Denise Blomberg runs international nonprofit Samaritan’s Feet in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Name: Denise Blomberg
City/Town: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Where else can we connect with you online?
Facebook: Denise Duncan Blomberg
Who is your community? This may be a group of friends, organization of affinity or a geographic location.
Anyone, anywhere! My community and my world are all extremely flat. I am always amazed at how connected our world is and marvel at the fact that our “community” is no longer limited to geography. Our “community” is only limited by our imagination.
Give us a behind-the-scenes look at your average day.
My job is my passion. I am blessed to have been able to make the transition from being a dedicated volunteer to a position as a regional director for an international non-profit that has a significant presence here in the OTA states. I have no “average day.” I stay busy building relationships throughout the region, learning from the leaders in all of the communities we serve what their challenges are and how my organization can help with a need as basic as a new pair of shoes.
What challenge in your life or work are you most interested in overcoming?
Having the ability to have an unlimited amount of time and resources to be able to take care of all of the needs of the region. I overcome this daunting challenge by making a difference in the life of one person at a time.
If you could do any job, what would you do and why?
I would be doing what I do now: connecting people with each other, building relationships between people who may not meet otherwise and be able to make a difference in the world.
What is the most beneficial aspect of living in the OTA region when it comes to your career?
The willingness of people to work together for the benefit of others. The willingness to listen each other to embrace our likenesses rather than our differences.
At what intersection do you live your life?
I live at the intersection of passion and possibility.
Where do you think good ideas come from?
Each one of us has the ability to generate good ideas. I think we all get caught up by the fact that we don’t always believe in ourselves that our ideas matter.
What’s one current trend you think will change the world?
Kindness. It is a proven fact that “a little kindness will go a long way.” We just need to practice what we preach.
What’s the best way to put inspiration into action?
By never giving up. By seeking the wisdom and direction of those we most admire and combining and tweaking and trying harder.
What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken?
Leaving the corporate world with a good salary and excellent benefits and success to be the part of a small team that runs a successful international non-profit and learn to lead a life of significance.
What’s your biggest failure, and what did you learn from it?
Not taking more chances. Being too comfortable to not push myself out of my comfort zone. I think I’ve learned that I am a much better person for doing more of that.
Who do you hope to leave a legacy for?
A legacy of leading a life of significance and making a difference in the lives of those around me. I want to be known as a caring, relationship-driven servant leader. I want to know that I made the world a better place.
Who is the most connected person in your life, and what personal characteristics make him or her so well-connected?
Jim Woster. Jim is known as being the unofficial ambassador of the state of SD. Jim always has a smile on his face and a song in his heart and goes above and beyond every day to bring like minded people together for the betterment of all. Jim is selfless and would never take credit for any great idea because to him, “it’s just the right thing to do.” People love Jim Woster.
Who is the most creative person in your life, and why?
John Meyer of Lemonly in Sioux Falls. John leads a team of talented creative minds in our community and inspires them to transcend all traditional barriers and mediums to be able drive home all aspects of creativity. He is transparent and shares his weaknesses and challenges, is energetic and focused.
Who is the most community-focused person in your life, and how do they impact their communities?
Thea Miller Ryan, director of the Outdoor Campus. Thea is committed to making our community a better place by encouraging people to enjoy our outdoor spaces and to not take them for granted. She has been a part of this organization since the construction phase and is a champion not only for Sioux Falls but for communities everywhere.
What passion project are you working on right now?
Creating a platform for communities to engage in conversations about things that matter to them.
I want to see more cooperation and collaboration between non-profits, community members, governments and citizens. Because I currently work with so many of these organizations in various cities across the OTA region, I am open to identifying which city or town appears to have the greatest need in this area and work with that group. No one organization or entity is flush with cash these days and there is a great deal of work to be done so that these entities are working together instead of alone to allow for better cooperation and collaboration and utilization of resources.
I care not only about Sioux Falls, but our entire OTA region. We have so much to learn from the work of others, by listening to one another and coming up with new ideas and solutions for problems, old and new. I am not content with mediocrity and complacency and the phrase I dislike the most is “We’ve always done it this way.” “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” That attitude of change starts with me. We all have the ability within us to be a daymaker and change agent.