Billie Sutton Leadership Institute launches first training event

Local News

OACOMA, S.D. (KELO) — A former South Dakota legislator and gubernatorial candidate is looking to promote leaders in KELOLAND.

After narrowly losing the race for South Dakota governor in November, Billie Sutton launched the Billie Sutton Leadership Institute, a non-partisan development program.

The program held its first leadership training Sunday.

“This was our first weekend of training. Really exciting, really great group of individuals that want to have an impact on their community and want to make a difference in South Dakota. We’re really excited about what they will accomplish and glad to be a part of it,” Billie Sutton said.

13 people are involved with this year’s year-long program. Sutton says they will learn how to be effective leaders, as well as how to engage in the community.

“We’re just giving them the tools necessary to accomplish those goals,” Sutton said.

One of the participants is Lisa Groon. Groon was recently elected to the Harrisburg School Board. She says she applied for the program to learn skills that will help her in her new role.

“I know there are some gaps in my knowledge, some opportunities where I can learn to work better as a team in making big important decisions,” Groon said.

Another participant is Guthrie Ducheneaux. He’s hoping to use the skills learned this weekend to help his nonprofit Project H3LP!

“We work with anybody who wants to work with us but predominately kids. We want to try to teach them to grow their foundation wide so that they can build their life tall,” Ducheneaux said.

Sutton says these two are examples of why he decided to create the leadership institute.

“Incredibly smart, incredibly talented, engaging individuals that are going to accomplish some really great things, and I’m just excited to be a part of it,” Sutton said.

Sutton says the leadership institute will follow up each month with this year’s participants to help them complete their community engagement plans.

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