The future of South Dakota is in good hands

Leadership South Dakota has a goal to build the next generation of South Dakota leaders. As their second class kicked off earlier this month (September 10-13, 2015), a hand-selected group of 43 leaders descended on Pierre, South Dakota to embark on the first of seven sessions scheduled throughout our state in the coming months. Leadership South Dakota has set a big goal, but I am confident we will not let then down.

I was unable to make the first day and joined the group already in progress on Friday. When I arrived, the team was mid-session building a leadership pyramid step by step, led by Rick. Building around the base of beliefs, balance, integrity and disciple, Rick walked through each layer. At the top of the pyramid is legacy.

Each month, our group will travel to another part of our great state to tour businesses, meet local leaders, network and work on epic challenges facing our state. While in Pierre, we toured the state capitol, Governor Daugaard hosted us at his house, we heard about the great work being done by the South Dakota Community Foundation, conducted a panel discussion with five state secretaries, toured the women’s prison and had the pleasure of listening to Steve Willard explain the value of state lobbyists.

All tours and guests are hand-selected by the management team to provide a well-rounded exposure to our state’s great leaders. With our small group, we are able to have pointed discussions with these leaders to ask them questions and build a long-term bond with them and their organizations. Leadership South Dakota is more than just a workshop; it is an experience.

Packed between each activity are well structured networking opportunities where we meet the other team members, discuss our state’s challenges and start to build a long-term bound. Among our members are entrepreneurs, doctors, attorneys, educators, bankers, state workers and everything in between.

As we concluded our leadership weekend on Saturday morning, we self-organized around eight epic challenges facing our state, and split into working groups. Each month we will meet to discuss these challenges and propose solutions on ways to overcome them. And when I say epic challenges, I mean it. A few examples include human trafficking, preventing rural communities from collapsing, losing young talent from our state, bridging the generation gap in our workforce and creating a long-term mission for our state.

For me, this is where I belong right now.

Leaving on Saturday afternoon, I have felt more confident than ever about the future of South Dakota and our leaders. Special thanks to the management team, sponsors and those who gave their time to us while in Pierre. Brookings, you have some big shoes to fill!