Kailee Schmitt

RISE Events

Not only does Kailee use her talents to help plan events for RISE, but also in her full-time gig as a Partnerships & Events Specialist at Hudl. Born and raised in Kearney NE, she made the big move to Lincoln when starting college at the University of Nebraska and graduated with a degree in Leadership Education and Communication. After attending her first RISE event in 2017, she immediately felt empowered, energized, and invested in the women in the community. When she's not planning the next big event, you might find her watching any Harry Potter movie on her couch, posted up at the corner table on The Mill's patio downtown, or traveling the globe with her other half.


Christine Weeks 

RISE Branding & Marketing

Behind every great performance is a strong and savvy director. Christine is just that. She loves directing day-to-day marketing and branding strategies for her clients while inspiring her employees to do great work.

Christine is the definition of driven. To survive, to thrive, to succeed. Christine started Eleanor Creative in 2009 after her years developing marketing strategies for healthcare organizations. She had a knack for propelling research into a strategic marketing plan, helping physicians promote their specialty clinics through innovative design and compelling communications.

While driven is the perfect word to describe Christine, she actually hates driving a car. Most days you’ll find her cycling up the trails on her way to the studio. She’s on marathon #15 all while running a business and raising her four wonderful kids. 

Some describe Christine as 50% sophistication and 50% grit. She has learned to fight through difficult and demanding situations her entire life. This has given her thick skin, compassion for others and courage to inspire many to be brave in the midst of adversity.

There’s more to her story and her list of life experiences that make it easy to connect with her on so many different levels. The best part is that she is always ready to listen and prepared with solutions to make your business and life flourish.

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RISE Public Relations

Two days after graduating from Hastings College in 2007, Amber started her job as a producer at 10/11 News and she is still there, now as Digital Director.

She's part of the management team for several Nebraska TV stations owned by Gray Television and has helped launch newscasts and digital channels all across the state. Knowing these communities are getting a higher caliber of local news and weather than ever before fuels her drive.

Amber "pops" out of bed everyday at 5 a.m. and has abolished the snooze button. Hammering out a workout class at her favorite place, Capital City Fitness & Performance, gives her the energy to attack the day. "Conquer the day before anyone else is out of bed," is advice her late mother gave her that she does her best to live by.

Losing both her parents at age 28 has taught Amber not to take anything for granted. She exudes positive energy and you'll seldom see her without a smile on her face.

When Amber went to her first RISE event, she instantly knew she was in a room with some of Lincoln’s most brilliant and encouraging women. She wanted to help spread the good word of the RISE community and now leads the Public Relations efforts.

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Karissa Cooper

RISE Finance

Becoming involved in RISE was serendipitous for Karissa Cooper of Lincoln. While looking for ways to become more involved in the community, Karissa found and attended a RISE event. She was overwhelmed by the energy of RISE and knew she had to find a way to join these exceptional, women-leaders of Lincoln.

Karissa built her career non traditionally, by jumping into the workforce and climbing the ladder to leadership through the food, medicine, and finance industries. She currently works as the Office Manager of CardFlight, where culture, growth, and individuality are encouraged and she is able to thrive mentally exploring her own interests and expanding her skills; something she wants to also provide for her employees.

Off the clock, Karissa fosters dogs and once read 18 books in a month, but hasn’t read one since for fear of falling back down that rabbit hole.

As a leader, Karissa focuses on community engagement, building and maintaining work culture, recruiting, and ensuring her engineers have everything they need to be efficient and happy. As an individual, Karissa feels she is still defining strengths, but loves where she is in her life.

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Taylor Lofdahl 

RISE Sponsorships 

Taylor Lofdahl of Omaha believes that mentorship and connection are vital for support and success. She joined RISE as a Sponsorship Lead because she wants to help create an environment where her belief can unfold and grow.

Outside of RISE, Taylor absolutely loves her career as the Program Coordinator of the Clifton Strengths Institute where she is able to use her Agricultural Education and Leadership degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

Connection is key for Taylor. She looks forward to the beginning of each school year when she is able to mentor students and help them identify and celebrate their unique talents; and she is honored to be the person with whom students want to share their stories and achievements.

In the last year, Samantha Kennelly, Taylor’s colleague and friend, has been a prominent mentor in her own life. Everything from teaching Taylor to cook with a light-hearted mindset, to navigating the everyday challenges of early adulthood, Samantha leads with a contagious positivity and encourages Taylor to connect through community events, create a positive network of friends, and engage in a lifestyle centered on well-being. Ways in which she keeps a centered lifestyle are through kickboxing, using public transportation, and networking.

Taylor feels she will have fulfilled her career goals if she is able to continue investing in the engagement, success, and productivity of others.

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Katie Zulkoski

RISE Co-Founder

Katie Zulkoski, of Ainsworth, Nebraska, is a practicing lobbyist with a law degree from Creighton University School of Law. She and her partner started a woman-owned firm in 2015 where they get to grow a company which reflects their values, work-ethic, and love for Nebraska.

She loves reading! The feel of physically turning the pages of a fictional story or listening to self-improvement audio books on her Lincoln Public Library Overdrive account feeds her soul. After speaking on last year’s RISE Book Lean In, Katie realized that she was well aware of the problems that she faced as a female business leader and felt, by joining the RISE team, she could begin finding solutions.

Katie feels fortunate, not only to have a loving husband and two sons, but also an awesome extended family and a village of people who she considers family. Inspired by her highschool mascot, the Bulldog, and inevitably being a “Lady Dawg,” Katie believes this year is her year to finally crack the top rankings of the family fantasy football league. Fingers crossed! Go Lady Dawgs!

Board of Advisors

Coming Soon!