October 03, 2023

Business Toolbox Series | Workplace Culture

Oct 3, 2023 | 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
The Business Toolbox Series is a quarterly educational series that can help your business learn about impactful resources to help grow and thrive here in Lincoln. Join us on Tuesday, October 3rd as we hear a panel discussion on workplace culture featuring award-winning Lincoln businesses.


Ashley Connell - Attorney, Woods Aitken

Ashley (Dugan) Connell joined Woods Aitken in 2018 after clerking for the firm for two years. As a member of the firm’s labor and employment practice group, Ashley represents public and private employers in all areas of labor and employment law, focusing on preventative assistance and counseling. Ashley defends employers against claims of discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination claims under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; non-compete and unfair competition disputes; and wage and hour collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour laws. She also assists and advises clients in developing human resources policies and procedures; investigating discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims; navigating through the interactive process and providing reasonable accommodations; and other employment related issues. She develops employee training materials and provides training to employers on various human resources issues to prevent employment disputes before they occur.

Ashley graduated with highest distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law and was named to the Order of the Coif. During law school, she was executive editor for the Nebraska Law Review, advised and represented low-income clients as a student attorney in a civil clinical law program, and served as a Judicial Extern for the Honorable C. Arlen Beam of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Ashley was also the recipient of numerous awards, including the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Evidence, the Excellence in Legal Writing Award and Best Brief Award.

Bill Udell - Chief Operating Officer & Co-Owner, Don't Panic Labs

Small town Nebraska born and raised, Bill has spent the last couple of decades finding ways to build cool things with his buddies.
In that time, his circle of “buddies” has grown and the “cool things” have morphed from building software platforms to building communities and ecosystems of software engineering, corporate innovation, and entrepreneurship.

His first real job at a Silicon Valley startup in the early 2000s set the stage for a career of creating innovation. His next stop at TAG/TMI transformed both TAG and its client insurance companies into innovation leaders in the industry. That innovation led to the creation and growth of an ecosystem of companies in Lincoln, and Omaha and ultimately the acquisition of TAG/TMI by Perot Systems.

Currently, Bill is happily creating a groundswell of change and innovation in the Silicon Prairie ecosystem with his buddies at Don’t Panic Labs. He can be found regularly at community events or busily working in coffee shops and boardrooms to create opportunities for collisions of entrepreneurs, community leaders, and the ecosystem.
When not at a coffee shop, he is likely with his wife Tina and his kids at meets, matches, concerts, or far-flung college campuses.

Katelyn Houser - Vice President, Custom Blinds & Design

As VP of Custom Blinds & Design, Katelyn leads her team in creating the highest value experience in the window covering market. In her 10 years at Custom Blinds & Design, she has filled multiple roles giving her perspective on all aspects of the company. She sees things in a practical and logical way that keeps the team moving forward.  

Custom Blinds & Design, a premier Hunter Douglas Gallery in Omaha & Lincoln, believes in being more than just a blinds business.  They focus on building a strong team culture with high tenure, serving their clients with integrity, and supporting their community. Last year, Custom Blinds & Design donated over 33,000 diapers to local organizations. They have been recognized for Sales Excellence by Hunter Douglas in 2020 & 2021, named Lincoln's Best Places to Work in 2022, awarded the BBB Torch Award for Business Ethics in 2022 & 2023, and have been voted Best of Omaha for the past 8 years.
Katelyn and her husband Eric, have two sons and live outside of Waverly. She spends her free time volunteering as the Marketing Director for the Wahoo PRCA Rodeo and helping run their family businesses, Houser Repair & B&H Tire Service. 


Heather Loughman - CEO, Community Action Partnership

Heather Loughman is Chief Executive Officer at Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties, which serves 18,000 people each year by addressing the causes and conditions of poverty across four areas of impact: early childhood education, homelessness prevention, financial and family well-being, and hunger relief and healthy food access. Heather has a master’s in rhetoric and technical communication from Michigan Technological University, and is an alumnus of Leadership Lincoln (Fellows 34), serves on the Lincoln-Lancaster County Workforce Development and Community Action of Nebraska Boards, and is a member of Lincoln South Rotary. 





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