Meet the YWCA of Lincoln Staff

Karen Bell-Dancy, Executive Director

Karen Bell-Dancy serves as the Executive Director of the YWCA of Lincoln. This is a position she took after serving on the Board and Co-Chair of the Financial Development Committee. Bell-Dancy holds an Executive MBA in Management Degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City's Bloch School of Business and a Bachelor's in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University.

She has over 30 years of experience that consist mainly of higher education and all levels of work in public schools from elementary to high school. This includes 13 years working with UMKC's TRIO programs and six years as Director of Distance Education for UNL. She briefly left the public education sector to work for two years as Vice President of Diversity and Strategic Initiatives with a private female-owned consulting firm, LGC.

Bell-Dancy is a native of Kansas City, Missouri, and has a passion for working and advocating for women, youth, and social justice issues. She is a firm believer of "lest we forget," which serves as a personal testimony and platform for her work. 

Myeisha Essex, Associate Director

Myeisha Essex serves as the Associate Director of the YWCA of Lincoln. She is responsible for ensuring that YWCA’s mission is carried out through programming and organizational structure. Myeisha graduated from Howard University with a B.A. in Political Science. While studying at Howard University, Myeisha learned the importance of community collaboration and achievement, as well as servant leadership. Those principals have guided her throughout her career of working for nonprofits to ensure all voices are represented and resources are provided on equitable basis. Myeisha has had the privilege of piloting community-based programs with Civic Nebraska, LPS Community Learning Centers and Girls Inc. of Lincoln.

Halea Pacula, Director of Family and Community Engagement 

Halea Pacula serves as the Director of Family and Community Engagement of the YWCA of Lincoln. Halea graduated from Wichita State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Health Services Management and Community Development. Halea has over 5 years of experience working with families and the community through child welfare. Before that Halea was passionate about caring for others through the medical field, having 8 years of experience in many different roles. Halea is originally from Kansas and moved to Nebraska in 2015. Halea has a passion for training, mentoring, and helping others. Halea enjoys time with family, the outdoors, and trying new foods. 

Halea's favorite quote is, " I think the biggest legacy we are going to leave behind is a whole community of children who believe they can do anything in this world because they watched their mommas do it." - Mary Kay Ash 

Natavia Jones, Director of Youth Development Programs

Natavia Jones serves as the Director of Youth Development Programs at the YWCA of Lincoln. She graduated from the University of Nebraska Lincoln with a Bachelors in Child Youth & Family Studies; with three minors in Ethnic Studies, Psychology, and Women and Gender Studies. While attending the University she joined the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. where she served many roles including President, financial secretary, programming planner etc. Natavia is very passionate about mentoring youth and bringing awareness to mental health, as well as making an impact within impoverished communities. Her favorite hobbies are dancing, journaling, and hanging out with loved ones. 

Roslyn Canada, Office Manager

Ashlee Rowan, Youth Development Programs Coordinator 

Ashlee Rowen serves as the Youth Development Programs Coordinator for the YWCA of Lincoln. Ashlee graduated from York College with a Bachelors degree in English Education, and a Coaching Endorsement. She is currently working through a Masters Program for a degree in Organizational and Global Leadership. Ashlee has over 6 years of experience working with children both in and out of the classroom, and spent that time working to build relationships with both her students and their families as she taught English, Reading, and Composition courses. She is passionate about being a lifelong learner, and helping others to grow and make connections that will allow them to be both happy and successful. Ashlee was born in Texas, and has lived in several states since then including Montana and Colorado. She currently lives in Lincoln with her husband, Troy, and their dog, Guinness. Her interests include playing soccer, reading, writing, and spending time with her family.