In this episode, Eric speaks with Deb Vandeberg, vice chair of the Leadership Montana Board of Governors. Deb talks about growing up in her beloved hometown of Havre and what she learned from being on crutches from ages 6 to 11. She shares stories about working in New York City, starting a successful business in Havre, and running the Havre Chamber of Commerce for over 20 years. Deb also tells listeners about her role on the Leadership Montana Organizing Committee in 2003, and how she advocated for rural Montana throughout that process.
Eric, a graduate of Leadership Montana Class of 2016 and Masters Class 2019, leads this project with an unmatched curiosity and thirst for learning how each interviewee leans into leading. Eric magically brings to life the story underneath the words and weaves together a series that perfectly illustrates the meaning and value of listening deeply. Originally from Billings, Eric currently resides in Missoula where he serves as the Communications and Development Administrator for Partnership Health Center.
Debbie retired in 2017 as the Executive Director of the Havre Chamber of Commerce after 22 years of service. During that time she worked closely with community leaders and hundreds of volunteers. The Chamber works closely with City and County Government and Bear Paw Development on projects relevant to community growth and improvement. The Chamber’s largest project in recent years was the revitalization of eight half blocks in the historic downtown area, into the community’s Town Square, a cornerstone for many community events and gatherings. Prior to the Chamber position, Debbie owned her own business in Havre for six years. Before returning to Montana in 1986 to open Debra’s, she had 15 successful years in sales, retail, marketing and design including working for Lord and Taylor Department Store chain in New York City.
Debbie was born and raised in Havre and a proud graduate of Havre High School and MSU-Northern. Since retirement Debbie remains active in several community organizations: Havre Hill County Preservation Commission, the Art and Beautification Committee, co-chair of the Havre Master Plan Development project, member of the newly organized Hi Line Arts Council along with serving with honor on the Board of Governors for Leadership Montana.
Debbie enjoys tending to her yard and flowers in the summer. Golfing in the summer and skiing in the winter keep her busy. She also enjoys cooking and entertaining friends. Sharing her life with Dave Henry brings her joy.