CaseyBlog-LSD Sioux Falls

Leadership SD Recap : Session 5 : Sioux Falls

By Casey Schultz on Apr 4, 2022

The Queen City. Session 5 took us to Sioux Falls. Knowing this was an area I had some familiarity with, I was most excited to reconnect with my classmates and try to accommodate those that might not be as familiar with Sioux Falls as the rest of us. Two of the main industries for our Sioux Falls session were Healthcare and Financial Services.

Day 1

Day 1 started with breakfast, networking and our class module time which was focused on Integrity (perfect fit for Healthcare and Financial Services). As we wrapped up our classroom time, we loaded the bus for a bus tour of the city to point out some of the newest developments happening all across Sioux Falls. I certainly won’t be able to do the tour justice by trying to mention all the places we visited, but hearing the amount of growth and development that is planned for our city in the next 3, 5 and even 10 years is very exciting. Not to mention the amount of advanced planning and foresight needed from our city and county leaders to make these ideas turn into reality is very impressive.

After the bus tour, there was a bit of downtime for networking, checking into hotels and social hour. When dinner time rolled around, we enjoyed a great meal and heard from a couple of great speakers; Tamien Dysart and Sam Gezehagne, about ‘The Leaders of Tomorrow.’

Day 2

Day 2 started with our morning session in the Sanford House – beautiful facility. During our time here, we were welcomed by Stacy Wrightsman, the Executive Director of Community Relations for Sanford Health and enjoyed some great welcoming remarks from Sanford CEO Bill Gassen. If you get a chance to interact with Mr. Gassen, please do. He’s a very down-to-earth guy and certainly has a passion for people and the community.

After the welcome and introductions, we enjoyed a panel discussion from leaders of the prominent healthcare organizations; Dr. Jeremy Cauwels from Sanford Health and Dr. Chad Thury from Avera Health. These two men discussed what they’ve been tasked to do – as leaders – during the COVID-19 pandemic and how it not only challenged their normal way of thinking but also made them better leaders by being willing to push through the difficult times and decisions that needed to be made. Hearing the first-hand experiences and events that they’ve been dealing with was very educational and inspiring. 

After the discussions from the medical leaders, we heard from Jane Stavem from the Sioux Falls School District. She had a great presentation about the diversity and growth of the Sioux Falls school district and the interesting challenges that come with those topics. Based on what we heard, the Sioux Falls School District has some great leaders in place to address the ever-changing needs of our community.

The last presentation of the morning was from Janet Kittams, CEO of Helpline Center. I’m a bit partial to Helpline Center since they have been a long-time client of Caliber, but the amount of help and support they provide our community is simply amazing. Not only are they an invaluable resource for people that may be in crisis situations, but they are a one-stop resource for anyone in the community that needs assistance, guidance or just simple information. Their reach is almost endless, yet they remain a bit of a hidden gem here in our great city.

Lunch break! After lunch, our team loaded up and headed for POET. At POET, we heard from a Sr. VP of Research, Dave Bushong. Dave did a great job of telling the POET story and talking about all the advancements they’ve made in the biofuels industry. Now, POET is a world leader in the biofuels space and looking to broaden its horizons beyond just fuel.  Their innovation and stewardship are truly inspiring.

While at POET, we also heard from Maddie & Maddie with the Bishop Dudley House and The Link. Both of these ladies were simply amazing for the work they do for the homeless and struggling individuals. They did a great job of presenting the mission of each organization and how they support each other in various efforts for the betterment of the community as a whole.

To wrap up our time at POET, we heard from Nathan Hay, VP of People and Culture. Nathan has a very interesting role at POET and certainly has handled topics that are very relevant to today’s workforce and recruitment efforts. Kudos to Nathan and POET for acknowledging the significance of this role within the organization.

After POET we loaded up the bus again and headed to the new First Premier Bank building on Minnesota Avenue. The building alone is a show-stopper, but the people and hospitality are even better. We enjoyed a great tour of the new building, a few refreshments and an amazing dinner (probably the best of the year). Dave Rozenboom, the President of First Premier Bank gave us all a great presentation of the Bank as well as its philanthropic efforts throughout the years. Mr. Rozenboom and the staff at the Bank that evening could not have been more accommodating.

Day 3

The final day of our Sioux Falls visit ended with a couple of top-notch presenters; Mayor Paul TenHaken and Augustana University President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Both of these speakers were very interesting, and quite frankly, very humble for people of their positions.

Mayor TenHaken discussed some of his challenges, successes and plans related to his time as Mayor, but his other main topic was very engaging. He told us the story of when he befriended a homeless man. I don’t have time to discuss the whole story here, but from offering this man a ride across town, to offering him a part-time job, to then helping him with rent assistance, mentorship and even publishing a book about his own life…the story was almost movie script-worthy. That story alone helped solidify the humility that our civic leaders can possess if you really get to know them.

Dr. Sandlin was also a great presenter. She discussed her time in government, her stint in the private sector and now the challenges she faces as the President of Augustana University. Her explanation of critical thinking, ways to address challenges from new angles and offering up ways for all of us to view challenges as opportunities was very inspirational.

Day 3 wrapped up with some class time as per usual and prepping for our next session at the Rosebud Reservation, in Mission, SD.