Who we are
The Alliance Française
Founded in Paris in 1883, The Alliance Française is the largest network of French language and cultural institutions in the world, with chapters in 138 countries, including 115 chapters in the United States. The Omaha chapter began in 1917 and we recently celebrated our centennial in 2017.
Partager et célébrer la langue française et le monde francophone en proposant des programmes
culturels et éducatifs.
To share and celebrate the French language and the francophone world through cultural and
Meet the Board Members
Holly Richmond joined the Alliance Française in 2009 with the aim of improving her French. For many years she was a Vice President of Marketing as well as Vice President of Private Client Services in the financial services industry before leaving to receive a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and becoming a writer and editor. With a deep love for the written word, she is captivated by the beauty and nuances of the French language. She is happy to lend her professional experience and love for the French language and culture to her role as President.
Elizabeth McInerny, M.D., was born in New Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province in Canada. She is a dual US-Canadian citizen. She was exposed to the French language early, in school and daily life, in addition to having a grandmother whose first language was French. She continued to study French in college, subsequently going on to pursue a career in Medicine. While in Canada, her children attended French Immersion schools. She and her husband, Dr. Mark Johnston, emigrated to the USA in 1997. Beth, as she is known to friends, retired in 2018 after 38 years as a physician. She and her husband, also an Alliance member, travel frequently to France, where they have family connections. She has taken numerous classes through the Alliance in order to improve her fluency in the language. She is delighted to be a part of such a dynamic and diverse group with a shared enthusiasm for French language and culture, as well as wider interests in travel, cuisine, music, theatre and the arts.
Marty Skomal is recently retired as director of programs after thirty years with the Nebraska Arts Council. He has served as a conference presenter and panelist for numerous state arts agencies, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts , the National Endowment for the Arts and the President’s Committee on Arts & Humanities. He is also a former National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient in the Arts Administrative Fellows Program. Marty has also directed the theatre program at the Omaha Jewish Community Center, acted with the Nebraska Theatre Caravan and served as production Manager at Chanticleer Theatre in Iowa. Marty holds degrees in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska and Theatre Arts from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, and studied children’s theatre and British literature at Trinity College in Carmarthen, Wales, U.K. He also has performs a one-man show based on the life of the French Chef, Georges Auguste Escoffier.
Jerry Syslo is a lifelong resident of Omaha and retired from a 40-year career with a major American bank, most recently as SVP in Global Treasury Management Sales. Jerry holds a B.A. in Journalism from UNO and an MBA from Creighton. A European trip several years ago re-kindled an interest in the French language and culture. He continues to participate in French classes offered by Alliance Française, building on years of high school and college studies.
board members, committee chairs
Cédric Fichepain was born and raised in France, and is the owner and chef of one of Omaha’s finest French restaurants, Le Voltaire as well as Le Petit Paris French Bakery. Cedric also serves as the the Honorary Consul of France for Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. He has been a member of the AFO for many years, and currently serves on its board of directors contributing his talents and knowledge to several committees.
Sue White is a UK/USA dual national who has lived in the United States since 1983. Sue and her husband Gerry came to Omaha after living in Massachusetts. She has also lived in Belgium and Switzerland. Sue worked for Air France for eight years and as a French teacher for thirteen years. She has always maintained contact with the French-speaking community in Europe and the United States, and continues to visit France for at least two weeks every year. Recently retired from full time teaching, Sue is delighted to assist the Alliance Française with her French language, teaching, and organizational skills.
Mitzi Friedman, B.A.,(Russian-American U.); M.A., (Secondary Ed-UNO) says she was intrigued by the study of French ever since she began to study it as fourth grader in St. Louis, Mo. - a city with a rich French history! She spent her 36-year teaching career involved in world languages (French, Russian, & ELL) in the Westside Community Schools where she also served as WL department chair at WHS for over 20 years. She is past president of NILA and the Nebraska Chapter of AATF and was named both Outstanding NE French teacher and Outstanding NE Foreign Language teacher. Now semi-retired, she continues her involvement with French by teaching on-line for UNHS, on-campus at UNO, substituting in area high schools, and is Nebraska's Administrator for the National French Exam. "Belonging to the Alliance has always been a natural out-growth of my work as a French teacher and a wonderful way to connect to other francophiles."
A French-Armenian, Sam Tepanossian moved to Omaha in the summer of 2017. He received his MBA from ICHEC, and before that was a graduate of Haute École de Lucia de Broukère, where he received a BA in Public relations. Samuel began his career in Brussels, where he specialized in Team Management and Human Resources at the European Institutions, eventually leading to a prominent position at Procter & Gamble where he later became a Brand Ambassador. In 2012 Samuel had the opportunity to move and live in the US. He worked in New York City for a home décor company as an e-Commerce Business Development Manager. Living in different countries has taught Samuel to enjoy meeting new people, trying new cuisines and exploring new cities.
Susie Baer Collins fell in love with the French language back in 9th grade, pursued it in high school and college, then put it on a shelf for about 40 years. On retiring in 2014 after serving for twenty-seven years as Associate Artistic Director for the Omaha Community Playhouse, she joined the Alliance and renewed her French studies. Susie continues to work in Omaha theatre as an actor, director and dialect coach. In addition to a number of awards received for her work as a director and actor, Susan was the recipient of The Omaha Theatre Arts Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, the Nebraska State Governor's Artist of the Year Award in 2014, and the Omaha Arts and Entertainment Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
Franck Tucker Ebang currently serves as the Community Outreach Committee Chair of the Alliance Francaise. He is a social influencer, two-times author, linguist, TV Host, and native of Gabon. With a background in international relations, Franck is a certified professional translator and interpreter recognized by the Portland Global Translation Institute and member of the Nebraska Association of Translators and Interpreters. His passion for languages and world cultures fuels his drive and commitment to expanding the Alliance's community outreach mission.
Rosemary Duhaime, BS, CLU, ChFC received her BS in Biology and Chemistry and taught Biology in Iran and NY. She then began a career in the financial industry as a Registered Representative with AXA, a French global financial company. After moving to Omaha in 1996 she and her husband, Bernie, became members of Alliance Française and have enjoyed the many cultural events and French classes. She assisted Bernie while he was president for 5 years, including helping with the beginning of French classes at the Omaha Alliance Française, and she successfully filed with the IRS for our non-profit designation.
Bernie Duhaime is a Past President of Alliance Française d’Omaha. He also served as Treasurer and Vice President of the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA. He is currently President of La Renaissance Française-USA as well as Treasurer of the American Friends of Musée d’Orsay. Bernie recently was honored by the French Government with the title of Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite.
Anne Marie Kenny is an ex-officio board member and is the immediate past president. She serves as Chair for the AFO Apéro and book club, Désir de lire. She loves the French language and culture and lived in France for ten years, followed by another ten years in the Czech Republic. Her profession is in the music field as a singer and teacher of singing.
M. Sue Mehal has a BSBA in Accounting, an MBA from Creighton University, and is a CPA. She has recently retired as VP of Finance and Operations at Creighton Preparatory School, was previously at Creighton University, and has a variety of financial management experience including banking, IT and CPA firms. A love of languages, especially French, started while taking French in grade school. She joined the Alliance to renew her speaking and reading skills in French and has enjoyed the cultural opportunities and chance to meet other Francophiles. She is happy to help further the financial well-being of the Alliance as Chair of the AFO Finance Committee.