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Member Voices

Meet a member: Marissa Begley

Marissa Begley is the Marketing & Communications Consultant for SEAM and Millennium Recycling. She earned a degree in mass communications from USD, then launched a career in the recycling industry via an internship in Minneapolis. She now has more than a decade of experience in recycling and IT asset disposition. Marissa enjoys volunteering with BINfluencers and the South Dakota Rock & Roll Music Association. She lives with her husband and six-year-old twins in a Sioux Falls neighborhood that is just a short walk from her parents and sister.

1. Why does your company choose to invest in a Chamber membership?

In our niche market, it can be tough to promote our services to businesses who may not even realize they need us. The Chamber helps us get in front of the business community and showcase our expertise to educate them about what we do and how we can help. It’s also been great for developing our team through the workshops they offer, the leadership opportunities, and many other chances to connect and be involved.

2. What does a perfect summer day in Sioux Falls look like to you?

I’d hit the bike trail loop with my family around the city, and make sure to attempt one of the Falls Area Singletrack (FAST) trails off the main bike path so I can impress my brother-in-law, Adam, who helped build them. Then I’d end the day with friends on a patio downtown somewhere with a local band or musician playing. Bonus points if it happens to be my dad, the talented local guitarist, Geoff Gunderson!

3. What is the best piece of advice you have received?

One of the best pieces of advice I live by is from the Monty Python song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” I know, it’s silly, but I really do follow it and quote it many times as a reminder to stay positive and focus on the good, even in challenging situations. It changes your entire outlook for the better.

4. What is something you are optimistic about?

In recent years, I’ve come to realize the true impact we can make by focusing on local level issues rather than getting distracted by high-level hot button topics. Sioux Falls is a vibrant community with so many positive things happening that we can all contribute to. I love seeing the new local independent news sources starting up too. By following them, I’m constantly learning about new ideas or projects being worked on by people who genuinely care about our community’s future.

5. What do you think is one of the biggest challenges facing our community today? And how should we tackle it?

As someone who deals with it every day, I consider the declining recycling rate a significant challenge. Despite a booming population, our city’s recycling rate continues to decline each year. Our consumer culture has gotten us into the habit of buying and discarding cheaply made items without a second thought. If you ever make a trip out to the landfill and see the amount of wasted resources we’re burying, it stops you in your tracks. Land is valuable and using it as a landfill is not the best utilization. There are many communities around the country who are tackling waste diversion and finding success, so I’m hopeful we can reverse the trend here. We need to focus on making recycling more convenient for multi-housing and schools, and we have an incredible opportunity to raise awareness about waste diversion options available in our community. There are many organizations that are prioritizing quality and sustainability locally, and we should all be supporting them.

6. If you could only keep five material possessions, what would they be?

My phone for…everything, my house, my coffee maker (because it makes mornings AND afternoons better), my oculus to work out on a beach when it’s snowing outside, and my toothbrush.

7. What is a skill that you’d like to learn and why?

I’ve always wanted to master gardening and the art of keeping house plants alive. Since we moved into our house about ten years ago, I’ve been saying I’ll start a garden, but life with twins and other responsibilities always seemed to get in the way. Now that my kids are a bit older, I’m determined to make it happen this year!

8. What is one community or non-profit organization that you support? Tell us about it and why it is important to you.

The South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association (SDRRMA) honors local musicians and others who have impacted the rock and roll scene in South Dakota. Live music has always been a huge part of my life, and I love learning about the history and stories from the past. They organize an annual hall of fame event and have a museum display at the Washington Pavilion. They also have a new youth Battle of the Bands event, which provides a platform for kids from across the state to showcase their talents and ties in with their mission to inspire the next generation of music in South Dakota.

9. If you could witness any event of the past, present, or future, what would it be?

I’d like to see how AI will impact our world so I can stay ahead of the curve and know how to best utilize it… and warn others if it’s our downfall! Or, I’d like to witness the building of the pyramids.