Mentors matter, and Dr. Janice Garnett lives to demonstrate empowering others is a gift well-given.

“I really want to help people grow and develop,” she says. “If I can be a small part of that, then I know I’ve made a difference.”

Dr. Garnett is a strong advocate for young women in the community, an educator on a citywide scale through the Omaha Chapter of The Links, as well as in her position at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

With more than 30 years’ experience as a teacher, curriculum supervisor, human resources administrator and director of professional development, Dr. Garnett is currently a professor in UNO’s Department of Educational Leadership, teaching master’s level courses, while contributing to the development of young women in the Omaha community.

Growing up, Dr. Garnett said she, “always knew I wanted to be an educator. I used to play school all the time, and in my neighborhood, there were a lot of teachers. They became my mentors as I grew older.”

After a respected tenure with Omaha Public Schools, Dr. Garnett was encouraged by a current coworker to teach at UNO, and she was, “so glad that she encouraged me to do so, because it’s a whole different level of learning, teaching, mentoring and networking.”

Taking the lessons her mentors had instilled in her, Dr. Garnett made it her mission to pass the torch to the next generation – something she accomplishes in her professional life, as well as in her leadership role with The Links.

Promoting professional development as well as financial literacy, The Links’ goal is to engage young women in order to create a life plan with them by providing a five-tiered combination of essential resources including arts education as well as health and human services, among many others.

“You need a plan for where you’re going to be in the next four to five years; so, we look at goals, their course of study, projections,” Dr. Garnett says, adding exploring any potential road blocks that may impede progress is also essential.

By meeting regularly with mentors, Links participants gain essential skills within a safe environment.

Among a diverse membership of more than 14,000 women nationally, the Omaha Links Chapter includes many members with a host of career expertise, that, according to Dr. Garnett, “help us with multiple perspectives. You’ll see educators, people in the business world, people in non-profit. We have accountants, attorneys, just a vast group of people.”

A member of The Links for two decades, Dr. Garnett joined the Omaha Chapter because of her dedication to helping young women.

“I think also we have to empower each other,” she explains. “I think female leaders need to play a really critical role in redefining the future by building this culture that embraces women, and grooms them to become future leaders.”

Dr. Garnett notes Omaha’s Links chapter has partnered with several community organizations to achieve ongoing engagement and success. “We wouldn’t be successful if we didn’t have our partners – the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Multicultural Affairs, and the College of Saint Mary Multicultural Initiative,” she says.

A top-ten Influential Woman of Color and Legacy Award recipient, Dr. Garnett clears barriers and builds bridges, teaching others to do the same.