Alumni Newsletter – November 2017

Alumni Newsletter – November 2017

Alumni Newsletter – November 2017

Posted by on November 1, 2017 in

A Message from the Leadership South Dakota Directors

Getting To Church On Time

In our Leadership SD classes, we discuss the topic of leadership on an ongoing basis. Recently I was visiting with Mark Dunn, a 2016 graduate of Leadership SD, on his description of leadership. Mark told an interesting story that illustrates leadership perfectly.

Mark and his wife have four children. Each Sunday morning, they have a goal to get their entire family to church on time and looking presentable. Mark described, in some detail, the process that is used to achieve this goal.

Noelle (13) is their oldest daughter and has her act together. She needs very little assistance and will be ready with no involvement from her parents. Lincoln (10) is their special needs son who has low motivation for church and requires some technical assistance to get ready. Mark needs to wake Lincoln earlier and ensure that he has what he needs to be dressed and presentable. Leo (7) also has low motivation but knows exactly what he needs to do to be ready, so Mark needs to provide a compelling reason why Leo should be dressed and ready. Finally, Emery (3) is highly motivated to attend church but needs help to ensure that her clothes match and her shoes are on the right feet.

Mark’s point was that to achieve the family’s goal (get to church on time) he needs to exercise good leadership skills. These skills will vary with each person in his family. Some need technical support, others need to be motivated and others need very little. An effective leader knows who needs what and tailors the support to reflect the needs of the group. So, in a nutshell, leadership is thinking less about yourself and more about your employees. What do my direct reports need? Am I treating them all the same or do I tailor my interactions and support to meet the needs of my employees? Finally, are our organizational goals clear (get to church on time!) and are they understood by all in the organization?

Thank you for your commitment to leadership and for your support of the Leadership South Dakota program. The next generation of leaders for South Dakota starts here.

Melmers & Osters
Leadership SD Directors

Directors Melmers & Osters Leadership SD Directors Leadership South Dakota has a few copies of Tony Venhuizen’s book, The Governors of South Dakota, available for sale for $20. If anyone is interested in purchasing a copy, please send an email to


Would You Like To Contribute To The Alumni Newsletter?

We are happy to share this edition of the Alumni Newsletter with you. As our alumni group expands, we want to provide a resource that is valuable for all of you. In order to achieve that—we need your help. If you are interested in being a guest contributor to our Alumni Newsletter, please send an email to and share your idea with the staff. If you have something to share that you think would be relevant for our alumni to hear, we would love to have you consider sharing it with others. Please send an email our way with your idea and we will consider it for submission in our Alumni Newsletter. Thanks for your support of Leadership SD. Remember—the next generation of leaders in South Dakota starts here.


Leadership South Dakota Alumni Updates And Celebrations

Walter Woods (‘16) was appointed the CEO of the Humana Foundation and began his new role in October. The Humana Foundation, is the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc.
Ashli Danilko (‘17) received the American College of Healthcare Executives Early Careerist Regent’s Award in September at the state hospital association meeting.
Chris Conrad (‘17) welcomed son, Hunter Arlen Conrad, on October 25th.
Nikki Gronli (‘16) was selected as a participant in the Evan C. Nolte Leadership Sioux Falls Class 32. She also became a first-time grandmother on October 23rd to Cale Nathanial Bach.
Sandra Melstad (‘17) with SLM Consulting, LLC had her ribbon cutting on Thursday October 19th at Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship.
David Merhib (‘15) is now the President and CEO of the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce. Katrina Lehr-McKinney (‘17) joined the board of Arts South Dakota and was re-elected as a board member for the Co-op Natural Foods.
Kayla Eitreim (‘16) was elected Vice President of the Augustana University Alumni Council.
Will Bushee (‘16) joined the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship Board of Directors.
Kevin Nyberg (‘15) opened a new Nyberg’s Ace store in Downtown Sioux Falls in the former Texaco Super Station and Sid’s liquor buildings. Kevin was selected Co-chair of Hunting Works for South Dakota, which has a primary purpose to educate about the economic impact hunting has in the state.
Laura Mitchell (‘16) was promoted to Vice President of Digital at Lawrence & Schiller in September.
Doug Tribble (’17) was named President and CEO of American Bank and Trust.
Bobbi Thury (’16) and Legacy Law Firm opened the new location of their office on South Western Avenue and Bitterroot Street in Sioux Falls.
Heidi Marttila-Losure (‘16) published a book, Sky Theater, which is available at,, and some local book stores.


Leadership SD Class Of 2018: Overview Of Recent Sessions

The class met in Brookings on October 18-20 where they toured Hilltop Dairy, Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium, Daktronics, and Schade Winery. Speakers included Dr. Barry Dunn, SDSU President; Nick Wendell, Leadership SD Alumni (‘15); Dr. Zhang, SDSU Professor; Darren Hefty, Hefty Seed & Ag PhD; Brian Sandvig, Valley Queen Cheese/Leadership SD Alumni (‘15); Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce/Leadership SD Alumni (‘15); David Bordewyk, South Dakota Newspaper Association; and, John Thune, U.S. Senator. The class also attended the Daschle Dialogues, a lecture featuring Tom Daschle and Tom Brokaw. They met in Rapid City on November 15-17 where they toured the sites of Rapid City, including Presidents Sculptures, Art Alley, Berlin Wall Exhibit, and Main Street Square. They visited South Dakota National Guard’s Camp Rapid, where they took a helicopter tour of the Black Hills, participated in a Humvee rollover training, took a course on engagement skills and South Dakota National Guard 101, and toured Camp Rapid. Guest Speakers for the weekend included Canada Lytle, A Perfect 10 Nail & Beauty Bar; Linda Eidem, Susan G. Komen Foundation; Dr. Laura Hughes, Clinical Neuropsychologist; Julie Schmitz Jensen, Rapid City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau; Megan Whitman, Main Street Square; Mutch Usera, Black Hills Energy; Amanda Allcock, Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation; Maureen McGee-Ballinger, Mount Rushmore National Memorial; Constance Walter, Sanford Underground Research Facility; Scott Jacobson and Jerry Krueger, Black Hills National Forest; Chuck Turbiville, Mayor of Deadwood and House Representative from the 31st District; Charity Doyle, Haven for Hope; Marla Meyer and Kate Reed, Girl Scouts—Dakota Horizons; General Tim Reisch; Ben Snow, Rapid City Economic Development; and, Jason Salamun, Rapid City Council/Leadership SD Alumni (‘16). The class will meet next in Mitchell on January 17-19 where they will learn about the education and arts industries and rural South Dakota.