Adjunct Spotlight: Meet Susan Ogborn the president and CEO of the Food Bank for the Heartland

Susan Ogborn is photographed at the Omaha Food Bank for the Omaha Chamber Guide.

Katie Shaneyfelt

The University of Nebraska at Omaha has several hidden gems on campus that you might not know about.

Take Susan Ogborn. She’s the president and CEO of the Food Bank for the Heartland who is also a part-time instructor on campus.

“It’s not just a part-time job,” she said of adjunct instructing for the School of Public Administration. She said she’s honored and thrilled to share what she knows about the world with eager students.

Years ago, Ogborn was recruited to UNO. She was a part-time instructor at Bellevue University when B.J. Reed, the now senior vice chancellor of academic and student affairs at UNO, asked if she would consider teaching for UNO instead. A great opportunity to work with Reed again, she thought. She had previously worked as a UNO graduate for his department. So she made the switch.

Ogborn’s professional experience is robust. Prior to instructing college students, Ogborn was director of training at the Nebraska Medical Center. She also taught at a private institution in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she worked closely with returning veterans. Her primary focus was to prepare veterans to rehabilitate and return into the workforce. Oftentimes, she concentrated on the fundamentals such as reading, writing and basic math. She gave guidance and was compassionate in coaching them especially when many suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Seven years ago, she became president and CEO of the Food Bank for the Heartland a position in which she still serves. When she first took office at the non-profit, the Food Bank was considering a redesign of its mission and business practices so it could grow.

“I didn’t know anything about the Food Bank,” Ogborn said, “but what I like is doing turn arounds with non-profits that are having trouble or aren’t doing well.”

That’s exactly what she did. The Food Bank rebranded, changed its business practices and moved into a new building in the time she managed the agency.

During the spring semester, Ogborn returned to UNO to teach an Organizational Theory course. She said the class is one of her favorites to lecture. She enjoys staying current with the emerging workforce and seeing how it changes. She also enjoys staying in contact with her previous students. Some of her former students have gone on to do a variety of jobs in community outreach and nonprofit work.

In fact, one of her former students went on to become the city administrator for Blair. Definitely a rewarding moment in her teaching career.

“I hope (UNO) keeps inviting me (to teach), it’s kind of a semester by semester thing,” Ogborn said. “As long as they keep inviting me, I’ll keep doing it.”