By Denise DePaolo

Images by Jeff Sampson Photography

There are a lot of good hearts in this state. When 605 put out the call in November, asking readers to nominate young leaders to recognize in this issue, we were inundated with e-mails detailing many lives lived well. Among our nominees were entrepreneurs, caring parents, supportive spouses, eager volunteers, and very, very hard workers. Oftentimes, these characteristics were all true of the same person.

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The decision was tough, but finally, we boiled it down to four. Each honoree has a different area of focus, but they have one fundamental quality in common. The individuals represented in the following pages are working to make the lives of the people around them better. We are proud to recognize the impact they are having on their communities, families, and workplaces, and look forward to seeing how their positive energies will shape the story of South Dakota.


Thomas Christiansen

Leading the way for the LGBT community

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“His selfless and courageous acts are what lead me to nominate him for this. Youth LGBT and preventing teen suicide rates are close to Thomas’s heart. He has a true passion for helping others that are struggling.” – From the nomination essay for Thomas Christiansen.


Katie Ashmore

Leading the way for families and kids

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“I have seen parents break down crying because they have never seen their child so happy after being able to experience a program the YMCA has to offer, and without Katie, that child would probably not have gotten the chance. She sets a great example for her co-workers and is always volunteering to help in any way that she can, including weekends or afterhours to make sure things get done.” – From the nomination essay for Katie Ashmore.


Erin Bosch

Leading the way for women

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“Erin has dedicated her professional life to empowering women to be the true leaders they are capable of being. It is impossible to go more than 24 hours without hearing Erin command you to “know your value.” That sage advice…serves to empower you to have confidence in your decisions, stand behind your work, reach for the compensation you deserve, and possibly even achieve more than you ever thought possible.” – From the nomination essay for Erin Bosch.


Tate Gabriel

Leading the Way for Young Athletes

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“Tate is passionate about South Dakota’s youth and I think he is a leader in every sense of the word.” – From the nomination essay for Tate Gabriel.

To learn more about 605 Magazine’s young leaders of 2015, pick up the January issue or click here.

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