Cheri St. Pierre isn't just a real estate maven. Her background in counseling and mental health lends itself to her ability to negotiate the best deals for clients as well as walk clients through the stresses of buying and selling properties.

First tell us about your business--how and why did you start it?
I started selling real estate over 17 years ago. According to my mom, as a child I was going to peoples homes and started looking at what I would do differently and then tell her later, but as I grew older I felt counseling and helping people was important and went to college and graduate school in mental health and counseling. After moving back Rapid City and searching for homes, I had found a passion again for homes. I decided to explore that further and found that you can help people with those services as well. Counseling does play a big role in everything I do, including help negotiate and keeping transactions running smooth. Home and other real estate sales can also be very emotional, important steps in people’s lives.

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What services do you provide?
Our team sells Homes, vacation rentals,  commercial properties land, but most importantly we offer professional services to help in all types of real estate transactions

Who can benefit from your services?
Anyone can benefit from our services.  We love helping all people--if they are beginning their real estate adventure renting, we can help them get to the next step of ownership.

What is a word of advice you can offer to other women in business?
Always work and talk in a professional manner no matter what situation you are in. Stay calm and think through the problems and growth in logical ways, taking the right steps might not always seem the fastest, but skipping a step might mean you fall. Hire better than you.

Why do you love The OWN?
The OWN is a great place for networking, sharing ideas, getting ideas and growing your business.

Want to learn more about Cheri or get in contact with her about your next real estate deal? Check out her page here!

AuthorMichaela Tully

If you take a look at the list of VIP Members we have in specific, you’re sure to notice their names and logos on everything from soccer jerseys to banners at non-profit events. These companies are often footing bills for networking events, small business classes, workshops, and tools for those in our city.  They very often provide matching funds to our schools fundraisers, are giving scholarships to talented students and athletes, and providing internships and mentorships to our community’s youth.


Donna Ryan is the founder and CEO of Birth Boot Camp. Her company has a nation-wide network of doulas, and offers a variety of courses to expecting parents. Aside from her business, Donna is a wife and mom to four, and a recent transplant to the Black Hills. She is also the biggest Tim McGraw fan around! 

First tell us about your business--how and why did you start it? 
I’ve been a childbirth educator since 2003. I received two certifications, but I was never satisfied with the materials. I either had to create my own or work with outdated videos and workbooks. It  just wasn’t working for modern couples, people who were working with the internet everyday. They needed something they could identify with and that worked with their busy schedules. With an amazing team, I created Birth Boot Camp to fill the gap. We’ve offered online childbirth classes and trained childbirth educators since March 2012. We also certify women to become doulas, or labor assistants, through Birth Boot Camp DOULAS. The two programs complement one another perfectly, helping couples have an amazing birth experience. We are in 35 states and still based in Texas, despite me moving to the Black Hills. As a result, I do quite a bit of traveling. Oh, and our materials really are the best in the industry! 


What services do you provide? 

I’m pretty sure I’ve got the best job in the world. I teach a variety of childbirth classes:

This Fall I’m finishing up curriculum (and materials!) for a 6-session Hospital Birth Class and a 3-hour Comfort Measures workshop. They will be available by the first of the year. 

Who can benefit from your services? 
Do you want to have an amazing birth? These classes are for you!

I work with 2 different groups of people - expectant parents and women training to become childbirth educators and/or doulas. I believe birth can be amazing and that it starts with education, followed by discussion and preparation between partners. Birth touches nearly everyone in one way or another. 

What is a word of advice you can offer to other women in business?
Don’t make excuses. Ever. Be honest about what you can and cannot do, but don’t make excuses 

Donna and her family

Donna and her family

Why do you love The OWN?
I probably use The OWN a bit differently than others in the area. I live in the beautiful Hills, but as a result, my internet is awful. I can’t stream video or do Facebook Lives. I need the internet at The OWN! But I also need space to teach my classes since I live so far out of town. It’s been so perfect. I feel welcome each time I come in. I appreciate that The OWN meets us where we are as individuals. 


AuthorMichaela Tully
Laura Longville

Laura Longville

Laura Longville is the owner of  Walking in Grace, Inc., a non-profit, Chrisitan counseling and consulting center in Rapid City, SD. She's been helping people for over 21 years. 

What services do you provide? We provide counseling, consulting, and speaking services.

Counseling- At the heart, our goal is to create an opportunity for personal growth and healing. Walking in Grace, Inc. provides unique ways to assist you through life’s trials and tribulations. Weekly therapy has a place in the counseling process; yet, there may come a time when this is not enough. Life-changing intensives are an option that helps move you quickly through issues and at a deeper level.

Intensives are typically 6-7 hours of counseling per day and 1-4 days in length. They are designed to meet your specific and unique needs and goals. Intensives are a concentrated and focused experience. Intensives can be designed for individuals, couples or families.


  • Team Development- People learn, grow and change in many different ways; through interactions, lectures, activities, sight, and sound.  I can co-create an experience that helps your business achieve its goals.
  • Family Owned Business Consulting- As a life coach and counselor, I work with other professionals (business advisors/coaches, attorney’s, financial advisors, accountants, bankers, insurance agents and other business professionals) as a team to help the family reach its business and family goals.

Speaking- I am passionate about helping people live fully alive. I can speak to your church group, community or professional organization or workplace team. I can design an exclusive presentation or training for your needs.

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Who can benefit from counseling?  Life is challenging at times. It’s difficult to navigate the sometimes-stressful environment of relationships. Life is full of the unexpected which can cause pain and suffering. Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional. It's never too late to get help. We all need a little help in life. Counseling can help you:

  • Get unstuck
  • Learn practical tools for everyday living and
  • Support to address difficult topics

What words of advice do you have for other women building or running their own businesses? Build a team of supportive people around you; people that will encourage and challenge you. It's important to know that you are not alone and there are many others who have gone before you. Don't give up.

What is a piece of mental health advice you think is important for everyone to know? Everyone has challenges and difficulties. Acknowledging our need for help is a strength. We need at least one person who knows everything about us. All of it. We need someone trustworthy to reveal our deepest secrets, hurts, and fears with. Someone to share our triumphs and victories!

Why do you love The OWN? It's a diverse group of women to share the joys and challenges of owning a business. The OWN is full of varying degrees of expertise and knowledge. We have many resources available to help us all be successful!

AuthorMichaela Tully

One of the challenging components of small business is being the sole individual responsible for every facet of your company, regardless of your strengths and weaknesses. Enter co-working.  At The OWN, when we office together, ideas, tips, and tricks tend to surface and be shared naturally.

Our OWNer of the month for August is the lady behind one of our favorite hangouts. Diane O'Connor purchased Dunn Bros Coffee in 2014 and has spent the time since learning about coffee, from ethical sourcing, to roasting, to ensure that every cup of coffee from Dunn Bros Coffee is the best. 

Tell us a little about you:
Adventurous mom & wife, always up for a new challenge and love to learn new things. Every day I'm in awe & wonder of the amazing people & things God has placed in my life. He's a good Father!

Did you always want to own your own business? How did you find Dunn Brothers?
I always knew I would end up owning my own business. My background is in public & corporate accounting, performance measurement & operations management & consulting, so it only made sense I would eventually do these things for my own business.


What do you love about the coffee business?
The people - from guests to employees to the farmers we source from. I've met so many amazing people from so many walks of life, I love to hear people's story.

What is your favorite method for making a great cup of coffee?
Just one??! Depends on my mood. And the season. The last couple of weeks, it's been cold press over ice with a splash of cream. In the dead of winter, nothing beats the top foam of a cubano latte.

What has been the most rewarding part of owning your own business?
The relationships with people. I love connecting people with other people, as well as providing a space for those people to connect. Humans are social creatures (even the introverts), I think it's so important that we take the time to slow down and just be together in the company of another.

What are some of the challenges you have overcome?
Dealing with some of those people ;-)

What is in the future for Dunn Brothers?
We're in the midst of building a new space in the Landstrom's Building in the Gap to move our existing store. This move will allow us to add some great food options both for breakfast & lunch. There are a few other things in store as well that we'll share soon!

Why do you love The OWN?
I love that in this group of amazing women, you can find support and encouragement of like-minded people. Being a business owner can be a lonely course. The Own is a great resource to bounce ideas off other people, share experiences and just have someone to laugh and share your day with.

I have no shortage of “information” in my days, yet when I really take a look into where I’m the strongest in my life, it’s not areas where I’ve read the most “X Number of Steps” articles.  It’s the areas of life that I’ve lived out- slowly and painfully practiced- that I’ve grown the most. At the end of the day, life is to be lived and experienced and tried, not kept tidy and orderly and every step strategically planned out.

AuthorSamantha Schmeltzer

After nearly six months of being a part of The OWN, learning the ins and outs the group, it's safe to say I absolutely love it. It's hard to completely describe what I love, which is really the magic of The OWN, but here are a few of the things I do love about this amazing group of female entrepreneurs, explained through a series of gifs.