Leadership Montana Classroom Reflection: Jen Hensley, Class of 2016, Masters 2019, Helena
A smiling woman with shoulder-length hair, blue-rimmed glasses, and tan sweater
Masters Class Session One: Hatton Littman
December 27, 2018
Bridget Wilkinson
Flagship Session Four: Bridget Wilkinson
January 29, 2019
Jen Hensley


Jen Hensley, Class of 2016, Masters 2019 – Helena

Jen HensleyMasters Class Session Two Class Reflection by Jen Hensley, Class of 2016, Masters 2019 – Helena

An 18-month policy change, the result of difficult and worthwhile collaboration across industries, was scheduled for a legislative hearing on Day 2 of Masters Class. Three hours from the Capitol. No worries – I had a plan! I’d drive home after class and dinner on Wednesday evening, sleep for five hours, testify first thing in the morning, and depart directly back to Lewistown. “I’ll be back by noon!” I e-mailed aspirationally to Jen Davis, our Alumni Relations Manager. “It’ll be fine!”

The big wet snowfall we’d been waiting all winter to see hit Central Montana on Wednesday morning, and spread across the western part of the state.

As I watched the snow helplessly from our classroom, Pat Hughes patiently walked us through the concepts of Courageous Collaborations. “Where Gracious Space is a productivity enhancer,” she said, “Courageous Collaboration is an innovation enhancer.” We learned how to identify if a group was open to collaboration, risk, relationships, or none of the above. We learned to identify patterns in a group, in individuals.

Patterns. Teamwork. Trust. And then the highway linking me to my hearing closed.

I physically could not go to Helena to be at the hearing. Frustrated, spinning in my mind, second guessing my very participation in this class, I turned to my comfort zone – I made a list. Did I have a team? Yes. Did I trust my team? Absolutely. Was the work done? Yes. Was I integral to the outcome of the hearing? ::gulp:: No. Was this an opportunity to practice what I was supposed to be learning? ::sigh:: Yes.

A few phone calls, e-mails, and texts later, I rejoined my class. In classic Leadership Montana style, they were all up in my business asking what I planned to do. They’d known all along, having long ago identified the pattern, and were patiently waiting for me to catch up.

This, I believe, will be one of the biggest takeaways from the Masters Class. Next-level practice. Diving unflinchingly into the quivering fear and finding my calm, centering on the confidence in my ability as well as that of my team. Collaborate for innovation, and let the system work the way it was designed to work.

PS – the hearing went perfectly.