Session Two Class Reflection by Sheri Jarvis, Virginia City, LMT Class of 2019
In session two, we had the privilege of meeting in both Philipsburg and Butte. At the Granite County Historical Museum, we gathered to hear of each other’s highlights and achievements since we’d last met in Big Sky. We heard fascinating statistics about Montana’s tourism industry from Dax Schieffer and the Voices of Montana Tourism. And we learned of PBurg’s unique and inspiring volunteer culture and collaborative history from four community leaders who each remarked on the town’s “economic comeback” and continuity of a “Philipsburg brand” achieved by working together. In Butte, we were delighted to be wined and dined by Headframe Spirits and NW Energy, learned about Butte’s successes from five Leadership Montana alums, expanded our understanding and respect for Montana’s Native American tribes, and toured both the Serbian Orthodox church and Montana Resources’ mining operations.
We felt honored to be welcomed and treated with such generosity, and we appreciated the things we learned about our host communities and about each other. It seemed like we were able to engage more quickly, and more substantively, as we built on the principles we had absorbed through our first session. We shared moments of laughter (lots of laughter), heartfelt tears, and meaningful exchanges as we discovered each other’s unique personality traits that go beyond merely knowing names and professional statistics. We began to see into each other more clearly, developed a cohesiveness within our diversity, marveled at the way we “churn” together, and continued our process of discovery through the Leading at Work and Gracious Space facilitation that invited us to explore our vulnerability and deepen our trust in one another. As we watched each other lean in to the possibilities that come with feeling safe together, we found ourselves elevated and inspired. We’re building a community, a truly lovely one indeed.