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South Dakota Association of the Blind

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South Dakota Association of the Blind


Koni Sims

Hello, my name is Koni Sims and I reside in Sioux Falls, SD. I grew up in Groton. I was born with Aniridia, so have been legally blind since birth. As a child my parents taught me the importance of advocacy work. I believe in the work of ACB. From past experiences at the national conventions/conferences the sessions are very informative. The information I learn would be very beneficial to take back to the boards and committees I serve on. A person can never stop learning how to improve your leadership skills. The experience will help me become a strong leader.

I graduated from both Groton Central and South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually impaired. I attended Northern State University for a short time until I had to withdraw to have eye surgeries. I graduated in 1996 from South Dakota School of Massage Therapy. My schooling/training also consists of becoming a Certified Sports Massage Therapist, Certified Lymphedema Technician, and a Certified Medical Massage Practitioner.

My experience that would be very helpful in ACB is:

· President of SDAB – In my 2nd year. Serve as chair on Publicity and Legislative. Co-editor for our newsletter. Served 5 years on the board.

· Siouxland Chapter of the South Dakota Association of the Blind – currently Treasurer. Served 4 years as President

· ACB Transportation Committee

· Services to the Blind and Visually Impaired Board – serving as Vice Chair for 2nd year. On the Publicity Committee.

· Citizen Advisory Committee (Under MPO, Southeastern Council of Governments)

· Sioux Falls Pedestrian Advisory Committee

In 1984, I was fortunate SDAB sent me to Philadelphia to represent South Dakota as part of NIBS. My husband and I attended the 2015 national convention in Dallas. I have been a member of SDAB and ACB since 1984. I was not in a leadership role until the early 2000s.

When I was President of our local SDAB Chapter, we started to do more Community Education. Becoming more active in SDAB, I served on the Program/Social Committee. Chelle Hart was the chair of the committee and entrusted me to make all the contacts for our speakers since I had the knowledge of our topics. After that, I was put in charge of obtaining presenters for future state conventions. When I became President of SDAB and before I was elected, I reached out to members that had never been asked to serve in any capacity. A lot were very surprised. I feel we need to include everyone. We all have various skills and abilities. I strongly feel that by working together you get to know various strengths and you maximize that for the organization to be the best it can be. Being a rural state, we have our board meetings via conference calls most of the time. With past presidents, there was a lot of wasted time on idle talk. As President, one strength I portrayed with tact is that I made it clear that idle chat and interrupting each other would not be tolerated. Our meetings do get long sometimes but it all pertains to business; each meeting is an effective meeting for the organization. We used to have a few that would never call in for meetings, now we have more participating than before. I uncovered a lot of issues that provided the organization with challenges when I took office. No fingers were pointed; instead, I have been open and honest with the board. Because of that, the board all have been willing to work together addressing the challenges.