If you’ve visited Startup Sioux Falls in the past couple months, you may have had the chance to meet our new facilities and admin specialist, Emma Olson.
Between staffing the welcome desk and working on member engagement, Emma plays a key role in making our community function smoothly, and we’re grateful to have her on board.
Now, we want you to get to know her better! Check out our Q&A with Emma below, and keep reading to learn more about how you can make the most of our space here at Startup Sioux Falls.
The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Tell us a bit about your background!
I was born and raised in Sioux Falls, and have lived here forever. I went to Lincoln High School, and after graduating, I attended South Dakota State University (SDSU) for Spanish and entrepreneurship.
I actually started working at Josiah’s [Coffeehouse] in high school, so I was there from 2014 to 2020. When I was in college, I interned for the former owner, Steve Hildebrand, during a time when he was looking to make some changes to the business, and that was a great experience.
After graduating, I knew I wanted to continue my education, and the pandemic pushed me to do it sooner rather than later, so I started an online MBA program in 2021. I also knew I needed to get some experience besides part-time food service jobs, so I got a job with Daktronics in a front desk admin position, which later transitioned into a buyer role. That was interesting because my MBA was focused on operations and supply chain, so I was able to use those skills and learn even more. It was an awesome experience, and I learned a lot about LEAN business and Kanban systems, but I did end up discovering that I just wasn’t made for head-down computer work.
How did you discover Startup Sioux Falls?
I was really hoping to find a position that was fairly opposite of what I was doing before, and I had heard of Startup Sioux Falls — I think I got the email newsletter — but that was about the extent of my knowledge. I wasn’t really thinking of it as a place to look for a job, but I came across the listing one day, and it seemed like a great fit because I had tons of customer service experience but also this entrepreneurial-mindedness and business background.
The more I learned about the role, the more I thought, ‘This would be really awesome,’ and I was so excited to get the job. I love working with people, solving problems and thinking creatively, so it all just fell together in a really nice way.
Tell us about your role!
I’m responsible for facility management, event coordination, member engagement and administrative tasks like light bookkeeping. It’s been interesting to adjust to working with such a small team; Amos and I have some overlapping responsibilities, and it’s been great to work collaboratively with others because I didn’t have that opportunity as often in my previous role.
What’s something you’re excited to work on?
Definitely member engagement. It’s really exciting to be responsible for making sure people have a good experience. I also think it's fun because the members are really passionate about Startup Sioux Falls. They really care, and it’s been amazing to see these people who believe in the mission and impact of the organization and want to dedicate their time to helping our team. It’s heartwarming to see how much they want to give back to the startup community.
Interested in joining our community?
Connect with us to learn more about membership and coworking.
Do you see yourself pursuing entrepreneurship someday?
I would love to do something entrepreneurial in the future. I have a lot of ideas revolving around food or dogs. I love to cook, so my family has always said I’m going to open a restaurant someday — I guess I’m not sure if that’s the route I’d take, but we’ll see. Through my prior experiences, I’ve learned a lot about the different forms entrepreneurship can take, and I’m excited to learn even more at Startup Sioux Falls.
What else should people know about you?
I have a dog — he’s a Border Collie/Lab mix named Franklin — and he’s like a son to me. I’m also really close to my siblings. I have two sisters and one brother (I’m the youngest), and they’re all in town. We love to do family breakfasts and dog parties together.
Otherwise, I love to cook, watch TV and travel. I studied abroad in Costa Rica, Germany and Spain in college. Oh, and my favorite local restaurants are Inca and Pho Thai — get the yellow curry with chicken, medium spice.
We hope you enjoyed learning a little more about Emma. Don’t hesitate to reach out to her for any of your membership or facility needs!
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