The Dakota Resources’ volunteer Board of Directors guides our work to carry out our mission of connecting capacity and capital to empower rural communities. In addition to the affiliations set forth below, the board members are active in many community, trade, charitable, educational and religious organizations.
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Our Advisory Council
Brian Depew is Executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs based on Lyons, Nebraska. He provides strategic leadership for the Center’s community development, financing and policy change efforts. Brian also serves on the governing body of the National sustainable Agriculture Coalition. He was a 2018 BALLE Network Local Economies Fellow. When not at work, Brian can be found chopping wood, working in the garden and tending a small flock of sheep.
Cecily Engelhart is an Ihanktonwan & Oglala mother, artist, coach, media nerd, foodie, bookworm, and kitchen dancing enthusiast. She was raised in South Dakota; her school years spent with her mother in the small college town of Vermillion and summers with her father, grandparents, and innumerable cousins on the Yankton Sioux Reservation along the muddy banks of the Missouri River. All her fondest memories relate to cooking delicious food, being in the sunshine, playing favorite games, and watching movies. She is unwaveringly passionate about how methods of expression shape our understanding of ourselves and each other. Her personal and professional work have consistently coalesced around storytelling in its various forms, most often through cooking, design, writing, and filmmaking. Through all her contributions to the world, she seeks to be a good relative, a good future ancestor, and a responsible steward of Unči Maka.
Jon Farris joined BankWest in 2016 and serves as Special Assets Officer, providing assistance in debt recovery solutions. Previously he had worked for DuPont Pioneer as an Account Manager in east central South Dakota leading the sales efforts of Pioneer brand products.He worked for the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) from 1994 to 2013, serving as Deputy Secretary, Acting Secretary and Director of the Agricultural Development Division. Prior to joining SDDA, Farris worked as an investment broker, served as an operations manager for a residential district and assisted in infrastructure development for local municipalities. Originally from Woonsocket, South Dakota, he grew up on a diversified farm and family business. Farris received his bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State University and his MBA from the University of Phoenix. He serves on the Mitchell Area United Way on the Board of Directors and is the current chair for the board for Dakotas America working with New Market Tax Credits.
Erik Gaikowski joined AARP as the South Dakota State Director in March 2016, representing over 106,000 AARP members in the state. Erik is a highly respected non-profit leader specializing in volunteer leadership development, strategic staff deployment, and community engagement since 2000. Previously, Erik led the development and coordination of a statewide advocate network and partner organizations to successfully influence health policy, and also developed strategic partnerships with medical, corporate, and public employers to advance organizational priorities to improve the health of all citizens. Erik’s upbringing in South Dakota drives his focus on improving livability in communities across the state, which was the impetus for convening statewide stakeholders to enhance livability and grow community and economic development for all South Dakotans. Erik holds a degree in Political Science from Northern State University. He lives in Sioux Falls with his wife Mandy and two daughters.
Clay Hoffman was born and raised in the West River farming and ranching community of Winner, South Dakota. He went on to attend the University of South Dakota and graduated with a BA in Political Science in 2015. After a short stint in politics, Clay currently works as a Loyalty Giving Officer with the SDSU Foundation. In his current role, he works to cultivate relationships with alumni and friends of South Dakota’s premier land-grant institution to discover their passions in support of the University. Clay is excited to be part of an organization that is dedicated to a thriving rural.
Kelsea Kenzy Sutton
Kelsea Kenzy Sutton works as an attorney for First Fidelity Bank in her hometown of Burke, South Dakota. She is a passionate “homecomer,” and when she isn’t lawyering she likes to spend her free time working on community development and rural advocacy. She helps run several local nonprofits, and together with her husband launched a statewide leadership initiative to help empower more community-minded, courageous, servant leaders. She loves historical fiction, hot yoga, and spending summers on the Missouri river with her family.
Onna LeBeau, member of the Omaha Nation of Nebraska, is the Executive Director of the Black Hills Community Loan Fund, Inc. in Rapid City. Onna is a mother to five young men and gaha (Grandma) to 2 beautiful children. Onna grew up in Aberdeen where she started her family, received her Bachelors of Science in Economics and Finance from NSU and career in community development. Onna’s passion for financial education and helping her native people is what drives her to provide services to as many as she is able to reach through her organization. Onna received her Masters in Applied Sciences from the University of Nebraska. In her spare time she loves to go hiking in the Black Hills, kayaking when ever she is able and enjoys listening to all genres of music and traveling while attending concerts with her boys.
Glen has served the Boys & Girls Club of Rosebud in various ways since 2009. He filled the roles of volunteer, board member, and site director, before stepping into the executive role in July 2014. Glen also served in the United States Army Reserve and taught economics at Todd County High School. Glen has served on the national Native Advisory Board for the Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA) since 2016 and was inducted into the BGCA Great Plains Area Council Hall of Fame in 2018. Glen holds a B.A. in Economics from Minnesota State University Moorhead. He enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and dogs.
Kelly is a farmer, an inventor, a business owner, a former Dakota Rising Fellow and is involved in economic development for Faulk County, where he was born and raised. His love of rural brought him back to his family’s farm after moving to Minneapolis to pursue a career as an electrician. After moving back home, he began designing and patenting farm equipment to help make feeding cattle easier. His products eventually grew into Common Sense Manufacturing, one of the largest employers in the county. His experiences as a “rural risk taker” make him a valuable asset to the Dakota Resources board, where he offers his insights as farmer and rancher, a Dakota Rising alumni and a mentor for other business owners. He believes in giving back to his community and knows that it takes a village to help rural communities thrive—something he has been able to witness first-hand through the significant economic and community growth in Faulk County–considered a “poster child” of success for Dakota Resources.
Amy Miller was born and raised a South Dakotan. Growing up in Faulkton instilled in her small-town pride from a young age: Believing that with the right tools anything is possible. She has been a teacher and spent the last 10 years as an administrator for Webster High School. In 2020 she joined the SD Department of Education as the Assistant Director of Career and Technical. Helping students identify career paths that keep our rural life viable and connecting existing industry to our schools to keep the workforce pipeline strong are two of her greatest passions.
Tanya is a landscape architect and co-owner of Tallgrass Landscape Architecture in Custer, SD. Our mission is to be a creative partner for inspired placemaking, helping to create flourishing communities with high quality everyday lives through collaborative place-inspired design throughout the Northern Great Plains and American West. Tanya’s personal commitment to this mission extends to her volunteer activities; she serves on the Custer Area Economic Development Corporation and Foundation Board, the Rushmore Region Board, is the South Dakota section chair for the Nebraska Dakotas Chapter of ASLA and is an organizer of the annual AIA SD Design in the Hills conference. She is a past Dakota Rising Fellow and is honored to support Dakota Resources by serving on the Advisory Council.
Erica Stone is the Director of Future of Work Strategy for Citibank, based in Sioux Falls, SD. She oversees Citi’s Home Office Program across North America and is heavily involved in long-term roadmap activities for Operations. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Citicorp Trust South Dakota. Erica has been at Citi for decades, holding a variety of Chief of Staff and Program Management leadership roles.
Ngoc Thach is a Vietnamese American entrepreneur raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She is the owner and operator of Mix Maker, a content production company she founded in late 2020. Prior to starting her own business, Ngoc enjoyed a formative career in hospitality where she served as Vice President of Communications for My Place Hotels of America.
Rebecca Undem learned early in her life that people are what matters most. As the author of How Mommy Got Her Groove Back™, inspirational speaker, and community advocate, she’s helped hundreds of companies and leaders improve their people processes. Today, she inspires people to live BIG no matter their zip code through her speaking events, retreats/workshops, and podcast, The Small Town Big Talk Show, where she serves up a passionate and playful take on how to bloom where you’re planted. In 2019, Rebecca founded a non-profit organization called Growing Small Towns, which offers dynamic co-working space, entrepreneurial supports, and innovation services to the people who work and live in small towns. Rebecca believes that everyone has something positive to contribute, that if you’re not growing, you’re dying, and that anything really is possible. Her biggest champions and daily dose of reality are her 3 kids under the age of 12, Andrew, Carter, and Brynlee, along with her farmer husband, Jeremiah. They both ground her and keep her from taking herself too seriously. Rebecca and her family call Oakes, North Dakota, home, where her roots are the deepest, and her heart belongs.
Alisha Vincent is a dedicated and innovative educator who cares about creating practical and relevant learning experiences that matter to her students and make a difference in the communities that students come from, reside in, and go back to. In addition to being an educator for the past ten years, she has also been a long-time small business owner with her husband. She is proud of her three children and thankful to have them attend a thriving school at Sioux Valley. She loves SD and is an outdoor enthusiast as well.
Laura Zabel is the Executive Director of Springboard for the Arts, an economic and community development agency run by and for artists. Springboard provides programs that help artists make a living and a life, and programs that help communities connect to the creative power of artists. Springboard is a nationally recognized leader in artist-led community development, creative placemaking and cross-sector collaboration. Springboard’s work has been featured by the New York Times, PBS, Wall Street Journal, Stanford Social Innovation Review and The Guardian and directly impacts over 25,000 artists each year in their home state of Minnesota. Through their free toolkits, training and resources Springboard’s programs have been replicated in over 80 communities across the U.S. and internationally. Zabel has been honored with numerous awards, including the YBCA 100, Gard Foundation Award of Excellence, Common Future Local Economy Fellowship and the Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship. Zabel is on the board of directors of the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers and serves as an advisor to Dakota Resources, The Laundromat Project, Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the University of Kansas Department of Theater and Dance.