Meet Our Team

Vic Gutman President

Since founding Vic Gutman and Associates in 1978, Vic—a native of Michigan—has played a major role in producing more than 100 events including the 300th anniversary celebration for the City of Detroit (Detroit 300), the Detroit Festival of the Arts, Omaha 15O! Omaha’s Birthday Celebration and the Holiday Lights Festival. Vic also founded the Omaha Summer Arts Festival in 1975 and the Omaha Farmers Market in 1994.

In addition to managing public events, Vic provides nonprofit management and consulting and has helped a variety of organizations achieve their internal and external objectives. Current clients include The Rose Theater, Omaha Police Foundation, Girls Incorporated of Omaha, Tri-Faith Initiative, and Phoenix Academy.

Vic received an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Creighton University.

Contact Vic at or 402.345.5401 ext:101

Lisa Winton Vice President/Senior Project Manager

In 2011, Lisa came to VGA via The Rose Theater, where she worked as marketing director for many years; she continues to support the Rose’s development and fundraising efforts in her role at VGA. As a member of VGA’s nonprofit management team, Lisa provides her marketing and development expertise to additional clients including Midlands Mentoring Partnership, the Tri-Faith Initiative, Phoenix Academy, Girls Inc., and Daniel Beaty’s EMERGENCY sponsored by the Sherwood Foundation.

Lisa earned a bachelor’s degree in piano with an emphasis in arts management from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Contact Lisa at or 402.345.5401 ext:105

Roxanne Nielsen Events Team Manager

Roxanne joined VGA in July of 2016. She will be assisting with special projects for both the events and nonprofit services divisions, will serve as a management resource for all VGA staff and will assist with the overall management of the company.

Roxanne spent many years as Director of Education and Outreach and Resident Choreographer for the Omaha Community Playhouse and served as the Executive Director of the ARTery (now Arts in Motion) – a local nonprofit that brings the international social and emotional learning program, Dancing Classrooms, to area schools. Roxanne has been a teaching artist for Dancing Classrooms, WhyArts?, the Nebraska Arts Council, African Culture Connection, National Dance Institute, Reach for it Parkinson’s dance classes and served on the writing committee for the dance standards for the Nebraska Board of Education Fine Arts Standards.

Contact Roxanne at or 402.345.5401 ext:112

Elizabeth Balázs-Foxall Senior Project Manager

Elizabeth joined VGA in 1993 with major national event experience including the Fiesta Bowl and Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. In her two decades at VGA, she has managed a wide range of events including the Omaha Summer Arts Festival, Girls Inc. of Omaha’s Lunch for the Girls, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild About Omaha Weekend and several events for Kiewit Corporation. She also played a key role in the development and introduction of Omaha’s newest art fair, ARTsarben and serves as the administrator for the Omaha Police Foundation. Elizabeth’s role at VGA includes human resources administration, special projects and company planning.

Elizabeth graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Arizona State University and has pursued advanced degrees in secondary education and communication from the University of Nebraska Omaha.

Contact Elizabeth at or 402.426.9020

Mary Hubl, GPC Senior Grant Writer/Development Consultant

In her role as Senior Grant Writer and Development Consultant, Mary assists nonprofit clients to achieve their fundraising goals. She began her professional writing career in the Michigan House of Representatives in 1997. In 1999, following a relocation to Omaha, she joined VGA as a grant and media release writer.

Mary now specializes in writing grants, final reports, case statements and other fundraising materials for nonprofit organizations including the Omaha Theater Company, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, Youth Care & Beyond Inc. and the Tri-Faith Initiative of Omaha.

She also assists with the development, implementation and tracking of year-round grants programs. In 2017, Mary wrote 122 grants which raised more than $6.1 million for her clients.

Mary has worked for VGA remotely from four states (Nebraska, Michigan, California and Wisconsin). She currently lives in Middleton, WI, with her husband, two teenage sons, two cats and a dog.

Mary’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a master’s degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Her hobbies include yoga, reading, politics and anything involving animals.

Contact Mary at or 402.345.5401 ext:108

Heidi Walz Senior Project Manager

Heidi has been Project Manager or Operations Manager for numerous events since she joined VGA in 2003 including the Omaha Farmers Market, Omaha 150! Omaha’s Birthday Celebration, Detroit /Windsor CarTunes on Parade Public Art Project, the World’s Championship Chili Cookoff, Omaha’s Holiday Lights Festival and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild About Omaha Weekend.

She now serves as the Operations Manager for the Omaha Summer Arts Festival managing the pre-event and on-site logistics for the expansive 3-day outdoor festival. Heidi now specializes in operations and logistics for special projects, acting as a senior resource within the office for facility and logistics planning.

Heidi received a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication from the University of Nebraska Omaha.

Contact Heidi at or 402.345.5401 ext:104

April Koske, GPC Senior Grant Writer/Development Consultant

April joined Vic Gutman & Associates in March 2014. Her background in development and grant writing includes working with area nonprofit clients such as Joslyn Art Museum, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands. At VGA, April is responsible for providing grant writing services for Girls Incorporated of Omaha and YMCA of Greater Omaha, among others.

April is a Certified Grant Professional and has a bachelor of arts degree in history with a minor in mathematics from the University of Nebraska Omaha.

Contact April at or 402.345.5401 ext:103

Heidi Avalon Independent Business Manager

Heidi has provided professional accounting services for VGA since 2004. She is responsible for all aspects of VGA’s finances including payroll, client analysis reports, billing, processing disbursements and receipts and health insurance administration. In addition to her work at VGA, Heidi provides accounting services for several other clients.

Heidi received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Kansas State University.

Contact Heidi at or 402.639.7605

Kara Schweiss Independent Writer/Editor

Kara has over 25 years’ experience in various facets of the communications field, including public relations, advertising and marketing for both nonprofit and corporate entities. She also has extensive experience working with both sides of the media as a media relations representative and as a freelance editor, journalist and photographer.

Kara is a graduate of the University of Nebraska Omaha’s School of Communication.

Contact Kara at

Kylie Vonnahme Event Project Manager

Kylie first joined the VGA team in 2013 as an intern for the Omaha Summer Arts Festival and returned to the company in October 2014 as a project manager. Her primary projects include Omaha Farmers Market, Holiday Market, Night Market, Holiday Lights Festival, Destino Dinner, and Omaha Summer Arts Festival along with other VGA clients. Her professional experience includes serving as a marketing/event coordinator for Village Pointe Shopping Center, working on events such as the Vibes at Village Pointe summer concert series and the Village Pointe Wine Festival.

Kylie earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska Omaha.

Contact Kylie at or 402.345.5401 ext:117

Kristen Beck Event Project Manager

Kristen joined the VGA team in February of 2017. Her professional experience includes being the Development Director for the Autism Action Partnership, with her largest project coordinating the Vintage Affaire, a fundraising event.

Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Nebraska Omaha.

Contact Kristen at or 402.345.5401 ext:115

Laura Paulsen Marketing & Development Specialist

Laura joined the Non-Profit Services team at VGA in early 2015. She provides communication, marketing and project management services for a variety of non-profit clients including the Tri-Faith Initiative, Midlands Mentoring Partnership, American Muslim Institute, Justice for our Neighbors, and more. Prior to joining VGA, Laura gained experience in marketing, sales, and client relations as an Account Executive at the Omaha World-Herald.

Laura has a bachelor of science degree in marketing and business administration from the University of Nebraska Omaha.

Contact Laura at or 402.345.5401 ext:109

Jessica Linhart Non-Profit Services Associate

Jessica joined the VGA team in 2016. Her focus is on providing support to the Marketing & Development Specialists and Grant Writers in VGA’s Nonprofit Services group. She came to VGA with sales and marketing experience gained from working at Omaha Publications and has a background in nonprofit development through service as Public Support Director for the MICAH House shelter.

Jessica earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Advertising from the University of Nebraska Omaha.

Contact Jessica at or 402.345.5401 ext:116

Luanne Mainelli Nelson Communications Consultant

Luanne joined VGA in January 2016. Her focus is on assisting VGA clients with crisis communications and communications strategy development. She is the former Communications Director for Omaha Public Schools and was also responsible for the Omaha Schools Foundation, serving as its Executive Director. After a 20-year career with OPS, she retired in 2012.

Luanne is a past board member of Voices for Children in Nebraska, Greater Omaha Safety Council, Urban League of Nebraska, First Responders Foundation and public radio station KIOS. She is a graduate of the College of Saint Mary and earned her masters degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Contact Luanne via email at

Arianna Cabrera Grant Writer

Arianna first joined the VGA team in August of 2016 as an intern for the Tri-Faith Initiative. In January of 2017, she began working on additional projects for VGA. Her primary projects included the Tri-Faith Initiative and American Muslim Institute, along with other VGA clients. In May of 2018, Arianna transitioned to the position of Grant Writer. She currently assists in providing grant writing services for various clients at VGA.

Arianna earned a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from the University of Nebraska Omaha.

Contact Arianna at or 402.345.5401 ext:106