Images by Laura Kate Photography

You nominated them. We picked them. We present the 2014 young leaders of the year.


Alex Jensen

What makes this leader unique is that a lot of his accomplishments are preparing the future leaders of tomorrow: the youth.

Just talking about it, his eyes light up.

“I have a passion for developing young people because they’re going to be the future workers, they’re going to be the future criminals, whatever it is they’re going to be that,” he said.

What he hopes by being involved in organizations like Junior Achievement is that he can impact lives to go into a positive route. Jensen has been involved in this program for three years and recently talked to high school classes about planning earning potential.

“We have to start planning sooner than later. If you don’t think about it, you’ll be 40 someday and you’ll be making what you’re making because of the steps you’ve taken,” he said. “[Students] need to understand how that will impact them going into college, after college… you have to have that squared away to do what you’re passionate about.”

There is no promise these lessons are being completely taken in by each and every student, but Jensen sees how important it is to get into the classrooms.

“I would rather put [the ideas] in their ears and have the opportunity that they might hear it at some point,” he said.

This drive for financial planning stems from his new career as a broker associate at Keller Williams Realty in Sioux Falls. Before his new position, he was a home loan specialist in the banking industry for three years.

“Every part of my business has some aspect of planning and budgeting and making sure your financial house is in order,” he described.

Jensen started setting up his future when he was attending South Dakota State University in Brookings studying communication. During a do-I-really-want-to-major-in-this epiphany, he decided to move to Sioux Falls to attend University Center for business.

“I learned how to create relationships, got internships, snow-blowed for a while,” he said. “Snow blowing actually turned into my first real job with Tom Morgan, who is one of my mentors. I would never have him in my corner if I had never snow blowed driveways.”

Most mornings consist of cold calling potential clients from 8 a.m. to noon. The rest of the day consists of follow ups or an array of organizations. One he has been involved in for several years is the YMCA’s Strong Kids campaign that raises money for basketball and sending youths to camps like Leif Ericson and Tepeetonka, which averages out to about $300 per camper. Fundraising happens in February and March.

“We go out and raise money for a needs-based scholarship,” he said about going business to business to fundraise.

Last year, the organization raised around $250,000.

“I don’t know what happened, but I was throttled down last year,” he said. “When I wasn’t working at the bank, I was fundraising or planning on who to call to fundraise.”

To read more about the young leaders, pick up a copy of 605 today!


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