2016 SME Women of Excellence Recognized

The awards celebrate women in the Sioux Falls area who influence the lives of other women. This year’s winners are:

Mandy Bell – ‘Young Women of Excellence’ Award

2016 Winners - SME Women of Excellence Awards

As a teen, Mandy started working at Avera McKennan in the cafeteria. In college she interned with Avera Health as a grant writing assistant. After demonstrating an excellent work ethic, she was offered a paid grant-writing position– two years before graduating with her bachelor’s degree from Augustana University. She later went on to receive a Master’s degree in health care administration from the University of Minnesota.

Mandy became involved with eCARE through writing grant applications. She progressed from Quality Manager to Development Director to her current position in which she oversees innovation, public policy, quality, compliance and research programs.

Mandy has authored grant proposals totaling over $49 million in awards. She has co-authored two published research papers, and developed a public policy platform for Avera’s telehealth services.

Mandy leads a five-member innovation team that studies the feasibility of new ideas through a process that goes from brainstorming, to putting ideas to work “on paper,” to an actual pilot.

Outside of work, Mandy has served as a Junior Achievement classroom volunteer, a fundraising volunteer for Southeast CASA, and for Lifelight, she directed recruitment, registration and hospitality for 2,000 volunteers as Leader of Operations Assessment Team in 2006 and 2007.

Sharon Haselhoff – ‘Women Mentoring Women’ Award

2016 Winners - SME Women of Excellence Awards

Sharon Haselhoff is the General Manager of Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort; a resort that employs approximately 500 employees.   She has 110 Managers and Supervisors and 50% are women.

In an industry where women are typically the minority, she is working every day to break the glass ceiling. She will be the first to tell you she wants everyone to succeed.

Sharon began her passion for being a leader and mentoring women at a very young age.  While at Iowa State University she was the first recipient of the Political Science Legacy of Heroines Scholarship at the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women in Politics.  

She was recognized by the Corridor Business Journal as one of the 40 under 40 making a difference in community when she lived in Cedar Rapids. 

Sharon knows how to work and lead people to make them their best.  Whether it be the girls’ basketball teams she coaches or in the office, she wants everyone to succeed and makes sure they have the tools to do so.

Sharon is involved in the Iowa Gaming Association and sits on their board as their Secretary.  She is a member of the Iowa Women Leaders in Gaming.  Sharon has been a key component in helping mentor women in gaming the last two years.

In 2015, Sharon took an important step in paying it forward and continues to empower women by establishing two new Legacy of Heroines Scholarships at Iowa State University and funding the remainder of the Political Science Scholarship she once received.

Sharon Haselhoff is truly a legacy of her own and making a difference in women’s lives every day.

Viona Ranney – ‘Women Working Through The Decades’ Award

2016 Winners - SME Women of Excellence Awards

Viona Ranney of Yankton grew up picking eggs and milking cows, but she has come a long way- she has worked through six decades, and now at almost 80 years of age…..is still working!

Vi was born near Scotland, SD. and graduated from Scotland High School in 1953.  At age 18 she married and began working at a local bank. She served four years as president for the VFW Auxiliary and received her 60-year membership pin this year.

In 1961 Vi had of a son born with Smith, Lemli, Opitz syndrome.  Her search to find help for her son, Mark, inspired Behavioral Health Hospital in Sioux Falls.  

In 1963 she joined the staff at First Dakota National Bank in Yankton and began attending Mount Marty College. She graduated earning a degree in Business Administration/Marketing and a minor in Music. She eventually became a Vice President at the bank.

Her personal passion and experience led her to take a position in the late 1980s as a professional fundraiser for the March of Dimes in their fight against birth defects. She was recognized for many accomplishments while working at March of Dimes.

In 1987 she designed a tour which allowed WWII veterans to return to the battlefields of Europe where they had fought. It has become a best-seller for the travel agency.

Today, at age almost 80, Vi still serves 14 communities in a four-state area for Allied Concert Services of Minneapolis as a sale representative.

Vi is an active member of the United Church of Christ in Yankton.

The Ranneys were elected Citizens of the Year in 2013 for their exemplary dedication and contribution to their community.

The SME Women of Excellence Awards was sponsored by Training Solutions Institute.