SFU&C Members Meets With SF Convention & Visitors Bureau's Teri Schmidt

Last week the Sioux Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau's Executive Director, Teri Schmidt spent a morning with the members of Sioux Falls Up & Coming to discuss the business and upcoming plans and dreams. Teri was in education before she moved onto her position she currently holds at the CVB where she gets to encourage and excite the visitors and tourist coming to the Sioux Falls area. Check out her Q&A below.

How did you attain the position of Executive Director at the Convention & Visitors Bureau?

A friend of mine told me about the position. I was teaching first grade at the time!  I applied, went through the interview process and was lucky enough to be chosen to work here. That was 34 years ago!

What's been your biggest challenge in this roll and how have you addressed it?

My biggest challenge has been educating the public about what the CVB does and why it’s important for the future of Sioux Falls.  This is something we constantly work on by providing information to our partner businesses and the general public.

What is the best part of your position?

The best part of my position is working with so many people. I love the fast pace and being able to work with people to make what they want the best it can be. It’s fun and very rewarding!

What are your personal dreams or goals for the Convention & Visitors Bureau?

My personal dreams or goals for the CVB are to continue to be funded at a level where we can compete nationally, to build a visitor information center at I90/I29 intersection, to expand the visitor information center at Falls Park, to have a bigger convention center surrounded by retail and restaurants.

What's the next big event for the Convention & Visitors Bureau?

The next big event for the CVB is the National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic, a national convention it took us 7 years to book.  It will be held this February in Sioux Falls!

Local Business Owner and Supporter Jodi Schwan Presents to Up and Coming Members

Jodi Schwan has spent years learning about the ins and outs of Sioux Falls and local businesses. It was only a matter of time until she stepped into her own and launched Align Content Studio and SiouxFalls.Business to help local owners build their marketing strategies and keep the community up-to-date on local happenings. Up and Coming members had the chance to learn more about her past, what she loves about the city, and all the opportunities she gives to local owners. Check out her Q&A below to learn more.

You recently launched your own company in Sioux Falls. Can you tell us briefly what the company is, and what was the drive behind starting up your own business?
My business is called Align Content Studio. We provide content strategy, production and distribution for businesses in a variety of industries. To help our clients’ content reach a targeted audience, we also operate original content brands. Our first and largest is www.siouxfalls.business, which provides business news about the Sioux Falls area and is supported by paid content designed to engage a business audience. I was driven to start my business because I saw two industries – marketing and media – evolving in directions that excited me and seemed to be a good fit for my skills. So, I saw an opportunity to create a new model that combined both.

You talked a bit about originally being from Ohio and moving to Sioux Falls when joining the workforce. You have held several positions since then - what has kept you in Sioux Falls?
Sioux Falls has provided me a range of opportunities that I think would have been hard to replicate in larger communities. Through my varying experiences, I’ve developed a large network of wonderful relationships. That’s the key thing that keeps me here – being able to work with so many outstanding people as I grow my business. Beyond that, though, I love that it’s a growing community with plenty to do, and I enjoy being able to play a small role in the way the city is going to develop. I still visit and work from Ohio frequently and find it’s generally pretty easy to travel anywhere from Sioux Falls. Plus, I always pick up new ideas by getting away!

What are some of your favorite parts of Sioux Falls, and how would you like to see it grow?
Downtown is by far my favorite part of Sioux Falls. It’s been so rewarding to watch it redevelop and become a thriving place for local businesses. My other favorite parts are the River Greenway, St. Joseph Cathedral and many restaurant patios in the nicer weather! I would like to see downtown fully capitalize on the redevelopment opportunities presented by several key locations – the railyard property, the Uptown area, the Weber Avenue corridor, Main Avenue, the Sioux Steel site and the southern edge of downtown. And I’d like to see us continue to strengthen our core neighborhoods, from Cathedral to All Saints, McKennan Park and many more, so that they attract a wide range of residents who will support the area schools and parks. I’d also love to see us complete the vision for developing the River Greenway all around the city with more attractions and interactive elements.

Part of your site features Up and Comers in the area. Why do you think young professionals are important to the community?
Young professionals are as critical to Sioux Falls as any resource I can think of here. We need their talent, their ideas and their passion for making the community better. More established members of the business community need – and want – to know about the young leaders we are lucky enough to have living and working here. Featuring a different young professional on our site each week is one way we can help.

How can readers help contribute to your business?
The biggest way is by reading our work! You can bookmark www.siouxfalls.business, which is updated multiple times a day, and sign up there for our free email newsletter. Follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/siouxfallsbusinessnews) and set us to “see first” so you don’t miss anything! If you prefer Twitter, we’re @bizsiouxfalls. If you have ideas for stories, email me at Jodi@siouxfalls.business.

Rachel Woodman Presents to Up & Coming About The Benefits Of Toastmasters

Rachel Woodman relocated from Minneapolis-Saint Paul in August 2014 when she took on a role as Market Development Manager with CenturyLink, here she is a marketing and public relations strategist overseeing a 3+ state region. Rachel is active in the community with a passion for women and youth and was recently named the Area 63 Director for Toastmasters International. Rachel can be contacted at rachelwoodman@hotmail.com or at 651-366-1555.

Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Our organization has more than 345,000 memberships. Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 15,900 clubs in 142 countries that make up our global network of meeting locations. The world needs leaders. Leaders head families, coach teams, run businesses and mentor others. These leaders must not only accomplish, they must communicate. By regularly giving speeches, gaining feedback, leading teams and guiding others to achieve their goals in a supportive atmosphere, leaders emerge from the Toastmasters program. Every Toastmasters journey begins with a single speech. During their journey, they learn to tell their stories. They listen and answer. They plan and lead. They give feedback—and accept it. Through our community of learners, they find their path to leadership. Learn more at www.toastmasters.org or visit Rachel's home club at www.tm210.org

  • Why did you join Toastmasters?
    • I joined Toastmasters to strengthen my public speaking skills after accepting a promotion that required me to be a company spokesperson, appear in media interviews, and frequently present to employees. Since joining the club, I have increased my confidence, become a more impactful speaker, and strengthened my skills as a leader. I'm very passionate about Toastmasters because of everything it has helped me to achieve.
  • What has been your biggest challenge for the group?
    • For Toastmasters clubs in Sioux Falls getting the word out can be the largest challenge. For Sioux Falls Club 210 this was a challenge for us as well in the not so distance past. In 2014, the club struggled with membership but the leadership has since grown the club from 10 members to 29 strong, ambitious, and vibrant members focused on personal and professional success. Our current challenge is to maintain our momentum!
  • What do you see the next step being for yourself and the group?
    • As Area 63 Director, this year I will be focused on bringing several Sioux Falls Toastmasters clubs together to develop a local speaking event for the community. These events will help members in many clubs grow and allow us to connect with our community in a new way.

Members Assist Habitat For Humanity In House Build

On Saturday, January 28, a few Sioux Falls Up & Coming members volunteered at with Habitat For Humanity on a house build in central Sioux Falls.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sioux Falls builds homes with families and individuals in need of better housing, coordinates home preservation projects, and runs a ReStore that sells donated home building and home goods. Learn more about there at

Member Alicia Koch Hosts Up & Coming at Faini Designs

Up & Coming member Alicia Koch hosted the group at Faini Designs Jewelry Studio to talk about her position and the work Faini does.

What is your role with Faini Designs?
I am currently, a sales associate at Faini Designs. My focus is on helping customers find the perfect piece of jewelry whether it is a custom design or one of the many jewelry lines carried by Faini. I assist with inventory management.

How did you get started with the industry you're in?
After spending time looking for the perfect engagement ring and not finding anything that matched my personal style. I came to Faini hoping to design my own engagement ring. Gerrad and I worked closely together to make my design come to life. I enjoyed the process so much that when the opportunity presented itself to work for them I gladly accepted.

What is the best part about the work you do?
The best part of my job is creating meaningful piece of jewelry that exceed the customer’s expectations in both design and functionality.

What are some unique or special things about Faini that many readers might not know?
Faini has been in business for over sixty years. The company started in the whole sale industry and added retail in 2008. As a result all jewelry repairs are completed in house.

Why do you think Sioux Falls is a good place for young professionals?
Sioux Falls is a good place for young professionals because it is constantly expanding, which brings new opportunities to the area but keeps its small town values.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore Hosts Up & Coming Members

Members of Up & Coming visited the north side of Sioux Falls this week to learn more about the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, a business run in coordination with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sioux Falls. Habitat builds homes with families in need, coordinates neighborhood revitalization projects, and runs the ReStore that sells donated home building supplies and goods. Alisha Grove, ReStore Coordinator, gave the members a tour of the facility and taught them about the store and what the organization does for the community of Sioux Falls. Learn more below.

What does the ReStore offer for the community of Sioux Falls? 

The ReStore is a non-profit store that provides home improvement materials and appliances to people of all income levels. The ReStore keeps 295 TONS of useable materials out of our local landfill each year. 

When people spend money at the ReStore, where does it go? 

Most importantly, it stays local. 100% of the funds generated through the ReStore go toward our mission to build affordable, decent homes. 

How can young professionals help your business and/or overall mission?

There are a few pivotal ways to help out! 

Donate – We are always in need of donations! Some of the most commonly sought items are; appliances, cabinetry, light fixtures, plumbing, building materials, tools, and home goods. We accept donations Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday 9am-2pm. Pick up service is also available if you are unable to drop off an item.

Shop – The ReStore carries both new and gently used items. We are open to the public 6 days a week and are a fantastic resource for every project! 

Volunteer – The ReStore is always seeking cashiers! No experience needed, just a friendly smile! Shift are 9am-12pm, 12pm-3pm, or 3pm-6pm.  We also seek individuals who are able to drive truck, lift, and help out with donation pick-ups and other projects! 

How can people volunteer with the ReStore or Habitat For Humanity? 

Contact our Volunteer Coordinator at 605-274-6292.

Learn more about Habitat and the ReStore by visiting their website here or their Facebook here

Up & Coming Members Learn More About St. Francis House

At the October 20 meeting, Up & Comers got a chance to learn more about the St. Francis House from Dawn Rang, Marketing & Development Specialist with the organization. Check out below to read more from Dawn about what the organization provides, and what you can do to help. 

What does St. Francis House offer to the community?

Our Mission Is:  Moving people from homelessness to hope!  We use a “Hand Up” and not a “Hand Out” approach!  

The St. Francis House is a zero tolerance facility for alcohol, illegal drugs/non-prescribed medications and gambling. 

We are here for anyone that is seeking shelter and a safe place to stay (with a couple exclusions…we do not accept anyone who has a violent offense, which includes simple assaults and/or a sexual charge or conviction – background checks are done on all guests and staff)

Individuals must obtain and maintain full time employment and make deposits of 100% of their paycheck into a house savings account. They can only spend 50% of those funds while staying at the St. Francis House, receipts are turned into their Case Manager to track their spending.  Guests are required to pay off their debts!  

Each guest meets regularly with a Case Manager.  These meetings focus on personal goals, and maintaining employment.  While in the program guests have the opportunity to gain independence, reach their personal goals and make a seamless transition which increases the likelihood of long-term independence. 

We Provide Our Guests:
- Shelter
- 3 Meals a Day
- Sack Lunches (for work)
- Debt Management
- Basic Essentials
- Case Management
- Most of all HOPE!

Reversely, what can the community do to help St. Francis House?

-Volunteer your Time (by bringing in meal for dinner and serve it, or serving a meal we have prepared, cleaning the kitchen, organizing, writing thank you cards)

-Donate Household Essentials (examples: paper towels, toilet paper, ketchup, mustard, sugar, shampoo and conditioner).  Anything you use in your home, we use in ours!

-Provide Financial Support (examples)
- $50 – a temporary home for a hardworking guest
- $75 – An Evening meal for 50 guests after a long hard day of work
- $100 – three nights for a family working to create their own home
- $300 – One month’s rent for a family saving money
- $500 – One week of meals for guest paying off debt
- $1000 – Creating success in 53 women, 18 males and 7 families
- $5000+ - Supporting an organization turning people from homelessness to HOPE!

Sioux Empire United Way Presents to Up & Coming

Sioux Falls Up and Coming members visited the Sioux Empire United Way offices on August 18 to learn more about the program from Olivia Essig, Marketing & Campaign Associate, and Kate Kotzea from ClickRain who volunteers as the Employee Gifts Division Chair on the Campaign Cabinet, volunteers with Community Impact, and is on the steering Committee that launched Emerging Leaders.

See below for more information from Essig about SEUW and how young professionals can help the campaign.

What does SEUW offer the community?

United Way is one of the most efficient donations you can make in the Sioux Empire. A donation to United Way is a donation to over 80 programs in need of funds. We work with over 100 volunteers each year who decide where money is needed the most. Over 90 cents of every dollar raised is invested in funded agencies, and with so many programs, that money effects 1 in 3 people in the Sioux Empire who may be suffering from hunger, homelessness, health problems, etc.

What do you think is the biggest need in Sioux Falls right now?

I think what makes United Way so great is that we don’t pick a need that is the ‘greatest”. We recognize that if a child does not have the resources to eat, he may also be lacking a mentor in his life to look up to and guide him in the right direction, or someone to take care of him after school until Mom and Dad get home. We realize that people who have one need, often have many, and in order to break the cycle you really need to lift them up and tackle all of these needs.

How can young professionals get involved with SEUW?

We have learned that young professionals are often extremely eager to get involved, and when they get involved—they really dedicate themselves. They often crave real-life experiences versus one-time, transactional giving. Because of this, we launched Emerging Leaders. The group is in 4 parts: Learn, Connect, Serve, & Share In Your Community. Each month, we gather to learn about a United Way Funded Agency and the following month, we go out and “get our hands dirty” with an actual volunteer opportunity. It’s really a great way to get in the door of a variety of nonprofit agencies in Sioux Falls and gain a better understanding, first-hand.

Learn more about Sioux Empire United Way at www.seuw.org, or get involved with Emerging Leaders visit www.seuw.org/emerging-leaders.

Business Resource Network Presents to Up & Coming

Vicki Kerkvliet, the Executive Director of the Business Resource Network (BRN), recently spoke to Sioux Falls Up & Coming about her role in helping people with disabilities find employment in Sioux Falls. BRN was designed to provide businesses with educational opportunities regarding the employment of persons with disabilities, to create a greater awareness of the benefits of hiring persons with disabilities within the community, and to act as a resource for both prospective employees and employers regarding employment opportunities and worksite modifications.

Here are just a few of the things we learned about BRN from Vicki:

Can you expand on your statement of employers' tendency to focus on disability vs. ability and the message you'd like to communicate to employers?

Some employers tend to focus more on the disability a job seeker has rather than their ability to perform the job. People with disabilities have skills just like everyone else. They just need to be given a chance. As I talk to employers that employ people with disabilities, they tell me how loyal, positive, and hard-working people with disabilities really are!

What are some of the financial benefits of employing individuals with disabilities and maybe some misconceptions about costs of accommodation?

There are tax incentives available to businesses that hire people with disabilities such as: Work Opportunity Tax Credit (up to $2,400/year), Small Business Tax Credit (up to $5,000/year) and The Architectural/Transportation Tax Deduction (up to $15,000/year). Some people think that creating special accommodations for people with disabilities is expensive. However, most accommodations cost less than $500 and in many cases, nothing at all. Many people with disabilities do not even need special equipment or accommodations. 

Who is representative of a local champion and where can we nominate local businesses?

Camille’s Sidewalk Café is one of the businesses in Sioux Falls that has received a Disability Friendly Recognition Program Award from Business Resource Network for employing people with disabilities. Jennifer Erickson, owner, states, “Why WOULDN’T you hire someone with a disability? They do the job just as well as anyone else, and they do it with pride and a positive attitude. There are really no obstacles to hiring someone with a disability. As long as I’m part of this business, we’re going to make that commitment. They’re great workers!”

To nominate businesses in our community that employ people with disabilities, go to the Business Resource Network website and visit the “Friendly Places” tab. 

Where can local businesses list jobs?

If businesses have positions they need filled, they can contact me, Vicki Kerkvliet, at director@sfbrn.org or (605) 215-1760. I will then share the information with job providers in our community who assist people with disabilities with job placement. 

Vicki Kerkvliet has a B.A. in religion with a minor in psychology from Augustana University.  She has worked in the field of disabilities for 24 years. Vicki was born with the disease Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) and uses a wheelchair for mobility. She currently serves on the Sioux Empire United Way’s Disability Impact Team and the South Dakota Statewide Independent Living Council. She is also a Peer Visitor for Independent Living Choices. Vicki was Ms. Wheelchair South Dakota in 1998. She also received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Employee with a Disability in 2000.

Native Hope Presents to Up & Coming


Director Julie Muldoon and Ambassador Andrea Hearting of Native Hope presented to the group on the struggles of the Native American culture, the mission and goals of Native Hope, and the continued work being done to ensure a bright future for every Native American.

Julie offers Native Hope an array of experience in leading various teams. To make Native Hope a success, she knows we must shine light on the success of the Native American people to create possibilities for all.

Andrea is an enrolled member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe. She feels Native Hope is as an opportunity to work with families and individuals who are capable of overcoming obstacles they may be facing.

Native Hope is a non-profit that seeks to guide Lakota families on a journey to well-being. Through storytelling & imagery, they hope to shine a light on the hope they see daily.

There are many ways you can connect and help Native Hope. To learn more, you can visit their website at https://nativehope.com.