We have a great lineup of local experts to help you launch or grow your business!
Click on our speakers’ names and their company to get to know them better.
Director of South Dakota Operations | Volunteers of America
Tara Wilcox has a passion for non-profit leadership and community collaboration. With this motivation, she aims to empower people to act in ways that move themselves, their business, and our community forward. She brings hands-on experience in non-profit operations including team leadership, group facilitation, program development, systems creation, planning for results, and project management. She works with Volunteers of America as the Director of SD Operation and is also a partner with Pathways-2-Solutions, offering assessment and support for “small shop” operations. Tara is a graduate of Black Hills State University, National Leadership Institute, Leadership Rapid City, and SD CEO Women in Leadership. Additional affiliations include the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, OUR Camp Inc., and Toastmasters International.
Director | SD CEO
As director of SD CEO, Michelle provides business counseling and resource guidance to aspiring and established entrepreneurs. She and the SD CEO team are privileged to bring outstanding workshops, networking opportunities and conferences to professional women across the state while promoting entrepreneurship and leadership. Prior to joining SD CEO, Michelle owned Black Hills PR, a public relations firm she launched in 2011. Headquartered in Spearfish, Black Hills PR designed marketing, social media and PR programs for local, regional and national clients including three years traveling with a professional rodeo association.She earned her bachelor’s degree in Advertising from San Jose State University and is a 4th generation Californian who says that she “found her spot” in Spearfish.You can find Michelle at the creek, lake or pool with her son Jack, on the golf course with husband Mike, on her front porch with friends or in her garden, weeding and listening to podcasts.
Treasurer of Economic Development Partnership | First Interstate Bank
Tom Weaver has served 23 years in the financial services industry, with the last 17 focused on commercial lending. He is a 1994 graduate of Black Hills State University, where he studied Business Administration with an emphasis in Economics. Additionally, Tom is a 2013 graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School located in Seattle, Washington. In 2005, he became a graduate of Leadership Rapid City, followed by graduation in 2016 from Leadership South Dakota. Tom has been a member of the South Dakota Bankers Association since 2014, serving as a Legislative Committee Member. He currently serves as Treasurer of the Rapid City Economic Development Partnership Board. He has also served on several service organizations and nonprofit boards.
Business Partner | Dacotah Bank
Glen Schmeltzer was born in South Dakota where he has lived his entire life. He began his career in financial services after graduating from Black Hills State University in 2007. He moved to Rapid City from Spearfish in 2010 and has been involved in the community ever since. Glen holds obligations to the Black Hills Home Builders Association, Black Hills Sportsman’s Club, Black Hills Area Boy Scouts, and the Rapid City Young Professionals Association. Glen has 6 years of experience in commercial lending. He currently works for Dacotah Bank as a Business Banker. Glen has been married for almost 4 years to his amazing wife Samantha. They have a toddler that is constantly keeping them entertained and an infant at home. When Glen isn’t working or volunteering, he enjoys spending time with his wife, playing with his daughters, or enjoying the outdoors.
Partner | Nooney & Solay, LLP
Marli Schippers is a Partner with Nooney & Solay, LLP. She earned her law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2012. Marli’s primary practice area is Business Transactions, including the representation of small and large businesses in asset purchases and sales and stock purchases and sales; representation of buyers and sellers in the purchase and sale of commercial and residential real property; drafting and negotiating commercial leases for a variety of industries; and drafting and reviewing loan documents for both large and small transactions. Marli has a particular affinity for representing entrepreneurs and small businesses, assisting with entity selection and formation, and general consultation and legal support on a variety of matters. In addition to her Business Transaction practice, Marli also practices in the area of Estate Planning, including drafting Wills, Revocable Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Family Limited Partnerships, and Powers of Attorney.
Brad "Murdoc" Jurgensen
VP of Business Development/GSM | HomeSlice Media Group
Brad "Murdoc" Jurgensen has been in the media business since starting his first web design company at the age of eighteen. He has over seventeen years of experience in web design, broadcast media, digital advertising, and media strategy. He’s also been a radio personality, a podcaster, a music director, and a magazine publisher, and a digital media strategist. He currently serves as GSM and the Head of Business Development for HomeSlice Media Group - a South Dakota company focused on managing local, regional, and national brands with targeted digital media, broadcast and entertainment media.
Senior Partner | Nsight Partners
Leah Braun is the principal of Nsight Partners. They provide customized consulting, training and coaching to small and medium sized businesses, organizations and individuals to help them reach the next level. She coaches clients through a variety of professional and personal issues and conducts seminars and retreats in topics ranging from customer service to work-and-life balance. Leah retired from the South Dakota National Guard at the rank of Master Sergeant after 22 years of military service, where she began to hone her passion for working with people. Leah has a teaching degree from BHSU and a Master’s of Science in Administrative Studies with an emphasis in Counseling from USD. Leah is a Certified Professional Coach, credentialed through the International Coach Federation.A career highlight for Leah was being awarded the ‘Friend of Small Business Award’ by the SD CEO in May of this year. Leah was also recently graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program. When Leah isn’t working she can be found hiking and biking the trails of South Dakota, gardening, cooking or hanging out with her husband and three kids.