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24th Annual Tribute to Women

Women Making a Difference

(page 5 of 7)



Honoree - Ruth Henrichs

Ruth Henrichs has been the “face and spirit” of Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska (LFS) for 35 years, dedicating her entire career to serving the human care needs of children and families across Nebraska.

Henrichs was the second woman nationally to be named CEO of a Lutheran social service organization and the first woman chair of the National Board of Directors of Lutheran Services in America, the largest nonprofit organization in the United States. She has received Nebraska’s Social Worker of the Year Award and the Midland University Master Teacher Award. Under her leadership the LFS program budget has grown from $800,000 in 1984 to $16 million in 2011. In 2007 LFS received the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands Nonprofit of the Year Award.

Henrichs has a Masters Degree in Social Work and a passion for serving all people with dignity, justice and respect. She currently serves as Chair of the national Board of Directors of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Immanuel Inc. and Chair of the Board of the Children and Families Coalition of Nebraska. Henrichs’ passion for building and strengthening families is demonstrated through her leadership in developing strategic and innovative programming. Examples are the LFS Centers for Healthy Families in Council Bluffs, North Omaha and Fremont, where low-income families of children prenatal to age five receive intervention and prevention services and the At Ease program which serves active military, veterans and their loved ones.

As a strong advocate for children and families, Henrichs helped to shape legislation to amend the Nebraska Safe Haven Law. Today, LFS partners with other organizations to deliver Right Turn, a program offering 24/7 access to services for adoptive/guardianship families on the verge of disruption. In 2010 she facilitated the merger of Adoption Links Worldwide with Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska.

Henrichs has given voice to children and families dealing with sexual abuse, incest and sexual behavior problems through programs like RSAFE, Parents United, Daughters and Sons United and Lutheran Family Services’ Behavioral Health Programs across the state of Nebraska. Immigrants and refugees find justice and respect through her vision to develop the International Center of the Heartland.

Henrichs is actively involved with many boards, task forces and advisory councils at the local, state and national levels. She lives her life with purpose, passion, faith and integrity.


Honoree - Susan Jacques, G.G., F.G.A.

She says that she has the unique opportunity to celebrate major achievements and milestones with her customers every single day. To be a part of these significant occasions is a great privilege for Susan Jacques, President and CEO of Borsheims Fine Jewelry and Gifts.

Celebrating 30 years at Borsheims, she was only 34, when she received the call to the CEO spot by Warren Buffett. Males historically have dominated the jewelry industry, and her appointment has had an impact on female leadership in the industry.

Jacques, widely recognized as a leader within the jewelry industry was inducted into the National Jeweler’s Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2010, she was named Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Gemological Institute of America. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Jewelry Association, also in 2010.

Locally, she serves on the Creighton University Board of Directors. She volunteers with Creighton University’s Freshman Leadership Seminar. Jacques shares her leadership and business experience with an audience of future leaders. She also mentors one graduate student per semester at Creighton as an Executive Partner, sharing her experience and insight of current business issues and real life business cases.

Jacques has served on several boards and forums including her current leadership on the Creighton University Board of Directors, Young President’s Organization Forum Member and Boy Scouts of MidAmerica Council Board of Directors. Other board work includes the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Omaha Theatre for Young People, Ak-Sar-Ben, American Lung Association.

Jacques was the keynote speaker of the ICAN Women’s Conference in 2010. This significant achievement is very dear to her, as it is important to her to be an inspiring leader to women in our community. Her greatest accomplishment, she said, is her three sons and husband as well as balancing her home and business lives.

Selection committee:

      Committee Chair
    • KEN BIRD
      Former Honoree
      Former Honoree
      Former Honoree
      Former Honoree
      WCA CEO
    • WCA Vice Chair



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