Happy Friday! Megan here.

Weather check: Warm and breezy this weekend

This weekend, I've got a couple of very fun Q&As for you – one with the Sioux Falls Teacher of the Year and another talking about Founders Day with Startup Sioux Falls Vice President Sara Lum. Plus, find some great stories from our sponsors and a couple Super Simplified Stories.

And now, news:


Get smart about Founders Day with Sara Lum

Sara Lum is the vice president of Startup Sioux Falls. She sat down with Sioux Falls Simplified to talk about Founders Day on March 6 and the inaugural "State of the Startups" event.

Answers are edited for length and clarity. All responses are quotes from Lum.

How did you get smart about startups? What prepared you for your job today?

My background is as an architect, and in 2017 when I became licensed, I asked myself the question, 'Do I want to do this for the rest of my life?' and the answer was no.

I went back to business school and then attended an event at the Zeal Center called Startup Weekend. I was like, these are my people.

That turned into a full-time job in December 2020.

We’re all about simplicity here, can you describe the purpose of “Founders Day” in 10 words or fewer? 

Celebrating entrepreneurs, their journey and the impact they have in our community.

The first-ever “State of the Startups” event is happening next week as part of Founder’s Day. What can you tell us about that event and Founders Day as a whole?

The day as a whole is about celebrating founders. We have 12 people – almost all founders themselves – scheduled to speak, and the State of the Startups keynote speaker is Jael Thorpe (founder of Gameday Social Apparel Company).

We're also going to be presenting some information that we collected from founders – really presenting the state of startups and what we've seen in the past year.

We're also celebrating the successes of people in our community and what the next year holds.

See the full interview here


Why a doula should be part of your postpartum support system

This is a paid piece from Transitions: Doula and Life Services.

Simplified: Giving birth is one of most significant life events a person can go through, but many parents struggle through the postpartum period not knowing exactly what they need but knowing they need help. That's where a postpartum doula comes in.

Photo credit: Wes Eisenhauer

Why it matters

  • A postpartum doula provides care to the entire family after a baby is born – doing everything from sanitizing baby bottles to entertaining older children to making sure the birthing parent gets a chance to take a shower or eat a meal.
  • Doula support – both during birth and postpartum – improves health outcomes for both parents and children. Research shows that about 1 in 7 people who give birth experience some sort of postpartum mood disorder like depression or anxiety, co-owner Renee Forred said.
  • Transitions: Doula and Life Services has a mission to make a difference in one person's life at a time to ultimately build a stronger community. In practice, it means the business offers unbiased support and resource-driven local wisdom to help people through all of life's transitions, founder Kelsie Thomas said.
"To be able to meet you where you're at in your most vulnerable time makes all the difference," Thomas said. "You have no choice but to transform, and we are going to set your family up for success in doing that."

What is a doula?

Learn more here.


Super Simplified Stories

  • A new license for home repairs. The city this week announced the creation of a new residential roofing and repair contractor license. It's essentially a way for contractors to get a less-intense license for home repair work that doesn't require structural changes, e.g. re-shingling, re-siding, and door or window replacements, that does not require structural changes on residential homes.
  • Look at the cute Leap Day baby! She's so cute. Her name is Cora Jean Peterson, and is the first child born to parents Nic and Jennie Peterson of Sioux Falls. Congrats, you guys!


Meet the business making heirloom-quality gear for all your adventures

Simplified: Paxton Alsgaard and Jeff Hayward became fast friends through outdoor adventures working at a Boy Scout camp. Now, their company Dakota Adventure Supply is crafting heirloom-quality gear made in South Dakota with a focus bringing people together.

Why it matters

  • Alsgaard and Hayward – both Eagle Scouts – have strong connections to nature and the friendships they've made along the way with outdoor adventures. That camradery is at the heart of Dakota Adventure Supply.
  • There's also a focus on sustainability and ensuring products are made in the USA. All products are manufactured in South Dakota in partnership with Aerostar and WeStitchStuff, and the company recently became green certified by local nonprofit Building Sustainable Connections.
  • In addition to quality products, Dakota Adventure Supply's business hinges on the importance of community and connection. One way the encourage this is through their Comradery Bag – an early prototype of their Adventure Tote that customers can borrow, take on an adventure and leave their mark with a patch.
"We’re at an age where we’re reflecting back on our experiences in life and the things that stand out are the experiences that we have with other people," Hayward said.

Tell me more about the products

And learn how you can see prototypes of upcoming products at Pheasant Fest this weekend.


Meet the 2024 Sioux Falls Teacher of the Year

Simplified: Susan Thies, a fifth grade teacher at Garfield Elementary School was named the 2024 John W. Harris Teacher of the Year during a ceremony earlier this week. She chatted with Sioux Falls Simplified about what that recognition means to her, her philosophy on teaching and what's changed over her 24 years with the district.

Answers are edited for length and clarity. Responses are quotes from Thies.

What drew you to teaching?

I was married with two kids and working on going to law school. My dad was a lawyer, and sometimes you just follow in your parents footsteps because that's what you know.

  • I took law school admissions exams, and I just wasn't very excited.

My husband one day said, 'You'd be a very good teacher.' I went to a couple education classes, and it went from there. I just fell in love with it.

Why elementary school?

I never even thought of middle or high school. It was almost like, 'Oh of course this is what I'll go into.' It was like breathing.

What's your approach to teaching?

My classroom is built on community.

  • We do this together, and we are one community. It's kind of like living with your family for a whole day – we're going to get on each other's nerves. We have different skills, and how are we going to work together.

I'm also a real firm believer in the philosophy of "ubuntu."

  • It's a Swahili word ... (essentially meaning) 'I am because we are.' We are connected because we are human beings, and because of that we need to treat each other respectfully.

We're all human, and that is our starting point.

In your eyes, what role do you play in the lives of your students?

I hope I'm a cross between a cheerleader, someone who encourages and motivates kids, and then on the other hand, I want to be a guide to show them a path.

See the full interview here


What I'm falling for this weekend:


More Simplified Stories

Stuff to do: Feb. 28-March 5
Here’s a look at what’s happening in Sioux Falls this week.
What commercial brokers are watching in Sioux Falls this year
Sioux Falls is, overall, pretty resilient in the face of some national challenges in the commercial real estate world
Where to donate your stuff as you spring clean
Here’s a roundup of local organizations who can give your no-longer-needed items a second life.


How to support Sioux Falls Simplified

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Here are a few ways to ensure this smarter, easier local news outlet is here to stay:

  • Become a member. Consider buying into a smarter Sioux Falls by becoming a member and offering financial support to the no B.S. journalism you've been reading here.
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Want the process to be even simpler? You can schedule a newsletter or event sponsorship right here with just a few clicks and a few questions.

Reach out

What story do you want to see simplified? Falling for something local? Send any news tips, attaboys, missed typos or March gladness to megan@sfsimplified.com.

Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including Dakota Adventure Supply, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Panther Premier Print Solutions, the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, Barre3 Sioux Falls, Midco, the Great Plains Zoo, and the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance. When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.