Our Team

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John Cavanaugh, Chief Operating Officer

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As Chief Operating Officer of the Holland Children's Movement, John Cavanaugh focuses on changing public policies to improve the lives of children in low income families. Public policies which impact family income, access to quality child care and healthcare and educational opportunities which will prepare each child to be a successful member of society are the priorities. Mr. Cavanaugh has worked closely with the Omaha community's leading philanthropists, civic and community leaders, elected public officials and public schools to improve academic and economic opportunities for youth from low income families. A fourth generation Nebraskan, John and his wife Kathleen have been married for more than 40 years and have eight children. 

A lawyer by profession and a graduate of the Creighton University School of Law (1972), John Cavanaugh was elected to the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature in 1972 and was elected to the United States House of Representatives from the Second District in Nebraska in 1976 where he served until 1980. Among his numerous civic activities, Cavanaugh served for 20 years as a trustee to the Platte River Whooping Crane Habitat Trust and received a Presidential appointment as chairman of the Czech and Slovak American Enterprise Fund. John Cavanaugh currently serves on the Board of Directors of CNFA and is co-chair of the Nebraska Child Healthcare Alliance. 

"Everything that makes man's life worthwhile - family, work, education, a place to rear one's children and a place to rest one's head - all this depends on the decisions of government; all can be swept away by a government which does not heed the demands of its people, and I mean all of its people." - Robert Kennedy 

 

 

Victoria Jones, Graphic Designer       

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Victoria brings technical skill and talent as Graphic Designer at Holland Children's Movement. She pairs her creativity with our mission to produce relevant reports and materials. Her ability to translate data and research into digestible visuals drives results for children and families. Victoria interned at The Salvation Army, along with working with children at the University of Nebraska at Omaha's science and math summer camp, Aim for the Stars. She graduated with her B.S. in Communications from UNO.

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." - Maya Angelou 

 

 

Sarah Ann Kotchian, Vice President of Education and Early Childhood Policy      

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As Vice President of Education and Early Childhood Policy, Sarah Ann strengthens early childhood experiences in Nebraska through informing public policy, researching data and facilitating collaboration. 

Sarah Ann's career has been devoted to work on behalf of children and youth in settings that have ranged from an NAEYC- accredited infant room, to a children's respite care center preschool classroom, to an emergency children's crisis shelter for children and youth ages birth through 18 years. She has worked as a voice for children in boardrooms, the courtroom, and on Capitol Hill. Her work for more than the past decade has been predominately focused on an array of state policy issues impacted children from inside the Nebraska Legislature. She is a graduate of Creighton University and the University of Nebraska College of Law.

Sarah Ann resides in Omaha with her husband John and assumes her favorite title of "Mama" to their young daughter, Blythe.

"Listen to the mustn'ts child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me...Anything can happen, child. Anything can be." - Shel Silverstein 

 

Jessica Lathrop, Director of Operations          

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Jessica brings a wealth of operational, political, and detail driven experience to her role as Director of Operations at Holland Children's Movement. 

Jessica has been integral in numerous state and local campaigns including serving as the Political Director for the Obama for America campaign in Nebraska in 2008. She is involved in several organizations serving Omaha families and worked in the Nebraska Legislature for two state senators. The mission of Holland Children's Movement aligns with Jessica's personal dedication to causes that pursue better opportunities for children and working families. Jessica holds a B.A. in Political Science from Creighton University. 

Jessica is proud to call Omaha home with her husband Scott Lathrop and daughter Samantha. She is expecting another child in October. 

"Start by doing what is necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - Francis of Assisi 

 

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Rachel Meier, Director of Communications    

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As Director of Communications, Rachel works to ensure the mission of Holland Children's Movement flows through all of our work.

Rachel's professional background in the public policy and nonprofit fields is centered largely around children and family economic security. Her experience with the Nebraska Unicameral includes legislative and administrative work for two state senators, the Appropriations Committee, and an internship with a government relations firm. Rachel has managed special projects, planned events and written content for organizations. 

A graduate of the University of Nebraska, Rachel's foundation in children's issues is rooted in her experience as an assistant teacher in an infant room at an early childhood care and education center. 

Rachel and her husband are enjoying the adventures of parenthood with their toddler. 

"The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom." - Lady Bird Johnson 

 

 

Heath Mello, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and External Affairs

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As Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and External Affairs at the Holland Children's Movement, Heath Mello strives to create synergy between community partnerships, public policy, civic engagement and advocacy on behalf of working families and children. 

Heath Mello was elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. In the Unicameral, Senator Mello served four years as Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. Senator Mello was an active member in several national state legislative organizations. He served on the Executive Committee and as the Co-Chair of the Economic Development Committee within the Midwestern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments. Mello also was a member of the Budgets & Revenue and Labor & Economic Development Committees within the National Conference of State Legislators.

Mello is an active board of director's member with Omaha by Design and inCOMMON Community Development. 

Heath and his wife Catherine live in South Omaha with their children, Angelina and John Francis. 

"We are the music-makers and we are the dreamers of dreams." - Arthur O'Shaughnessy 

 

 

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Hadley Richters, Senior Advisor 

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As a Senior Advisor to Holland Children's Movement, Hadley leverages her unique development skills to help us accomplish organizational goals. 

Hadley has a range of fundraising, communications and executive experience in political campaigns, capital campaigns, and other projects. She has seen some of the most ambitious initiatives to the finish line in Nebraska through her work at RichtersBrinkman LLC and independently. Hadley is known for delivering results and breaking records.

A graduate of the University of Nebraska, Hadley served as the Finance Director for the Nebraska Democratic Party and subsequently Executive Director.  

Born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, Hadley resides in Omaha and can be spotted in Midtown accompanied by her dog Lois. 

"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do." - Steve Jobs

 


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