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For the last two years, our strategic plan has included a goal of creating a podcast to highlight stories of alumni across Montana. What better time to dig into that goal than during a pandemic? 

We are thrilled to announce "Listen First Montana" a podcast of Leadership Montana. Our host and producer, Eric Halverson (2016, Masters 2019) takes us on an epic journey across the Treasure State in search of connection and inspiration through stories of purposeful leadership, dedication to Montana, and triumph over adversity.

"This show is all about connecting with and celebrating the stories of Montanans," Eric says in the preview episode. Storytelling is an important way in which we can bridge divides, a goal of this project. We want to introduce you to perspectives and people you may not know. 

Why "Listen First"? The Leadership Montana tagline says it all. Listening comes before learning, which together create opportunities to lead. All great leaders start by listening first. 

We hope you will join us on this journey to listen deeply, listen hard, and listen first. 

Be well, lead well. 

Chantel M. Schieffer
President & CEO
Class of 2010, Masters 2019



Please join us as we host an organizational virtual town hall meeting on
Tuesday, November 17th from 4:00-6:00 PM.

Join our leadership as we bring our annual report to life, provide opportunities to connect with alumni from across the State, and learn about the accomplishments, challenges, and opportunities that the last year has brought to Leadership Montana. We hope you will give us the opportunity to share our gratitude for your connection and contribution to Leadership Montana.  



Arielle Allen, Class of 2021, Butte
Connection, community, and civility. What better setting than Lewistown, Montana to dig into these concepts? The recent Leadership Montana session for the Flagship Program was nothing short of magic. The stunning Judith Mountain backdrop, warm sun, and colorful leaves provide a welcoming setting for learning, but more importantly, the intentional design, discussion, and curriculum again offered the opportunity to dig in.

Sometimes, the thought of digging into leadership principles can sound exhausting. I say this because in life you can find yourself in moments or stretches where your work, personal life, global pandemic or whatever it may be leaves you feeling like you’re depleted or may be causing you to reel into serious imposter syndrome. Despite those very human moments, Leadership Montana consistently creates the setting to do that hard work while simultaneously rejuvenating, re-grounding, and filling the cup for each member of the class. It honestly feels like magic every time.

The connections and vulnerability that came to life in our first session, were present and even more tangible in this second session. I surprised myself with the level of excitement I had to see my classmates in Lewistown, not because they aren’t truly remarkable people, but because we had only collectively spent about 24 hours together up to that point. Knowing that we were all committed to enter that safe environment where big work takes place together helped create the right setting and tone for the week.

We had the opportunity to connect with community leaders and learn about what is going on in Central Montana. Industry, passionate differences in points of view, and community leadership were all prevalent throughout the session. There was a beautiful balance between learning more about leadership principles and weaving those into our interactions with the local community and it’s leaders by practice. This session really brought to life, for me, what Leadership Montana is all about. Listening, learning, and leading in this beautiful state that we are blessed to call home- the last best place. 


This special series celebrates Tom Scott, founder of Leadership Montana, and concludes with three lessons we could all use right now. Each lesson is taught by Leadership Montana alumni and open to anyone. Sign up for one or all! 

November 5: “Show Respect” hosted by Aaron Pratt 2017, M 2020

November 12: “Disagree without Being Disagreeable” hosted by Chantel Schieffer 2010, M 2019

November 19: “Show Gratitude” hosted by Brenda Peterson 2008, M 2019


We are thrilled to announce a partnership with leadership and business coach Colene Elridge to bring you two virtual sessions of Lessons in Leadership over the next few months. 

Coach Colene is a results-oriented success coach with nearly 15 years of experience in human resources, training, government, and entrepreneurship. She is respected for her passion to make workplaces better, happier, and more productive, “I've spent more than 10 years thinking about what makes work environments tick and how we can create extraordinary leaders and engaging workplaces,” says Colene. “I want to change the way people think about Life, Leadership, and Work through focused coaching, workshops, and training.”

Each session is $25 and includes facilitation and workbook. 

Registration is limited – sign up today!

Building Trust in Organizations:

Monday, November 23 1:00-4:00 PM

Why Attend?
Fundamentally, trust is the cornerstone for everything you'd like your organization to be now and for everything you'd like it to become in the future. Trust forms the foundation for effective communication, employee retention, and employee motivation and contribution of discretionary energy, the extra effort that people voluntarily invest in work. When trust exists in an organization or in a relationship, almost everything else is easier and more comfortable to achieve.

 Participants will leave with a personal action plan on steps they can take to build and/or rebuild trust.

 Participants should be able to:
  • Define trust
  • Build trust through behaviors of sincerity, care, abilities, and results
  • Communicate to rebuild trust
  • Create a personal action plan to increase trust with self and others

Creating a Culture of Inclusion:

Thursday, January 21, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

Why Attend?: 
Employee engagement depends upon the organization’s ability to foster a culture of inclusion. Creating an inclusive environment allows us to take advantage of different points of view, leverage the power of difference, and sustain a workplace where everyone can contribute to his or her fullest potential. 

This workshop helps employees understand what diversity and inclusion are and why they are critical to accomplishing the mission. Participants will be introduced to concepts that allow them to explore their own unique differences, as well as unconscious biases and how they show up in workplace behaviors. They will develop a working definition of diversity and how it applies to the organization, examine the language of diversity, and suggest ways to be more inclusive in communication. 

Course Objectives: 
• Identify changes in the workplace and how they impact us
• Analyze how your personal lenses influence your interpersonal skills and behavior at work
• Learn how to avoid behaviors that can create a culture of exclusion
• Learn how to avoid collusive behavior in the workplace
• Develop organizational strategies that support shifting towards a culture of inclusion


When we support each other, we succeed together.

Great leaders don’t lead alone. Leadership Montana depends on the support of businesses, foundations, and individuals like you. Providing the tools, programming, education, and support Montana leaders need, especially now.

During these unusual and challenging times, your support now is crucial to Leadership Montana. With your help, we can ensure that Montana’s leaders are supported now and in the future. Please consider making a gift today to Leadership Montana's annual fundraising campaign. Your gift helps to ensure that Leadership Montana will continue to be here for you and our Montana leaders.



Chris Budeski, Bozeman, Class of 2008
Interview by Anna Rosenberry, Bozeman,  Class of 2020

Chris Budeski, a Civil Engineer and Class of 2008 alum, credits Leadership Montana with spurring him to run for local office on the Bozeman City Commission, and teaching him to really listen to the people he lives and works with every day. 
Chris was a Great Falls kid, growing up in the family’s construction business and graduating from Great Falls High in 1976.  He started out at Montana State University in Bozeman right out of high school, but decided to return home after a year and work in the family business instead.   Ten years later, after working his way “up the food chain” to a Superintendent position, he saw that he needed more construction skills if he wanted to continue to advance.   He took the entrance exam for a program at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell for Construction Engineer Technicians.  When a faculty member saw Chris’ exam scores, he encouraged Chris to set his sights farther – and get his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering.  
While in the Portland area as a professional engineer, Chris worked on over 100 McDonald’s Restaurant projects in seven years as part of their corporate expansion.
When his two daughters were toddlers, it was time to return to Montana.  Chris and Sandy chose Bozeman to settle in and raise Katherine and Sarah, who are both now Montana State University Alumni themselves. 

Chris really enjoyed Leadership Montana.  He said it was hard, but it was worth it.  Their opening session in Big Sky really left an impression on Chris; it was a room full of amazing people – highly skilled, qualified, diverse.  And, they were all so humble.  “That’s the sign of true leaders to me.  Humble people.  It brought tears to my eyes.”  Chris says that his Class of 2008 LMT experience really helped him respect that side of himself – appreciating that great leadership is emotional. 
Chris values that Leadership Montana has been able to stay politically neutral and have classes with a balanced make-up of participants.  He sees the role of Leadership Montana as an organization that “encourages and motivates individuals to step up” and “empowers individuals to be great leaders.” 


Our gratitude this month goes out to our Gold Sponsor, NorthWestern Energy. Since our founding in 2003, NorthWestern Energy has been an important partner for Leadership Montana, not only providing financial support but also shaping our program with thoughtful program participation year after year.

If your company is interested in learning about sponsorship partnerships with Leadership Montana, let us know.

VIRTUAL EVENTS - Opportunities to Listen, Learn and Build Connection

November 5, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM LMT Live: Intentional Civility: Show Respect

November 12, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM LMT Live: Intentional Civility: Disagree without Being Disagreeable
November 16, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Class of 2016 State of the World
November 17, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM - Virtual Town Hall
November 19, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM LMT LIve: Intentional Civility: Show Gratitude
November 23, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM Lessons in Leadership with Colene Eldridge, Building Trust in Organizations
December 9, 12:00 PM- 2:00 PM All Class Alumni State of the World Conversation
December 15, 5:30-7:00 PM Women's Forum Happy Hour and a Half (Register by November 10)
December 17, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM Class of 2008 State of the World Conversation
January 21, 2021, 9:00 AM- 12:00 PM Lessons in Leadership with Colene Eldrige, Building More Inclusive Cultures

Copyright © 2020 Leadership Montana, All rights reserved.

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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.