An interview with Leslie Messer, Class of 2008, Sidney, as interviewed by John Trudnowski, Class of 2018, Butte.
Leslie is the 2019-2020 Chair of the Leadership Montana Board of Governors and a member of the 2020 Masters Class.
Leslie Messer is a proud fifth generation Montanan born and raised in Richland County. She is married to her husband, Jim, of 32-years and has a 30-yr old son and 28-yr old daughter who also live in Richland County. The Sidney area is a great community and she feels blessed to live, work, play, and raise her family in Richland County.
Leslie started working for the Richland Economic Development Corporation as an administrative assistant in 1999. In two short years, she became the Executive Director and has been there ever since. Leslie loves her job and it is very fulfilling for her to help local development and be a small part of someone’s dream to have their own business or company.
Leslie is part of Leadership Montana’s Class of 2008. Leslie’s class was very close and bonded very well. Leslie’s favorite memory was the Lewistown session where the class spent time together dancing the night away at a local steakhouse. This experience allowed her classmates to really “let their hair down”, become closer, and strengthen their bonds together.
The Gracious Space concept has had the strongest impact on Leslie’s personal and professional life. Gracious Space has made her a better and stronger leader not only at work, but at home as well. Her continual practice of Gracious Space has strengthened her ability to decipher problems, find solutions, and lead people down a mutual path.
Leslie feels LMT’s role for Montana is spreading the Gracious Space concept. She has seen the Gracious Space contagion spread from her to coworkers and she would like to see it continue to spread into her community and throughout the state. She feels if our leaders learn the Gracious Space concept, they would listen first rather than automatically defend opposing views no matter the issue or situation without listening to other opinions.
Leslie appreciates the beauty and wildness of Montana the most. She loves to spend time in nature with her family and this time is very precious to her.
Leslie sees the biggest economic challenge for Sidney and Richland County is competition with North Dakota. North Dakota provides both local and state funding and incentives to potential incoming companies while Richland County can only provide local resources, which has created an uneven playing field. Leslie feels if Montana could provide both local and state resources to compete with North Dakota’s, companies would choose Richland County because the quality of life and sense of community is so great.