Zeal announces leadership change

Aug. 22, 2018

The Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship will be led by a three-person volunteer interim executive team following the resignation of its executive director, the organization announced in a statement.

Michelle Gjerde took over the role earlier this year after Rich Naser transitioned more into leadership for the USD Discovery District.

“We appreciate that Michelle brought a renewed focus to fundraising efforts and increasing the visibility of Zeal in the business community. We wish her well in her transition,” board chair Mike Vetter said in a statement.

Vetter is the CEO of Flywheel and founder of DataSync.

Three board members will help oversee daily operations until a new leader is named: Will Bushee, technology educator, author and vice president of BrightPlanet; Laurie Knutson, former CEO of EmBe; and Matthew Paulson, angel investor and founder of MarketBeat.

Zeal’s focus remains unchanged, Vetter said. The interim executive team will continue programming that supports the startup community, its tenants and Zeal participants. It will communicate with stakeholders and the business community, and will complete a strategic planning process.

“This is an important and pivotal time for the Zeal Center and one which I fully believe will propel the startup community in Sioux Falls to a greater future,” Vetter said. “However, we recognize it is important that we listen to the voices of that community as we develop our next steps.”

Zeal announces leadership change

The Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship will be led by a three-person volunteer interim executive team following the resignation of its executive director.

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