Cabela's looks to 'nurture' women's roles

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Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013 12:00 am

As part of an initiative by Cabela's to promote young women to leadership positions within the company, the hunting and outdoor outfitter has paired with the Harry and Reba Huge Foundation and will offer college scholarships to four female Nebraska high school students.

In addition, the winners will receive career counseling, internship opportunities and mentoring by women in leadership positions at Sidney, Neb.-based Cabela's.

“Our goal is to boost the number of women in the company,” said Sue Saathoff, a Cabela's vice president who is helping to coordinate the program. “I would love it if 10 years from now, some of these women were employed at Cabela's.”

Saathoff said the scholarships were an outgrowth of the formation last year of a companywide Women in Leadership Council.

When the Huge Foundation contacted Cabela's last June for a donation, the two groups got to talking, Saathoff said, and the scholarship program came together in January.

The four award winners will each receive $2,500 a year for four years, said Jack Siemsen, president and chief executive of the South Carolina-based Huge Foundation, whose roots originate in Nebraska. The nonprofit organization provides two of its own scholarships, the Huge Foundation Scholarship and the Dorothy Vorderstrasse Huge Scholarship.

Dorothy Vorderstrasse Huge, who grew up in Thayer County during the Great Depression, was unable to attend high school or college but raised three sons who did graduate from college. On her deathbed in 2004 at age 90, she gathered her children to her side: Together they fashioned the idea of a scholarship fund that would help rural women achieve their higher education goals.

A year later, in 2005, the first Vorderstrasse Huge Scholarship was awarded, according to the foundation's website.

The Cabela's Women in Leadership Scholarships will be awarded to four women who graduate from high school this spring and plan to attend college in fall 2013.

Tommy Millner, president and chief executive of Cabela's Corp., said the company is “fortunate to have a deep pool of very talented women.This program is our attempt to nurture this valuable resource by preparing these women to assume key leadership roles in our organization.”

“We recognized our customer base is changing,” added Saathoff. “In the past, we were more male-dominated, but that is changing and we're focused on the growth and development of women in our company.”

Scholarship recipients may attend any college or university. Applicants are not required to pursue a specific major, such as business or finance. Candidates must hold a Nebraska high school diploma or have completed a certified home school curriculum and can be from a rural or urban area.

Two of the four awards will be given to students whose family incomes make them eligible for the federal Pell Grant program.

The selection committee will consider academic achievements, class rank, transcripts, ACT or SAT scores and other criteria including evidence of leadership qualities, community service, extracurricular and work activities.

Applications, which are due April 20, are available at www.educationquest.org/scholarshipquest or the Harry and Reba Huge Foundation at www.thehugefoundation.org.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1142, janice.podsada@owh.com

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