“If we want more unity and less contempt, however, we need to get out of our comfort zones, go where we are not welcome, and spend time talking and interacting with people with whom we disagree—not on lightweight stuff like sports and food, but on hard moral things.”
― Arthur C. Brooks, Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt
For the past month, I have been spending my Tuesday mornings with one of my favorite thought-leaders, Arthur C. Brooks. If you have been in the Leadership Montana world during the two years, you have likely heard me talk about his book, Love Your Enemies, and how his theories align with the teachings of our organization.
Through a unique opportunity that I am afforded to study with Dr. Brooks, I am consistently reminded of how important our work is at Leadership Montana. We can change the trajectory of our collective behavior. We can build a better society for all of us. I am holding tight to this belief, and seeking every opportunity to put this work into action.
On its face, ours is a professional development course, giving our participants tangible skills to work better together, more knowledge about Montana communities, and strong relationships that can extend beyond those eight months together. Those of us that dig deeper into our work know that our programming is so much more, and often undefinable.
At its core, Leadership Montana is about bridging what divides us, and these days there is no shortage of division. Our work is about seeking to understand, even when we do not agree. We replace disdain with respect, and change the culture of contempt. Our work is about depolarization in a deeply polarized world. We are about creating unity in a divided world.
Dang…that is so hard, right?
Every day, our members are out in your circles of influence making the world a more gracious place. You are leaning into hard conversations, not backing away from them. You are getting curious with someone who disagrees with you, knowing that by doing so, you may just learn more about yourself. You are doing this work everyday. We see it and we see you. Keep going.
And when you need help, we are here for you, always.
Be well and lead well,
Chantel M. Schieffer
President & CEO
Class of 2010, Masters 2019
LMT Live: IndigiTalks
Join us for this LMT Series to listen to and learn from Indigenous leaders across Montana as we discuss history, culture, and opportunity.
Fri, October 7, 2022, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM MDT
In this session host Marci McLean, LMT Indigenous Program Director will chat with Marsha Small about working with the City of Bozeman to recognize the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day.
Marsha Small is, Tsistsistas and Sudtai, Knowledge Keeper, and doctoral student in the Individual Interdisciplinary Program at Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana. Foci is Anthropology, Earth Sciences, Community Health Development, and Native American Studies. Area of healing (research) is centered on preservation and conservation of sacred sites with geophysical instruments.
We began our first session with these powerful words. These words are integral to Leadership Montana, but aren’t they just as relevant to our Montana community, and the culture we are trying to build?
Throughout the first session, we had the wonderful opportunity to start getting to know our fellow leaders that work across a vast array of industries in our beautiful state. Seeming strangers from across Montana, working together to better understand themselves in order to work to benefit their communities. The courage, vulnerability, and openness that I experienced in these first few days brings so much hope in these post-COVID times, where sometimes we do struggle to feel like we belong.
It is no secret that Montana is growing. As we grow, I believe it is important for us as leaders to embrace the ideas and beliefs of everyone in our state; from those whose families have been here for generations to those who’ve only been here for a few weeks or months. Through these next 8 months, I am very excited to learn and grow and deepen my roots in Montana alongside my amazing fellow leaders to create a community where everyone belongs.
We all belong here.
Frank Garner, Class of 2005, Kalispell
Interviewed by Danielle Allen, Class of 2021, Helena
Frank Garner was raised in Kalispell, Montana where he currently lives with his wife of 40 years. He feels blessed to have three grown children that also live in Montana. He has had a long career in law enforcement and security, serving in the Kalispell Police Department as chief of police, in Afghanistan as a police advisor, and in security for Kalispell Regional Medical Center. Now he is employed as a security consultant and is currently serving his fourth term as a Montana State Representative.
He was part of the inaugural Leadership Montana class in 2005 and hopes to one day be a part of the master’s program. His favorite memory of his time spent in Leadership Montana was creating strong relationships with his class members and getting to have different experiences around the state. He still has relationships with Leadership Montana Alumni even 16 years later and works in the legislature with some, like Terry Moore.
Frank shared that the biggest impact Leadership Montana has made on his life is creating a stronger appreciation for the state of Montana and the people in it. He especially enjoyed learning about what makes it “tick”. Even though he was raised in Montana, he feels he learned so much in this program. He also added that learning about how to collaborate and have open conversations helped him appreciate the differences of those in his class as well as others around the state.
Frank thinks the role of Leadership Montana in our state is to bring diverse groups of people together and teach them to appreciate the differences of one another. It is so easy to be polarized and Leadership Montana’s role is to break down the barriers and create shared future success.
When asked what he appreciates most about Montana, he simply said the people. Even though he was born here, he chooses to live here because it is a blessing of life to make relationships with people from all areas of the state. Frank said he wants his legacy to be that he found a way to leave it better than he found it. His final thought was how important programs like Leadership Montana are right now and that we participate in them. It is essential for our future.
As we welcome the beautiful fall season, I would like to introduce myself to the Leadership Montana community. My name is Cassandra Cox, and I am working as the Youth Program Coordinator. This means that I have the privilege of working with the Task Force committee.
We are currently “falling” into a groove as we work together to explore the need for a potential youth program offered by Leadership Montana. In August we had a great meeting where we heard from youth across the state. It was both fascinating and inspiring to listen to their ideas. It gave us a lot to think about.
Moving forward, we now have a survey that we are offering to youth across the state. We know how important it is to offer programming that piques the interest of future leaders and motivates them to participate. The QR code you see here is our survey to get youth input on what they want to see in a leadership program.
If you have teens or tweens in your life, please share this survey with them. We are excited to learn more and work together as we move forward with this exciting opportunity to expand Leadership Montana’s reach.
Welcome your Flagship Class of 2023 with other alumni in our upcoming community events. These are planned by alumni in your area to engage and connect with one another. More events to come, so please stay tuned!
From Livingston, Montana, in the company of the mountains I know as Sleeping Giant, neighborhood trees whose leaves are turning yellow and falling to the ground, and the changed banks of the Yellowstone River.
I am honored and grateful to be part of the inaugural Indigenous Immersion Initiative.
We started our time together by listening and learning about the difficult history and violent policy intended to eliminate Indigenous people, and the hope within Indigenous communities today.
The phrase, “We are still here,” gave me pause early in our time together. An important part of this experience for me has been self-reflection and becoming more aware of my thoughts, particularly related to race. As I reflected, I learned I didn’t realize Native Americans were missing from my life in the first place. That’s how much Native Americans have been missing from my frame of reference, my friendships, and communities. The fraction of what we have learned about our history and policy related to Native Americans has been eye-opening, which, in part, reflects success of our policies.
I have been reminded of the importance of intention throughout our experience, especially as we have difficult and necessary conversations. From the start, Marci asked us to leave blame, shame, and guilt out of our experience. Through our homework, I was introduced to the concept of cultural humility (meaning there is lifelong learning, not a sense of accomplishment). As we learned about urban Indian populations and later prepared for our visit to Blackfeet Nation, I thought more about the traditions I hold (or don’t) and began to feel bereft of culture. But I am becoming more aware of the water I swim in, the dominant culture.
This experience for me has marked a return to ways of being that I know and got away from over the last few years. We have been introduced or reminded of ways to do things--at the right time, when it is time. We start when we’re ready, and end when it’s done. Do it and get it right. I discover more of my culture as we learn together this way. I am grateful to my classmates and their willingness and openness to learn together through this experience.
I will remember the generosity we experienced at Blackfeet Nation and the care at Northern Cheyenne Nation. In both sessions, we learned about challenges through a trauma-informed lens and about impactful work being done by the community, for the community. Last week in Northern Cheyenne Nation, I heard (and felt):
We are all connected. We need to heal together.
I am grateful that we will be hosted by two more of the eight tribal nations in Montana next year.
Join us for the annual Men's and Women's Leadership Forums at Sage Lodge for two days of conversation, sharing and learning on November 30-December 1, 2022.
These are two seperate events that will share a 4 hour joint session focused on Gracious Space led by Pat Hughes.
Registration includes most meals, instruction, and materials. A limited number of partial scholarships are available.
Each event is limited to 15 participants for each event and sells out quickly. If the event you are interested in sells out, please join the Waitlist. We frequently have spots that open up from the Waitlist on Sold uOut events.
Please join our leadership as we bring our annual report to life through an interactive conversation bringing together alumni and key stakeholders across Montana. Let’s celebrate a year of successes, share gratitude for connection, and let us thank you for your contribution to Leadership Montana. Tuesday, November 15, 2022, 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Be a Community Connector and join a special group of alumni who provide steady monthly support to Leadership Montana. Your recurring gifts will be a dependable source of support that Leadership Montana can count on throughout the year.
With automatic deductions from your credit card, debit card, or checking account, you can make one monthly gift today without further action and know your charitable giving is in place for the entire year. If your situation changes for any reason, you can always update or cancel your gift.
Monthly giving is the most cost-efficient way to deliver your support. Spreading your support throughout the year is a convenient way to include your donations into your personal budget. Sign up today to set up your monthly or recurring gift today!
This month we would like to recognize SCL Health, now Intermountain Healthcare for the generous and continued support of Leadership Montana. We appreciate the work your team does every day to provide services for a better Montana for all. Thank you for your sponsorship!
If your company is interested in learning about sponsorship partnerships with Leadership Montana, let us know.
EVENTS - Opportunities to Listen, Learn and Build Connection
Leadership Montana is a non-profit collaboration of leaders from business, labor, healthcare, higher education, non-profits and government coming together to form a strong partnership for the betterment of Montana.
Leadership Montana exists to develop leaders committed to building a better Montana through knowledge, collaboration and civility.