To his students, Herb “Herbie” Thompson is a Professor at the University of Nebraska Omaha specializing in Communications while finishing his Ph.D. in Leadership. To the Omaha community, he is much more. Born in England, where his mother grew up, his father’s military career brought the family to Nebraska where he was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base.

“I grew up bi-racial and had a very interesting experience in the 90s as a black-and-white person,” Thompson says. A lot of my stories kind of revolve around that experience and I think a lot of people relate to trying to figure out who you are.”

Because he went through the struggles he did, Herb now seeks to help individuals discover their own purpose and potential during the various stages of life.

In fact, Thompson began doing public speaking at retreats, churches and business conferences to leaders all over the world.

“I was able to speak in Spain, Greece, Zambia, Austria,” he says, stressing the importance of communication. “The best way to understand the importance of communications is understanding the different contexts or relationships when we communicate.”

Volunteerism came naturally to Thompson thanks to his experience as a pastor, mentor and public speaker. With a background in nonprofit work and mentorship, Thompson says “a lot of my focus was the development of individuals. Their purpose, their goals… but I had always stayed in education.”

After achieving his Master’s Degree in communication, followed by teaching at UNO for several years, Thompson continued to mentor because he, “had always loved it. The opportunity it presents and the relationships you form.” Sometimes, he points out, just asking the right questions is all it takes to help someone.

Thompson and his Small Group Communications class collaborate with the Greater Omaha Chamber in helping host CreativeMornings/Omaha monthly.

Featuring an inclusive, welcoming, relaxing environment, Thompson says CreativeMornings offers “a wonderful blend of diverse people who span all ends of the demographics,” including poets, copywriters, graphic designers and many other creatives.

“Here’s this great opportunity… that I think really reflects Omaha,” Thompson says. “A great group of people who really want to learn and be inspired.”

Here in Omaha, you can make an impact. For Thompson, it’s using his communication skills to make meaningful connections.

“I really value connecting with people intentionally,” he says. “It’s great to have conversations with people casually in everyday life, but I like [CreativeMornings] because it allows me to have an excuse to go deeper with people. Everybody needs what CreativeMornings offers,” he says.

Photos: Eric Francis