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 June, 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 1000 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 2024 (Starts September 2023)|
|Session 1||September 10-13||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|
Tuition for Leadership Montana is $5,000 per person as well as a non-refundable application fee of $100. This includes the program experiences, materials, and meals provided at the Session. Class participants are required to pay for their own travel and lodging. While there are cost-saving options available, we estimate the total cost of the program to be between $5,000-$8,000 depending on personal preferences and travel location.
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.
Carmen McSpadden – Head Trainer
Carmen has been a part of Leadership Montana since its inception, serving on the Organizing
Committee, a graduate of the Class of 2006, and a leadership trainer since 2007. Currently
director of the MSU Leadership Institute, Carmen also worked as director of the MSU
Leadership Fellows Program, adjunct faculty in management for the Jake Jabs College of
Business and Entrepreneurship (JJCBE) and was a founding member of Leadership MSU and
other leadership development programs. After decades of board service to public schools and
nonprofits, Carmen currently is President of Headwaters Economics. An entrepreneur and
business owner, Carmen co-founded a successful adventure travel company that included
dozens of talented employees and a focus on enriching travel throughout the West and the
Carmen is a certified trainer for Leadership Challenge™, Gracious Space™, Myers-Briggs Type
Indicator™ (MBTI), Facilitating Intercultural Dialogue™, Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode
Instrument™, Real Colors Personality Test™, Sustained Dialogue & Diversity™, Equity and
Inclusion™, Brain Mapping™, Ki ThoughtBridge™. She creates leadership curriculum and is a
leadership trainer, consultant and facilitator, an executive coach, and a certified coach™ for
In 2023, Carmen received her 8th Chamber of Commerce/MSUAF Award for
Excellence/Founders Award. She was chosen as one of MSU’s 125 Extraordinary Ordinary
Women throughout MSU’s 125-year history. She was honored with the Community Mediation
Center’s Peacemaker Award, Bozeman Daily Chronicle’s 2008 Woman of the Year, Prospera &
JJCBE 2012 Mentor of the Year, 2015 Leadership Montana’s Service Award, and the prestigious
2016 ATHENA Leadership Award. 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 February 29th. Chosen participants are notified in May 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 (firstname.lastname@example.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.
Leadership Montana is highly competitive. Many applicants will apply two or three times before being accepted into the program. The Selection Committee places a high value on geographic diversity as well as industry/sector representation. If there are several people applying from your line of work or your community, the process is even more competitive.
Our class size is limited to 42-48 members to ensure optimal relationship-building among the participants. 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.
Information List – Class of 2025
“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, Miles City
Session 2: January 31-February 2, 2024, Dillon
Session 3: April 24-26, 2024, White Sulphur Springs
Graduation and Celebrate Montana Dinner: June 5-7, 2024, Missoula
*Dates and locations could be subject to slight change.
Limited scholarships available
Want to learn more about the Masters Class?
Are you ready to join the Masters Class?
Applications for the 2023-2024 cohort are closed.
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.
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.
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.
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 Red Lodge, White Sulphur Springs, Missoula, Butte, Miles City, Billings, Kalispell and Bozeman.
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.