Who We Are



Executive Director
Carly Woythaler-Runestad, MHA

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Carly Woythaler-Runestad, MHA has served as the executive director of the Mourning Hope Grief Center for 14 years. A music therapist by trade, she received a Master's in Health Administration from the University of Iowa.

Prior to Mourning Hope, Carly worked as the recreation therapy director of a 165-bed long-term care facility in Minneapolis, as the director of an Alzheimer's unit in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and as the health policy director for the Nebraska Hospital Association, providing advocacy services at the local, state and federal level for 85 Nebraska hospitals.

Carly has enjoyed a handful of nonprofit board appointments, including the advisory board for the American Cancer Society, as the President of the Nebraska Rural Health Association, the Area Health Education Statewide Advisory Board, and Blixt Locally Grown. Most recently, she completed a six-year term on the National Alliance for Grieving Children’s Board of Directors, serving as the National Board President in 2019. A frequent speaker on topics of health policy, community health, leadership and children’s grief, Carly also delivered a TEDx Talk titled: “No Child Should Ever Grieve Alone.” 

Carly is delighted to serve as Mourning Hope's executive director and is committed to promoting healthy communities through innovative programs and partnerships.

Grief Support Director
Alyssa Christensen

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Alyssa Christensen is the grief support director of the Mourning Hope Grief Center. Originally from Brandon, South Dakota, Alyssa graduated in 2013 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a B.A. in Psychology.

Alyssa’s passion for grief work started after a Death and Dying class in college. It sparked her interest in becoming a hospice volunteer, leading to a career in the field. She spent five years working as a bereavement and volunteer coordinator for a local hospice agency. Alyssa transitioned full time to Mourning Hope in July 2018, and manages the family, young adult, school and survivors of suicide loss support groups, as well as the volunteer program.

Locally, Alyssa is involved with Lincoln YPG, HopeLNK Suicide Prevention Coalition, Community Crops, School Community Intervention and Prevention (SCIP), Cause Collective, and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Nebraska. Nationally, she serves on the National Alliance for Grieving Children's Membership Committee, and Eluna's Young Professional Advisory Council.

Alyssa is passionate about the Lincoln community and is honored to be a part of growing Mourning Hope’s programs to allow even more individuals to feel they are not alone on their grief journey.

Clinical Operations Director
Pam Dinneen, LMHP, FT

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Pam Dinneen, Mourning Hope founder, serves as the clinical operations director for the Mourning Hope Grief Center. Pam is a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner, with a Master’s in Counseling, and a Fellowship in Thanatology, focused on death education and counseling. At Mourning Hope, she is involved in intern supervision, grief counseling, group facilitation and volunteer/community trainings.

Pam has dedicated a large portion of her life to supporting grieving families. Starting her career as an educator and then counselor, she worked with numerous students impacted by death and grief. While serving as a team leader for the crisis response team with Lincoln Public Schools, she became acutely aware of the need for support services for grieving families in our community. This fueled her determination to create a safe space for bereaved families to heal, which was the beginning of Mourning Hope.

Pam’s passion is to companion people, walking with them through the most difficult times in their lives and helping them find hope, healing and happiness again. 

Advancement Director
Kate Holman

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Kate Holman is the advancement director of the Mourning Hope Grief Center. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Kate graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH. She relocated to Lincoln in 2009.

Kate is dedicated to the nonprofit field, and passionate about giving back to the community. She began her nonprofit career in 2007, and has spent the last 15 years driven by mission. She brings a diverse set of skills to the Mourning Hope team including fundraising, marketing, event planning, and volunteer and donor management. Kate’s commitment to support the bereaved comes from her past work with the state’s hospice agencies, time spent as a hospice volunteer, and her personal experiences with death and grief.

Outside of Mourning Hope, Kate serves on the Lincoln Ice Hockey Association's Board of Directors. As a member of Rotary Club #14 she demonstrates "Service Above Self" by volunteering for projects benefiting the Gathering Place, South of Downtown Neighborhood, Salvation Army, Lincoln Public Schools, Little Free Pantries and Habitat for Humanity.

Kate is excited to help grow and expand Mourning Hope’s presence and impact in the Lincoln community.

Grief Education Director
Amy Lipins, LCSW

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Amy Lipins is the grief education director at the Mourning Hope Grief Center. Amy holds a mental health practitioner license, with a Master's in Social Work from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.   

Since 1993, Amy has spent her career in the public school system. She was a school social worker and school counselor, and was a member of the Crisis Response Team. She has been a Mourning Hope volunteer for the past 25 years, serving on the Program Committee and Board of Directors, and as a group facilitator. Amy then became a part-time staff member as school liaison and social work intern supervisor. After retiring from Lincoln Public Schools in the spring of 2022, she very happily joined the team as a full-time staff member. She will continue to supervise interns, provide counseling and train volunteers for group facilitation.   

Amy is excited to be part of Mourning Hope’s dedicated and passionate staff!   

Grief Services Director
Emma Stewart, PLMHP

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Emma Stewart serves as Mourning Hope's grief services director. She provides individual and group counseling to bereaved individuals of all ages, and works with volunteers and facilitators for Mourning Hope's support groups. Emma is also the Camp Erin Lincoln Director.

Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Emma moved to Nebraska after completing her Bachelor’s of Music Performance from Indiana University in 2016. Upon arriving in Nebraska, Emma quickly started volunteering at Mourning Hope and realized she wanted to pursue a Master’s in Counseling to better serve the bereaved. Emma was Mourning Hope’s first counseling intern in 2019, and completed her Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2021.

Emma is dedicated to breaking down grief stigma, finding healthy ways to cope with challenging emotions, and creating community in grief. She is honored to walk alongside people on their grief journeys.

Camp Erin Clinical Director
Kristal Flaming, LIMHP, LADC

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Kristal Flaming, LIMHP, LADC is the Camp Erin Clinical Director for the Mourning Hope Grief Center. Kristal received her Bachelor’s in Psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her Master’s of Counseling at Doane University-Lincoln. Kristal navigated crisis situations for 10 years in the intimate partner violence field, providing advocacy and mental health support to individuals struggling with dating and domestic violence. She provided individual and structured group support to children who suffered losses due to domestic violence and/or substance use. During her time working with families, Kristal was connected with Mourning Hope. She is thrilled to now be a part of the amazing Mourning Hope team and Camp Erin.

In addition to Mourning Hope, Kristal currently sees clients for individual counseling through her private practice, KDF Counseling. She also enjoys teaching courses focused on substance use and mental health at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.