Driven to Connect
Dan Doyle begins term as Chair of the Board
By Jennie Doyen
Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce
The same motivations that led Dan Doyle to a career in business law are the motivations that drove him to engage in various volunteer roles in the community, and eventually landed him on the Board of Directors for the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce.
Doyle, an attorney with Cutler Law Firm, LLP, sought work that would allow him to build personal connections and serve clients as a confidante, working collaboratively to support their businesses. Law provided that avenue and as he began his career, Doyle quickly discovered that Sioux Falls is filled with people who share a similar, collaborative mindset.
Involvement in the Chamber has been the window through which Doyle can see community in action. He said, "I've observed people that are leaders in their respective businesses work arm-in-arm with their industry competitors for the greater good. They set aside their differences to collaborate and build Sioux Falls. It is really the definition of community."
Doyle became the Chair of the Chamber's Board of Directors on Oct. 1, a position he will hold for the next 12 months. In his leadership role, Doyle is embracing connection and collaboration as key elements that make Sioux Falls an extraordinary community.
"To me, what makes Sioux Falls extraordinary in the willingness of our citizens to set aside differences so that we can advance the cause of community."
After graduating from O'Gorman High School, Doyle left the state to attend college. He enrolled at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, initially studying pre-dentistry before switching to accounting. When it came time to choose a law school, Doyle said he knew he was selecting more than just where he would earn his degree. "A common mantra for prospective law students is to attend school where you want to practice," he stated. "I decided I wanted to build my career in Sioux Falls, so I chose USD."
Doyle describes the connections he made during his three years of law school and internships as transformative. He met members of the bar association, judiciary, state government and people that would go on to become today's business leaders.
He said, "One of the cool things about Sioux Falls is the opportunity to make your mark. You have the ability to meet people, be involved and build relationships with real decision makers. And you can do it in an authentic way."
His authentic approach is one reason clients enjoy working with Doyle. Bender Commercial Real Estate broker Nick Gustafson described Doyle as a trusted partner in working through contract details.
"Dan is an incredibly smart and savvy business attorney, but what I appreciate most is that he treats my business concerns as though they are his own," said Gustafson. "I know that when I call Dan with a question, he'll get me a straightforward answer that I can act on."
Still relatively early in his professional career, Doyle has created working relationships with clients that are exactly what he hoped for when he first decided to pursue law: serving as a business confidante. When he joined Cutler Law Firm immediately after taking the bar exam though, he did not yet have the connections necessary to build those relationships.
Doyle knew he needed to find a way to expand his network. His father, a partner with Eide Bailly LLP at the time, told him about a new program the Chamber of Commerce was developing for young professionals and encouraged him to look into it. Doyle submitted an application for membership in the Young Professionals Network before the program had even officially launched.
"I am not sure, but I think I may have been the first person who was not a member of the steering committee to join YPN," he laughed. "It was exactly the type of opportunity I was looking for, and now looking back, I can say that YPN really helped jumpstart my career."
Engaging the Community
As he begins his year as Chair of the Board, Doyle is focused on helping businesses and the community recover from the challenges of 2020.
"The Chamber has always done a good job of serving as a conduit for business and community. They bring people together and facilitate important conversations," said Doyle.
He points to the Chamber's role in aligning the efforts of multiple community organizations and local, state and federal officials when the pandemic first began in the spring. Through the ongoing efforts of the Spark Initiative and others like it, the Chamber is providing information and connecting businesses to needed resources while working to rekindle the fire of our local economy in the weeks and months to come.
"Now more than ever, we need to support our local and small businesses. These are our neighbors, and we have to look out for each other," Doyle said.
Another goal in the coming year is to increase the Chamber's outreach. Doyle sees opportunity for growth by encouraging participation from more people. "We need to broaden our involvement throughout the community, meaning we need a broader group of people and businesses engaged in the work of the Chamber."
Thousands of people move into the Sioux Falls region each year, and as our community is growing so is our diversity. The Chamber seeks to help foster an open and welcoming environment, and to provide businesses with the tools they need to create that environment in their workplaces as well.
"The Chamber doesn't necessarily have all the answers. But what we can offer is what we do best – building a coalition of people who will work together to tackle the issues," said Doyle.
An Extraordinary Year
Chamber members are invited to celebrate our extraordinary community at the Chamber's 114th Annual Meeting on Oct. 20. Doyle will share more about his vision for the Chamber year ahead, retiring board members will be recognized and keynote speaker Larry Young will challenge guests to lead farther than they have ever been.
The past year has brought incredible challenges for so many businesses, but there is still much to celebrate in Sioux Falls. A few highlights include:
- Passage of a state law providing that the driver's license written exam and materials be offered in Spanish – an important step in our workforce development efforts.
- Hiring a new CEO, Jeff Griffin, to lead the Chamber.
- Initiating an effort and ultimately launching a new visual identity for Sioux Falls that unites multiple organizations that work to advance our community under a shared logo.
"To me, what makes Sioux Falls extraordinary in the willingness of our citizens to set aside differences so that we can advance the cause of community," said Doyle. He has observed this over the past year and feels confident it will carry us through the future.
"In the coming year, I hope to see people emerge from the challenges of 2020, recover and be united. I want to continue seeing the Sioux Falls spark."