting company. His grandparents immigrated to Omaha in 1953 to landscape, starting their family business three years later out of their Dundee garage. Today immigrants remain at the core of the Mulhall’s workforce, and Mick experiences daily the culture and values they bring to the Mulhall’s team and to our community. Mick is passionate about learning, joining, and growing the conversation around immigration here in Omaha. Mick graduated from the University of Notre Dame. He joined the ILC board of directors in 2018.

 

 

Denise Powell

Partner
Alley Poyner
Macchietto Architecture

Denise works on the Business Development and Marketing team at Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture. In her role overseeing the firm’s public relations and community engagement initiatives, she works with design teams and clients to solicit feedback and build consensus among key community stakeholders and constituents. Over the past 20 years, Powell’s work has run the gamut from helping organizations strengthen community relationships to building brand awareness through events, media relations, and strategic marketing partnerships. A native Spanish-speaker, Denise has led multicultural community relations and PR initiatives for various brands, including Pfizer and HSBC.  She joined the ILC board in 2017 and serves on the Fund Development and Communications Committee.

Thomas Simms

Human Resources Director
Kiewit Corporation

Tom has been a member of ILC’s Board since 2017. Currently, he is a Director of Human Resources with Kiewit Corporation, where oversees HR programs for employees throughout North America. Tom holds several Human Resources certifications and has acted in various leadership roles across the U.S. including in Charlotte, Dallas, San Francisco, Portland, and Omaha. Tom graduated with a BS in Business Administration from Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey and completed an international program at Kingston University in London, U.K. His global and national experiences allow him to bring a unique sense of style and passion to ILC’s Board.

Jonathan Wegner

General Counsel
McCarthy Capital

Jonathan Wegner joined McCarthy Capital in 2019. He has 12 years of experience in structuring and executing mergers and acquisitions, and he is responsible for oversight of all of McCarthy Capital’s legal matters. Jonathan received a fellowship to study at Oxford University and holds degrees from Creighton University School of Law, Northwestern University, and Santa Clara University. He  joined our board of directors in 2017.

“The land flourished because it was fed from so many sources—because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples.”

— Lyndon B. Johnson

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