Leadership Montana alumni in action: Melissa Shannon, Class of 2016
A smiling man in suit and red-patterned tie in front of green leaves
Ryan Hughes
December 30, 2017
A smiling woman with long hair in front of a gray background
Crystal Beaty
February 27, 2018
A smiling woman in a blue button-up shirt with crossed arms leans back in front of a capitol building


Melissa Shannon, Class of 2016

As interviewed by EJ Porth, Class of 2017A smiling woman in a blue button-up shirt with crossed arms leans back in front of a capitol building

Melissa splits her time between Helena and Missoula where she runs the Montana office of Strategies 360. Strategies 360 is a full-service public affairs firm that does research and polling, communications, public involvement, digital marketing, and government affairs. Most of her clients are businesses or trade associations but S360 also serves non-profits and government clients. Melissa and her partner Sheryl like to spend their free time outside with their three dogs.

Melissa’s favorite memory from her Sweet Sixteen class is from their session in Bozeman when they did the ‘Walk a Mile’ exercise. She felt like that was the moment that her class really bonded and people became vulnerable. She said it is when she knew they were a family.

Leadership Montana has had an impact on Melissa’s life mainly in relationships, both personally and professionally. She said she has 40 people in the state who would do almost anything for her, just like family. LM has given her great relationships, professionally, some are now clients. But she feels the personal relationships are equally as important.

She sees the role of Leadership Montana as being a powerful network of people who recognize the concept of gracious space and work together to solve problems. She believes that the more people we can get in the state that share that common language the more we will be able to find common ground and consensus.

The thing Melissa appreciates most about Montana is the quality of life. She said that this place, physically, the mountains, rivers, lakes that are so near her home are what make it so unique. She left Montana and came back home even though it may have stifled her career because she missed the place. It was worth it to her to live here in Montana and once here she realized she didn’t have to make compromises on her career.

Alumni Portal