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Willard Community Center



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About the Capital Campaign Committee

The Capital Campaign Committe

Kathryn LeBaron, Capital Campaign Committee Chair

A native Nebraskan, Kathryn was born in Lincoln.  She and husband, Marc, reside in Lincoln, Nebraska.  They have two daughters, Katie married to Craig Haszard, and Kassandra, married to Phil Knudson, and one grandson, Baron Knudson. 

Kathryn graduated with a B. A. Degree from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in 1975.  She attended Lincoln High School and graduated in 1971.

Kathryn is the Community Affairs Coordinator at Lincoln Industries.

Her community involvement includes the following:

  • Willard Community Center, Capital Campaign Committee Chair, 2013 to present
  • Nebraska Arts Council Board Member - September 2012 to present
  • American Craft Council Board Member - 2015 to present
  • Lincoln Partnership for Public Art, 2015 to present
  • University of Nebraska Foundation Board Member, 2009 - 2014; Chair of Development Committee from 2010 - 2014
  • University of Nebraska Foundation,  Women Investing in Nebraska Committee, 2011 to present
  • Child Advocacy Center, Board Member, and Chair of the Board, 2001 - 2010
  • Lincoln Community Foundation, Board Member, 2003 - 2006
  • Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Nebraska Art Association Board Member, 2001 - 2006. Chair of Fund Development Committee, 2002 - 2006; Co-Chair of “For the Love of Sheldon” Fundraiser, 2002 - 2004. Co-Chair of  “Fall for the Arts” fundraiser, 2006
  • American Heart Association, Lincoln Metro Executive Committee, American Heart Walk, 2004
  • University of Nebraska, College of Business Administration, Chair of Search Committee, Dean for Center for Entrepreneurship, 2004 University of Nebraska, College of Business Administration, Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Board of Directors of Dinosaurs, Etc. and Capitol Gift Shops, 1995 - 2005
  • UNMC College of Dentistry’s Community Advisory Committee, 2001 - 2003
  • State of Nebraska, Member of Judicial Nominating Committee, Court of Appeals, 2002 - 2009
  • Arthritis Foundation, Nebraska Chapter, Chair of 24th Woman of the Year Gala, 2002
  • Junior Achievement, Special Events, 1990 - 2003
  • March of Dimes Walk America Chair, 2001
  • Hill Elementary School PTA Treasurer, 1996 - 1998
  • Lincoln Orchestra Association Board Member, 1990 - 1995
  • Junior League of Lincoln Board Member and Chair of Junior League Thrift Shop, 1986 - 1990

Awards for Kathryn include: 

  • Junior Achievement Outstanding Special Event Leader, 2001
  • Bronze Leadership Award for Exemplary Leadership, 1998
  • 2012 Governor’s Arts Award


Lisa Smith, Capital Campaign Committee Member

Lisa M. Smith is a native of Lincoln, Nebraska and is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Business Administration.

Lisa began her financial services career in banking, working at a Nebraska based bank.  During a15 year banking career, Lisa’s experience included working in the Commercial Lending and Private Banking departments of the bank.  While working in the Private Banking division she developed an interest in helping clients plan for their financial future.

Lisa became a member of the SMITH HAYES team in 1999, joining a team of three financial advisors who work with individuals and businesses in formulating plans to assist clients in achieving their personal wealth goals.   Both Lisa and SMITH HAYES are dedicated to earning your trust and respect in the confines of a professional and friendly atmosphere.

Lisa is involved in the Lincoln community on many levels.  Her involvement includes the Lincoln Public Schools Foundation Board, serving as past Chair, the Sheldon Art Association, and the Madonna Hospital Foundation Board, serving as past Chair and is a member of Joslyn Museum Board of Directors in Omaha.  She is currently the chair of the Women Investing in Nebraska subcommittee of the University of Nebraska Foundation ‘s fund development committee.   Additionally Lisa serves on the University of Nebraska College of Business Advisory Board, and is part of the Willard Community Center Capital Campaign Committee.

Lisa and her husband, Tom enjoy traveling with friends and family, and spending time in Jackson, WY.  


Candy Henning, Capital Campaign Committee Member

Candy is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and also holds a Secondary Teaching degree from Kansas Wesleyan University.  Candy owns and operates her own business – Candy Henning Company – which represents Broadcast Media in Nebraska.

Candy currently serves as Chair of the Nebraska Arts Council and serves on the Board of Directors for the Mid-America Arts Alliance – Nebraska Cultural Endowment and the Museum of Nebraska Art.  Candy serves on the Chancellor’s Lied Center Advisory Board and is a member of Nebraska’s Early Childhood Business Roundtable.  Candy is a Trustee for the Nebraska State Historical Society and serves on the LPS Superintendents’ Advisory Board.

Candy’s professional organization affiliations include the American Advertising Federation of Omaha and the Lincoln Advertising Club.  Candy’s past community experiences include serving as President of the Sheldon Art Association, Board of Directors for the Lancaster County Red Cross, Lincoln Symphony Board, President of the UNL College of Education & Human Sciences Alumni Board and President of her Sororities Building Corporation Board.  Candy is currently part of the Willard Community Center Capital Campaign Committee.

Candy and her husband Tom have two daughters – Cassandra Kohl and Madeline Henning, son-in-law Taylor Kohl and two grandson’s William and Callaway.


Natalie Olson, Capital Campaign Committee Member

Natalie Olson is a life-long resident of Lincoln, Nebraska where she attended the University of Nebraska.

Natalie has been committed to the betterment of Lincoln thru a broad range of interests and activities.  She has served as President/Chair of the Nebraska Humanities Foundation, Lincoln Children’s Zoo, NET Foundation, Friends of Prairie Schooner, and was the first female President of United Way of Lincoln. She has served on the boards of the Sheldon Art Association, Nebraska Cultural Endowment, CEI (Citizens for Environmental Improvement), Lincoln-Lancaster Commission on the Status of Women, and the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market.

She is a board member of C.A.T.C.H. (Community Access to Coordinated Healthcare) and is currently a member of the Willard Community Center Capital Campaign Committee.

Natalie was the owner of Individual Assessment Associates and was the Executive Director of the Lancaster County Medical Society.

She and her husband, Sam are proud of their children, Kelly Clark, Nelson Clark and David Olson and especially their four grandsons.

Katie Haszard, Capital Campaign Committee Member

Katie Haszard is the Director of Branded Products for Lincoln Chrome, a division of Lincoln Industries. She has grown up in the business as a third generation owner and family member.  In her current role, she is responsible for the sales, profitability, and shipping of aftermarket chrome products for Class 8 trucks.  She received her undergraduate business degree from Drake University in Des Moines, IA and an Executive Master of Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis.

Katie is involved in several different Lincoln non-profits. Her service includes Northeast Family Center, serving as Vice-President, Lincoln Children’s Museum and Friends of Lincoln Children’s Museum, serving as past Chair of the Friends guild for several years. She is also involved in NextGen Lincoln, as a founding member and past Vice Chair of the newly formed giving circle. In addition, Katie is a part of the Willard Community Center Capital Campaign Committee.

Katie and her husband, Craig, enjoying traveling to new places, spending time with friends and family, cooking healthy meals and remodeling their home.

Irene G. Williams, Willard Board Chair

Irene is the CFO and Vice President of Human Resources for the Foundation for Educational Services, Inc (FES).  She has worked for FES and the family of companies for 25 years.  She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from College of St. Mary’s where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1995.  She obtained her CPA certificate in 1998 and is a member of the Nebraska Society of CPA’s.  She is currently the Board Chair for Willard Community Center and has been part of Willard since 2008.  She is passionate about her work and has dedicated her career to the not-for-profit world.  She is passionate about Willard and the services they provide.  She recognizes the impact Willard has had over the years on the community and the children and families who use the services.  She is proud to support and be part of FES and Willard Community Center. 

Irene was born in Cuba and is fluent in Spanish.  At the age of 12, she immigrated to the US with her family.  She was the first member of her family to become a naturalized citizen and is proud to be the first person in her family to get a college degree. 

Irene enjoys scuba diving and is an Advanced Open Water PADI certified diver.  Besides scuba diving, she enjoys running, collecting wine, and traveling with her husband Russ.  They have been married 20 years and have been fortunate to travel to many different countries. 

Irene is very close to family which includes her mother, sisters (4) and brother (1).  Her father passed away 11 years ago and he is greatly missed.  He sacrificed a great deal in order to give his family the gift of freedom and opportunity by coming to this wonderful country.  Family is very important to her, thus she is involved in the activities of her nieces, nephews, and great nieces.  Whether it is a dance recital or a sporting event, Irene does her best to show her support by attending as many events as possible.


Kassandra LeBaron Knudson, Willard Board Vice Chair

Kassandra Knudson is the director of marketing at Lincoln Industries.

She represents the third generation of the LeBaron family at Lincoln Industries.  Her grandfather, Dale LeBaron founded the company and was also a founding board member at the Willard Community Center.  Her father, Marc, is the CEO and Chairman at Lincoln Industries.

At Lincoln Industries, Kassandra has served in several roles, including human resources, operations and marketing. 

She is engaged in the Lincoln community.  Kassandra is a board member at NextGen and is Vice Chair of the Willard Community Center board.  She has also participated on the College of Business Administration’s Young Advisory Board and the Lincoln Entrepreneurial Task Force. 

Kassandra is a 2008 graduate of the University with a degree in biology and a minor in biochemistry. 

She and her husband, Philip, have a son, Baron. 


Janelle Soderling, Willard Executive Director

Janelle Soderling, current executive director of the Willard Community Center, began her life at Willard as a University of Nebraska student intern in 1981.  After graduation with a degree in Human Development and Family Rehabilitation she was subsequently hired in 1982 to assist with the Summer Child Care Program with 20 registered children. Janelle advanced through the ranks filling every directorship position within the organization until being hired by the Board of Directors as the Executive Director in 1992.  Under her leadership the Center has grown into the hub of activity that it is today with over 1000 people coming through the front doors monthly for Scouts, exercise, hobby clubs, educational trainings, or neighborhood and civic  meetings, in addition to the Center’s child care programs.  

Janelle is very familiar with the neighborhood, area businesses, and public and private schools; she is constantly striving to meet the needs of this growing southwestern quadrant of Lincoln.  With the ever increasing number of households in the neighborhood, the need for licensed Child Care has grown.  Under the strong leadership of Janelle, the Willard Community Center continues meet that need by expansion into two area elementary schools, and establishing a second preschool location, thereby serving over 321 children, preschool through middle school daily.

Janelle stays involved in the community by being an active member in the West “A” Neighborhood Association, Directors of United Way Agencies, Human Services Federation, and numerous other committees and organizations.  She has worked cooperatively with funders to secure grants for everything from two-way radios for the Willard child care sites to funding for a West “A” Neighborhood Health Fair.