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Students of all ages and stages are headed back to classrooms across Montana and I am reminded of an important theme at Leadership Montana - Always Learning. 

We believe that the most successful leaders are those who know they always have more to learn and areas to improve.  This concept is even more evident to me in these challenging times - more and more of us are seeking ways to keep learning and growing so that we can lead our teams through changing conditions. 

For some of us, that means joining the Flagship program (Welcome, Class of 2023) or honing what we’ve learned through the Masters Class. For me, it means learning from one of my favorite writers, Arthur C. Brooks, as he teaches Nonprofit Leadership and Management at Harvard this fall. 

If you find yourself seeking to gain new skills or reinforce what you already know, but are not sure where to turn, I bet we can help. Through our programs of The Leadership Challenge, Gracious Space, and Dare to Lead, our team is well equipped to help you and your organization lean into some additional learning. 

As leaders, we believe that our best efforts of growing others are realized when we are most effectively growing ourselves first. If you believe this too, we invite you to explore partnering with Leadership Montana to bring a little bit of that magic into your team.

Learn more about these offerings here and let’s connect soon! 

Be well and lead well,

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

Welcome the new Flagship Class of 2023!

Shelly Fyant - Arlee Community Development Corporation
Raymond Porter - Sweet Grass County Chamber Of Commerce
Kurtis DeShaw - Bureau of Reclamation
Kimberly Hayworth - Montana State University Billings
Lorene Hintz - Big Sky Economic Development
Sarah Moyer - Project Lunch
Travis Yuzik - Atomic Industries
Jody Ekstrom - First Interstate Bank
Nicole Flesch - PacificSource Health Plans
Stephanie Hudock - Sanderson Stewart
Barry Jeide - U.S. Bank National Association
Cora Neumann - We Are Montana
Margaret Owen Spiak - Foundant Technologies
Ellie Staley - Downtown Bozeman Partnership
Lori St.Aubin - NorthWestern Energy
Christiana Nyquest - St. James Hospital
Gregory Doyon - City of Great Falls
Chase McQuillen - Loenbro, LLC
Kattie Meyer - The Wendt Agency
Keith Schnider - PayneWest Insurance
Adam Derby - Northern Montana Care Center

Gregory Dorrington - Crowley Fleck PLLP
Robin Kelson – Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO)
Matt Mandell - Montana State Fund
Jessica Stewart-Kuntz - Montana Community Foundation
Benjamin Thiem - Montana West Economic Development
Justin Archibald - SterlingCRE Advisors
Kate Chapin - Center for Children, Families and Workforce Development at UM.
Kelley Durbin-Williams - Mismo Gymnastics, Inc.
TJ Frickle - Glacier Bancorp, Inc.
Andy Garland - Montana Rail Link
Thomas Grace - Montana Rail Link
Karen Hughes - Missoula County Community and Planning Services
David Park - Washington Corporations
Brandee Sink - Northwest Farm Credit Services
David Strohmaier - Missoula County
Kathleen Healy - Red Lodge Area Community Foundation
Sara Urbanik - O.P. & W.E. Edwards Foundation
Bret Nellermoe - Fergus Electric Cooperative
Michelle Frank - Esprit Health & Wellness
Lorilee Norby - RZ Industries
Erin Bennett - Sandfire Resources America Inc./Tintina Montana Inc.


 Do you know someone who is interested in the Flagship Program? Forward them this newsletter and ask them to complete this interest form and we will notify them when Class of 2024 applications are open. 

FUTURE Interest List - Flagship Program
Space is limited! 

Join us in Havre and Rocky Boy for
The Confluence: A Leadership Montana Signature event
on September 28 - 30, 2022.

Our annual signature event, The Confluence is a traveling conference spanning three days in September and is open to the general public, not just alumni. A committee of local alumni identifies a new location each year and plans interactive opportunities to learn from community leaders about the challenges and opportunities unique to their town. Think of it as a leadership retreat full of inspiring people who love Montana.

This year you can expect:
  • Local tours of Havre & Rocky Boy
  • Time to meet with and learn from local leaders
  • Presentations from local industries
  • Opportunities to practice Gracious Space & learn more about it
  • Connect with Havre and other Leadership Montana Alumni
Recent events have featured the communities of White Sulphur Springs, Missoula, Butte, Miles City, Billings, Kalispell, Bozeman, White Sulphur Springs, and Red Lodge.

The agenda is currently in formation and coming soon! 

Are you not available, but may know someone who is? This event is open to the public so please share this information with them!
I'm in! REGISTER for The Confluence Here

In the spirit of reconnection, we are seeking volunteers to join our work in restarting community events for those Leadership Montana members and alumni in your general area. For this year, we are requesting that communities host one event per quarter with the first one to occur before the end of October to welcome the new Flagship Class. Some communities may be inclined to host more events, and I am here to help you as your staff liaison.
If you are interested in being an Alumni Community Volunteer, please fill out the survey below by this Friday, September 2nd

If you are currently not able to make the time commitment to be a community volunteer, please ensure to check your email for upcoming opportunities to connect.

Please let Casey Wolfe know if you have any questions by emailing her at
YES! I want to be a Community Volunteer


We are excited to welcome Cassandra Cox to the Leadership Montana team as our Youth Program Coordinator.

Cassandra will be working from our Central Montana office (in Grass Range) with our staff, the Youth Taskforce Committee, and youth across the state to determine the need and feasibility of a youth program to be offered through Leadership Montana.

Cassandra is a recent high school graduate from rural central Montana. Over the years she has been heavily involved in her community. Her personal belief, that you should share your knowledge, has led her to mentor others. During her high school years, she served as a gym class teacher for homeschool youth ages 8-12 and was an assistant director for several homeschool theatre productions. Her work in 4-H over the past nine years has resulted in two state awards, two trips to national events, and opportunities to speak across the state. As a former Montana State 4-H Ambassador President, Cassandra has a passion for developing leadership skills in teens across the state. She lives by the philosophy that you should strive to be the type of leader that you want to follow. In her free time, she coaches a team that competes in Parliamentary Procedure, spends time on her family ranch, and trains agility rabbits.

Cassandra joined the team in the middle of August and we are excited for you to meet and work with her!
Welcome the new Masters Class of 2023!

Velda Shelby, LMT 2018 - Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Shannon Christensen, LMT 2022 - Cushing Terrell
Terri Chef, LMT 2020 - Washington Corporations
Jim Swan, LMT 2021 - RJS & Associates, Inc
Roald Aageson, LMT 2021 - Northwest Farm Credit Services
Jacqueline Atkins, LMT 2022 - American Simmental Association
Shannon LaTray, LMT 2022 - Montana Chemical Dependency Center
Kari Smith, LMT 2021 - Headframe Spirits, Inc
Craig Aasved, LMT 2019 - Shodair Children’s Hospital
Arielle Allen, LMT 2021 - Mindbody
Scott Geda, LMT 2012 - First Interstate Bank

Greg Bailly, LMT 2011 - NorthWestern Energy
Josh Pallister, LMT 2021 - Montana State Fund
Alan Ruby, LMT 2018 - Flathead Electric Coop/Hungry Horse Liquor Store
Abigail Majerus, LMT 2021 - Snowy Mountain Development Corp/Majerus Ranch
Gayle Carlson, LMT 2014 - Montana Food Bank Network
Josh Slotnick, LMT 2021 - Missoula County
Camila Skinner, LMT 2015 - Seitz Insurance Agency
Elaine Stedman, LMT 2022 - Boys & Girls Club of Richland County
Dawn Hambrick, LMT 2021 - University of Montana

 Are you interested to learn more about the Masters Class? Fill out this interest form and we will notify you when Class of 2024 session dates are announced and when applications are open. 

FUTURE Interest List - Masters Class


Tory Atkins, Class of 2014, Masters Class 2019, Bozeman
Interviewed by Emily Yost, Class of 2022, Livingston

From Bozeman, Tory supports the Special Olympics. He is struck by the positive outlook of the athletes. His service to Special Olympics is also the place he made meaningful introductions to Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply, where he has been the Chief Human Resources Officer since 2017. His wife is a grade school teacher and his children are both involved with Special Olympics as volunteer coaches and as a member of a physical education class for students with disabilities. He is passionate about sports, including coaching youth sports for both of his kids. 

Tory’s other passion is serving on the National Advisory Board of the Montana State University Leadership Institute, where Leadership Montana alumni and trainer Carmen McSpadden is the director. He says it is a chance to mentor student leaders, who bring in speakers from around the world (virtually during COVID), introduce and moderate sessions, and get experience in marketing and project management. He was introduced to the Leadership Institute when his Flagship Class visited the Bozeman campus in 2014. Leadership Institute students facilitated icebreakers for the Leadership Montana class.

Some of his favorite Leadership Montana memories are carpooling with classmates from the Flagship Class of 2014 and Masters Class of 2019. Tory says you learn a lot and can be inspired in this setting when you can get into long and deep conversations. The relationships you build with classmates happen after hours--dinners and drives outside of class are always special. It took time to get to know classmates in the large Flagship Class, and in the Masters Class, relationships happen within half a day with people you might know of but have not met. The Masters' experience hit home with who he was as a leader, and who he wanted to be. He said the Leadership Challenge content was powerful, and it was a good reinforcement of everything from the Flagship class and brought the next level of Gracious Space. 

Tory sees an opportunity for Leadership Montana to inspire, influence, and be a role model in Montana. The principles of Gracious Space and respecting differences, combined with asking powerful questions result, in most cases, in people feeling listened to in a respectful, civil way. One of the most dangerous things to do going into a conversation is thinking you have the answer; you don’t have to prove yourself. As alumni, we have the responsibility to amplify this message of civility and Gracious Space. There are many conversations in Bozeman today he would not have felt comfortable jumping in before the mentors and relationships built through Leadership Montana. When he brings his curiosity, he doesn’t have to walk in as an expert or pick a side. 

Tory sees hope in the population size of Montana--we are only about 1 million people strong; we can make it if we all decide to come together. He sees the need to elect leaders rather than people because of their political affiliations, to elect people with integrity and who don’t have answers, but bring their curiosity and the experience we’ve had through Leadership Montana. 


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! 

Thank you!

YES! I want to be a Community Connector


During this time when all kids have headed back to school, we would like to give gratitude to an organization that works so hard to support all these amazing students! This month we give an extra thank you to Reach Higher Montana. Many thanks to Kelly, Rhonda, and your awesome team, for working so hard to help build a better Montana! We are thankful to you and all of our supporters! Many thanks for your generous sponsorship.

If you haven't already listened to it, you can hear from Kelly and learn more about Reach Higher Montana on her episode of Listen First Montana, the podcast of Leadership Montana.

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

EVENTS - Opportunities to Listen, Learn and Build Connection

September 28 - 30, 2022, The Confluence, Havre and Rocky Boy.  Tickets are available.

November 29 - December 1, 2022 The Men's Leadership Forum at Sage Lodge Tickets are available

November 29 - December 1, 2022 The Women's Leadership Forum at Sage Lodge Tickets are available

Copyright © 2022 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.