Helen Fagan, Ph.D.

Leadership and Diversity Scholar and Practitioner

helen-fagan-aboutHelen has a BA in Human Resource Management and Economics from University of Nebraska in 1996, and an MA in Management with emphasis in Leadership from Doane College in 2008. Helen also studied International Economics and British Political Economy at Oxford University.  She finished her Ph.D. in 2014 in Human Sciences with emphasis in Leadership Studies at UNL. She has over 25 years experience in the Human Resource Field and has worked in many areas of the HR Field including Training, Benefits, Payroll, Recruitment and Diversity.  Helen became a Certified Diversity Trainer through the Society for Human Resource Management in 2001 and qualified for administering the Intercultural Development Inventory in 2006.

She has been an active member of the Lincoln community.  She is a Fellow of Leadership Lincoln and a former Board member of Clinic with a Heart Board, YWCA, Food Bank of Lincoln, Lincoln Journal Star Diversity Council, Lincoln/Lancaster County Women’s Commission, Child Guidance Center Board, and Adult Basic Education Advisory Board at Southeast Community College. Helen was instrumental in the development of the Interpreter Training Program at SCC, and has helped address employment and healthcare needs of refugees and immigrants by her involvement in our community.

In 2000, Helen became the first ever Diversity Coordinator for Bryan Health System.  Helen created a nationally recognized hospital diversity initiative. In 2007, Helen resigned her full-time position due to health reasons and began teaching part time at Bryan College of Health Sciences and co-facilitating the Leading Edge at Doane College.

While Helen’s life has been filled with challenges, and changes, Helen has used her experiences to help others.  From her first volunteer role as the Ombudsman for the USS Raleigh, which she received a Letter of Commendation from the Admiral of the Navy, to her efforts in helping Bryan Health System’s nurses from the Philippines learn how to live successful lives in the United States, to helping refugees settle in Lincoln; Helen has been a dedicated friend to many.

Because of her work and dedication, she was one of the recipients of the 2001 KZUM Cultural Awareness Award, in 2002 was recognized by Lincoln Journal Star as one of twenty Leaders under age 40 whose work was positively impacting Lincoln.  Then, Mayor Coleen Seng gave Helen a ‘Key-to-the-City’ in January 2004, before Helen’s keynote address at the Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast.  This was to honor Helen for her work and commitment to make the dream of Dr. King come true for all people.  And in October 2005, Helen was awarded the Prestigious YWCA Tribute to Women Award for her dedication to eliminating the barriers for refugees and immigrants to gain access to quality healthcare. Most recently Helen has been recognized for her outstanding teaching by the UNL Parent Association for (2012 & 2013), and by the UNL College of Ag and Natural Resources (2013); and she has also been recognized for her outstanding service by the Doane College Alumni Association (2013).

Helen shares her expertise and experiences openly with others.  She has helped several local and national organizations launch or enhance their diversity efforts, making her a sought after consultant and speaker.  But were you to ask Helen what her passion is, she’d tell you it’s her faith and her family.  Helen has been married to Scott for over 30 years, and they have two sons, Jonathan and Alan who are both married. And they served as a host family to Doosung (from South Korea) for over ten years while he was in high school and college. Doosung became a member of the family and still stays in contact though he is living and working back in South Korea now.


I have been working with Dr. Helen Fagan over the past several years through Clarkson College’s IDI assesssment and consultation. Dr. Fagan has facilitated the IDI assessment and consultation process for our students enrolled in the NS 799 courses. She has faced some challenges with our students (namely on the student’s perspective of coordinating the assessment and consultation). Through these somewhat trying situations, she has remained courteous, and flexible, as well as helpful in facilitating the process through the uncertainities of technology. Dr. Fagan has communicated frequently with the faculty coordinating and implementing the IDI assessment. It is clear Dr. Fagan is passionate about her work, and enjoys her consultation with the student. She has been a joy to work with in coordinating this assignment for our students. I truly believe it has added to the quality of education we here at Clarkson are trying to provide to your students.

Jane Langemeier Ph.D. M.S.N. R.N.

Assistant Professor, Clarkson College

Helen has spent the majority of her life in an effort to educate and be educated on the depth and breadth of diversity and cultural competency. I had the great fortune to participate under her leadership as a member of the Bryan Health Diversity Council which Helen developed and coordinated. She successfully led the organization thru active council members, to examine and make appropriate change in policies and procedures that impacted employees and patients and the organization’s ability to actively understand and appreciate the cultural differences that exist. Many positive changes resulted and many lives were impacted by her leadership. Helen is truly suited for the work she promotes so beautifully and understandably on the site. The site is a wonderful display of her journey and the strengths Helen is gifted with. Thru Helen, others will be led in their own efforts toward transformation.
Diane Green

Director of Client Services, Bright Horizons


  • Recipient – Doane College Alumni Assoc. Exceptional Service Award, 2013
  • Recipient – UNL Holling Family Teaching Excellence Award, 2013
  • Recipient – University of Nebraska Parent’s Association Award, 2012 & 2013
  • Recipient – Doane College Keith Berlage Memorial Award, 2008
  • Recipient – YWCA Tribute to Women Award, 2005
  • Recipient – Key to the City of Lincoln by Mayor Colleen Seng, 2004
  • Recognized – One of “20 under 40” Leaders positively impacting Lincoln, 2002
  • Recipient – 2001 KZUM Radio Multi-cultural Awareness Award
  • Letter of Commendation from Admiral of the U.S. Navy, 1991

Learn more about what I can do for your organization!

Need help in the area of diversity and cultural sensitivity? I can conduct individual and group assessments, and provide plans and coaching designed to move you towards your goals.
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