Leadership Montana alumni in action: John Trudnowski, Butte - Class of 2018
John Carmody
February 28, 2023
Mike Worden
April 30, 2023


Melissa Shannon, Helena, Class of 2016

Melissa Shannon, Helena,  Class of 2016

Interviewed by EJ Porth, Bozeman, Class of 2017

Melissa lives in Helena, where she works for 360 Strategies, Montana. Her Montana office is a public affairs firm that works primarily in government relations. They also do research and polling, communications, and issue campaigns. Most of her clients are businesses or trade associations. Melissa is married and doesn’t have kids unless you count two dogs and a cat.

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 that 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, we can find more common ground and consensus. She has seen the impact that Leadership Montana is making firsthand during her work with the Montana Legislature.

The thing Melissa appreciates most about Montana is how it feels like a big small town. She said that this place, physically, the mountains, rivers, and 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 and the people. 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.