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Sometimes I think about leadership so often that I don’t want to think about it for a while, which is exactly what happened when I sat down to write this quick opening and I was stumped. My eight-year-old son asked what I was doing.

“I am trying to write about leadership and I need your help. What makes someone a good leader?” I don’t know.

“Do you know any good leaders?” Yes, you…and Dad. And Sponge Bob Square Pants.

I could see this was not going to get me where I wanted to go. I pressed for specific examples of why my husband, Sponge Bob, and I were “good leaders” in his mind.

“Tell me more.” Sponge Bob makes hamburgers. He feeds people, that helps them. You and Dad teach people, you help them.

Now we were getting somewhere. I leaned into this conversation, listening closely to all the ways he identified that people (mostly cartoon characters) were good leaders and each example pointed back to helping people.

In Leadership Montana, we believe that we can all lead from wherever we sit on the organizational chart. A leader does not need a desk in the corner office or a C-Suite title. The responsibly of leadership belongs to all of us and our ability to help others lives in all of us, too.  

Especially now, we need strong leaders and brave helpers. The good news is, we can be what we need. In this newsletter, you have an opportunity to learn about Paula Eberling, a helper indeed. You have a chance to nominate those alumni among us to lead and serve in Montana, helpers to be sure. We have many opportunities to recognize the helpers among us and within ourselves. 

Here is a quick article with tips to help us all be the helpers our world needs.
Helping Others Makes Better Leaders (5 Tips to Grow Others)
Be well and lead well,

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

Nominations Close on April 19, 2021
Current members of the Leadership Montana Board of Governors or staff are not eligible for nomination.

Barbara Braided Hair Alumni Leadership Award
- Recognizes and promotes community involvement.
- Recognizes a Leadership Montana Alumnus or Alumnae who has had a significant impact at the local or state level.
- Demonstrates outstanding leadership in keeping with and expanding the Leadership Montana philosophy in his or her community or the state.
- Serves as an example of leadership for others.

Past winners include:
2014 - Barbara Braided Hair
2015 - Duane Ankney
2016 - Eric Hyyppa
2017 - Michael Sanderson
2018 - Jen Hensley
2019 - Hatton Littman
2020 - Courtney McKee

Mike O’Neill Alumni Service Award
- Recognizes and promotes alumni service to support the Leadership Montana program and/or alumni activities.
- Recognizes a Leadership Montana Alumnus or Alumnae who has used his or her leadership skills, knowledge and resources to benefit Leadership Montana.

Past winners include:
2014 - Mike O'Neill
2015 - Carmen McSpadden
2016 - Chad Lippert
2017 - John Carmody
2018 - Heather Collins
2019 - Inaugural Men's Retreat Planning Committee
2020- Jim Bliss
CLICK here to submit nominations
We are now accepting applications for both our flagship and Masters classes. If you would like to encourage someone to apply, please forward this newsletter. 

Flagship applications received by February 28 will be given priority review. All applications must be received by March 31. At the heart of our work is our flagship program, an eight-month educational experience offering participants a unique opportunity to develop strong leadership skills along with personal and professional growth.

Masters Class applications will be accepted until April 15. All Leadership Montana alumni are invited to apply for this next level experience. Established in 2017, the Masters Class is a shorter and smaller class experience allowing participants to dive deeper into their own leadership journey. The Masters Class was born out of requests from Alumni for an additional in-depth experience to continue their leadership journey.
CLICK here to learn more
CLICK here to learn more


by Kitt Williams, Butte - NorthWestern Energy 

Welcome to Camelot……. Ranch…… in Billings, MT.

A place where “Knights of the Round” have been replaced by the “Coalitions of Land Use”, suits of armor replaced with face masks, but we’re still doing our best to avoid the plague.

There was a time when leadership was as simple as removing a sword from a stone. Straightforward right? Nowadays it is widely accepted that “Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.”….. or leadership.

Thus, we must continue our training in the ways of “Gracious Space”, communication, and conflict resolution through listening instead of swordplay.

Day 1
Our session kicked off and later closed with Class Member Conversations.  This is my favorite part of the structured LMT Curriculum. Understanding people’s experiences and where they come from demonstrates their resiliency, strength, and individuality.
Carmen McSpadden guided the class to “Learn in Public” through Peer Coaching as well as “Yes… And…” exercises. Melanie Schwarz presented an overview of economic development in Billings, showing the backbone of Billings is people like her that truly care and work to see it thrive.

Day 2
It is difficult to remember much about Day 2 other than Barb Wagner explaining with fevered excitement the contents of a straw that she had received on a tour of the “Origen?” Facility that she had toured with her home team that morning. You will have to look up the facility on your own to understand further dear reader, because I won’t take you deeper down this rabbit hole.

A Lawyer, CEO/RN, Mortician, Financial Advisor, Architect, and Marketing Director walk into Camelot. This isn’t the start of a joke, but the members of our Local Alumni Panel. Ariel, Lennette, Shawnee, Chad, Toni, and Nick did an excellent job demonstrating not only the diversity of LMT Alumni, but how much these individuals care about their community and how dedicated they are to its success.

Dax Schieffer rounded out the day with a discussion on tourism in Montana. Dax was engaging, knowledgeable, and spoke with the same enthusiasm I experienced earlier that day watching a car shredded in 18 seconds at Pacific Steel & Recycling.

Day 3
While some in the class struggled through a red eyed internal conflict produced by three long days in class, Jerry Evans focused on productive conflict by guiding the class to understand and overcome interpersonal and organizational conflict.


Paula Eberling, Sidney - Class of 2017, Masters 2019
Interviewed by Will Trimbath, Helena - Class of 2020

As the Director/Crime Victim Advocate for the 7th Judicial District Witness Protection Program, Paula Eberling helps those among us who need it most.  A Sidney, Montana resident of 15 years, Paula worked along the Hi-Line utilizing her Criminal Justice degree to help victims of domestic violence and abuse, before moving to Sidney. 

Paula also chairs the Eastern Montana Human Trafficking Taskforce, targeting child, sex, and labor trafficking in Eastern Montana.  Leading the charge on some of our society’s most vulnerable, she fights to free those who can’t free themselves.  Paula is also a Trauma Support Specialist and certified as a mediator in domestic violence cases.  When people are at the end of the line, Paula is there to lift them up.  More than just saving a vulnerable population from atrocious futures, Paula’s goal is to enable people to survive to thrive.  

Paula is a graduate of the Leadership Montana (LMT) class of 2017, as well as a recent graduate of the LMT Masters Class.  The profound effect LMT has had on her life cannot be overstated.  During the first class in Big Sky, Paula wasn’t sure if the she made the right decision to enroll in Leadership Montana.  However, like many others, she soon began to see the enormous impact the class had on herself and her classmates.  Giving her Classmate Conversation presentation was a pivotal moment in Paula’s life.  The obstacles overcome, and the adversity endured, captivated her class.  Fully sharing her story enabled her to embrace the entirety of her history, and empowered her to be more confident and assertive in her professional career.

A Billings native, married, and grandmother to 10 (and soon to be 11, our discussion was cut short by news of an impending delivery!), Paula appreciates the beauty and wide open spaces of eastern Montana. 

The world needs more Paula Eberlings

Active Alumni Membership Dues

Our annual Active Alumni Membership Dues Campaign launched this month. We are grateful to our Alumni that have renewed their commitment to building a better Montana. 

Class of 2021 - Your dues are current for 2021. We look forward to you joining the campaign in 2022. 

Thank you to the Alumni below who have paid their 2021 Active Alumni Membership Dues through February 25, 2021. 
Alumni Dues and Pay It Forward
Katie Dasinger 2020
Penelope Pierce 2019
Janet Trethewey 2011

Alumni Dues Plus
Kelly Cresswell 2006
Timothy Meldrum 2020
Ariel Overstreet-Adkins 2013
Todd Tregidga 2011
Chris Warden 2006, M2020

Alumni Dues
Stacey Anderson 2020
Cyndy Andrus 2007
Robert Ball 2016, M2020
Marti Bara 2007
Michael Barber 2011, M2019
Michael Basile 2019
Christi Beals 2020
Sara Becker 2015
Van Blakely 2012
Webb Brown 2005
Chris Bryant 2016
Chris Budeski 2008
Rachel Buswell 2020
John Carmody 2011, M2019
Amy Carter 2019
Chris Clouse 2019
Danielle Coffman 2017, M2020
Heather Collins 2016, M2019
Geraldine Custer 2018
Frank D'Angelo 2006
Joyce Day 2011
Jennifer Dees 2019
Jamie Doggett 2009
Michael Eisenhauer 2020
Ray Ekness 2013
Gerald Evans 0
Bria Farren 2017
Haylee Folkvord 2019
Shantelle Gaynor 2018
Scott Hagel 2015
Chad Hanson 2019
Carrie Harris 2014, M2020
Alumni Dues
Kelly Heaton 2014, M2019
Jennifer Hensley 2016, M2019
Craig Herbert 2008
Deborah Johnston 2017
Katherine Kaminski Johnson 2020
Aaron Kampfe 2009
Amy Kellogg 2013, M2020
Carol Kruger 2013, M2020
Gabe Lapito 2010
Kelly J Lee 2017
Dianne Lehm 2015, M2020
Todd Lovshin 2016
Tom Lund 2014
Chris Martison 2013
Marci McLean 2017, M2020
Margaret McManus 2013
Carmen McSpadden 2006
Sara Medley 2014
Jeremy Morgret 2011
Justin Murgel 2020
J.C. Murray 2015
Marcy Mutch 2013
Kevin Myhre 2009
Nancy Nicholson 2007
Judy Preston 2015
Mel Reinhardt 2018
Victor Robbins 2016
Major Robinson 2006
Colleen Rudio 2013
Rhonda Safford 2012
Michael Sanderson 2006
Jodi D. Smith 2010
Northey Tretheway 2009
Lisa Troyer 2019
Keith Valentine 2020
Jeremy Vannatta 2015
Shane Vannatta 2015
Juanita Vero 2015
Kevin Vralsted 2017
Faye Warren 2012
Janet Whitmoyer 2016
Erik Wood 2019
Daniel Zolnikov 2020
CLICK here to renew Active Alumni Membership
CLICK here for help with the Alumni Portal
“I want my entire team to experience Leadership Montana. Can we do that?” 
Yes, you can! 

In 2020, nearly 1,000 Montanans participated in a Leadership Montana training through their company or community. With three main workshops to offer, we can help you build a culture of leadership in your organization. 
CLICK here to learn more about workshops


Our gratitude this month goes out to our Gold Sponsor, Northwest Farm Credit Services. We are honored to have several NFCS leaders as active alumni as well as a current class member. Thank you for the generous continued support!

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



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!
CLICK here to join Community Connectors

VIRTUAL EVENTS - Opportunities to Listen, Learn and Build Connection

March 1 - 5 Celebrate Healthcare Week 
Join us as we celebrate healthcare during the first week of March. Follow along on social media and our website as we highlight Montana healthcare heroes including our alumni and sponsors.

April 5 - 9 Celebrate Education Week
Join us as we celebrate education during the first week of April. Follow along on social media and our website as we highlight Montana education leaders including our alumni and sponsors.

May 3 - 7 Celebrate Agriculture Week
Join us as we celebrate education during the first week of May.  Follow along on social media and our website as we highlight Montana agriculture leaders including our alumni and sponsors.

May 6 & 7 Montana Giving Days. Watch for your opportunity to support Leadership Montana through various online giving days held across the state. 

June 15 6:00 PM Virtual Celebrate Montana. Our annual gala celebration will be held virtually again this year. Save the date to join with alumni, graduating class members, sponsors, and friends as we come together to celebrate all that is great about our state and organization. 

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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.