Before retirement, Donna worked in public education in Montana for 40 years; 24 years as a teacher and 16 years in administration. She keeps busy with a small consulting business that works on consensus building. It also supervises student teachers in the Helena area for Montana State University.
She and her husband split time between Helena and Big Sky. Donna also volunteers with the nonprofit Cohesion Dance Project. Its focus is to offer dance for everybody, including those with disabilities. Their big production, “Nutcracker on the Rocks,” is held over Thanksgiving weekend. It’s not your traditional “Nutcracker,” but is set to rock and roll!
Donna’s favorite memories from the Class of 2014 are the people she met and the wonderful experiences they had, especially learning about different businesses around the state. Being retired and older than most in her class Donna thought it was a little hard for her. But she feels she got a lot out of her time in Leadership Montana.
The biggest impact that Leadership Montana had on Donna’s life was the awareness of the vast scope of the business world in Montana, mentioning ranching and NorthWestern Energy as two areas she especially enjoyed learning more about. As an educator, she didn’t think she was exposed to all of that during her career. She was also amazed at the information she learned about each city they visited, and gained an appreciation and insight into current events and political topics affecting Montana.
Donna sees Leadership Montana’s role as one of information sharing among all of the people in the state. Alumni of LM can be better participants in discussions of issues that are important to the state, whether it’s in politics or civic discourse. She sees alumni as being leaders in promoting civility, modeling that for younger professionals in Montana.
Donna gained an appreciation of Montana being one big community. Wherever we go around the state, we all encounter numerous connections between family and friends. And we are starting to see our young people move back to Montana after beginning their careers in other parts of the country.