This is the first month Strictly Business is running a Women-Owned Businesses feature, and we could not be more thrilled. The reason we felt it was important to highlight female leaders in our community is to inspire other women with entrepreneurial ambitions. We promote supporting all local, reputable businesses, but this is a neat opportunity to showcase a minority group in the business community. It’s an increasingly shrinking minority, though, as there are 114% more women entrepreneurs in the U.S. than there were 20 years ago (fundera.com). According to the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), 40% of U.S. businesses are currently women-owned and they generate $1.8 trillion a year. As a women-owned and run business ourselves, there is a certain pride we can take from these statistics. By no means does this take away from the achievements of our male counterparts, but when women rally behind each other, amazing things happen. All women are powerful—stay-at-home moms and business owners alike. As a business publication, we feel it’s our duty to run these types of features, and we look forward to continuing to expand our editorial calendar in this direction.
Many of the following women were brought to our attention by their collegues, clients, staff, friends, or family. It’s clear that they have touched the lives of many through their work and their passions. All of these women felt strongly enough to invest in their own stories and share them with our readers. We are honored to have this opportunity to present them to you here.
Please join us in celebrating the following women-owned businesses in Lincoln. Read their story, support their work, do business with them. Who knows, one of them might even become your future mentor! We also encourage women in business to check out the resources available to them in the community, including WISB and NAWIC.
“Life is an adventure…enjoy the ride!” This is a favorite motto of Mary Jo Cassner, owner of Transworld Business Advisors of Lincoln (Transworld.com/Lincoln). She and her team of brokers and staff have been helping buyers and sellers of businesses connect since 2014. Since this is such a male-dominated business, Mary Jo chose to use her initials “MJ” in the workplace.
MJ previously was the owner and director of LearningRx of Lincoln and Norfolk, NE for nearly a decade. When she sold her own businesses, she realized how important having a business broker to assist in the process was. MJ received training from the Transworld Franchise Headquarters in West Palm Beach, FL and has trained brokers under her and sold nearly 100 businesses in Lincoln and the surrounding communities. She has a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, and is certified to sell franchises as well as businesses. She enjoys assisting and educating people on the benefits of owning a business.
MJ’s passion for excellence in business is evident in her company’s success and contributions to the Lincoln community. MJ can be reached at (402) 413-1095 / firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have considered selling your business or would like to own your own, find out more about available businesses at Transworld.com/Lincoln.
Laurie Fraser is a servant leader who has focused her energy and passion on teaching, nonprofit work, and providing employment for women as the owner of Doorstep Diner Catering (www.doorstepdiner.com), The Event Space at 5550, and, most recently, Country Sliced Ham & Café. Laurie has owned her own business since 1995. Her first dabble in entrepreneurship was forming a small marketing consulting firm and representing multiple clients as their publicist and sales/marketing strategist. In 2015, Laurie’s true passion led her to create Doorstep Diner Catering, which has opened up many doors along the way.
Laurie works tirelessly to provide economic development and growth within her community and is proud to employ and take care of people’s families. For her, it’s all about her employees and clients. When the pandemic hit, she was the first to remove herself from payroll to keep her staff employed. Laurie’s spirit, resilience, and entrepreneur heart are what get her up each and every day. You can connect with Laurie by calling (866) 505-2456. Learn more about her businesses online at www.doorstepdiner.com / www.eventspaceat5550.com / www.countryslicedhamandcafe.com.
John Henry’s Plumbing, Heating, & Air Conditioning ( JHLincoln.com) was started by John Henry (Jack) Zohner and his wife Deb Zohner. In August 2019, their daughter Lindsey Reinke took over as one of the owners. Lindsey has been working at John Henry’s for 18 years in different areas to fully understand how the business runs.
“John Henry’s has always been my passion. It was started out of our family home, that my husband and I purchased almost 10 years ago, and I still see my parents working on the business in spaces that we have made our own,” said Lindsey. “Owning a company in a predominant male industry encourages me to grow it with the same family values that were instilled in me from day one of John Henry’s. Our slogan is Our Family Serving Yours, because that is what we want you to feel every time you call us!”
Terri Krolikowski, Mrs. Nebraska 1988, is the owner and health coach of Ideal Health LLC (idealhealthlincoln.com) with Ideal Protein—a holistic three-phase protocol focusing on weight loss, stabilization, and maintenance using one’s own body for fuel to become healthy. This ketogenic diet was developed 30 years ago by French medical Doctor Tran Tien Chanh as a means of preserving lean body mass, including muscles, bones, and tissues while losing fat.
With over 30 years of experience in career and management consulting in healthcare and education, Terri has coached countless clients to become their healthiest by assisting them through their own transformation journey mentally, emotionally, and physically. Eating heathy and education are key components for those who suffer from health issues like heart disease, diabetes, depression, crohn’s disease. After losing 65 pounds in six months, Terri became a health coach in 2012. She opened Ideal Health Lincoln in 2017 and Ideal Health North Platte in 2020. To learn more, visit idealhealthlincoln.com or call (402) 430-9754.
Founded by Becky Rea in 2016, Fritz + Lloyd Interiors (www.fritzandlloyd.com) is a Nebraska-based interior design studio specializing in high-end, full-service residential interior design. “As a team of five women, we believe in curating beautiful designs and unique living spaces for the families we work with,” said Rea. “Our team is here to inspire these families and provide peace of mind with your investment in your home. You can be confident in your decision to work with us.”
It comes as no surprise that family matters at Fritz + Lloyd Interiors, as the name comes from Rea’s two grandfathers: Alfred “Fritz” Kiekow and Lloyd Stork. Fritz + Lloyd Interiors understands that each project comes with its own needs. If you have any questions about services or want to set up a visit for a consultation, please contact (402) 261-3161 or visit www.fritzandlloyd.com. If you are searching for a special piece, stop by the retail boutique, F+L Modern Home! This shop is full of unique items and is open M-F, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Natalie Leon is the owner and executive director of Visiting Angels in Lincoln (www.visitingangels.com/lincoln). Natalie has been in the healthcare industry for over 13 years now, dating back to high school when she started as a CNA and Medication Aide. Her first job was working with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. She also taught Gerontology at UNL. Prior to that, Natalie had never known anyone with a form of dementia, but she fell in love working with the patients and family members. Natalie discovered Visiting Angels while exploring opportunities to open her own business. Through her research, it was evident that with the combination of a rapidly growing senior population, the rising costs of nursing homecare, and depleted retirement funds, there’s an urgent need for in-home elderly care.
“I feel blessed to be able to find my passion and mission in life at such a young age. I get a sense of meaning and purpose in my life by helping others in need as much as I can, and by being the best person that I can be every day,” said Natalie.
Emmy Gorman is the owner of Blush Bridal Boutique (www.blushbridalne.com) in Lincoln. Alongside being a business owner, Emmy is also a mother, a wife, and a pro-women powerhouse. She opened the doors of Blush in 2012 and has since changed the lives of thousands of women by providing them an unparalleled shopping experience.
Emmy has nine employees at her boutique, all of whom are women. She leads the team as not just a boss, but also as a mentor and guide through the world of bridal and business. She provides her staff with in-depth hands-on training to make sure every bride gets the best care possible.
The wedding dress shopping experience is unlike any other, and when asked why she wanted to start Blush, Emmy said, “This boutique has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl and its flame was fanned in 2006 when my own wedding dress shopping experience fell flat.”
Due to her own lackluster search for her wedding gown, Emmy wants to make sure every single bride leaves Blush with not only their dream dress, but also memories to last a lifetime.
Emmy and her employees pride themselves on the care they show their brides. With hundreds of positive reviews online, dozens of awards, and thousands of brides served, it is no question that Emmy and her team define women empowerment. They showcase what women in business can do. Emmy can be reached at (402) 261-5615 or email@example.com.
For more information on Blush Bridal Boutique, please visit www.blushbridalne.com.
Morgan Chiropractic & Acupuncture, PC (www.morganchiroandacu.com) was founded by Dr. Kristin Morgan, BS, DC in 2011. Dr. Morgan and her staff currently oversee a multitude of patients suffering from minor aches and pains to chronic pain syndromes, with a focus of natural pain management. The clinic sees patients of all ages with a specialty in treating with a patient specific approach custom to each individual’s health and wellness goals. Dr. Morgan believes pain is not a part of life at any age and has taken many educational classes to customize a specific treatment of chiropractic, acupuncture and alternative pain therapies to decrease, or at best, eliminate pain from each patient’s life. Under Dr. Morgan’s leadership, the company has grown from a core team of one chiropractor and one staff member to two chiropractors, a LMT, a rehab specialist, and multiple staff; all of them being women and empowering the health and wellness of their patients. The clinic is passionate about natural pain management and overall health, which is evident in her company’s success and contributions to the Lincoln community.
“For years, the health and wellness field has been dominantly led by men. I’m so proud to be in this industry as a female, making a difference on how women of all ages are viewed in the professional health field,” said Dr. Morgan.
Dr. Morgan can be reached for a free consultation at (402) 421-1411, or to learn more about services offered at her clinic, visit www.morganchiroandacu.com.
Kim Zwiener, GRI is the owner of Sellstate Empire Realty (www.sellstatene.com), the largest (by agent count) woman-owned real estate company in Lincoln. Throughout her career, Kim has been a leader, educator, and manager who never shied away from change; in fact, she embraces it. Kim took the leap from teaching elementary school to becoming a REALTOR®, blazing the trails of REO sales during the Great Recession. She and a partner then started Sellstate Performance Realty because she is passionate about being a role model for others. In the last year, she went out on her own with Sellstate Empire Realty and also opened a second office, Ozark Empire Realty, at Lake of the Ozarks, MO. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics is her guide to providing great service to clients and colleagues. Now having almost 15 years of real estate experience under her belt, Kim is honored to serve as 2021 President of the REALTORS® Association of Lincoln and Chair of the REALTORS® Safety Advisory Committee for the National Association of REALTORS®, which means she invests her own time and talents to keep other REALTORS® safe and educated.
Sellstate Empire Realty has extensive knowledge of the Lincoln area and can help you build the EMPIRE you envision for yourself. Whether you are new to the market or an experienced investor, they have the expertise, proven track record, and resources to help you achieve your real estate goals. To learn more, visit www.sellstatene.com or contact Kim at (402) 416-1889/ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amy Killham took over the reins of the Life at The Ridge—a monthly, private magazine through N2 Publishing—four years ago. She enjoys connecting residents in The Ridge neighborhood through stories and photos about their neighbors: new families, pets, kids, recipes, vacations, and more. The residents absolutely love it and provide most of the content themselves. The publication is supported by businesses who market their products and services to residents through print ads, digital marketing, and by attending private social events. Each month, businesses receive analytical reports showing reach, frequency, impressions, and clicks. In addition, business representatives may attend neighborhood events to meet and socialize with their target demographic.
“As an advertiser, you’re viewed as more than just a local business—you’re seen as a true community supporter,” said Amy.
N2 Publishing is a nation-wide company with publications in affluent neighborhoods all across the country (48 states). In Lincoln, there are publications in the Wilderness Ridge, HiMark, and Lincoln Country Club neighborhoods. There are also two niche magazines—one for new movers and one for real estate agents. To learn more about N2 Publishing publications in Lincoln, contact Amy at (402) 450-1959 (call/text) / email@example.com.
Dr. Susan Meyerle, Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner and Certified Employee Assistance Provider, leads the committed group of professionals at The Insight Program, PC (insighteap.biz), which is housed within Life Resources, LLC. The Insight Program is an employee assistance program focused on serving Nebraska’s small and medium-sized businesses. Through counseling services, coaching products, and training resources, they provide the support and transformation that benefits your employees and expands your managers’ effectiveness.
Dr. Meyerle, Mrs. Nebraska 2004, has committed her professional life to continual learning and has been blessed to be mentored by John Maxwell, Jack Canfield, Mary Morrissey, and Brendon Burchard. She loves listening to music, reading and spending time with her two children, both of whom have played roles in growing her companies.
The skilled, experienced therapists at The Insight Program, PC help clients just like you build richer, more rewarding lives. All of their therapists are licensed to provide mental health services to individuals, couples, and families. Through a combination of therapeutic techniques, your counselor can help you identify limiting beliefs and outmoded coping mechanisms that may be standing in your way. You can view the available services through the confidential platform online at insighteap.biz or contact Susan at (402) 477-0651.
Discover the difference…Crystal Collins is 100% owner/operator of Oak Electric, Inc. (oakelectriccompany.com), a premium contractor with a tradition of exemplary service. According to the National Electrical Contractors Association, less than 10% of electrical contractors nationally are owned by a woman. As the leader of Oak Electric, Crystal’s top priority is to ensure everyone on the team has what they need to be successful—anything from a new tool in the field to skills and safety training to administrative support.
“Train people well enough so they can leave; treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” – Richard Branson. What sets Oak Electric apart from other contractors is not only the belief, but the initiative that if you take care of your employees, the employees will take care of your business. Their team of experienced electricians not only care about precision and craftsmanship, they also value the real relationships that come with working with their customers.
Oak Electric, Inc. prides themselves on delivering quality customer service on every single job and finding the best solution by tackling every problem with creativity and experience. Learn more at oakelectriccompany.com or call (402) 440-5969.
Miranda Watson has been blessed with 15 crazy, fun years as an associate broker for Woods Bros Realty (www.woodsbros.com). Being 100% self-employed, Miranda remains eager and resilient in growing her client base year after year. She strives to make the buying and selling processes as easy and seamless as possible, and ascertains that it is a people business…it is NOT about the houses! It should be a truly ENJOYABLE process at that, no matter what the circumstances!
Prior to obtaining her REALTOR® status, Miranda served as recruiter for Crete Carrier Corp. Though she enjoyed the work, she knew it wasn’t quite what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. A good friend told her she’d make a great real estate agent, to which she laughed. She considered getting her pilot’s license vs. real estate license, but ultimately chose the route which would allow her to work with people more…real estate! Miranda’s colleagues and customers describe her as thoughtful, determined, and knowledgeable.
Lincoln’s real estate market is ever-changing, as well as the strategies for having the most success when buying or selling. Contact Miranda at (402) 617-1748 / Miranda.Watson@LincolnRealEstate.com to find a passionate, honest REALTOR®, excited to help you in all things real estate.
Natasha Salem started Inspiring Homes Design (www.ihdne.com) in 2014 and expanded it in 2015. Natasha aspires to offer approachable design services tailored to each clients’ individual needs. Inspiring Homes Designs offers interior design services for new construction and remodeling projects. This includes creating floor plan layouts, 3D renderings, paint selection and furniture selection for projects both big and small. They also offer custom window treatments and furnishings to work with your personal style. Natasha would love to assist in making your home a space you love!
You can check out Inspiring Homes Design’s project pictures online at www.ihdne.com or set up a time to visit the studio, located at 4747 Pioneers Blvd., STE 110, for furniture and window treatment ideas. Contact Natasha with any questions or to chat about your upcoming projects. She can be reached at (402) 770-6457 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jamie Peters MSN, APRN founded Health at Home Consultants, LLC (healthathomeconsultants.com) in 2009 as the first Nurse Practitioner owned house-call practice in the state of Nebraska. As a holistic practitioner, Jamie can offer her patients a variety of services such as medical diagnostic evaluation, medication management, and personalized home-based care. Jamie is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Academy of Home Care Physicians, and the Nebraska Nurse Practitioners. Jamie and her team are available to see patients wherever they call home including assisted living and skilled facilities. When Jamie is not working she enjoys spending time with her husband and three children.
The goal of Health at Home Consultants, LLC is to provide home care medicine in one of the most rapidly expanding areas of healthcare. To learn more, visit healthathomeconsultants.com or contact Jamie at (402) 875-2500 / email@example.com.
Founded by Gretchen Arroyo in 2018, LUXX Events, LLC (LUXXEventsLLC.com) an event planning, rental, and design firm, has created or overseen intricate and detailed event projects for various clients throughout Lincoln and Omaha. With over 25 years of event planning, coordination, and client management, Gretchen is committed to restoring the allure of live and experiential events through well thought-out design, event rentals, and consultation. LUXX Events is the creative engine that transforms ideas and style into events that are as unique as each client is! From small, corporate or private events to large, elaborate conferences and festivals, LUXX leaves no detail to fate.
Gretchen’s passion for serving the Lincoln community drove her to create the “LUXX Gives Back Program” at the end of 2018. This annual program allows 1–3 local small or new nonprofit companies to receive free help coordinating their annual fundraising events. Through service on local nonprofit and association boards, Gretchen makes an impact in Lincoln. Gretchen can be reached at (402) 416-0951 / gretchen@LUXXEventsLLC.com. Learn more about LUXX Events online at LUXXEventsLLC.com.
Megan Liekam took over ownership and the executive director role at Associates in Counseling & Treatment (actnebraska.org) in January 2020. Megan has her provisional alcohol and drug license, provisional certified gambling license, and is certified as a domestic violence counselor. Alongside her duties as executive director, she serves the Lincoln community by conducting substance abuse evaluations, facilitating group, individual and family counseling sessions, and strives to resolve the mental health and substance use issues that affect our community in a caring, compassionate, and confidential manner. She believes that good mental health is essential for the well-being of individuals of all ages.
“Modern life can provide a variety of stresses that can have a negative impact on people. Problems can arise at any stage and our therapists can assist with helping you and your family with mental health and substance abuse,” said Megan.
Megan has worked hard to maintain much needed services in the Lincoln community and hopes that every individual that struggles with addiction, mental health, or domestic violence issues has an opportunity to get the help they need to recovery. To learn more about Associates In Counseling & Treatment, go online to actnebraska.org or contact (402) 261-6667 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Never start a business just to make money. Start a business to make a difference.” – Marie Forleo. Jenny Moraga is the owner/operator of LaborMAX Staffing Nebraska (www.labormax.net). Jenny’s staffing career started in 2010. With no previous staffing history and a background in sales and management, she started as a branch manager in the Reno, NV office, eventually moving into the role of regional manager of eight states and 26 branches. Jenny feels that her largest success has been developing branches by developing her team members, six of whom have moved on to become owner/operators of their own LaborMAX entity. One of them was the first woman owner in the company’s history.
In 2017, Jenny accepted the offer of a partner and moved to Bellevue with her husband and children. She took ownership of the Omaha and Lincoln locations. After working to build the LaborMAX name in the market, Jenny had the opportunity to open a third location in Des Moines.
“I love being a member of our community and the beautiful state of Nebraska. We take pride in the joy of finding people jobs that sustain their families and help rebuild their lives as well,” said Jenny.
The LaborMAX Staffing motto is, “Changing people’s lives is what we do, putting them back to work is how we do it.” To learn more, visit www.labormax.net or call the Lincoln office at (402) 805-4720.
Pam Cuttler (www.rotorooter.com/lincoln) co-owns Roto-Rooter Plumbing, Drains & Water Cleanup with her husband Mark, and she has been a major part of the company’s growth in Lincoln over the last 30 years. In a predominately male-driven field, Pam is proud to oversee daily operations, marketing efforts, and setting customer service standards for Roto-Rooter. Despite the challenges this year, Pam remains optimistic and is grateful for their loyal customer base. In addition to running a business, Pam is also a grandmother of two adorable grandsons and spends as much of her free time with them as possible.
Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Water Cleanup has earned the reputation as one of the most trusted and recommended plumbers in Lincoln. Scheduling is available online at www.rotorooter.com/lincoln or by calling (402) 489-4801.
“Here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, MAY WE RAISE THEM.” This is what the owner and head coach of Solid Rock Gymnastics (www.solidrockgymnastics.com), Danelle Catlett, is passionate about. The program develops strong and confident young women who are prepared to face the world, utilizing the life lessons taught in the sport. The sport teaches goal setting, time management, commitment, discipline, patience, persistence, team work, honesty, and integrity, just to name a few! Gymnastics lays the physical foundation needed for all sports for both boys and girls but is one of the few sports that can be started as young at 18 months.
Solid Rock Gymnastics, located at 610 Hill St., is the only gymnastics school in Lincoln that is 100% owned and operated by women. It has been Lincoln’s premier gymnastics program and finest facility for 24 years. It is also a great place for parties! Information about classes and events can be found at www.solidrockgymnastics.com or by emailing email@example.com.
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – Pablo Picasso. For Jen Schurman, her gift is putting people and animals together in a way that heals them both—and she shares that gift every day through her nonprofit, Shepherd’s Rest Goat and Sheep Rescue (www.shepherdsrestrescue.com). Jen spent 10 years as a neuroscience trainer for major pharmaceutical companies and is a board certified Life Enrichment Director. She began working with therapy dogs 20 years ago. Twelve years ago, she added goats to the therapy program and has never looked back.
Jen started Shepherd’s Rest Goat and Sheep Rescue to rescue and rehabilitate goats in need and to educate the public about the need to save these wonderful animals. There are currently over 40 goats at Shepherd’s Rest Goat and Sheep Rescue. The majority of their funding comes from hosting private events such a goat yoga sessions and office visits! Contact Jen at (402) 580-5299 / firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a goat encounter or visit www.shepherdsrestrescue.com to learn more.