Staff spotlight: Center welcomes chief administrative officer

Small Towns

Newly hired as chief administrative officer for the Center for Rural Affairs, Linda Butkus is no stranger to rural life.

Though she grew up in the city, she’s spent many years taking hunting trips to Knox County, Nebraska, where her family owned a one-room schoolhouse. Her family also goes on camping trips in Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and South Dakota. Linda says the rural lifestyle has always held a special place in her heart.

“I have always felt that rural America is the fabric and backbone for all that we are, no matter where you live,” she said. “Rural America is where we all find our roots, and we should not forget that. There is so much beauty to be found in these areas if we all stop and see, smell, hear, and experience it.”

Connecting with her rural roots drew Linda to the Center. She hopes to become acquainted with those in small communities to gain experiences that will help her grow in her work.

“I have a great love for small towns, the great outdoors, open spaces, and farmers,” she said. “The scope and breadth that the Center for Rural Affairs reaches has impact in all of these areas, and very much interests me.”

In her role, Linda contributes in many ways, including assisting with strategic planning; maintaining the Center’s operating manual and employee handbook; addressing human resources issues; managing grant writing activities; and coordinating organization-wide events.

“My goal is to use my skills and talents to be a support to all staff in their work, and to learn from them at the same time,” she said. “I hope to leave my imprint on the Center for future leaders, providing them with a path to continue moving the organization forward.”

Though she faces a long list of responsibilities, and has ambitious goals for herself, Linda comes to the Center well-prepared, with 32 years of experience in the nonprofit world.

“With a growing staff and growing budget, I am really excited for the capacity that adding a chief administrative officer to the team will bring,” said Brian Depew, executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs. “Linda brings seasoned expertise in operations, program, and executive leadership to the Center. This investment in our backbone capacity is ultimately an investment in all of the work we do on the ground in Nebraska and across the nation.”

Linda says she’s excited to get in touch with the people of rural America, and see where her new role takes her.

“I have so much to gain by working for the Center,” she said. “This work offers an opportunity for me to grow and be enriched by not only great people, but great places in our rural communities. I look forward to building relationships, learning about new programs, and seeing impactful work in action.”

Linda and her husband live on seven acres outside of Blair, Nebraska, and love their space outside the city.

She can be reached at the Center’s main office in Lyons at 402.687.2100 ext. 1013 or