Liz was born and raised in Western South Dakota. After graduating from Wall High School, Liz attended the University of South Dakota and graduated as one of four University Scholars with degrees in English and Mass Communications and a minor in Business Administration. She spent the first 10 years of her working career in the San Francisco Bay Area, employed by Security Pacific Bank, now Bank of America. By 1989, Liz was the Vice President and Northern California District Manager for the bank’s merchant credit card business, managing staff and operations from Fresno to the Oregon border representing $1.2 billion in bank card assets.
In 1990, Liz and her husband Randy returned to South Dakota to start their family. After their two sons, Joe and Jack started school, Liz re-entered the workforce, this time in education. She was employed as the Black Hills District Manager for Junior Achievement and then joined the Rapid City Area School district to develop resources and community focused programs for the Rapid City Area Schools.
Liz became the Executive Director of the Black Hills Area Community Foundation in July 2015. She is committed to taking care of our Black Hills Region- our people and our place. Bringing her varied life and work experiences to the table with the Black Hills Area Community Foundation, she applies her skills in communications, managing and developing resources, program and talent development, and grant writing. With years in volunteer leadership with the United States Tennis Association, she is currently serving on the Advisory Group for Committees at the National level of the governing body. Liz serves on the Elevate Rapid City Board of Directors, City of Rapid City's Community Investment Committee, the Black Hills Energy Citizen Advisory Council, and the Monument Health Rapid City Advisory Council.
Chris was born and raised in the Black Hills and graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead with a degree in Mass Communications. His career started at The Daily Republic newspaper in Mitchell, SD and in 2012 he was thrilled to move back to the Black Hills for a position at the Rapid City Journal. In 2017, Chris was promoted to Editor of the Journal and in 2019 he launched the Black Hills Business magazine with Elevate Rapid City.
After more than a decade in the journalism industry, Chris switched to a career in philanthropy to help make a diverse impact on the region he loves. While at the Monument Health Foundation he led the capital campaign to expand the Cancer Care Institute and was a graduate of Leadership South Dakota. In 2021, he took a position at the Black Hills Area Community Foundation. He graduated from Leadership South Dakota, the John T. Vucurevich Foundation Emerging Leaders Program, and received his MBA from Dakota Wesleyan University.
As Donor Relations Manager, Chris works closely with donors and nonprofits to help connect their passions to needs throughout our region and ensure their impact will last for generations. He strives to help secure a vibrant, equitable and prosperous future for the entire Black Hills area.
Chris spends his free time enjoying the outdoors with his wife and their two children. They love to hike, trail run, snow ski, mountain bike and rock climb.
BARB KEENE, Operations Manager
Barb is a vital part of the BHACF team! As Operations Manager, she works closely with the CEO and oversees the internal and external daily operations for the Foundation. She brings over 20 years experience in banking and administration. Barb keeps our work moving forward with her attention to detail and thorough organization - all with high-energy and enthusiasm!
Barb moved to the beautiful Black Hills from Murdo, SD several years ago. She and her family love living here and being able to explore the outdoors!
CARRIE ROBLEY, Programs Manager
Carrie was born and raised in the Northern Black Hills and graduated from Lead High School. After graduation she attended the University of South Dakota where she earned her bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Drug and Alcohol Studies followed by a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology and Counseling.
Carrie got her first job at the age of 10 where she was a pin setter in the bowling alley in the historic Homestake Opera House. During her undergraduate studies she was a Resident Assistant and came home each summer and worked at the YMCA summer camp in Lead. In between her undergraduate and graduate studies, Carrie worked for a year at the Springfield Correctional Facility. It was during her time working in corrections that she realized that she wanted to devote her time to working in the field of prevention to help young people get and stay on the right path. During Graduate School she oversaw the USD Prevention Education Program where she was able to work with incoming undergraduate students on various life skills and prevention programming.
Carrie returned to the Black Hills to start her professional career. She started her work as a case manager for the Youth & Family Services Girls Incorporated program, helping at-risk girls get connected to health care and mental health services. In 2006, she became the Director of Girls Incorporated were she had the opportunity to impact the lives of 1,000s of girls over the years by assisting them to become Strong, Smart and Bold for 13 years.
KARABETH BORRESEN, Marketing Manager
Karabeth was born and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota. She graduated from Central High School. She then went on to Colorado to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from Metropolitan State University of Denver, while starting her career in marketing and design. She lived and worked in Colorado for 11 years before returning home to South Dakota.
As a strategic marketing and graphic designer, Karabeth brings over 17 years of experience in marketing and design. She strives to understand the specific needs of the Foundation and its programs to determine the best suited media mix for getting the message out.
Her primary focus is the daily oversight of the website, social media, and deliverables of both BHACF and Collective Impact Black Hills.
Her career includes more than a decade of corporate communications, marketing, and public relations experience in both for-profit, nonprofit, and consulting services.
She and her family enjoy arts and culture, camping, and spending time outdoors in the beautiful Black Hills.
DEANA HEISLER, Northern Hills Connector
Deana was born and raised on a farm in northern North Dakota. She earned a BS in Marketing Education and an MS in Vocational Education with a minor in Counseling from the University of North Dakota. Deana spent her first 30 years in ND before relocating to Spearfish to take a position at BHSU while her husband attended the School of Mines. In the 1990’s they moved to Colorado Springs for her husband’s employment with the goal to return to their “beloved Black Hills” one day. In December, 2021 they were finally able to return to Spearfish, and Deana joined the BHACF team in August, 2022
Deana has nearly 20 years of experience in higher education including as a Marketing Instructor, Director of the Student Union and Activities, and Career Counselor. She has 15 years experience in training and development in the areas of communication, leadership, marketing, and sales. Most recently, Deana has been rounding out her career in the nonprofit sector working with nonprofits including Catholic Charities of Central Colorado. She has experience in donor development and fundraising, event planning, and grant writing. Deana and her husband, Doyle, have 2 grown daughters and enjoy the plethora of outdoor activities the hills have to offer.
NICOLE SCHLABACH, Operations Associate
Nicole brings three years of experience in growth operations, including CRM management and email marketing, along with experience in journalism, SEO writing, and technical editing.
Nicole works closely with the Director of Operations on financial processes and CRM management and supports the staff with content creation.
When she isn't working, you'll find her reading a book or outdoors enjoying the Black Hills.