Defy – Nebraska

Defy Nebraska was founded in 2016, and the new chapter has already made significant impact on formerly and currently incarcerated people. Working closely with Director Scott Frakes and the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, Defy launched its in-prison program CEO of Your New Life in Nebraska State Penitentiary and Omaha Correctional Center in September 2016, and in Tecumseh State Correctional Center in June 2017. In February 2018, Defy Nebraska began programming at its fourth prison, the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women in York, Nebraska.

Defy Nebraska will expand to its fifth Nebraska prison in the summer of 2018, the Lincoln Correctional Center. Defy Nebraska launched its post-release program in October 2016 which includes CEO of Your New Life for people in the community with criminal histories and a business and entrepreneurship incubator for program participants seeking to start their own business.

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Meet the Local Team

Jeremy Bouman, Executive Director
Jeremy currently serves as the serves Defy as the Executive Director in Nebraska. He also oversees the national chapters as Vice President of Chapter Programs. Prior to joining Defy, he served for 7 years as Associate Vice President of Development at Creighton University. Jeremy is a New York City native and has lived in Omaha for the past 10 years. He earned a BA in Communications from Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania and a master of science in leadership from Creighton University.

Brittany Johnson, Event Manager
Brittany received a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Evangel University. During her time at Evangel, she worked as the Public Relations Director for Evangel University Activities Board. Since completing her studies, she worked as the Director of PR/Communications for Venel, The Authority in Orthopedic Marketing. Most recently, Brittany served as Co-Founder/Director of Marketing for Drink Local Think Global, an organization that partners with craft breweries to raise money to provide clean water in developing countries.

Maria Moreno, Prison Program Manager
Maria received her Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Over the past 10 years, Maria has served in a variety of roles in organizations addressing social justice, community development, and community engagement issues. Most recently, Maria worked as Country Manager & Interim Volunteer Program Manager for the FutureSense Foundation in Cambodia. At FutureSense she managed day-to-day operations including developing sustainable community health and education programs, organizing logistics over 11+ project sites, cultivating strong community relationships, monitoring evaluation of projects, and developing and managing budgets.

Jasmine Harris, Post-Release Program Manager
Jasmine brings 12+ years of experience to Defy that includes non-profit program management, community engagement, and coalition building. Most recently, Jasmine served as Co-Founder/CEO of WayMaker, LLC, an organization that motivates women and girls to overcome setbacks from being involved in the criminal justice system. She also served as a Health Educator at Creighton University and as Civic Engagement Committee Chair for the Urban League of Nebraska Young Professionals, where she focused on advocacy and awareness around criminal justice issues. Jasmine received a Bachelor’s in Biology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. In 2017, Jasmine was awarded the Omaha NAACP Freedom Fighter Award and was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Omahans (TOYO) by the Omaha Jaycees.

Erica Pieper, Volunteer Relations Manager
Erica received her Bachelor’s in Social Work with a minor in Criminal Justice from Texas Christian University. She recently graduated from Columbia University with a Master’s in Social Work. Most recently, Erica served as a Special Victims Counselor at the New York City District Attorney’s Office, where she provided supportive counseling, court accompaniment, and case advocacy for victims of violent crime.

Jason Kotas, Program Assistant
Jason was an EIT in Omaha Correctional Center’s first graduating class, where he completed Defy’s “CEO of Your New Life” Program. Jason currently serves as a peer facilitator and is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Human Services at Metro Community College. Most recently, Jason worked as a Resident Mentor and Lead Breakfast Cook at the Omaha Correctional Center. Serving in these roles, Jason facilitated small group sessions, assisted with special events and organized inventory.

Myron Pierce, Program Staff
Myron received a Bachelor’s in Business Leadership from Grace University. Since completing his undergraduate studies, Myron has worked as a Senior Leader at Passion City Church, and also at Abide/Bridge Church. Currently, Myron is serving as Senior Leader at Mission Church, where he focuses on staff development, program management, fundraising, and implementation of new initiatives.

Where We Serve


Nebraska Correctional Center for Women
Nebraska Correctional Center for Women (NCCW) is a minimum / medium security level correctional facility. Nebraska Correctional Center for Women is located in York, Nebraska and is responsible for housing minimum, medium, and maximum custody female inmates. Nebraska Correctional Center for Women can house up to 275 individuals.

Nebraska State Penitentiary
Nebraska State Penitentiary (NSP) is a medium / maximum correctional facility. Opened in 1869, NSP is the oldest correctional facility in Nebraska.


Omaha Correctional Center
Omaha Correctional Center (OCC) is a minimum / medium security level correctional facility. Opened in 1984, OCC is designed to hold 712 individuals.

Tecumseh State Correctional Institution
Tecumseh State Correctional Institution (TSCI) is a medium / maximum correctional facility. Opened in 2001, TSCI is designed to hold 960 individuals.


Post-Release

The Post-Release Program for Defy Ventures Nebraska started in October 2017. Not only serving individuals who started the CEO YNL program in the state correctional facilities, Nebraska’s Post-Release program looks to offer another opportunity for advancement to individuals with criminal histories who have been living in the community for a while. We’re building a community of support for our EITs where they will have a strong bond with people who genuinely care about their success and will not remember them for the worst thing they’ve ever done. Focusing on employment readiness, character development and entrepreneurship training, Defy Ventures Nebraska is working with EITs to prepare them for success by connecting them with community resources, mentors and networking opportunities.


Local Impact

  • Number of prisons served: 4
  • Omaha Correctional Center – launched September 2016
  • Nebraska State Penitentiary – launched September 2016
  • Tecumseh State Correctional Institution – launched June 2017
  • Nebraska Correctional Center for Women – launched February 2018

  • Current Enrollment: 228 EITs
  • Graduated: 105 EITs
  • Current Post-release enrollment: 17 EITs
  • ITs released from program and enrolled in post-release: 5
  • Employment rate for EITs that have graduated and moved to work release facilities: 100%


Local Board of Directors

Defy Ventures Nebraska Board of Directors

  • Cortney Bauer – Associate Vice President of Development, Creighton University
  • Jeremy Bouman – Nebraska Executive Director, Defy Ventures
  • David Bills – President, Titan Group
  • Shonna Dorsey – Vice President of Tech Education, AIM Careerlink
  • Amy Johnson – Co-Founder & CEO, LifeLoop
  • Todd Johnson – Global Channel Leader, Entrepreneurship and Job Creation, Gallu
  • Othello Meadows – Executive Director, 75 North Revitalization Corp.
  • William Ochsner – President, National Everything Wholesale
  • Jeff Slobotski – Founder, Router Ventures
  • Ken Stinson – Chairman Emeritus, Peter Kiewit Corp.

How to Get Involved

Contact: Erica Pieper at epieper <at> defyventures.org
Donate to Defy Nebraska
Find us on Facebook!


Media Links

Defy Ventures at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women

Correcting Paths for those Behind Bars

Tecumseh Inmates Hoping to Defy the Odds with New Program

Thirty-three EITs Graduate from Defy Ventures Program at TSCI

Defy hits the ground at NCCW