By: Rick Melmer, Leadership South Dakota

Leadership South Dakota has selected 42 class members to participate in the 8-month leadership program, which will begin in September. Leadership South Dakota is a statewide program with a mission to attract engaged citizens from across the state, then provide them with the background, unique experiences and insights necessary to assume leadership positions at the community, state and national levels.

The purpose of Leadership South Dakota is to develop the future leaders of South Dakota by providing them with experiences that will expand their knowledge of the state, access to extraordinary people who have contributed to the fabric of the state and skills in the areas of leadership and organizational management that will contribute to future success in South Dakota.

“As we approach our fifth year, we continue to be grateful for our sponsors who provide the foundation for our work,” says Program Director Rick Melmer. “We also are excited about the quality of our applicants. We are attracting some of the finest leaders South Dakota has to offer. Even though the program is still young, we are seeing evidence of impact as our graduates are engaging with their local communities.”

Currently, there are 160 alumni of Leadership South Dakota and many of them share high praise for their experiences in the program.

“The best lesson from Leadership South Dakota is that anyone can be a leader from anywhere. Our state has such a wide range of living experiences, but where we live doesn’t necessarily define how we can have a positive impact on our state,” said 2018 graduate Amy Bartling.

“South Dakota is filled with amazing people and places. But if you want your community to be great, it will require YOU to make it happen,” said 2018 graduate Jeff Veltkamp.

“I used to think leaders were the ones who did everything right and followed the prescribed path. Now I know it’s the opposite. It’s people who are willing to go boldly, fail publicly and still try again. It’s resiliency and the belief in better that makes you a good leader,” said 2018 graduate Tracy Saathoff.

A full list of class members is provided below and can also be viewed at Participants were selected from a diverse background of occupations and locations throughout the state. During their time in the program, the 2019 class will meet in various places throughout South Dakota while focusing on a variety of topics.

September 19-21, 2018 – Pierre: Orientation and State Government

October 17-19, 2018 – Brookings: Agriculture and Education

November 14-16, 2018 – Rapid City: Tourism, Military and Natural Resources

January 9-11, 2019 – Huron: Rural Initiatives

February 20-22, 2019 – Kyle: Native American History and Culture

March 20-22, 2019 – Sioux Falls: Health and Financial Services

March 29, 2019 – Chamberlain: Graduation

Class of 2019

Marsha Anderson – Key Media Solutions
Susan Bill – Mary Kay Cosmetics
Angela Boersma – ID8 Architecture
Toby Bordewyk – Montana-Dakota Utilities
Erin Bosch – EmBe
Ryan Boschee – Great Western Bank
Cathy Bradley – Black Hills Energy
Bryan Breitling – Avera Hand County Hospital
Jon Clayborne – SDN Communications
Jess Evans – SE Council of Governments
Amanda Feldkamp – Oh My Cupcakes!
Bradley Fischer – First Interstate Bank
Ryan Gardner – Lawrence & Schiller
Isaac Gerdes – Sanford Health
Sara Hento – Avon School District
Abigail Huisken – South Dakota Trust Company
Bryan Ingalls – First Bank & Trust
Tommy Johnson – Boyce Law Firm
Michael Kaiser – First PREMIER Bank
Janet Kittams – Helpline Center
Matt Kull – Thunder Valley Development Corporation
Valerie Loudenback – Grand Prairie Foods
Alex MacDonald – Valley Queen Cheese
Marcus Mahlen – NAI Sioux Falls
Beth Massa – SD Community Foundation
Brendyn Medina – Rapid City Police Department
Jennifer Olson – First PREMIER Bankcard
James Payer II – Girls Scouts – Dakota Horizons
Jennifer Quail – Brookings Economic Development Corporation
Stacy Reitmeier – Avera McKennan Hospital
Tim Schut – First PREMIER Bank
Nick Sershen – Val-Add Service Corporation
Murray Thompson – Pierre Dental Clinic
Helen Usera – Aspiring Business Consulting
Lin Van Hofwegen – Dakota Resources
Erik Van Laecken – Southeast Technical Institute
Katie Wagner – Washnok – Blackout Motors
Jennifer Weiss – Sanford Health
Bradley Wenande – Northwestern Energy
Sandra White Shield – Oglala Lakota College
Buck Yerdon – POET
Mike Zacher – Raven Industries

About Leadership South Dakota:
Leadership South Dakota is a non-profit (501c3) organization established in 2014 as a partnership between the South Dakota Community Foundation and Dakota Education Consulting. Through a generous grant from the Bush Foundation, Leadership South Dakota became a reality. Leadership South Dakota is supported by First PREMIER Bank and Sanford Health (gold sponsors); Daktronics, First Interstate Bank Foundation, Black Hills Energy, Raven Industries, SDN Communications, NorthWestern Energy, South Dakota Trust Company, Great Western Bank, POET and Valley Queen Cheese Factory (silver sponsors); and Boyce Law Firm, Dakota Resources and Lawrence & Schiller (in-kind sponsors).

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