Leadership Montana Program Reflection: Molly Davidson (Missoula), Class of 2022
Masters Class Session: Lisa Koski
March 26, 2024


Nicole Rush, Class of 2024, Missoula

Flagship Reflection

Nicole Rush, Missoula, Class of 2024

Reflecting on the Flagship class’s three-day immersion in Billings, Montana, my biggest takeaway was the realization that Billings is a vibrant and growing community facing some “big-city” problems that set it apart from Montana’s smaller towns, even my own community of Missoula. I hadn’t visited Billings in more than two years, and it was surprising to see the growth in that short time.

Our tours of Rocky Vista University, Kampgrounds of America, and Zoo Montana provided tangible examples of leadership in action. It was particularly exciting to tour the shiny new medical school and think about all the physicians who will be trained in this state-of-the-art facility, knowing how much Montana needs those skills in every community.

Throughout our time in Billings, interactions with diverse leaders shed light on the city’s unique dynamics. These community conversations are my favorite part of Leadership Montana. From discussions on healthy downtowns, affordable housing, education, safety, and growth, it became evident that Billings grapples with issues more commonly associated with larger metropolitan areas despite its rural and Western roots. In many ways, Billings is at the forefront of navigating the big demographic and cultural shifts that Montana faces. I learned a lot from these discussions with local leaders.

Above all, our time in Billings fostered a sense of community and camaraderie as we connected with fellow leaders committed to making a positive impact in this dynamic environment. As someone who works daily with community leaders in trying to manage Missoula’s growth and change, I appreciate the chance to see how other communities are tackling the same issues.​