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Iowa: 1 (800) 362-2178

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(402) 595-1326
Hours: Mon-Fri: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
After hours by appointment only


Learn more about all of the speakers presenting at the 2024 Speaking of Children Luncheon & Conference.

Keynote Luncheon Speaker

John Walsh

John Walsh is the longtime host and a producer of America’s Most Wanted, the show that has helped law enforcement capture more than 1,100 dangerous fugitives and brought home more than 50 missing children. Walsh turned the 1981 abduction and murder of his six-year-old son into a lifelong mission to help make the world safer for children and their families. Read more…

Plenary Speakers

Dr. Scott Butler

Scott Butler, Ed.D., LMHP, is the Senior Director of Prevention and Early Intervention at Project Harmony following two years as the Director of the Training Institute. Read more…



Lisa A. Utterback

Lisa Utterback grew up in extreme poverty and faced great adversity. She found refuge and hope within the walls of the schools she attended. Read more…



Erin Walsh

Erin Walsh works with communities across the country who want to better understand child and adolescent development and technology. Read more…


Breakout Session Speakers

Michele Bang

Michele Bang joined Project Harmony in 2022 after retiring as a deputy chief of police after 29 years with the Omaha Police Department. Read more…



Liz Bartels

In her role as Training Specialist at Project Harmony, Liz trains about child abuse laws, trauma, methods to engage youth and families, and prevention strategies. Read more…



Colleen Brazil, MSW, LIMHP

Colleen Brazil is the Senior Director of Children’s Services at Project Harmony. She has interviewed over 8,000 children regarding allegations of abuse or neglect. Read more…



Judge Chad M. Brown

The honorable Chad Brown serves as a juvenile court judge in Douglas County and works to improve the services provided to children and families across Nebraska. Read more…



Patrick Caldwell

Patrick Caldwell helps create, manage, and facilitate The U.S. Center for SafeSport’s abuse prevention training programs. Read more…



Kelli Ceraolo

Kelli Ceraolo worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Nebraska, during which she prosecuted a variety of cases largely focused on child exploitation and human trafficking. Read more…



Dani Cordle, LCSW

Dani Cordle is a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner who has conducted over 800 interviews as a Forensic Interviewer at Project Harmony. Read more…



Dr. Cambria Corsi

Dr. Cambria Corsi is a post-doctoral clinical psychology fellow at the Boys Town Behavioral Health Clinic. Read more…



Jonathan Davis

In his role as a Training Specialist at Project Harmony, Jonathan trains about child abuse laws, trauma, methods to engage youth and families, and prevention strategies. Read more…



Vern Davis-Showell

Vern Davis-Showell is a school psychologist with special interests in deafness, autism, behavior, home-school connectivity, professional self-care, and social-justice/equity. Read more…



Dara Delehant, JD

Dara Delehant is a Deputy County Attorney with the Douglas County Attorney’s Office and a member of the specialized Child Victim Sexual Assault unit. Read more…



Julie Delkamiller, Ed.D.

Dr. Julie Delkamiller is an associate professor at UNO training individuals to be teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing and/or sign language interpreters. Read more…



Mandy Farwell, LCSW

Mandy Farwell is the School Social Worker for Andersen and Kiewit Middle Schools in the Millard school district. Read more…



Danielle Fliam

Danielle Fliam is an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Nebraska, prosecuting cases involving child exploitation and human trafficking. Read more…



Machaela Hackendahl, MS, LIMHP

Machaela is a Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner and the Director of Multi-Disciplinary Teams at Project Harmony. Read more…



Joanna Halbur

Joanna is a a Licensed Independent Marriage and Family Therapist and the Director of of Mental Health at Project Harmony. Read more…



Katie Hansen

Katie Hansen is currently the Director of Anti-Trafficking and Missing Youth Services at Project Harmony. Read more…



Julia Hebenstreit

Julia Hebenstreit has been the Executive Director of The Kim Foundation since 2011. Read more…



Dr. Anne Hobbs

Dr. Anne Hobbs, a licensed attorney, is the director of the Juvenile Justice Institute at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Read more…



Angie Howard, LCSW

Angie Howard is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker employed at Brook Valley South, a school program serving students with significant behavioral needs. Read more…



Cathy Hudson, MD, FAAP

Cathy Hudson, MD, FAAP, has practiced at Children’s Nebraska for 28 years. Her expertise spans child physical and sexual abuse, pediatric asthma, and ADHD among children of color. Read more…



Lizzie Hudson

Lizzie Hudson is a Trauma Training Specialist at Project Harmony and the host and producer of the Trauma Matters Podcast. Read more…



Yulia Kazakova

Yulia is a supervisor of the Pastoral and Spiritual Care team and is the NICU chaplain at Children’s Nebraska. Read more…



McKayla LaBorde, M.S., M.A. Ed.

McKayla is the Executive Director of Student Services at Educational Service Unit #3, providing training and consultation to educators in 18 school districts. Read more…



Janessa Michaelis, PLMHP

Janessa Michaelis is a Forensic Interviewer at Project Harmony with over 1,200 completed forensic interviews. Read more…



Taylor Newton

Taylor Newton is the Program Manager of the Anti-Trafficking Youth Services Program at Project Harmony. Read more…



Laura Opfer

Laura Opfer is the Deputy Director of Programs for Policy & Legislative Services for Division of Children and Family Affairs within Nebraska DHHS. Read more…



Shelley Pool, M.Ed., LMHP, CCTP

Shelley Pool is Mental Health Crisis Co-Responder for the Omaha Police Department with over 30 years of experience. Read more…



Sgt Brett Schrage

Sgt Brett Schrage is the sergeant of the Missing Person Unit with Omaha Police Department, overseeing adult and juvenile missing person investigations and human trafficking cases. Read more…



Elizabeth Straham

Elizabeth Straham is an MDT Coordinator at Project Harmony, transitioning into the child welfare field after serving in the U.S. Air Force. Read more…



Brian E. Tomlinson

Brian Tomlinson is the Co-Director of Investigations for the U.S. Center for SafeSport. Read more…



Cole Urh, PsyD, LMHP, pLP

Cole Urh is a therapist at Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health and works with children, adolescents, and their families. Read more…



Ayana Wallace Vieux

Ayana Wallace Vieux, MS, is the Training and Technical Assistance Manager with Ujima, Inc.: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community. Read more…



Heather Werthmann

Heather Werthmann is an MDT Coordinator at Project Harmony and is one of the coordinators for the Impact from Infancy Program. Read more…



Chief Robert White

Robert White is a former Deputy Chief with the Flagstaff, Arizona Police Department with 31 years of experience. Read more…



Staci Whitney, LMSW

Staci Whitney, LMSW is the Senior Director for Modell Consulting Group, LLC, leading projects to develop and implement advanced Forensic Interviewing protocols. Read more…


We wish to thank you for your hospitality and the wonderful program and tour of Project Harmony. We are so fortunate to have an organization acting on the behalf of our children with such outstanding enthusiasm and dedication.

- Rotary Club of Omaha Northwest

Thank you so much for coming to Children’s and speaking to our staff. Your talk on “Understanding Poverty” was excellent, and I could see “wheels turning” as some staff members commented on simple ways their interactions might make a difference for children and parents.

- Patty Carrell, CMSW

I have felt that my input has been highly valued and respected when it comes to doing my job, and that is something that speaks volumes to the working environment here at Project Harmony.

- Brenda Jewell

We began collaborating with the Project Harmony through their Connections program last year, and we’ve continued the partnership. Connections represents an extremely valuable partnership and an opportunity to provide our students with a bridge to mental health services.

- Papillion La Vista Community Schools

Our experience and partnership with Project Harmony/Connections has been fantastic! It is a comfort knowing we have a partner who can connect our students and families with the appropriate resources in times of crisis or trauma.

- Millard Public Schools

This shadowing experience actually made me very interested in this field. One aspect that helped me narrow my choice of careers is the environment that Project Harmony had. It was very upbeat, cheerful and bright.

- UNMC High School Alliance Program – Student Journal

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Project Harmony for planning and delivering professional development to our 70 counselors, social workers and community counselors. We feel fortunate to have such a valuable resource in our community to partner with.

- Millard Public Schools

You have a top rate program – really national quality. I’m totally impressed.

- Lisa Fontes

At our last D2 Center Board meeting, I was describing the training and professional development we provide for our staff. At the top of the list was Project Harmony. Please know that you are providing an invaluable service to nonprofits in our community.

- Greg Emmel

Congratulations on the great media coverage of your Stewards class at Project Harmony on WOWT. You did a great job articulating the importance of prevention, and Susan was amazing too. Thank you so much for your partnership and all the important work you are doing.

- Cindy McElhinney – Darkness to Light

Just wanted to know that you made a difference in my life, and I will be using that momentum to make a difference in the lives of others. You are truly a rock star and a role model for me. Thank you for a new life I’m getting the chance to live.

- Anonymous

Many children through my caseload have received a backpack generously donated to the Project Harmony Triage Center. I have witnessed many faces light up when given the opportunity to pick out a new backpack, and I am very grateful for the generosity of the Junior League.

- DHHS – Children & Family Services

I have never felt as valued at other organizations like I do at Project Harmony. I really feel that the culture of a working environment is incredibly important. If an employee feels respected, valued and supported, that person will likely give more to fulfill the mission.

- Javier Castellote

Nick and Javier were great teachers and role players. It gave us an opportunity to see how someone in that situation would have reacted to our questions. They did a great job at showing us the difference between sympathy and empathy.

- Anonymous

I was able to shadow Mr. Nick Zadina. He was in charge of dealing with abused kids and help them. I am thankful to know all the information I learned during shadowing because it was eye opening.

- UNMC High School Alliance Program – Student Journal

The experience at Project Harmony was a deepening reminder of empathy that will be vital in my career as a nurse. I felt my perspective was widened on how others think, especially when discussing the assumptions we make.

- Anonymous

I didn’t know how many people work at Project Harmony, so I drew a lot to show how much Project Harmony means to me!

- Project Harmony Client

As difficult as a removal is on a child, the backpack they receive at Project Harmony provides a sense of belonging and hope. It truly is amazing something that seems so simple can change the perspective and shine light on these children.

- DHHS – Children & Family Services

Great leadership for a wonderful cause with outstanding long-term goals. Keep on doing all the good you do.

- Bill & Jean O’Conner

Project Harmony is the reason I started my journey in college. I just finished my associates and I'm going for my bachelors now in Child Protection and Juvenile Justice. Y'all helped my daughter back in early 2013 and I knew what I wanted to do with my life — help children.

- LaLa Ann

A young lady who works in our field told me that she loved what we do here at Project Harmony — she had been to Project Harmony seven years ago for a forensic interview. She said her positive experience was the biggest reason she is doing the work that she is today.

- Trainee

I found out that my foster son is going to have a forensic interview here at Project Harmony soon. It’s been interesting being on the other side of things and feeling so reassured that the child I care so deeply about is in very caring and capable hands.

- Jessica Kroeker

Nick demonstrated how one person could impact a huge group of student nurses by just attending his presentation. He gave me the reason, the courage to act, and the knowledge how to save victims that I will face in my future nursing career.

- Anonymous

I recently attended the Testifying Training course. Since that class I have been subpoenaed three times, and I had to testify at each hearing. Without this class I would have been less than prepared and too nervous to be credible. Thank you so much!

- Jenny Lewis

You are part of the solution.

The cycle of abuse does not have to continue, but we can’t end it alone. Anyone has the power to be someone who makes our community a safe place for all children.

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