Media Releases

DE&I Activator Series concludes

Participants recognized for completion

A program that supports businesses pursuing diversity, equity and inclusion goals has concluded its first year. The DE&I Activator Series held the final webinar of its inaugural series in March and will formally recognize program participants at a gathering on Thursday, April 21 at 7:30 a.m. at Southeast Technical College.

Seventy-seven individuals completed all 11 sessions of the series and are now designated as DE&I Activators. Through the DE&I Activator Series, participants had the opportunity to explore key concepts, strategies, mindsets and skill sets that boost their knowledge of how to activate a diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) culture shift in their workplace.


Individuals completed the full DE&I Activator Series.


Companies had an employee participate in at least one session.


individuals participated in at least one session.

The virtual webinar series was crafted in direct response to demand from the business community for DE&I programming. Participation in the series reflected that demand, as 266 unique companies or organizations had an employee participate in at least one session. A total of 372 people participated in at least one session, and 159 people participated in at least half of the sessions offered.

The DE&I Activator Series was structured as a series of 11 webinars, held monthly via Zoom. The curriculum offered concrete application strategies to help a workplace envision its DE&I goals and identify steps for implementation. The topics were structured to build on the content of the previous session. Participants began the year by reviewing the business case for DEI programming, then explored topics such as creating a DE&I team, organizational assessments, crafting a strategy, and understanding unconscious bias, inclusive leadership and cultural competence.

Funding for the DE&I Activator Series was provided by Forward Sioux Falls, whose 2026 initiative includes a portion designated for innovative programming that focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion. The Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce partnered with Pathways to Inclusive & Equitable Workplaces to develop and deliver the curriculum.

DE&I Activators

Jen Adix, Minnehaha County
Mekonnen Afa, University of Sioux Falls
Jessica Ashton, Alternative HRD
Amy Baete, Sanford Health
Tina Baker, Avera Health
Lynn Bartholow, Avera
Justin Bentaas, Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce
Shelby Braun, Sanford Health
Cassondra Breuer, Get-n-Go
Willette Capers, Augustana
Alex Clark, Sonstegard Foods Company, Inc.
Matthew Colbert, The University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law
Sarah Crist, OHARA LLC
Nate Dally, Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation
Teresa DeBoer, RAS Companies
Beth Dobbs, RAS
Kayla Eitreim, Junior Achievement of South Dakota
Amy Fierro, Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith P.C.
Mike Finnegan, Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation
Tyler Fuerst, RAS INC.
Jane Hannestad, City of Sioux Falls
Heather Hansen, Allstate
Jennifer Hoesing, DakotAbilities
Pete Hoesing, Dakota State University
Kelsea Hotvet, Lemonly
Erica Hunter, RAS
Tasha Jurrens, First PREMIER Bank
Stephanie Keizer, Woods Fuller
Jennifer Keyes, Southeast Technical College
Melissa Kidrowski, SWHHS
Kira Kimball, Pathways to Inclusive & Equitable Workplaces
Amber Kinner, Southwest Health and Human Services
Faith Kjesbo, Avera Health
Mallie Kludt, Volunteers of America, Dakotas
Jana Lane, City of Yankton
Travis Letellier, University of South Dakota
Terry Liggins, Hurdle Life Coach Foundation
Rocky Long, Risk Administration Services, INC

Catherine McGlown, MetaBank
Lori Meyer, Olson Oil CompanyTiffany Miller, Davenport Evans
Lori Montis, Minnehaha County Human Services
Colleen Moran, Minnehaha County State’s Attorney’s Office
Katy Morris, EmBe
Cassie Nagel, Children’s Home Society of SD
Cindy Nelson, Southwest Health and Human Services
Molly O’Connor, Lemonly
Lisa Olson, RAS/OHARA
Andy Patterson, Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation
Nan Poppen, First Bank & Trust
Corey Pospisil, Shur-Co, LLC
Marcella Prokop, Southeast Technical College
Amanda Redman, RAS
Barbi Roberts, Goal Investment Group, Inc
Kelli Rogotzke, Junior Achievement of South Dakota
Sheila Rozeboom, Smithfield
Dawn Sackett, Missouri River Energy Services
Brenda Schmidt, Sioux Falls Federal Credit Union
Teresa Schreier, Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce
Sarah Siemonsma, Avera Health
Kylee Sivertson, Lutheran Social Services of SD
Danyell Skillman, RAS
Micki Slykhuis, OHARA LLC
Natasha Smith, Sanford Health
Richard Sorenson, Wells Fargo
Walter Southwood, Daktronics
Whitney Stanga, Olson Oil Company
Vicki Stewart, Business Resource Network
Vikki Stingley, Volunteers of America, Dakotas
Sharla Svennes, City of Sioux Falls
Renee Trisco, Avera Health
Lisa Turner, RAS – Risk Administration Services
Maurine Ulmer, Sammons Financial Group/Midland National Life Insurance Company
Monique Vanden Heuvel, TransSource Truck and Equipment
Nancy Walker, Southwest Health and Human Services
Jody Wilson, Sanford
Harriet Yocum, ESC/Pathways to Inclusive & Equitable Workplaces