Part council, part advisory, part board of directors, The Seven are the brilliant folks that keep The OWN going strong and smart!  It's our conviction that a company and community so outstanding shouldn't be limited to one persons best ideas! With this conviction, we ask an OWNer, a Member, a Mentor, a Financial Advisor, and a key community individual to join two directors of The OWN, making a board of Seven to help steer The OWN's growth, make better financial decisions, and give general feedback.  We meet bi-monthly to review OWNer submission forms, make long term operational decisions, and brainstorm ways to make our company even more amazing.

If you're interested in serving a 1 or 2 year term on our wonderful board, please use the submission form below!

Meet The Seven:


Samantha Ellis

Samantha, Founder & CEO

Samantha started The OWN in 2014 because she wanted to empower fellow business women by providing them access to the tools they need: 

"I'm happy to be a part of this company, and even happier that I get to do what I love every day. I'm the one you'll meet with when you join as an OWNer or Member, and I'm the one who will absolutely quote Ron Swanson or Leslie Knope (or anyone from Friends) the first time we're introduced."

Katie Cook

Katelyn A Cook, Member

Katelyn began her law career as an associate with Gunderson Palmer Nelson & Ashmore LLP. She focuses her practice on litigation, business, and healthcare law. Katelyn enjoys writing and oral advocacy and uses these skills to effectively represent her clients. Katelyn was born and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota. She attended the University of South Dakota and graduated with honors, receiving a Bachelor's of Science in Chemistry and Spanish. Following her graduation, she moved to Phoenix, Arizona to pursue her law degree. After graduating Summa Cum Laude, Katelyn and her husband Trevor decided to return home to the Black Hills.

Katelyn is a firm believer in the importance of entrepreneurship and supporter of small business. She hopes to be able to provide guidance and support for women in businesses of all kinds.

Katelyn and her husband Trevor have one daughter and enjoy hiking with their two dogs.

Laura Longville, LAC

Laura Longville, OWNer

Laura Longville LAC is an intensive specialist, trainer, speaker and writer. She has worked as a therapist for 30 plus years. She is the founder and CEO of Walking in Grace, Inc.; a faith based counseling center in Rapid City, SD. For 23 years Laura has been a consulting therapist for Onsite Workshops in Nashville, TN, the national leader in therapeutic programs.

Laura joined The OWN because she values relationships. Women helping women is powerful and inspiring! She is married to her high school sweetheart, mother of 3 amazing women and a Nana to two grandsons. Life is full of family, friends, hiking, biking, snow shoeing and hanging out on her pontoon boat.

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Jennifer Baloun, Member

Jennifer Baloun has nearly 20 years of banking experience. The most satisfying part of her job is helping clients achieve their business objectives.   “I have met some terrific people through my membership of The Own and am excited to be a part of such a forward thinking group of professionals”.  

Jennifer was raised in eastern South Dakota and graduated from Northern State University.  In 2015, she graduated from the Women’s SD CEO Women in Leadership Program and was recently awarded the Friend of Small Business Award through the SD CEO organization.

Jennifer serves in leadership positions with the Dakota Horizons Girl Scouts, Black Hills Energy Advisory Council, Rapid City Regional Health Hospital Advisory Council, YMCA Governance Committee, and is a Member of the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce Ambassador group. Jennifer is a proud member of the Black Hills Zonta Club, Buffalo Gals, and of course The Own. 

Andy Bartling, Member

Andy Bartling is a Financial Advisor with Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial. Andy has been helping small businesses and individuals plan for a secure financial future since 2009. He specializes in retirement distribution and investing. Andy is very active within his community serving numerous boards and associations. He enjoys spending time with his wife Katie.


Jon Simpson, Member

Jon is a third generation pressman who studied Communication Arts at Black Hills State University, and is VP at Simpsons Printing in Rapid City and Gillette. The graphics industry has been his lifelong passion. With a vision to bring new and innovative methods of communication to our community, Jon served two years on the BH Advertising Federation Board. 

Interviews with Jon have been featured in several national publications including “Graphic Arts Monthly”, “energy:a magazine of new ideas”, and “Printing Impressions”.  Currently, “Printing” is featuring his success with wide format media.

Jon and his family believe that blessings are to be shared, and frequently donate promotional materials to benefit non-profits – especially those which serve children.

He is married to his beautiful wife Magdalina, and is the father to Beau (one) and Audrey (six). 

MaryAnne Whittle, Member

MaryAnne Whittle is VP of Broadcast with The HomeSlice Media Group.  She started with the radio stations back in 1989 and became General Manager when HomeSlice Media purchased the group in 2016.

MaryAnne also serves on the Black Hills Regional Job Fair Board as well being the Pennington County Coordinator for Toys for Tots.  MaryAnne loves this community and believes in supporting it however and whenever she can.

Join The Seven

We meet every couple months over coffee (or mimosa) for about an hour or so.  If you'd like to be a part of the major directions for The OWN, please submit the form to be considered!  "Terms" are 1-2 year commitments.

Join The Seven
Name *
What field(s) do you, or have you worked in?
Please include your current area of work, any boards you presently serve on, and a brief description of yourself!
Are you a current OWNer or Member? *
Are you interested in a 1 or 2 year term? *
The OWNer and Member representative serve a 1 year term, other positions serve 2.

Know someone that would be the perfect candidate for our board?  Please fill out the nomination form below! Please respect other's time and schedule by only nominating those you think would be able to attend bi-monthly meetings!