Board of Directors
Our Board is comprised of representatives from each faith partner with longstanding ties to the Omaha community. Furthermore, our work would not be possible without a network of community representatives and volunteers.
Bob Freeman Bob Freeman is a senior partner at Fraser Stryker PC, LLO and is a founding member of the Tri-Faith Initiative, and served as chairman of the Tri-Faith Board of Directors from 2006-2015. He is a past Board President of Temple Israel and remains an active member of the congregation. Mr. Freeman has served in leadership roles and as counsel to numerous Community Boards, including the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority (MECA), the Omaha Sports Commission, and the Crane Trust. He is also an adjunct law professor at Creighton University Law School.
Rabbi A. Brian Stoller Rabbi Stoller joined Temple Israel as Senior Rabbi in July 2017, after serving as the Associate Rabbi of Congregation BJBE in Deerfield, Illinois. He is a thoughtful teacher of Torah who challenges people to think differently, to find meaning in Jewish study and practice, and to discover themselves in Judaism’s sacred texts. A dedicated student of Torah and Jewish thought, Rabbi Stoller has published articles on Reform Judaism and Jewish law, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in rabbinics and Jewish law. Before entering the rabbinate, Rabbi Stoller served as press secretary to then-U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois. Rabbi Stoller is the proud husband of Karen and the adoring father of Lindsay and Zach.
Lisa Lewis Lisa Lewis has been a member of Temple Israel for 40 years, and currently serves on their Board of Directors and as a co-chair of the Temple Israel Tri-Faith Committee. Lisa is an attorney in the private practice of law, with a focus on Juvenile Court Law, and is a member of the law firm Marks, Clare and Richards. She has historically served on the boards of several community and civic organizations, including Jewish-focused organizations. Lisa is widowed, with one son who has an MD/PhD in neurology and practices medicine in Philadelphia, PA.
Andie Gordman Andie Gordman is a life-long resident of Omaha and, in fact, grew up in Trendwood, very close to what is now the Tri-Faith Campus. She has been an active member of the community most of her adult life. She currently serves as the President of the Board of Trustees of Temple Israel as well as the Certification Director for the Nebraska State Council of the Society of Human Resource Management. She was a member of the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Leadership Omaha Class 38. Andie has been a Human Resource professional for her entire career, and she spent 20 years in corporate HR before joining SilverStone Group as a Senior Consultant in 2013. Andie is married to Dan Fitzgerald and has a daughter Lindsey Thomas. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling and cooking.
Annette van de Kamp Annette joins the Tri-Faith Initiative Board filling the vacancy left by Wendy Goldberg. Born and raised in the Netherlands, Annette has been in the United States since 1996. She has a bachelor’s degree in American Cultural Studies (Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht) and a Master’s in British Literature from the University of Nebraska. – Kearney. Since 2010, Annette has worked for the Jewish Federation of Omaha as the Executive Director of the Jewish Press. Married to Jeremy Wright, they have two children: Isabella, a senior at Millard North High and Mendel, an eighth grader at Millard North Middle.
Annette hopes to bring listening skills to the Board and believes any new experience requires opening your ears to others’ perspectives. She shares, “I know there is so much we can learn about each other.” Her biggest wish is to make Omaha stop talking about tolerance, and instead, start living it.
Countryside Community Church (UCC)
Rev. Eric Elnes, Ph.D. Dr. Eric Elnes is a biblical scholar, with a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Senior Minister of Countryside Community Church (UCC), Omaha, NE. He also hosts Darkwood Brew, an interactive internet television program exploring the emerging and converging edges of Christian faith (www.darkwoodbew.org). Elnes is the author of several books, including Gifts of the Dark Wood: Seven Blessings for Soulful Skeptics (and Other Wanderers), and The Phoenix Affirmations: A New Vision for the Future of Christianity. He and his wife, Melanie, have two daughters, a young dog, and an old cat.
Rick MacInnes – Treasurer Rick MacInnes is COO & EVP Marketing for JButler Group, leading strategic operations, marketing, and communications. He holds both a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University. As an active member of Countryside Community Church, Rick has chaired Youth Board, Deacons, and served as Moderator. Rick is currently chair of the Countryside Relocation Committee for building the new church on the Tri-Faith Commons. A graduate of Leadership Omaha, he’s held other board and committee leadership positions for Omaha Children’s Museum, AIM Institute, Crèche Child Care Center, Youth Leadership Omaha, Phi Delta Theta, Henry Doorly Zoo, and Westside Community Schools. Rick and his wife, Cathy, have two married daughters and one granddaughter.
Mary Fraser Meints Mary Fraser Meints is the Executive Director of Youth Emergency Services in Omaha, and has thirty-five years of experience in the world of child welfare and juvenile justice. Meints has served in leadership roles with Uta Halee Girls Village and The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Meints is currently serving on the Young Adults Voluntary Supports and Services (Bridge to Independence) Advisory Committee, focused on the implementation of the law to provide benefits to young adults who have been in the foster care system. As an advocate for homeless youth, Meints is on the board of Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless. Meints serves on the Board of Trustees at Countryside and represents the church on the Tri-Faith Board.
Brian Gubbels Brian is President and Owner of an Omaha based information security and document destruction company, DataShield Corporation. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As a member of Countryside Community Church, Mr. Gubbels served as Co-Chair for the Countryside Church Tri-Faith Discernment Process and currently serves on the Countryside Relocation Advisory Committee. Other community board leadership positions for Mr. Gubbels include the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Strategic Air and Space Museum, Kids Can Community Center, and the Platte Institute for Economic Research. Brian is married to his wife Shannon and they have three children, Zoe, Davis, and Oliver.
Trisha Hoffman-Ahrens Trisha is a professional consultant for start-up nonprofits and the multifamily industry and principal and founding partner of RE Imagined Residential, LLC, a real estate investment company. Most recently, she was principal of Community Catalysts, an innovative consulting organization dedicated to taking nonprofits from start-up to sustainability. During her tenure, she helped secure over $15 million in private funding and $62.5 million in public funding for a new public, private partnership and assisted nonprofits with strategic planning, board governance, operational infrastructure, and fundraising. From 2008-2013, she served as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Omaha Performing Arts.
Currently, she is a member of Countryside Community Church and Chairs the Board of Art and Music as well as volunteers for the programming committee of the Tri-Faith Initiative. Trisha holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre and Voice from the University of Kansas and a Master of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Michigan. She has two children: Drew and Lindsey.
The American Muslim Institute
Dr. Syed Mohiuddin MD, DSc – Secretary Dr. Mohiuddin is a founding member and President of the American Muslim Institute. He is a cardiologist and a member of the Division of Cardiology and Department of Medicine at Creighton University School of Medicine. He has served as President of the American Heart Association and Governor of the American College of Cardiology (Nebraska Chapter).
Farhan Khan Farhan is a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Communities. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and is a member and past president of EO (Entrepreneur Organization) Nebraska. He has also served on the governing board for the Omaha Symphony, and is a member of the Assisted Living Federation of America and the Nebraska Assisted Living Federation. Farhan is married with two children.
Karim Khayati Karim moved to the United States from Tunisia in 1998, and received his MBA from Creighton University. He works as an information technology professional covering a diverse range of industries. In addition to his membership on the Tri-Faith Initiative Board of Directors, he also currently serves as the vice president and treasurer for the American Muslim Institute (AMI). Karim is married to Olfa and they have three children.
Imam Mohamad Jamal Daoudi Imam Mohamad Jamal Daoudi was born in Damascus, Syria, and graduated from Damascus University in 1988 with BA in English Literature. He continued his Islamic education at The Islamic Call College/Damascus and graduated with a BA in Islamic Sciences and Arabic Language in 1991. He came to the United States in late 1995 and started his first position as Imam at The Islamic Center of North Valley, Lancaster-CA in 1997. He then moved to Charleston-WV where he served The Islamic Association of West Virginia and achieved his “Doctor of Ministry” degree from United Theological Seminary, Dayton-OH in 2005. That same year, he became a US citizen. Imam Daoudi joined the American Muslim Institute in 2017. He has three children, a daughter and two sons, all in college.
Basma Basma Basma Basma was born in Cairo, Egypt. However, and was raised for the majority of her life in Omaha. Basma graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a bachelors in Neuroscience and recently completed her Masters of Science in Health Science at West Virginia University. She returned to Omaha in August of 2018; she currently works as an Allergy Specialist at Internal Medicine and Family Physicians. Basma very passionate about service here Omaha community in general and the youth, in particular, she created an after-school mentoring program for the AMI students of all ages to assist them with academic help.
Basma is eager to continue serving my Omaha community through the Tri-Faith Initiative.
Dr. Maryanne Stevens, RSM – Board Chair Dr. Stevens serves as President of the College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Nebraska. She serves on several community boards and has made numerous presentations to local and national professional groups on women’s issues, the value of gender specific education, and the value of meaningful work.
Susan A. Buffett Susan Buffett serves as chair of The Sherwood Foundation®, The Buffett Early Childhood Fund, and the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. Ms. Buffett also serves on several national nonprofit boards, including ONE, Girls Inc., and the Fulfillment Fund. Locally, she serves on the board of Girls Inc., the Rose Blumkin Performing Arts Center Foundation, and the Omaha Airport Authority.
Rabbi Aryeh Azriel Rabbi Aryeh Azriel received his ordination and Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters in 1983 from Hebrew Union College and served as the Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel from 1988 until his retirement in 2016. He was the recipient of the Otto Swanson Spirit of Service Award in 1993, and in 1997 received the Martin Luther King, Jr. – Living the Dream Award, recognizing his continuing work on building cooperation with projects such as the Mitzvah Garden, Black/Jewish Dialogue, and Habitat for Humanity. Rabbi Azriel has been a visionary in directing the focus of the Tri-Faith Initiative.
Andy Holland Andy was born and raised in Omaha, and graduated from Westside High School. She was raised as a Unitarian, attending the First Unitarian Church of Omaha. With degrees from Texas Woman’s University (MLS), and the University of Texas at Arlington (MBA), she worked as an university librarian at Texas Christian University. She returned to Nebraska in 2005, and is a community volunteer, devoting time to various causes including the Tri-Faith Initiative.
Ali S. Khan, MD, MPH – Vice Chair Dr. Khan is a former Assistant Surgeon General and current Dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). Dr. Khan’s vision is for the College of Public Health to play an integral role in making Nebraska the healthiest state in the Union as a national and global model for wellness. Dr. Khan’s passion for public health and social justice drives his service to the community. He serves on advisory committees including the Every Woman Matters and Nebraska Colon Cancer Medical Advisory Group and on boards including Live Well Omaha. Dr. Khan and his wife, Kris, moved to Nebraska from Atlanta in 2014. He and Kris, who is an artist, have three children.
Deb McCollister Deb McCollister is the retired owner of HMS Toys in Omaha and a founder of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and logged miles as a consultant and trainer for several American and European toy manufacturers. She is a long time member of Countryside Community Church, past Moderator of the congregation, Chair of a senior minister search committee, a Sunday School teacher for 30+ years as well as a writer of Sunday School curriculum, and Chair of the Tri-Faith program committee. Deb and her husband John have three adult children and two grandsons.
Nuzhat Mahmood Nuzhat has lived in Nebraska for more than 20 years. She is active in serving the Omaha community through various civic organizations including the Rotary Club of Omaha West and Girls Inc.
Paul Williams, PhD – UNO Department Chair/ Religious Studies Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and raised in both Congo and Texas, he earned a BA in Anthropology and Asian Studies (1978) from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Religion (1979) from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest. At the University of Chicago, he studied history of religions, with an emphasis on African Religions, Buddhism, and the History of Christianity, earning an MA in Religious Studies (1981) and a PhD in History of Religions (2000). Dr. Williams is an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and served congregations of the Disciples of Christ in Illinois from January 1993 until June 2001. Prior to coming to Nebraska in August 2001, he taught as Adjunct Faculty at St. Xavier University in Chicago.
At UNO, Dr. Williams offers courses in African Religions, History of Christianity, Islam, New Testament, Religion and Popular Culture, Religion in America, Religious Ethics, Senior Seminar in Religion, and World Religion. He works to develop his own pedagogy as well as the curriculum of the Religious Studies program and the College of Arts and Sciences.
His service to the university and profession includes serving as Editor for the on-line peer-review Journal of Religion and Film, Chairperson of the Department of Religious Studies (almost 3 years), Member of the Educational Policy Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences, Member of the Search Committee for the Dean of Arts and Sciences, Director of Islamic Studies, and various other administrative responsibilities. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Williams speaks to civic organizations and religious communities about the significance of religion in the world today, the role of religious studies in higher education, and various topics like Islam, Buddhism, New Testament, Christian missions, contemporary Christian thought, inter-religious relations, and interfaith dialogue.
We are also grateful for the many key volunteers from all three faith groups who have donated large amounts of time to this project.