Our Team

Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D.

November 16, 2017
Interim Executive Director
Researcher, entrepreneur and high-touch futurist, Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D., CPC, helps leaders and organizations reach their desired futures through strengths-based innovation and strategic foresight. She currently serves as Interim Executive Director of the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska, …

Researcher, entrepreneur and high-touch futurist, Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D., CPC, helps leaders and organizations reach their desired futures through strengths-based innovation and strategic foresight. She currently serves as Interim Executive Director of the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska, assuming the role in July 2018, to purposefully carrying forward her mission with business, hospital and community leaders around the globe. She joined RFI as Associate Executive Director and Chief Futurist in May 2015. She also hosts the Rural Futures podcast.

Dr. Connie is the founder of Wild Innovation, a consulting and coaching firm serving organizations from both the private and public sectors. Clients range from rural hospitals in Nebraska to remote villages in Nigeria and include a small business with a $22 million annual footprint as well as global organizations like Lockheed Martin.

Dr. Connie’s research, experiences and education in both the hard and human sciences allow her to see how our exponentially high-tech world must balance with a high-touch, strengths-based approach to leadership and life—we must explore the intersections of science fiction and what it means to be human.

This realization helped Dr. Connie create and empirically test, A Framework for the Entrepreneurial Learner of the 21st Century, which earned a Best Paper award at the Distance Learning Administration Conference in 2005. The findings of her groundbreaking research revealed that personal fulfillment influenced learners’ motivation to succeed in the online environment. Data from her research also revealed that individuals need to define success for themselves in order to tap into their sense of personal fulfillment.

A unique combination of empirical research and practical experience enabled Dr. Connie to develop keynotes, workshops, publications and coaching resources designed to foster a purpose-driven, strengths-based entrepreneurial spirit in individuals, teams and organizations with an emphasis on future-focused leadership. She has authored or co-authored 55 publications, 10 workbooks, six videos, six coaching tools, three books and one book chapter. In total, her digital publications have been downloaded by 3,300 institutions more than 70,000 times throughout 175 countries. She has also taught more than 25,000 learners from around the world. Her coaching and consulting has helped more than 70 clients grow their businesses and lives with a focus on strengths, futuring, personal fulfillment and fun.

As Dr. Connie continues to study the future, she has become curious about women in midlife. Why? Women in midlife often go unrecognized and unrewarded but may be the leaders and entrepreneurs needed to help solve grand challenges like workforce shortages in rural healthcare. Connie holds a doctorate in human sciences with a focus on leadership studies, a master’s degree in entomology and a bachelor’s degree in natural resources. She also holds a Certificate in Strategic Foresight from the University of Houston, a Certified Professional Coach designation from the International Coach Academy and a Strengths Coaching Certification through Gallup.

Strategic Foresight

Dr. Connie’s CV 

 

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Katelyn Ideus

November 17, 2017
Director of Communications & PR
           As Director of Communications and Public Relations for the Rural Futures Institute, Katelyn Ideus develops the strategic communications plan for the Institute, producing, stimulating and delivering bold stories about the successes earned, innovations created and solutions found by rural …

          

As Director of Communications and Public Relations for the Rural Futures Institute, Katelyn Ideus develops the strategic communications plan for the Institute, producing, stimulating and delivering bold stories about the successes earned, innovations created and solutions found by rural communities around the world. She is also the producer of the Rural Futures podcast.

Katelyn previously supported the University of Nebraska’s online education initiatives for five years, specifically the University of Nebraska High School, which works with schools and students around the world. Prior to that, she worked in internal communications at Nelnet, Inc. She also served as communications specialist for a children’s hospital in downtown St. Louis, working with St. Louis University faculty physicians to support rural community hospitals throughout Missouri and Illinois.

She holds a master’s degree in integrated media communications and bachelor’s in news editorial and broadcast journalism, both from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Journalism & Mass Communications.

Katelyn lives with her husband and two children near Adams, Neb., where they are part of the Ideus Family Farms operation. Katelyn’s husband, Tyler, is a specialist in physical medicine practicing in Lincoln, Neb., and traveling the world to teach. Listen to his podcast episode!

 

BOLD Communications Strategy

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Helen Fagan, Ph.D.

June 28, 2018
Director of Leadership Engagement
Dr. Fagan is a Leadership and Diversity scholar and consultant. She is the CEO and Founder of Global Leadership Group, an Assistant Professor of Practice in Leadership Engagement at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a qualified Executive Coach, and most recently a …

Dr. Fagan is a Leadership and Diversity scholar and consultant. She is the CEO and Founder of Global Leadership Group, an Assistant Professor of Practice in Leadership Engagement at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a qualified Executive Coach, and most recently a team member at the Rural Futures Institute.

Helen has a Ph.D. in Human Sciences with emphasis in Leadership. She studied International Economics and British Political Economy at Oxford University during the formation of the European Union.  Helen is a Certified Diversity Trainer, a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory, and a Certified Emotional Intelligence and Diversity Trainer, and Executive Coach.  For the last 4 years she has also served as a faculty with the Qatar Institute for Intercultural Communication providing workshops for faculty, staff and graduate students working at 6 US universities in Education City in Qatar.

Dr. Fagan’s expertise in developing inclusive leaders, organizations and communities has enabled her to speak in multiple nations and at last count 4 continents. Dr. Fagan’s passion is to develop leaders who create better tomorrows.

In 2000, she became the first Coordinator of Diversity and Cultural Competence Initiatives at Bryan Health during which the initiative gained national recognition. During that time, she played a key role in the recruitment/resettlement of nurses from the Philippines, and worked diligently to address employment and healthcare needs of refugees and immigrants. Because of her dedication, she has received multiple awards including a key to the city of Lincoln.

Dr .Fagan’s Website

Dr. Fagan’s CV

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Theresa Klein

November 17, 2017
Executive Team & Rural Engagement
Theresa Klein’s grassroots leadership experience and perspective add an important perspective to the Rural Futures Institute’s executive team. After graduating from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with a degree in animal science and agricultural economics, Klein traveled the entire state on …

Theresa Klein’s grassroots leadership experience and perspective add an important perspective to the Rural Futures Institute’s executive team.

After graduating from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with a degree in animal science and agricultural economics, Klein traveled the entire state on her first job while handling all public relations and communications for the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. She then joined the University of Nebraska Foundation serving as Director of Communications for 11 years with the unique opportunity to work with all of the NU campuses.

To raise their children in the best of places, Theresa and her husband moved to a small farm west of Wahoo, near her family’s dairy farm, so the kids would experience production agriculture and rural life. She began serving as Development Director for Bishop Neumann High School, with a personal goal of getting the facility upgraded by its 50th Anniversary in May 2015. This move allowed Theresa to immerse herself in a wide variety of leadership opportunities ranging from the Wahoo Chamber of Commerce, Teammates Board & Public Library Foundation to helping found the Friends of Saunders County 4-H & Extension Foundation.

After attending the RFI conferences in 2011 and 2013, Theresa became a fan of the RFI approach. She believes in engaging leaders of all ages in applying innovative ideas and community-specific strategies to strengthen individual communities. Currently, she serves on the Saunders County Ag Society and was recently appointed Trustee of the Saunders County Medical Center, continuing a real-world connection with the complex challenge of affecting change in a rural community.

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Kim Peterson

November 17, 2017
Director of Competitive Awards & Finance
Kim Peterson grew up on a family farm in Fillmore County, Neb., and currently resides on the family farm near Grafton. She is a former Nebraska LEAD member. Kim attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) and graduated with a degree …

Kim Peterson grew up on a family farm in Fillmore County, Neb., and currently resides on the family farm near Grafton. She is a former Nebraska LEAD member. Kim attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) and graduated with a degree in animal science. Upon graduation, Kim served as Communications Director for the Nebraska Stock Growers Association in Alliance. After five years, she returned to the family farm in Fillmore County and stayed at home for a few years to raise her four sons.

In 1992, she accepted the position of Communications Coordinator with the University of Nebraska at the South Central Research and Extension Center. She was employed there until the center closed in 2003. Kim then transferred to UNL where she served as Coordinator and Outreach Program Specialist for the Nebraska Rural Initiative.

With the Rural Futures Institute Kim serves as Director of Competitive Awards and Finance. More recently, Kim has taken classes to complete a graduate degree in Marketing, Communications and Advertising.

Kim is married and she and her husband, Stan, have four sons, all whom live in rural Nebraska. The family has grown with the addition of three daughter-in-laws and eight grandchildren. Kim enjoys crafts, quilting, and most importantly, spending time with family and living the great life in rural Nebraska.

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Shawn Kaskie

November 17, 2017
Fellows Coordinator
As RFI Fellows coordinator, Shawn Kaskie works closely with all fellows to stimulate discussions, projects that address the critical challenges and many opportunities in rural America. Shawn also serves as the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Rural Development …

As RFI Fellows coordinator, Shawn Kaskie works closely with all fellows to stimulate discussions, projects that address the critical challenges and many opportunities in rural America.

Shawn also serves as the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Rural Development at the University of Nebraska at Kearney in the College of Business and Technology.

He is a certified Professional Community & Economic Developer, and a former Gallup Entrepreneurship Acceleration System Guide, Business Retention & Expansion consultant, and NxLevel Entrepreneurship Instructor.

Shawn is pursuing a Ph.D. in the UNL Ag Leadership (ALEC) program. He has a master’s degree in regional planning and undergraduate majors in Public Administration, Sociology, and Psychology from Hastings College. He has experience providing in community economic development and market research services to more than 60 communities in over a dozen rural Midwest counties throughout Nebraska, Illinois, Wisconsin and in Papua New Guinea as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

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