Mentoring Moment: 1,750 mile transition bodes well for Alex Ramirez, mentor

Published: Dec. 4, 2020 at 3:05 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - When Alex Ramirez moved from San Francisco to South Dakota, one of the more daunting challenges was adjusting to a Midwest winter. Once he and his family got their bearings, carving out a role in the community was another sizeable project. The move from the Bay Area to the Sioux Empire presented challenges that could not be solved by wearing thicker winter gear. As a television and multimedia producer, musician, and on-air television talent Ramirez is familiar with presenting himself on camera; however, the connection he was used to making was a little different.

“It wasn’t like in California where you can put an ad in the paper and people start calling you,” Ramirez said. “Here people want to meet you, they want to have coffee with you, they want to know you are someone they can trust.”

Ramirez says that is when his mentor, Jim Schmidt, made an impression by introducing Alex to the people who represented different groups within the community so he could begin building that trust. Schmidt says breaking into those social or business circles can be difficult, but the leaders of future generations need a little boost sometimes within the community.

“I think it was kind of an effort with my involvement with Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce, to try to find individuals that you knew had a great potential and a great future,” Schmidt said. That was kind of incumbent upon you to introduce them.”

Ramirez is now on the Downtown Rotary Board and continues learning how Rotarians’ values match his own.

“I started learning more about their beliefs and it was very close to what I believe because I tell my kids whatever the issue you take, you have to make sure it is good for you, good for your community, and good for the world,” Ramirez added.

Perhaps that demeanor and propensity are reasons why Schmidt thought Alex was exceptional and could teach people around him how to be better with inclusion and diversity. With Ramirez’s background, he was able to teach invaluable lessons and even helped his mentor perfect the Spanish interface on his own website. For stories such as Ramirez’s, Schmidt says that is why Sioux 52 is so important and why it would surprise people getting involved.

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