Marthaellen Florence '75

Distinguished Alumna
Marthaellen Florence retired in 2019 from an award-winning career in Public Broadcasting (PBS) spanning more than 40 years. Ms. Florence is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and holds a BA in Broadcast Journalism.  

She currently serves as a faculty member with the Center for Leadership Development (CLD), an agency under the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management which offers education programs across the U.S. and the world. She also serves as faculty chair for the agency’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiative working with the Office of Personnel Management and the U.S. White House on aligning the recent presidential executive orders on racial equity. 

Ms. Florence has a strong leadership background. She began honing her leadership skills in the mid-90s as a life skills coach for the University of Nebraska athletic department. She also created and implemented a city-wide life skills resiliency program for at-risk/incarcerated youth and teen mothers for a consortium of community centers which is still in use. She is also a trained mediator and life-coach.    

For more than 30 years she has served as a consultant for LeaderShape, Inc., co-facilitating workshops for university faculty members and future leaders selected through college honors programs. 

She strongly believes in servant leadership and takes great pride in her community involvement. She feels it is important to give back and has served in numerous leadership roles on local, regional and national boards. 

She has been recognized with many awards, including the Lincoln Mayor’s Heart of the Arts  and NAACP Leola Bullock Community Service awards. She was a YWCA Woman of the Year-Tribute to Women honoree, named one of Leadership Lincoln’s Community Co-Creators and inducted into the University of Nebraska Multicultural Hall of Fame. She is extremely honored and humbled to be recognized with the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dowling Catholic High School

Dowling Catholic High School is committed to serving the Greater Des Moines Catholic community and embracing learners of all faiths. In an environment that is faithful, caring and dedicated, Dowling Catholic forms each student to become a Christ-centered leader.