Leadership Montana is a nonprofit collaboration of leaders coming together to form a strong partnership for the betterment of Montana.

Leadership 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, September through April, with graduation in June. Each cohort visits different communities across the state for three days of intensive study.

Class of 2023 (Starts September 2022)
Session 1 September 12-14 2022 Big Sky
Session 2 October 19-21 2022 Anaconda
Session 3 November 16-18 2022 Bozeman
Session 4 January 18-20 2023 Helena
Session 5 February 22-24 2023 Billings
Session 6 March 22-24 2023 Miles City
Session 7 April 26-28 2023 Havre
Graduation June 1-2 2023 Butte


Class of 2024 (Starts September 2023)
Session 1 September 10-15 2023 Big Sky
Session 2 October 18-20 2023 Lewistown
Session 3 November 15-17 2023 Missoula
Session 4 January 17-19 2024 Helena
Session 5 February 28-March 1 2024 Billings
Session 6 April 10-12 2024 Great Falls
Session 7 May 15-17 2024 Glasgow
Graduation June 6-7 2024 TBD

There is an application fee of $250. If you are accepted to the program, tuition is an additional $3000 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 community when possible.

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 are closed for the Class of 2024

If you’re interested in Leadership Montana’s Class of 2025 (Starting September of 2024, ending June of 2025), please click this link to fill out the interest form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Z3D5FZM

Please select the following FAQ Co24 to read about the most commonly asked questions.

Please email our Program Director, Anna Berg (anna@leadershipmontana.org), if you have any further questions.

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 $3000 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 cell phones during all sessions.

We also expect that participants, upon graduation, 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.

Information List – Class of 2025

The following button will take you to our information form for the Leadership Montana Class of 2025, which requests information for the next class – not the current application process.  The Class of 2025 begins in September of 2024 and ends in June of 2025.  If you are interested in learning more about our program please contact our Program Director, Anna Berg, at anna@leadershipmontana.org.

Alumni Programs

“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.

The Masters Class may be right to you if 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

Session 1: November 1-3, 2023 Paradise Valley
Session 2: January 31-February 2, 2024 Western Montana
Session 3: April 24-26, 2024 Havre
Graduation and Celebrate Montana Dinner: June 6-7, 2024
*Dates and locations could be subject to slight change.


Tuition: $3,000

Limited scholarships available

Want to learn more about the Masters Class?

Click here if you would like to learn more about the Masters Class. 

Are you ready to join the Masters Class?

Applications for the 2023-2024 cohort are open until April 30, 2023. Click here to apply now.

At Leadership Montana, we believe that understanding is the foundation upon which we can build bridges across our divides. This program is designed to provide Leadership Montana alumni with the ultimate opportunity to listen and learn from Indigenous leaders across Montana by combining presentations on culture and history, tours of local businesses and institutions, and providing a continuation for meaningful conversations and relationships to build a better future for all.

The Details


The program will include six sessions in 2023

Session 1: August 28-30, 2023, at White Sulphur Springs

Session 2: October 2-4, 2023, at Great Falls/Little Shell Tribe

Session 3: January 8-10, 2024, at Lodge Grass/ Crow Tribe

Session 4: February 12-14, 2024, at Fort Belknap

Session 5: March 27-29, 2024, at Bozeman (Bozeman Powwow on March 30-31)

Session 6: May 6-8, 2024, at Rocky Boy

Graduation: June 6-7, 2024

What to expect

A small cohort of LMT alumni (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) coming together to experience an innovative cultural immersion program through a series of six multi-day in-person visits. Together we will learn about the history, culture, and opportunities of Montana’s Indigenous communities. We will meet with Indigenous leaders from Tribal governments, business, education, healthcare and community organizations to gain a deeper understanding of the unique and vibrant Indigenous cultures in Montana.


$3,000 with limited scholarships available. Includes most meals, materials, and facilitation. Potentially some lodging may be included as well.

Applications are open through May 30, 2023.   Apply Here

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.

Public Programs

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.

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.

In 2020 and 2021, we held a series of virtual Lessons in Leadership events with national leadership coach and author Colene Eldridge of Lexington, Kentucky.