Midwest

South Dakota

140619_HER07_36Robin Salverson

Age: 39
Hometown: Lemmon
Cause: Business education for farm and ranch women

Salverson grew up on a South Dakota farm and ranch and now educates farmers and ranchers statewide. Some of her students come through Annie’s Project, a national organization founded in 2003 to strengthen women’s roles in the financial end of the business. Salverson and a colleague brought the program to two locations in South Dakota in 2006; today, 24 sites are open for six three-hour sessions in accounting, marketing, Quicken and estate planning. “Some women sign up because if their husbands pass away, they’re afraid they don’t have enough knowledge,” she says. “Others want to be better business partners with their husbands.” Salverson, whose other classes are co-ed, says she believes the women-only design allows students “to open up and not feel like they’re asking dumb questions.” So enthusiastic are these women, they continue to meet with Salverson after the formal six-week sessions have ended. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, Salverson never missed a class because, she says, “they energize me.”

Says Salverson:

Farms and ranches are no different from bookstores except that you’re not selling a product everyday. You only get one check a year.”

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