The conference brings prominent leaders, including Sen. John Thune as invited keynote speaker, together to discuss the effects of COVID-19 to their industry. It is intended for professionals in the state and the region looking to gain a better understanding of how the South Dakota economy has changed due to the pandemic and what the future looks like for the state.

“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected South Dakota businesses big and small,” said Venky Venkatachalam, Ph.D., dean of USD Beacom School of Business. “This conference will identify the challenges various sectors of the South Dakota economy have faced, how they weathered these challenges and how they have created new opportunities that will last beyond the pandemic.”

Other speakers include CorTrust Bank President and CEO Jack Hopkins, Daktronics Chief Financial Officer Sheila Anderson, Avera Chief Financial Officer Julia Lautt, and Poet Vice President of Corporate Affairs Doug Berven.

“As the leading business school in the state, we are deeply committed to the economic development of South Dakota and the region,” Venkatachalam said. “We have assembled an outstanding team of industry leaders as speakers for this conference who will share their experiences and knowledge.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, seating is limited, and those interested in attending in person are encouraged to register early. Virtual participation is also available. Cost to attend is $49 but is free for students.

To access the speakers’ biographies and to register for the event, visit

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