ABOUT OUR PROGRAMS
Leadership Montana is a nonprofit collaboration of leaders coming together to form a strong partnership for the betterment of Montana.
At the heart of our work is our flagship program, an eight-month educational experience offering participants a unique opportunity to develop strong leadership skills along with personal and professional growth.
Every month from September to April, our class of about 40
participants meets in a new Montana community to gain a
deeper awareness of issues affecting our state, build powerful
connections with their classmates, and connect with a network
of committed alumni who live and work throughout Montana.
Our alumni represent some of the most accomplished professionals
in Montana and collaborate on issues and opportunities facing our state.
Leadership Montana provides a number of leadership training opportunities for all Montanans – not just our alumni.
Our program is open to all professional sectors of Montana and is designed to enhance leadership skills of those in various stages of their career. To date, Leadership Montana has nearly 700 graduates, including alumni who are leading Montana in a number of ways. With an increased awareness and a commitment to service, our alumni shape Montana’s future with enhanced leadership skills and a deepened knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing Montana.
We meet for seven sessions over eight months, starting in September and graduating in April. Each cohort visits different communities across the state for three days of intensive study.
The Class of 2021 (starts September 2020)
September 9-11, 2020
Big Sky – Orientation and Retreat
October 7-9, 2020
Butte – Leading at Work
November 18-20, 2020
Missoula – Leading Teams
January 13-15, 2021
Helena – Leading Through Communication and Conflict
February 17-19, 2021
North Central MT – Leading Through Change and Building Coalitions
March 24-26, 2021
Eastern MT – Leading Montana into the Future
April 28-30, 2021
Billings – Graduation
Your application must be accompanied by a $250 fee. If you are accepted to the program, tuition is an additional $2,750 which includes
all program materials and most meals during the program. You are responsible for your lodging and travel costs and usually for any
alcoholic beverages. Leadership Montana sets aside a room block in each city at a discounted rate. A limited amount of scholarships
are available based on need.
Leadership Montana’s unique curriculum weaves work by modern thought leaders and experts like Simon Sinek, Brené Brown, Daniel Goldman, Steven Covey, Patricia Hughes, and others with Carl Jung’s Theories of Psychological Types to create a deep and meaningful learning experience.
We incorporate hands-on learning activities in small groups and full-class discussion. Setting up activities often involves pre-assigned reading and short in-class lectures and videos.
Each session includes lessons from Gracious Space: Working Better Together, a collaborative leadership model that is the foundation of our work together. Gracious Space is a core body of work developed by the Center for Ethical Leadership which has helped over 15,000 people in 30 states and 45 countries to work better together around critical issues. The Center has created and used Gracious Space in many sectors, including health care, business, government, community, nonprofit, and education.
Our homegrown curriculum, Leading in Montana, utilizes the Myers Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) to explore how our individual behaviors influence how we lead. With this knowledge and understanding of who we are, leaders can most effectively understand how to lead in various situations like these main themes of our work together:
- Leading Organizations
- Leading Teams
- Communication and Conflict
- Leading Through Change
- Building Coalitions
- Leading Montana into the Future
This work must remain flexible to adapt to the changing times and the needs of your class, so what you see here may shift slightly. You help us shape where this journey goes. There is no doubt that we will dig in deeply around how to navigate this pandemic and societal change.
Our curriculum trainers, Dr. Gerald Evans and Carmen McSpadden, both have been a part of Leadership Montana since 2003 as two of the original steering committee members and have served as our primary training team together since 2014. Carmen has been a trainer with us since 2007 while Jerry served on the Board of Governors during that time. Chantel Schieffer is certified by Brené Brown to teach the Dare to Lead™ curriculum. All team members (Anna, Chantel, Jerry, and Carmen) are certified to facilitate Gracious Space.
Dr. Gerald Evans – Trainer
Gerald Evans was born in Great Falls and graduated high school in Bigfork. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Great Falls, where he earned two master’s degrees from Montana State University. Dr. Evans earned his Ph.D. from The Claremont Graduate University in the area of information processing and systems. He has served on the faculty of the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and The University of Nevada, Reno.
He joined the University of Montana School of Business Administration faculty in 1988, and has devoted most of his teaching, research, and publication activities to the areas of business information systems, business ethics, and organizational leadership. Additionally, Dr. Evans has consulted in businesses throughout the U.S. on topics such as negotiation, leadership, team building, conflict resolution, and quality management in service organizations. Jerry has served as a member of the board of directors of various corporations and foundations including the Montana Chamber of Commerce and their Foundation, the Organizing Committee, and the Board of Governors of Leadership Montana.
Carmen McSpadden – Trainer
Carmen, a Class of 2006 graduate, served on Leadership Montana’s Organizing Committee, and has been a leadership trainer since 2007.
Currently directing Montana State University’s Leadership Institute, Carmen served five years as director of the Leadership Fellows program and five years as adjunct faculty in management for the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship (JJCBE). She is a founding member of Leadership MSU and Developing Excellence in Academic Leadership. Carmen co-owned a successful adventure travel company with twenty-five employees and trips throughout the West and the world. The company is now owned by Xanterra Parks & Resorts.
Carmen received the Community Mediation Center’s Peacemaker Award and 3 Chamber of Commerce/MSU Alumni Association’s Awards for Excellence. She was Bozeman Daily Chronicle’s 2008 Woman of the Year and Prospera & JJCBE 2012 Mentor of the Year. In 2015, she received Leadership Montana’s Service Award and was a finalist for the 2015 Athena Women’s Leadership Award, which she later won in 2016. Carmen and her husband live in Bozeman and have two grown sons.
How do I apply?
Our competitive selection process begins in January and includes an essay-based application due March 31st. We prefer an alumni reference for all applicants. Chosen participants are notified in June with the class sessions starting in September.
Applications for the Class of 2021 are now open!
The application period is open from January 1, 2020 to March 31 2020. Applications received by February 29 will be considered priority applications and applicants will be reviewed first. Applications received between March 1 and March 31 will be reviewed as received. The application process closes promptly at 11:59 PM (midnight) on March 31.
We suggest that you read through our FAQ Document (link below) prior to applying to Leadership Montana.
Thank you for your interest in Leadership Montana!
After the application process closes our selection committee will review all applications with a final decision to be made in May. You will be notified of your status in the program during the first week of June. If you are accepted, you will be asked to sign a participation commitment form that outlines our expectations. The tuition of $2,750 is due by July 31. Before each class, you will receive additional information about what to expect in that session.
If you are selected and are unable to participate, you may defer your spot for one year and join the next cohort.
Full participation in all sessions is expected, and attendance at the orientation and retreat at Big Sky is mandatory. Any participant missing more than one session for any reason may be asked to withdraw from the program with no portion of the tuition refunded. Missing any session or portion of a session will detract from the experience for both you and your classmates. For this reason, we also ask that participants strictly limit the use of cellphones during all sessions.
We also expect that participants, upon graduation in April, will become involved in our alumni organization and remain a dues-paying member. Dues are $100 per year.
Our class size is limited to 40-44 members to ensure optimal relationship building among the participants. We select class members with an eye on ensuring the highest possible diversity in gender, geography, ethnicity, and work experience, as well as demonstrated investment in leadership and the betterment of Montana. We receive more applications than we can accept into the class in a given year, and if you are not selected, you may wish to be considered the following year. A representative will contact you in January when the next application period opens.
“The best leaders turned out to be the best learners…Learning is the master skill. When you fully engage in learning – when you throw yourself whole-heartedly into experimenting, reflecting, reading, or being coached – you will experience the thrill of improvement and the taste of success.” J. Kouzes and B. Posner
Upon graduation from Leadership Montana, alumni are invited to continue their leadership journey through the Masters Class. Established in 2017, the Masters Class is a shorter and smaller class experience allowing participants to dive deeper into issues facing Montana as well as their own leadership journey. The Masters Class was born out of requests from Alumni for an additional in-depth experience to continue their leadership journey.
This three-day, three session experience will build on the Leadership Montana experience by digging deeper into leadership development and Gracious Space.
Is the Masters Class right for you? Do you want to
- Build collaboration, teamwork and trust?
- Strengthen the ability of others to excel?
- Experiment with innovative ideas and learn from accompanying mistakes?
- Inspire others to share a common vision?
- Clarify and communicate your fundamental values and beliefs?
- Increase your personal capacity for courageous collaboration?
- Learn an approach for embracing vulnerability and reality?
The Masters Class utilizes two leadership curricula The first is from James Kouzes and Barry Posner – The Leadership Challenge, and accompanying 360 assessment called the LPI: Leadership Practices Inventory. The Leadership Challenge consists of five behavioral practices that has been widely researched, has an intuitive appeal, assesses behavioral practices, measures behavioral change according to peers, and highlights the interplay between leaders and their partners. This is significantly different that common leadership training models which tend to focus solely on leadership characteristics and attributes. Without recognizing the behavioral interplay between people, and more important, not measuring change, poor outcomes will continue to be seen in traditional leadership training outcomes.
The second leadership curriculum is Courageous Collaborations in Gracious Space by Patricia Hughes. The purpose of this program is to increase personal capacity for showing up courageously to collaborate on issues that matter. Gracious Space has been foundational to Leadership Montana from our beginning, this work of Courageous Collaborations takes our learning and application of Gracious Space to the next level.
This experience is limited to 24 Leadership Montana alumni who will be selected through a competitive process.
Dates and locations subject to slight change
November 10-13, 2020 – Rainbow Ranch, Big Sky. This session convenes at 4pm on November 10.
February 3-5, 2021 – Helena
April 28-30, 2021 – Miles City and Billings
Application Fee: $50 nonrefundable
Limited scholarships available
Want to learn more about the Masters Class?
You can chat with someone who has experienced the Masters Class.
Our annual signature event, The Confluence is a traveling conference spanning two days in September and is open to the general public, not just alumni. A committee of local alumni identify a new location each year and plan interactive opportunities to learn from community leaders about the challenges and opportunities unique to their town. Think of it as a leadership retreat full of inspiring people who love Montana.
Recent events have featured the communities of White Sulphur Springs, Missoula, Butte, Miles City, Billings, Kalispell and Bozeman. Due to COVID-19, The Confluence will not be held in 2020. We plan to resume in September 2021 and host the event in Red Lodge.
Lessons in Leadership
Launched in 2015, this unique speaker series is held in various communities across Montana. Here we feature Montanans – or those with strong connections to Montana – who have led their businesses or communities in a manner in which we admire. Esteemed speakers have included NFL football player Tuff Harris, businessman Greg Slamowitz, Brigadier General Colleen McGuire, Navy Seal Rob O’Neill, celebrity chef Eduardo Garcia, and leadership guru Patricia Hughes.
Men’s and Women’s Leadership Forums
Launched in 2015, our annual women’s leadership forum allows Leadership Montana alumnae to gather at Chico Hot Springs for two days of rest and restoration in the company of good friends – or who will be by the end of the retreat. Past programs have included workshops on Gracious Space, the impacts of implicit bias, and collaborating to build a better Montana. This retreat is generally held in December during the first Wednesday and Thursday of the month.
The men of Leadership Montana started a parallel forum in 2018 at Sage Lodge. The inaugural event included a joint session with the women to deeply discuss gender issues in the workplace and beyond.