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Penny D. Sackett graduated from North High in 1974. She is internationally acclaimed as a physicist, astronomer, and former chief scientist for Australia. Penny was part of a global network that discovered the first Earth-sized planet orbiting a star other than Earth’s sun. She was named Australia’s Chief Scientist, has worked in the Netherlands, and is on the Nobel Laureate Symposium. Possessing a worldwide reputation, she is a consultant and was honored recently as an outstanding alumna by UNO.
Michelle A. Peak
Michelle A. Peak graduated from Benson High School in 1987. She is the Director and Senior Labor Attorney for American Airlines. In her practice, Michelle manages a wide range of labor and employment issues for the $30 billion airline that flies to 350 destinations in more than 50 countries and has over 100,000 employees. Michelle concentrates on matters with a specific focus on the airline industry and the Railway Labor Act. She litigates and resolves issues involving collective bargaining and contract interpretation and mediates and arbitrates employee grievances. Michelle also provides labor and employment counsel and strategic advice to the airline’s executives designed to minimize legal risks, maximize profit potential, and achieve the best in employee relations and human resource practices. Michelle is a frequent speaker around the country discussing topics related to Labor Law and Diversity & Inclusion. She also acts as a mentor to diverse attorneys in an effort to help them navigate the legal profession and achieve their full potential.
Michelle is also very active in her community and local bar associations with the following affiliations:
-American Airlines Education Foundation, Board of Directors (2016 – Present)
-LPAC, Board of Directors (2016)
-Association of Corporate Counsel-DFW, Board of Directors (2013 – Present) (Chair, Diversity Committee)
-Lambda Legal Board of Directors (2009 - 2015) (Co-Chair, Board Governance and Executive Committee Member 2012 - 2014)
-Corporate Counsel Women of Color, Advisory Board (2005 – Present )
-Texas Minority Counsel Program, Board of Directors (2002 - 2014) (Co-Chair 2009-2011)
-Minority Corporate Counsel Association, Advisory Board (2014 - 2015)
-Butler Gast YMCA, Board of Directors (1997 - 1999)
-Crèche Child Care Center, Board of Directors (1997 - 1999)
-2017 Benson High School Hall of Fame Inductee
-2013 Corporate Counsel of the Year, Texas State Bar Office of Minority Affairs
-2013 Top 100 Emerging Leaders under 50, Diversity MBA
-2013 Corporate Counsel Award – Champion of Diversity, ACC and D CEO
Kim Cowman (Bunz) graduated from Omaha South High in 1999. She attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha and graduated in 2004 with a Masters in Architectural Engineering. Cowman is a Senior Associate and Senior Mechanical Engineer at LEO A DALY. She's been with the company for 13 years. During her time at LEO A DALY, Cowman has worked on projects all over the United States that include: the design of the Boystown West Hospital, CHI Hospital in Saint Joseph London, Kentucky, and the rebuild of the VA Biloxi Facility after Hurricane Katrina.
Kim is married to Jeff Cowman, has a son named Charlie and another son on the way.
Click here to learn more about Harry Friedman, an Omaha native and 1964 graduate of Omaha Central High School.
Deb Grafentin graduated from Northwest High School in 1975. She has a bachelors of science degree in physical education from the University of Miami and a masters of art in management from Bellevue University. Grafentin is currently the director and head coach of the River City Juniors Volleyball Club since 1987. She’s also the primary owner and director of The Volleyball Academy for the past eleven years. Grafentin opened a new 50,000 sq. ft facility in February of 2017. She has a coaching and teaching background that spans 45 years. Starting in 1971 with 14 years of coaching swimming and diving, 32 years of club coaching,17 years of teaching physical education, physical training/nutrition, and seven years of coaching and teaching at the collegiate level. Deb is also a head coach and professor at Bellevue University and Assistant Coach at Creighton University.
-Voted Best of Omaha 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017 - The Volleyball Academy (TVA)
-2013 Club of the Month (River City Juniors)
-Over 300 wins at the High School level
-Over 100 wins at the Collegiate Level
-2014 JVA Service Recognition for over 20 yrs service to volleyball
Ivan Gilreath graduated from Bryan High School in 1977. Gilreath is an Omaha native and Boys & Girls Club alumnus and has been the President and CEO of Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands since 2011. Previous to his work at Boys and Girls Club, Ivan worked at ING Insurance in Minneapolis and for 20 years with Mutual of Omaha. He has a bachelors degree in Marketing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and MBA from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He shares, “I am a product of my Club and my community, and I hope my story and my experiences will inspire the youth of our Clubs to dream bigger and expect more of themselves and their futures. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands is a great organization and I look forward to continuing that tradition of greatness.”