Fall 2016, News
Magazine Has Made a Difference
BY MELANIE MORRISSEY CLARK
I was just 30 years old when the Women’s Fund approached me about starting a local women’s magazine from scratch. Of course I said yes immediately, jumping in head first with all the confidence of youth. I knew without doubt that together, a group of women could move mountains, and I couldn’t wait to get started.
I remember being so excited at the prospect of tackling the tough issues facing women and girls in Omaha. We would spread awareness about equal pay, domestic violence, leadership, sexual assault, starting a business, teen pregnancy, economic self-sufficiency and more. We would share resources and celebrate the achievements of all women—in the workplace, in the nonprofit sector and in the home. Above all, we would make a difference.
That was 20 years ago. And we have done all of those things, and more. I am at once humbled by and proud of all we have accomplished. If you have followed us on this journey, you know that I had another source of excitement in my life when this all began in 1996: After five years of heartbreaking infertility and loss, I was at long last pregnant with healthy triplets. I spent 10 weeks on bed rest holding off labor as long as possible—and in the process launched the first issue of Today’s Omaha Woman from my hospital room.
Those triplets are now nearly 20years old, too—all college sophomores, excited about their own bright futures. Cooper, Sophie and Simon have grownup right alongside this magazine, and have heard the story of how their birth is intricately linked to its launch many times over.
The magazine industry, too, has been transformed over the past two decades, with many resorting to online-only versions. It’s remarkable that this magazine—a nonprofit no less—is still in print.
I attribute this to the fact that it has been run by and supported by many smart, bold women. This includes: my fellow founders—Dianne Lozier, Mary Heng-Braun and Lisa Gotsdiner, who join me on the cover of this anniversary issue. Former Women’s Fund Executive Director Ellie Archer, and current Executive Director Michelle Zych, both of whom have always championed the magazine’s mission. Many dedicated writers and photographers, for whom this is also a labor of love. And of course the amazing women who’ve shared their stories on these pages, as well as you, our loyal readers.
We may not have moved an actual mountain, but we have certainly created mountains of magazines filled with inspiring stories about women achieving, struggling, creating, laughing, advocating, crying, leading, volunteering and living life to its fullest. And that, my friends, is good enough for me. Let’s keep this going for 20 more years! W
At top: Melanie with newborn triplets in 1997.
Above: Cooper, Melanie, Sophie and Simon Clark in 2016.