Rural Futures Institute program developing young leaders

September 15, 2015

Emerging young leaders in the state will have the opportunity to participate in a series of professional development events this fall thanks to a program of the University of Nebraska’s Rural Futures Institute that aims to prepare Nebraska’s next generation of rural leaders.

Connecting Young Nebraskans, offered by the Rural Futures Institute, is partnering with five Nebraska communities to offer the professional development opportunities that will help nurture the skills, talents and abilities of young people and meet the unique leadership needs of the region. Each event will be led by a team identified by the respective community; teams will include representatives of area community colleges, private colleges, local chambers of commerce, economic development offices, the Nebraska Community Foundation and Nebraskans for Civic Reform, among others.

“Young leaders have been requesting more opportunities to network and strengthen their skills, and Connecting Young Nebraskans is excited to work with communities and regions to offer professional development opportunities that will help develop future leaders,” said Kayla Schnuelle, coordinator of the program and integrated marketing specialist and young leader coordinator for the Rural Futures Institute.

Connecting Young Nebraskans professional development events are scheduled for the following dates and locations:

  • Sept. 29 in Beatrice: “Be the Change, Be the Leader: Redefining How We Set and Achieve Goals,” 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Southeast Community College
  • Oct. 1 in Grand Island: “Finding Passion at Work,” 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Home Federal Bank Building
  • Nov. 12 in Columbus: “Modern Mentorship,” 1 to 4 p.m. plus happy hour at the Henry on 11th Building.
  • Nov. 17 in Ord: “Igniting Powerful Action Summit,” 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Ord Learning Center.
  • Nov. 18 in Seward: “Achieving Successful Intergenerational Communication in the Workplace,” 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Seward Memorial Library.

Detailed programming information, including cost, speaker details and registration information, is available here. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s MBA program is a joint sponsor of the Grand Island and Seward events.

To host one of the events, community leaders submitted proposals to the Rural Futures Institute identifying the unique needs of young leaders in their community. Proposals outlined the challenges young leaders face in the region, as well as ideas on how they could develop skills to address the challenges. Areas for development identified by community leaders including finding a passion at work, mentorship and investment, taking action on big ideas, and finding balance in a young professional’s life.

Connecting Young Nebraskans also hosted an online webinar on Aug. 4 with Nebraskans for Civic Reform and the Nebraska Community Foundation to discuss the 2015 Nebraska Civic Health Index and a new Civic Health Ambassador Program. The webinar was available to young leaders across the state and beyond. A recording is available at

For more information about Connecting Young Nebraskans, visit or follow the program’s Facebook or Twitter accounts.

About Connecting Young Nebraskans

Connecting Young Nebraskans is a program of the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska. The Rural Futures Institute believes that young leaders are a vital part of communities and that they should be included in the community leadership structure. When young leaders’ growth and development is embraced, their ambitions can be harnessed to energize communities across the nation.

About the Rural Futures Institute

Through a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, the Rural Futures Institute mobilizes the diverse resources of the University of Nebraska and its partners to support rural communities and regions in building upon their unique strengths and assets to achieve their desired futures. Learn more at

Media Contact:
Melissa Lee
Director of Communications,
University of Nebraska