Meet Our Team

Vic Gutman President

vgutman@vgagroup.com
402.345.5401 ext:101

Since founding Vic Gutman & 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.

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

 

FUN FACTS ABOUT VIC

With VGA Since:  The Beginning!

What do you do?  Get out of my employees’ way!

What titles would your employees give you? Human encyclopedia. Marathon Walker. Dog Lover. VGA Historian.

If I weren’t so good at my job, I’d be… Broke!

Favorite Quote: This too, shall pass.

Three words that describe you: Idealistic, Earnest, Caring

What’s the coolest or most important trend you see today? Technology – It’s both a blessing and a curse.

What would you name your autobiography?  “An Eventful Life”


Daniel Gutman Executive Vice President

dgutman@vgagroup.com
402.345.5401
402.319.8897

Daniel joined VGA in 2022. He works primarily with local non-profit organizations on community development and fundraising. Daniel is also a practicing lawyer specializing in civil rights and election law.

Before joining VGA, Daniel worked at a private law firm as a litigation associate. He has also worked in various legal and organizing capacities at the nation’s leading civil rights organizations, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, and the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth. In these roles, Daniel specialized in legislative and legal campaigns to reform the country’s criminal and juvenile justice systems.

Daniel is a graduate of American University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts with a major in Political Science, and the University of Nebraska College of Law, where he graduated with high distinction. After law school, Daniel served as a law clerk to the Honorable John M. Gerrard, U.S. District Judge for the District of Nebraska.


Lisa Winton Vice President/ Senior Project Manager

lwinton@vgagroup.com
402.345.5401 ext:105

Lisa  joined VGA in 2011 after having worked as the marketing director at The Rose Theater for many years. She continues to support The Rose’s development and fundraising efforts and outreach program in her role at VGA. As vice president, Lisa serves on VGA’s nonprofit management team and provides leadership for VGA staff. In addition, she has provided event planning, administrative, marketing, and development services for the Tri-Faith Initiative, Girls Inc., MENTOR Nebraska, American Muslim Institute, and Rock & Roll Forever Foundation.

Lisa earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Piano with an Arts Management Emphasis from the University of Colorado.

 

FUN FACTS ABOUT LISA

With VGA Since: April 2011

What titles would your coworkers give you? Client Organizer. Office Sounding Board. Zoo Keeper.

Three words that describe you: Optimistic. Sarcastic. Type A.

What’s the coolest or most important trend you see today? Engagement of younger generations in politics and social justice to improve the country and world

What would you name your autobiography? “It’s On My List”

Hidden Skill or Talent: I’m a certified SCUBA diver, and I spent a month doing archaeological work in Israel

Guilty Pleasure: Reading gossip rags while exercising on the elliptical at the YMCA


Heidi Avalon Independent Business Manager

heidi@avalonaccountingservice.com
402.639.7605

Heidi, owner of Avalon Accounting Services, LLC, has provided professional accounting services for VGA since 2004. She serves on VGA’s Management Team and 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 small businesses and nonprofit organizations. From 2006-2013, Heidi served as an adjunct professor at Bellevue University teaching bachelor’s and master’s level accounting courses.

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


Elizabeth Balázs-Foxall Senior Project Manager

ebalazs@vgagroup.com
402.345.5401 ext: 102

With more than 30 years in the events industry, Elizabeth Balazs has planned and implemented a wide range of community development, marketing, public relations and special events projects in Omaha, Detroit, MI, and Southern California. Elizabeth has played a key role in the development and management of high-profile events including Detroit 300 (2001); Omaha 150! (2004); Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo’s Zoofari (2007) and both Kiewit Corporations’ 125th Anniversary Gala and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild About Omaha Weekend (2009).

Elizabeth also manages several annual events including the Omaha Summer Arts Festival and Girls Inc. of Omaha’s annual fundraising luncheon, Lunch for the Girls. In addition to her work with events, Elizabeth coordinates and administers the operations of the Omaha Police Foundation and implements the Foundation’s annual Officer of the Year Awards Luncheon.

Elizabeth’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Business/Marketing from Arizona State University and graduate studies in communication and business education at University of Nebraska Omaha.

 

FUN FACTS ABOUT ELIZABETH

With VGA Since: March 1993

What titles would your coworkers give you? Sponsor Sweet-Talker. Event Guru. Natural Nurturer.

Three words that describe you: Mentor, Friend, Caregiver

Hidden Skill or Talent: I know all of the words to the Mr. Ed theme song.

#1 Bucket List Item: Visit my father’s village in Romania – Udvarhely

If I weren’t so good at my job, I’d be… A teacher

Favorite Happy Hour Drink: Pomegranate Martini


Heidi Walz Senior Project Manager

hwalz@vgagroup.com
402.345.5401 ext:104

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.

Heidi now specializes in operations for special projects, acting as a senior resource for facility and logistics planning.

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

 

FUN FACTS ABOUT HEIDI

With VGA Since: May 2003

Three words that describe you: Organized. Weird. Detailed.

What’s the #1 thing on your bucket list? Visit all 50 states by the time my youngest graduates (I’ve been to 44).

Guilty pleasure: Books, cheese, olives. Repeat.

What is your favorite quote that you live by? Kindness can change the world. Bonus if it is random & anonymous.

What could we find you doing on a typical weekend? Reading and organizing. Occasionally that involves laminating something.


Mary Hubl, GPC Senior Grant Writer/ Development Consultant

mhubl@vgagroup.com
402.345.5401 ext:108

Mary Hubl  joined VGA as a grant and public relations writer in 1999. As the number of nonprofit clients seeking grant writing services grew, Mary became a grant writing specialist. Working remotely from her home, she has extensive experience in writing grants, final reports, case statements and other fundraising materials for nonprofit organizations. She also assists with the development, implementation and tracking of year-round grants programs for her clients. One of seven grant writers in the State of Nebraska who have earned Grant Professional Certification (GPC), Mary currently works with the Omaha Theater Company, Ollie Webb Center, Inc., DIBS for Kids, inCOMMON, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, Youth Care & Beyond Inc., Omaha Summer Arts Festival, Holiday Lights Festival and the Omaha Farmers Market.

Mary earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in French and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Master of Arts Degree in International Economics, Western European History & International Politics from George Washington University.

 

FUN FACTS ABOUT MARY

With VGA Since: September 1999

What titles would your coworkers give you? Wordsmith. Wildlife Preserver. International Yogi.

Three words that describe you: Curious. Compassionate. Grounded.

What would you name your autobiography? “One Woman’s Quest to Change the World”

Guilty Pleasure: Rocking out in my car to songs by Taylor Swift, P!nk, and Katy Perry

What’s the coolest or most important trend you see today? People realizing the urgency of climate change and taking action to heal the planet

If I weren’t so good at my job, I’d be… Running a wildlife sanctuary


Kristen Beck Senior Project Manager

kbeck@vgagroup.com
402.345.5401 ext:115

Kristen joined the VGA team in 2017 as an Event Project Manager. Specializing in event management, she primarily works with the Omaha Farmers Market, Physicians Mutual & WOWT Holiday Market, Omaha Summer Arts Festival, and Latino Center of the Midlands Fundraiser Dinner (Destino Dinner).

Prior to joining VGA, Kristen worked as an Alumni Relations and Event Manager for Mercy High School where she worked on several fundraising and alumni events. She also spent time working in events and development at Autism Action Partnership.

Kristen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications with an emphasis on Public Relations & Advertising from the University of Nebraska Omaha.

 

FUN FACTS ABOUT KRISTEN

With VGA Since: February 2017

What titles would your coworkers give you?  Fun Committee President. On-the-Fly Problem Solver. Junk Food Supplier.

Three words that describe you: Sociable. Adventurous. Reliable.

What are the coolest or most important trends you see today? Being KIND, and people being supportive and encouraging of one another.

Favorite Quote: “If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.” – Dolly Parton

If I weren’t so good at my job, I would be… Co-owning a brewery with my friends

Favorite Happy Hour Drink: Any beer – the hoppier the better!


Shane Pekny Senior Grant Writer/ Communications and Development Specialist

spekny@vgagroup.com
402.345.5401 ext:106

Shane Pekny joined VGA as a grant writer in January 2020, primarily serving the Latino Center of the Midlands and YMCA of Greater Omaha. A native of Norfolk, Nebraska, he has lived and worked in the Omaha area since 2003. His past employers include Boys Town, the University of Nebraska Omaha, Goodwill Industries, and Habitat for Humanity of Omaha. While most of his professional experience is in grant writing, he has also managed volunteers, taught English composition, led cultural immersion tours around Nebraska, and trained high school dropouts in construction. In his spare time, he coaches youth soccer and serves on the Bennington City Council.

Shane has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master’s degree in English from the University of Nebraska Omaha. His creative nonfiction has appeared in Nebraska Life magazine, Vox, and planetary.org.

 

FUN FACTS ABOUT SHANE

What’s the #1 thing on your Bucket List? Visit Lhasa, Tibet (with my family, if I can persuade them to join)

What is your favorite quote that you live by? “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Instant recall of every password I ever created

Do you have any skills or talents that people don’t know about? I built a 14-foot cedar-strip kayak (which mostly just hangs in my garage)

Name 3 words that describe you: Helpful. Resourceful. Full of Dad Jokes.

What is the coolest or most important trend you see today? The persistence of basic human kindness


Allison Seibert Project Manager

aseibert@vgagroup.com
402.345.5401 ext:117

Allison recently joined the VGA team working as a Project Manager. She works with the Events Team mainly focusing on the Omaha Farmer’s Market Night Market, Omaha Summer Arts Festival, Holiday Lights Festival, and Latino Center of the Midlands Fundraiser Dinner (Destino Dinner).

Before VGA, Allison worked at MECA Omaha for 5 years specializing in event management for the convention center at the CHI Health Center Omaha. She worked many different events from galas and corporate conferences to tradeshows and sporting tournaments.

Allison received a Bachelor of Business Science degree in Marketing and a Minor in Recreation Business from the Tippie College of Business from the University of Iowa.

 

FUN FACTS ABOUT ALLISON

With VGA Since: May 2021

What’s the #1 thing on your Bucket List? Travel to all MLB baseball stadiums, Big Ten Conference football stadiums, and Big Ten Conference basketball arenas; and travel back to Ireland (sorry, that’s 4 things!)

Three words that describe you: Loyal. Caring. Competitive.

What’s the coolest or most important trend you see today? The speed of technology and how quickly it can make or break anything

Favorite Quote: Personal: “Everything happens for a reason.” Professional life: “I don’t know what I don’t know.”

Guilty Pleasure: Eating a full pint of Ben & Jerry’s Tonight Dough

What could we find you doing on a typical weekend?: Hanging with my friends and family and probably watching some sort of sporting event, especially my Iowa Hawkeyes!


Kevin Grubb Senior Grant Writer/ Development Consultant

kgrubb@vgagroup.com
402.345.5401 ext:118

Kevin Grubb has 20 years of writing experience spanning two continents (North America and Eurasia). He specializes in writing grants for nonprofit organizations in the sectors of education, community development, human services, children and family well-being, adolescent development and food security. His current VGA clients include Completely Kids and the Latino Center of the Midlands.

Kevin’s grant writing skills are informed by his experience working in a variety of leadership capacities for nonprofit organizations including Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska. He also worked as a Program Officer for two grant makers, the Vibrant Village Foundation and Mercy Corps, both located in Portland, Oregon. His international work includes global program oversight in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia.

Kevin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Russian from the University of Nebraska Lincoln.

 

FUN FACTS ABOUT KEVIN

With VGA Since: October 2019

Three words that describe you: Fair. Funny. Empathetic.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Time Travel

Guilty pleasure: College Football

What is your favorite quote? “Fear is the path to the dark side…patience you must have.” – Yoda

If I weren’t so good at my job, I’d be… A Landscaper


Maggie Winton Event Marketing Coordinator

mwinton@vgagroup.com
402.345.5401 ext:107

Maggie Winton joined VGA full-time in 2021 after completing her undergraduate studies in New York City. Prior to being hired full-time, she did seasonal work for VGA, working on projects like Omaha Summer Arts Festival, Holiday Lights Festival’s Family Fest, the Memorial Park Concert, and the Omaha Farmers Market.

Maggie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History with minors in French and Religious Studies from Wagner College (Staten Island), and served as President of the Campus Activities Board.

 

FUN FACTS ABOUT MAGGIE

With VGA Since: May 2021

Three words that describe you: Organized. Dependable. Creative

What’s the #1 thing on your bucket list? Take a cross-country road trip across the US with my best friends

Guilty pleasure: Going to a local coffee shop to sit, read, and drink coffee for hours and hours

What is your favorite quote that you live by? “What matters isn’t if people are good or bad; what matters is if they are trying to be better today than they were yesterday.” – The Good Place

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Either the ability to shapeshift into any animal I want OR make plants grow on a whim

What could we find you doing on a typical weekend? Hanging out with friends, catching up on my latest Netflix binge, and reading the next thing on my “to read” list


Sarah Peterson Senior Grant Writer/ Development Consultant

speterson@vgagroup.com
Sarah has over 15 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations in a variety of capacities. For over a decade at the Near East Foundation, she supported work planning, reporting, and overall technical management of programs across the Middle East and Africa. She supported the development of proposals to US, EU, and UK funding agencies, as well as different United Nations programs and other international funders. Prior to her work with NEF, she worked with Aga Khan Foundation USA, and undertook internships with the Africa Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Social Development Center (Sokone, Senegal).

 

Sarah earned her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, with a minor in French, from Macalester College and Master of Public Administration (focused on nonprofit management) and Master of Arts in International Relations degrees from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.


Katrina Wulf Grant Writer/ Development Consultant

kwulf@vgagroup.com
402.345.5401 ext: 109

Katrina joined the VGA team in 2022 and supports VGA clients to secure and maintain grant funding.

Katrina has a wealth of experience serving Omaha’s nonprofit community in various roles.  Most recently, Katrina served Dreamweaver Foundation as a Program Director, and she continues to serve on the board of directors for the Blade 5K.

Katrina received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Social Work from the University of Nebraska Omaha.  In her free time, Katrina enjoys spending time with her family and friends, running, cooking, and volunteering.

FUN FACTS ABOUT KATRINA

With VGA Since:  June 2022

Tacos or Pizza? Taco Pizza!

Favorite Quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Three words that describe you: Detail-Oriented, Positive, Determined

Guilty Pleasure: Binge watching “Seinfeld” and “The Office”

 


Diana Gleisberg Meredith Nonprofit Service Associate

dgleisberg@vgagroup.com
402.345.5401 ext: 116

Diana Gleisberg joined VGA in 2019 after having worked in management and training at Pacific Life for 13 years. During her time there, she spent 11 years on the volunteer outreach leadership team, and was president for 6 years.  At VGA, she works with the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, Immigrant Legal Center, Rose Theater, YMCA, Girls Inc., Inclusive Communities, and the Nebraska chapter of the international Entrepreneurs’ Organization, providing event planning, administrative, marketing and development services.

Diana earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, with Minors in Economics and Political Science.

 

FUN FACTS ABOUT DIANA

With VGA Since: April 2019

What titles would your coworkers give you?  Fearless Socializer. Optimistic Reinforcer. Crossfit QUEEN.

Three words that describe you: Optimistic. Sarcastic. Witty.

Guilty Pleasure: Food – cheese or ice cream. Music – I’ll always have an inner tween who loves boy bands.

If I weren’t so good at my job, I would be… On a speaking circuit

What would you name your autobiography? “Comfortably Uncomfortable”

Favorite pizza toppings? The most unique, diverse, or interesting options on the menu


Beth Kramer Development Consultant

bkramer@vgagroup.com
402.345.5401 ext:119

Beth Kramer joined VGA in 2019 as a Development Consultant. She specializes in fundraising strategy and identifying and cultivating new donors. She has extensive experience in development through her political consulting company, as Executive Director of the nonprofit At Ease, and through numerous board and volunteer positions with Omaha community organizations.

Beth continues to serve as the Executive Director of At Ease, a nonprofit that provides mental health resources for active military, veterans, and their families. Beth’s background also includes serving as the Project Manager overseeing a federal grant that enhanced Metropolitan Community College’s international business curriculum and provided on-site export counseling to Nebraska businesses.

Beth earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Illinois State University.

 

FUN FACTS ABOUT BETH

With VGA Since: October 2019

Three words that describe you: Dependable. Busy. Organized.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Teleportation

Guilty pleasure: Wine

What chore do you hate doing? Ironing

If I weren’t so good at my job, I’d be… Laying on a beach


Amelia Bowen Grant Writer/ Development Consultant

ameliabowen819@gmail.com

Amelia has held roles in fundraising and grants management since 2015 with an emphasis in education, arts and culture, and disability advocacy. She currently works remotely from her home in Ohio where she has represented nonprofits in Illinois, New York, Missouri, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Her favorite part of the grant development process is bringing together research and organizational data to develop need statements and theories of change. Amelia earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

 

FUN FACTS ABOUT AMELIA

With VGA Since: January 2022

What titles would your coworkers give you?  List Maker. Research Addict. Word Count Warrior.

Three words that describe you: Sincere. Thorough. Thoughtful.

Guilty Pleasure: Food – cheese or ice cream. Music – I’ll always have an inner tween who loves boy bands.

If I weren’t so good at my job, I would be… On a speaking circuit

Favorite Quote: “And for all this, nature is never spent / There lives the dearest freshness deep down things” – Gerald Manley Hopkins

Favorite Happy Hour Drink: French 75


Arturo Gallegos-Zaragoza Tech Specialist/ Administrative Assistant

agallegoszaragoza@vgagroup.com
402.345.5401 ext:110

Arturo Gallegos-Zaragoza joined VGA in June of 2021 in pursuit of real-world experience. Born in Salina Cruz, Oaxaca in Mexico, he made his way to Omaha, where he graduated from Omaha North High Magnet School and currently attends the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Arturo assists with the administrative tasks of the office while also offering help for IT and technical issues that may arise.

Arturo is expected to graduate from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems in the fall of 2022.

 

FUN FACTS ABOUT ARTURO

With VGA Since: June 2021

What’s the #1 thing on your Bucket List? Visiting South Korea and Japan

Three words that describe you: Persistent. Respectful. Reserved.

What’s the coolest or most important trend you see today? The prevalence of Social Media in every aspect of our lives. Friends and family, community members, government, advertisers, social media and the information, we feed it is something very important to keep in mind – and even take advantage of if necessary.

Favorite Quote: “I see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant; it is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.”

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?: It may be a bit lame but flying would be super convenient. No gas money needed!

Hidden Skill or Talent: I like to tinker with stuff, so I ended up doing robotics.


Mike Faust Content Contributor

mfaust@vgagroup.com

Mike returned to VGA after the conclusion of a highly successful campaign which he led for his alma mater. He was with VGA from 2015-2018 following retirement from managing a corporate foundation, as well as editing and speechwriting at a Fortune 500 firm. In his part-time role at VGA, he assists our project managers in writing program scripts for events and videos, developing charitable solicitations and writing/editing print materials. Through the years, he has worked with numerous charities and served on many nonprofit boards. His writing talents and broad knowledge of Omaha’s corporate and nonprofit landscape is a great resource to VGA team members and their clients.

Mike earned a B.S. Business Administration degree from Northwest Missouri State University.

 

FUN FACTS ABOUT MIKE

With VGA Since: September 2021 (and 2015-2018)

Three words that describe you: Conscientious. Dependable. Loyal.

What is your favorite quote? “Success comes from striving to become more valuable to your employer.” – Me. It’s what I advise any young person who asks!

What would you name your autobiography?  An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?  Teleportation. To never again travel via our ever-shrinking legroom airplanes.

What is your “guilty pleasure?” Playing along with the contestants on Jeopardy!

What is the #1 thing on your Bucket List?  Completing research on my North Rhineland and County Limerick ancestors.

What is the coolest or most important trend you see today?  Rapid growth of the residential population in the downtown/riverfront area where I live.