Our Team

Danielle Smith

Chief Visionary Officer

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Danielle is the Chief Visionary Officer of Wellbeing Initiative, Inc. and is the Project Director of the Nebraska Coalition for Peer Delivered Services. She is the co-author of Peeriodical Nebraska Peer Support Curriculum which supports the training and education of Peer Support Specialists across Nebraska. Danielle is a certified facilitator in Advance level WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan), WHAM (Whole Health Action Management) and SMART Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training). Danielle serves as the Chair of the Mental Health Advisory Committee for the state of Nebraska and the Chair of the Consumer Family Advisory Committee for Region V Systems. She is a strong advocate and has unlimited passion for the peer support movement in Nebraska. Danielle strives to bring hope to people in recovery and supports a sense of belonging for peers within the community. Her primary goals are to empower, connect, advocate, and provide education for all peers in the state of Nebraska. When Danielle is not working, she focuses on her own personal wellness and spending time with her family. 

Sadie Thompson

Chief Implementation Officer

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Sadie is the Chief Implementation Officer of Wellbeing Initiative, Inc. and is the Curriculum Development Coordinator of the Nebraska Coalition for Peer Delivered Services and Trainer Supervisor for the Emergency Response Covid-19 Program. She is the co-author of Peeriodical Nebraska Peer Support Curriculum which supports the training and education of Peer Support Specialists across Nebraska. Sadie is an Advanced Level Facilitator in WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) and an expert in Mindfulness Related Training. She is a social justice advocate that is passionate about serving people experiencing a wide variety of life’s challenges. Sadie serves as the Vice President of Consumer Affairs for the Nebraska Association of  Behavioral Health Organizations in Nebraska.  Sadie believes that recovery is possible for anyone, and peers are some of the most amazing, resilient people in our community. Sadie has lived experience with physical health and mental health challenges and hopes to bring physical health peer support to Nebraska in the future. When she is not working, Sadie loves cycling with friends, swimming, gardening, and snuggling up with her family to watch movies and eat popcorn. 

Chris Allende

 Region V Consumer Representative

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Chris started his walk of recovery in 2005 at a faith based recovery program called Youth Challenge based in Hartford, CT.  After going through the process of restoration, he was sent to Guatemala City, Guatemala (in Central America) to start a residential treatment facility, an endeavor he was in for 8 years. Chris was then offered the possibility of coming to Lincoln, Ne to work as the youth pastor at a local church, work he continues to do. However, in 2017, Chris felt the need to start working in the behavioral health field through an encounter he had at Project Homeless Connect. Since then, he has received his certification as a Peer Support Specialist. Chris is a WRAP and SMART Recovery facilitator. He is passionate about the work that he does, supporting individuals on their path to recovery, empowering them to recognize their own strengths and inspiring hope!

Lisa DeCoteau

Community Leadership Coordinator

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Lisa is beginning her career in the peer support movement in Nebraska at the Wellbeing Initiative as a Recovery Support Specialist Trainer. She is currently a WRAP and SMART Recovery Facilitator. Lisa brings her lived experience, sincere interest in others, and determination to provide hope within the community.  Lisa imparts a sense of connectedness and empathy that adapts to those around her. She is determined to hone her skills as an advocate and educator by continuous growth and understanding in recovery and whole health.  Her goal is to share her strengths to lift others up and impact individuals in a positive way. Lisa is an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribe. Self care and humor are priorities that she instills in her three daughters and baby boy. She has a passion for the culinary arts, books, and nature. 

Kjerstin Egger

Wellness & Education Director

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Kjerstin is thrilled to be joining the Wellbeing Initiative, Inc. team as the Wellness and Education Director . She has worked in the field of Human Services and Early Childhood Education for 16 years as a teacher, case manager, and instructional coach. Kjerstin also has years of experience as a community and event organizer. She has a great passion for bringing community and families together to learn and grow with one another. She enthusiastically believes in the peer support movement and that this movement holds limitless possibilities for connection and wellness. Kjerstin is currently pursuing certification as an Integrative Health Coach / Yoga Teacher and is excited to bring that knowledge to the Wellbeing Initiative community. In her free time you will find Kjerstin outside in nature hiking or biking, eating delicious food, and spending time with loved ones.

Alex Goodier

Director of Systems & Neurodiversity

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Alex wants to help everyone around them climb higher and utilizes support, self-care, strategic planning, and organization to make that happen in a very personal way. Alex is neurodiverse and is set on helping others with similar experiences feel empowered and supported in a world that was not made for them. When they’re not on the clock, Alex likes to hunt for vintage treasures with their partner, dive into creative projects, and play with their three dogs: Poko, Niles, & Romy.

Taisa Brumagen

Recovery Community Navigator

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Taisa Brumagen is a Recovery Community Navigators at the Wellbeing Initiative. She was born and raised in Lincoln Nebraska, and started her wellness and recovery journey in 2016. She has lived experience with both mental health and substance use concerns, and has lived through two overdose experiences. She knows that the journey is not just about stopping, but exploring. She has been learning about herself, finding out who she is as a person, and discovering her place in the world. Every day she finds out more about her wellness and recovery and how to take care of herself. She is a trained WRAP and SMART Recovery facilitator. She loves hearing individual’s experiences and learning about their pathways to wellness and recovery. Being able to connect with individuals and share lived experiences inspires her. One hope she has is to end the stigma associated with addiction and mental health through self-advocacy and community inclusion. She enjoys going to the gym, spending time with her dogs, being involved in her children’s sports and activities, and art – especially tattoos. She loves watching football and likes exploring new recipes and food.

Heather Anders

Recovery Community Navigator

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Heather is transitioning to the Wellbeing Initiative from Lutheran Family Services and Community Corrections, where she worked as a Peer Support Specialist. She lost her mother 10 years ago to an overdose, so being able to share her experiences, strength, and hope with others to inspire recovery is beyond humbling to her. Heather’s recovery thrives from community engagements and demonstrating to those she serves that kindness can go a long way. She is a member of CFAC, ABATE of Nebraska, has supportive collaborations with BACA, and has also done service work with City Impact over the last 10 years. She graduated with honors from Bellevue University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Management and emphasis in Psychology. Some of her wellness tools include traveling, cooking, arts, reading, and of course motorcycle riding. She also enjoys spending quality time with family and her cat Dracula.

Anne Ruhnke

Director of Operations and Fidelity

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Anne is excited to be joining the Wellbeing Initiative as the Director of Operations and Fidelity.  She has worked in the Human Services field, primarily in Community Corrections, for the past 17 years in various capacities including providing substance use prevention education, facilitating cognitive behavioral therapy groups, serving as a case manager in a residential facility and most recently as a supervision officer for Drug Court.  She believes that recovery and wellness are for everyone and is looking forward to providing training and education for individuals in the community, as well as supporting others on their own recovery and wellness journeys.  In her free time, you can find Anne outdoors, running, working out, and spending time with her husband and four children.

Jennifer Bender

Recovery Community Navigator

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Jennifer is excited to be joining Wellbeing Initiative as a Recovery Community Navigator. She worked for Houses of Hope at Touchstone for two and a half years as a Peer Support Specialist. Jennifer is passionate about Peer Support, and believes that it will change the world. She is a facilitator trained in WRAP, WHAM, and SMART Recovery. She loves to meet people where they are, not where others think they need to be. Jennifer personally utilizes her faith, DBT, WRAP, and support as she continues to grow in her own journey of wellness. She believes that breaking down barriers of stigma about substance use and mental health is vital for us as a community to see change. Jennifer loves nature, animals, swimming and church. She also has four precious grandchildren that are the little loves of her life. She was recently able to become a homeowner after years of struggling with homelessness and substance use. She has been clean since September 28th of 2015 and finds that faith and recovery are her greatest assets. Jennifer strongly believes in the service of others in her community and finds joy in supporting others. Together we can is the motto she lives by.

Cameron Hayes

Recovery Community Navigator

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Cameron is starting his career as a Recovery Community Navigator with the Wellbeing Initiative, Inc. He has lived experience with both mental health and substance use, his own recovery journey started in 2019. Cameron brings great passion and energy to his recovery and is passionate about seeing others achieve their goals. Cameron enjoys hearing others’ experiences and being able to connect with new people everyday. He hopes to be able to help end the stigma on mental health and substance use through advocacy and community inclusion. He wants to help others feel connected and supported while empowering them to make decisions on their journey. In his free time he enjoys spending time with loved ones and his dog Thor. He also enjoys doing things for his own wellness and recovery.

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