After nine years at the helm of Leadership South Dakota, Executive Director Rick Melmer and wife Valerie Melmer, Hospitality Coordinator, have announced they are “graduating” from their respective roles following the completion of the 2023 program year.
Since starting the program in 2014 with the mission to build the next generation of South Dakota leaders, Rick and Val have guided the organization and 40+ program participants through an annual leadership program offering unique access to people, places, and experiences across the state.
“In the beginning, we gathered folks up for the first session, put them on a school bus and away we went – nevermind introductions,” laughed Rick Melmer. “We remain ever grateful to the 2015 class. They mastered the leadership skill of flexibility that first year as we executed the program and learned along the way.”
Leadership South Dakota began with the flagship program which brings together top applicants from a variety of backgrounds and places them in a leadership development cohort. This group spends the next eight months expanding their leadership skills and experiences through seven on-location sessions in communities across the state and one coaching session. In 2021, Leadership South Dakota expanded offerings to include a similar program for State Government employees.
“Growth is good, and we are thankful for the success and expansion of the program. From sponsors to speakers to alumni we’ve been fortunate to work with, so many great people believe in the mission of the organization and find value in what we are doing. Hopefully we can spend this next year sharing that message of gratitude. Our stakeholders’ support has made all the difference,” said Rick Melmer.
“Growth also means change, and while we will miss this work, we are excited for our next chapter and for the next chapter of Leadership South Dakota,” said Val Melmer.
With the announcement of Rick and Val’s departure, the Leadership South Dakota Board of Directors now looks toward the future as they launch a formal search for a new director.
“We appreciate Rick and Val for the solid foundation they developed for the organization. They created a legacy of leadership that will impact generations to come,” said Mike Begeman, Board President. “So, we have big shoes to fill. Our work is cut out for us, but we know there are great people in South Dakota who are experienced and ready to lead at this level.”
The Leadership South Dakota Board of Directors will open the formal search for the next Executive Director on September 6, 2022. The position description and online application can be found at www.leadershipsouthdakota.com/open-positions/. Resume and a cover letter are required (and uploaded) with the application.
About Leadership South Dakota:
Leadership South Dakota is a non-profit (501c3) organization established in 2014. Through generous grants from the South Dakota Community Foundation and the Bush Foundation, Leadership South Dakota became a reality. Leadership South Dakota is supported by First PREMIER Bank and Sanford Health (gold sponsors); Daktronics, Macro, First Interstate Bank, Black Hills Energy, Raven Industries, POET, Sammons Financial Group, SDN communications, NorthWestern Energy, South Dakota Trust Company, Valley Queen, Avera, Marsh McLennan Agency, and Monument Health (silver sponsors); and Boyce Law Firm, Dakota Resources, South Dakota Community Foundation, South Dakota Magazine, Pinnacle Productions, and Lawrence & Schiller (in-kind sponsers).