2021 Ignite Awards Gala

Ignite. With the name of this event and the overall light motif of the awards, we hope to spotlight the personal and organizational stories of incredible wellbeing champions. By celebrating their achievements and sharing their journey with our members and partners, we hope to spark inspiration for even greater wellness achievements in our communities.

The full video of this year’s livestream celebration will be available for our members in the Portal.


Light of Wellness

The William M. Kizer Light of Wellness Awards honor William M. Kizer, 1925-2017. Mr. Kizer pioneered the worksite wellness movement. He is Chairman Emeritus of Central States Indemnity and founded the Wellness Council of the Midlands, previously WELLCOM and now The Wellbeing Partners, in 1982. Thirty-seven years later, the mission continues reaching thousands of employees across the Midwest. The Light of Wellness Award was named in his honor in 2001.

Wellness Transformation

Recognizes employees who now lead healthier lifestyles and have made a significant wellness transformation in any dimension of wellness as a result of participating in their company’s wellness program.

Ann Thierstein
Physicians Mutual
Jason Dworak
Omaha Public Schools

Wellness Inspiration

Celebrates employees who have been steadfast supporters and active participants in their company’s wellness program. They inspire and serve as role models for others.

Jessica Sorenson
NU Foundation
Jennie Ernest
NU Foundation
Kate Knudsen
MOEC Raise Me to Read
Dr. Jerry Walker
Nebraska Medicine
Denise Perlman
Omaha Public Power District
Amy Clevinger
Mutual of Omaha
Lindsay Decker
Avenue Scholars
Marcel Campbell
Physicians Mutual

Wellness Leadership

Recognizes business and community leaders for providing encouragement, time, and resources to create a healthy workplace for all employees. Recipients are role models for strategically moving the wellness program to a top business priority. This award is specifically designated for senior level executives.

Cydney Franklin
75 North
Tony Gunter
Howard Kennedy Elementary
Jo Giles
Women’s Fund of Omaha
Linda Feiden
Drake University

Illuminate Health Awards

The Sister Norita Cooney Illuminate Awards honor Sister Norita Cooney, RSM, 1939-2011. Sr. Cooney served as the first president of the Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community and was instrumental in the founding of Live Well Omaha in 1995 and Alegent Health in 1996. She was known for being a champion of the vulnerable and caring for the dignity of people, and was awarded with our inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously in 2019. In 2020 the Illuminate Awards were named in her honor as they will continue to recognize leaders in community health and innovation.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Honors a leader who has dedicated a lifetime to the achievement of healthier communities for all.

Dr. Jeffrey Gold
University of Nebraska Medical Center

Health Innovator Award

Honors a key product, service, or other deliverable that a person or organization brought to the market to advance a culture of health.

Sarah Schram
Sarpy/Cass Health Department
Matt Wyant
Pottawattamie County Public Health
Kerry Kernen
Douglas County Health Department

Health Leader Award

Honors a promising upcoming leader who demonstrates integrity, ability and willingness to lift up the voice of the unheard, and passion for the health of all.

Viridiana Almanza
Latino Center of the Midlands
Amanda Kohler
Refugee Empowerment Center

Trek Up the Tower Corporate Teams

Trek Up the Tower is the region’s leading stair climb, drawing about 2,000 people each year. Participants can run as individuals as well as part of a team, and honors are awarded to the fastest teams. At Ignite, we honor our workplace teams who take the opportunity to build connections and promote physical activity with their coworkers.

Thiele Geotrekers

Small Business Corporate Teams:

1st Place – ilumin Eye Care Center

2nd Place – Thiele Geotech (pictured above)

3rd Place – Starting Line Crew


Large Business Corporate Teams:

1st Place – Medical Solutions (pictured above)

2nd Place – National Indemnity Company

3rd Place – CHI Health

Governor’s Award

Our Sponsors