Vic Gutman (he/him)
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.
Lisa Winton (she/her)
Vice President & Senior Project Manager
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 management team and provides leadership for VGA staff. Lisa organized and managed United We Walk for the Tri-Faith Initiative in 2022, and also co-managed the statewide Do Right, Right Now COVID Education Awareness Campaign in 2021. 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 & Soul Forever Foundation. Lisa earned a Bachelor of Arts in piano with an emphasis in arts management from the University of Colorado.
Heidi Avalon (she/her)
Independent Business Manager
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, she also 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.
Kristen Beck (she/her)
Senior Project Manager &
Event Team Co-Manager
Kristen joined the VGA team in 2017 as an Event Project Manager. Specializing in event management, she co-manages the Events Team and is President of the VGA Fun Committee. Her projects include the Omaha Farmers Market, Physicians Mutual Holiday Market, and Omaha Summer Arts Festival. Over the years, she has also worked with the Latino Center of the Midlands Fundraiser Dinner (Destino Dinner), Completely KIDS Author Luncheon, and assists the Events Team wherever needed. Prior to joining VGA, Kristen worked in development and events for local nonprofits. Kristen earned a Bachelor of Science in communications with an emphasis on public relations & advertising from the University of Nebraska Omaha.
Heidi Walz (she/her)
Senior Project Manager &
Event Team Co-Manager
Heidi has been Project Manager or Operations Manager for numerous events since she joined VGA in 2003, including the City of Omaha Celebrates America (Memorial Park Concert & Fireworks), 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 currently co-manages the Events Team and specializes in operations, 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.
Maggie Winton (she/her)
Event Marketing Coordinator
Maggie joined VGA full-time in 2021 after completing her undergraduate studies in New York City. She handles marketing and provides on-site logistical support for projects like the Omaha Farmers Market, Omaha Summer Arts Festival, City of Omaha Celebrates America (Memorial Park Concert & Fireworks), Physicians Mutual Holiday Market, and the Holiday Lights Festival. Maggie earned a Bachelor of Arts in history with minors in French and religious studies from Wagner College (Staten Island), and served as president of the Campus Activities Board.
Joel Henriksen (he/him)
Joel joined the VGA team as a Project Manager in 2023, mainly focusing on the Omaha Summer Arts Festival and the Omaha Celebrates America Memorial Park Concert. Before VGA, Joel worked at 1% Productions where he served as a talent buyer and production manager. He also spent two years at Romeo Entertainment Group, where he organized musical talent for various fairs and festivals around the country. Joey received a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Creighton University, specializing in marketing and strategic communication.
Allison Seibert (she/her)
Allison joined the VGA team as a Project Manager in 2021. She works with the Events Team, mainly focusing on the 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 five years, specializing in event management for the convention center at the CHI Health Center Omaha. Allison received a Bachelor of Business Science in marketing and a minor in recreation business from the Tippie College of Business from the University of Iowa.
Elizabeth Balazs-Foxall (she/her)
Senior Project Manager
Elizabeth has more than 30 years of experience in the events industry, planning community development, marketing, public relations, and special events projects in Omaha, Detroit, MI, and Southern California. She manages the Omaha Summer Arts Festival and Girls Inc. of Omaha’s Lunch for the Girls annual fundraiser. She also administers the Omaha Police Foundation and plans their annual Officer of the Year Awards Luncheon. She has a Bachelor of Science in business/marketing from Arizona State University and studied communication and business education at University of Nebraska Omaha.
Mary Hubl, GCP (she/her)
Senior Grant Writer, Development Consultant & Grants Team Co-Manager
Mary has over two decades of professional writing experience including grants, reports, sponsorship proposals, case statements, and other fundraising materials. She assists her clients with the development, strategy, and implementation of fundraising plans for program, operating, and capital needs that raise millions of dollars annually. Mary is one of seven grant writers in the State of Nebraska and 444 nationally who have earned Grant Professional Certification (GPC). Her clients have included the Omaha Theater Company, Ollie Webb Center, Inc., Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, Youth Care & Beyond Inc., Nebraska Appleseed, Omaha Summer Arts Festival, Holiday Lights Festival, and the Omaha Farmers Market. In addition to her fundraising responsibilities, Mary manages VGA’s Grants Team. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in French and international relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Master of Arts from George Washington University.
Shane Pekny (he/him)
Senior Grant Writer, Communications/Development Specialist & Grants Team Co-Manager
Shane Pekny joined VGA as a Grant Writer in January 2020. He primarily works with the Latino Center of the Midlands, the YMCA of Greater Omaha, and the Nebraska Journalism Trust, publisher of the Flatwater Free Press. He was awarded the 2022 Newcomer of the Year Award by the Institute of Nonprofit News for his contributions to the founding of the Nebraska Journalism Trust. Shane’s 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. 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.
Kevin Grubb (he/him)
Senior Grant Writer &
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, youth development, and food security. His VGA clients include Completely Kids, OneWorld Community Health Centers, Inc., and Legal Aid of Nebraska. 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 in English and Russian from the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
Sarah Peterson (she/her)
Senior Grant Writer &
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.
Courtney Mustoe (she/her)
Senior Grant Writer &
Courtney joined VGA in 2023 and works with Legal Aid Nebraska and Latino Center of the Midlands. Previously, she managed grants and other proposals at Habitat for Humanity of Omaha, developed content and facilitated trainings for the Business Ethics Alliance, and taught writing courses at various universities and colleges. Courtney holds a Bachelor of Science in English and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and a Master of Arts degree in English, with a focus on rhetoric and composition, from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Katrina Wulf (she/her)
Grant Writer & Development Specialist
Katrina joined the VGA team in 2022 and works with Girls Inc. of Omaha, The Wellbeing Partners, and Elevate Omaha to secure and maintain grant funding. Katrina has a wealth of experience serving Omaha’s nonprofit community in various roles, including most recently as a Program Director for Dreamweaver Foundation. Katrina received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Social Work from the University of Nebraska Omaha.
Amelia Bowen (she/her)
Grant Writer & Development Specialist
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.
Beth Kramer (she/her)
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 and through numerous board and volunteer positions with Omaha community organizations. Beth also serves 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.
Mike Faust (he/him)
Mike recently 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 Project Managers in writing program scripts for events and videos, developing charitable solicitations, and writing/editing print materials. Through the years, Mike 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 Bachelor of Science in business administration from Northwest Missouri State University.
Arturo Gallegos-Zaragoza (he/him)
Tech Specialist & Administrative Assistant
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 then the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor of Science in management information systems. Arturo serves as VGA’s IT specialist, as well as assisting with office administrative tasks.
Daniel Gutman (he/him)
Executive Vice President
Daniel joined VGA in 2022 and works primarily with local nonprofit organizations on community development and fundraising. He is 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. Daniel is a graduate of American University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts 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.