Between Main Street and Wall Street, a Tradition Lives On

Banquet committee members meet with the Leibmans. Back row (L to R): Greg Leibman (’00), Caitie Leibman (07). Front row (L to R): Donna Albert (‘64), Mark Leibman, Jean Heim (‘62), Jean Buskirk (‘64), Peggy Anderson (‘72), Debbi Fontenot (‘70), Trudy Sutton (‘64).

The Louisville Alumni Association has found more funds to support the annual banquet for the years ahead. 

When the Louisville Alumni Association needed sponsorship, Main Street seemed a great place to start. The association had canceled its beloved annual banquet in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. Inflation and supply chain issues grew across the country, so by the 2022 banquet, organizers and attendees alike were shouldering new costs. 

But things are looking up for this yearly highlight. Two of the organizers, Jean Heim and Susie Meyer, discussed the challenges with local business owner Mark Leibman. Now, through a unique partnership, local investment advisor Leibman Financial Services has agreed to sponsor the banquet for the next three years. This sponsorship as well as the much-appreciated support of community and individual donors should help continue to sustain the organization. 

When Omaha native Mark Leibman came to Louisville with his young family for work in 1978, he couldn’t have known what awaited him in the decades to come. 

After years in insurance and then at Louisville’s State Savings and Berner Insurance, Mark put out his own shingle. 

“I’ve always been enchanted by the financial markets,” he said. But the manipulative tactics sometimes taught in the insurance industry never sat well with him. Working with his own clients, with plain talk, and offering investment advice as a registered representative—this was a better fit. 

Leibman Financial Services was founded in 1996, at the Leibman kitchen table in the Eastwood neighborhood. The business’s goal? 

“We’re here to help people connect their money to their real life,” he said. It turned out there were better ways to talk with folks about their money, their goals, and what money can do for ourselves and others. 

Then, in 2000, Mark bought a Victorian-style storefront on Main Street. The property at 228 Main was more than 100 years old and once belonged to The Louisville Courier, the newspaper that united the village in its earliest days. It was a great location for the business. 

Mark Leibman (L) catches up with alumni committee members Jean Heim and Jean Buskirk.

Leibman Financial now has a thriving digital presence, too, at The address honors the firm’s roots. 

“Now it’s a place and a space,” Mark said. “We are a ‘local’ business on a small-town Main Street, and we serve clients in 22 states and manage $140 million in assets.” 

None of it happened overnight. At the start, Mark and his wife Cathy had four kids, a mortgage, and an ambition to keep the checking account above zero. Cathy ran the first licensed in-home daycare in Louisville, making them a pair of entrepreneurs. 

As the kids moved through daycare and then Louisville Schools, Mark and Cathy stayed active in the community. 

“Some of my fondest memories are the things we did with our neighbors,” Mark said. Of note were their years working on the Platte River Days festival in the ‘80s and ‘90s, serving on the school foundation and village board, and witnessing the genesis of the Louisville PTO. 

When the school sorely needed modern playground equipment in the ‘80s, Cathy led a campaign to raise funds that the school board could match. The high school industrial tech. teacher oversaw the equipment’s installation, and with the help of hundreds of Louisvillians, the project was a success. The momentum is what convinced a core group of people to form the town’s first parent-teacher organization. 

Even after more than two decades, the business continues to build its community connections. 

“When I saw that we could be of service by sponsoring the alumni banquet, it was an easy ‘yes,’” Mark said. The business is still enmeshed in the town, and the family is still enmeshed in the business: two Leibman children and one Leibman in-law work full-time for the firm and are in the process of becoming partners and co-owners alongside Mark. 

Caitie, the youngest Leibman, serves as the business’s Communications Director. “Our involvement feels like a given,” said Caitie, herself a 2007 Louisville alum. “The business, the town, the schools—none of them exist in a vacuum. When any of us shines, we all feel the glow.” 

More information about the 127th annual alumni banquet will be shared ahead of the event, which will take place May 27. Follow the Alumni Association here