About Leadership Montana the program: program descriptions, apply here


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.

About Leadership Montana the program: program descriptions, apply here

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 over 600 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 2020 (starts September 2019)

September 4-6               
Big Sky
Orientation & Retreat

October 9-11                 
Leading at Work

November 20-22            
Leading Teams

January 15-17                    
Leading Through Communication and Conflict

February 19-21                    
Great Falls
Leading Through Change and Building Coalitions

March 25-27                    
Miles City
Leading Montana in the Future

April 22-24                      

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.

Leading in Montana is designed exclusively for Leadership Montana and includes lessons on civil discourse as well as:

  •       Leading Organizations
  •       Leading Teams
  •       Communication and Conflict
  •       Leading Through Change
  •       Building Coalitions
  •       Leading Montana into the Future


Each of the seven sessions also addresses the many facets of Montana’s diverse economic interests:

  • Agriculture & Natural Resources
  • History & Culture
  • Education
  • Tourism & Recreation
  • Energy
  • Business & Industry
  • Healthcare
  • Nonprofit Organization

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 2020 are closed.

Applications for the Class of 2021 will open in January of 2020. If you would like to be placed on our “Interest List” to receive further information, please CLICK HERE to fill out your information.

We suggest that you read through our FAQ Document (link below) prior to applying to Leadership Montana.

FAQ Co20

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. You can receive a refund of $200 of your application fee, or you can hold over your application fee for the following year.

Masters Class

Upon graduation from Leadership Montana, alumni are invited to continue their leadership journey through our new 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.

This three-day, three session experience will build on the Leadership Montana experience by digging deeper into community issues, leadership theory, and Gracious Space.

We will utilize the leadership curriculum from James Kouzes and Barry Posner – Leadership Challenge, and accompanying assessment called the Leadership Practices Inventory. Their model 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.

This experience is limited to 24 Leadership Montana alumni who will be selected through a competitive process.


Dates and locations subject to slight change

October 22-25, 2019 – Grand Union Hotel, Fort Benton

January 29-31, 2020 – Whitefish

April 22-24, 2020 – Red Lodge and Billings


Application Fee: $50 nonrefundable

Tuition: $3,000

Limited scholarships available

The Confluence

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, and Kalispell. Save the date for September 19 & 20 when we’ll gather in Bozeman.


Please make plans to join us for the 2019 Leadership Montana Signature event – The Confluence to be held in Bozeman on September 18-20, 2019. During these two and a half days, we will explore challenges and opportunities facing Montana with a diverse group of leaders from business, education, government, nonprofits, health care, agriculture, and more.

Alumni that have paid their 2019 Membership Dues are eligible for a membership discount. Visit the Alumni Portal on the Leadership Montana website to pay your dues.

Non Leadership Montana Alumni are welcome as guests of Leadership Montana Alumni.

Registration fees increase on July 1 and August 1.

Wednesday, September 18

3:00-5:00pm – Gracious Space Workshop
5:00-6:00pm – Reception
6:00-8:30pm – Lessons in Leadership with Eduardo Garcia.

Thursday, September 19, 8:30am – 6:00 pm

8:30am Confluence Welcome
9:00-11:30am Inspire!
11:30am-1:45pm Listen, Learn, Lunch
2:30pm-5:00pm Tours
5:30-6:30pm Reception
6:30-8:30pm Class and Small Group Dinners

Friday, September 20, 8:30am – 2:00pm

8:30am-10:00am Montana’s Growing Technology Industry
10:15am-12:15pm Managing Passion in an Intense World with Shannon Stober

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, Brigider General Colleen McGuire, Navy Seal Rob O’Neill, and leadership guru Patricia Hughes.


Men’s and Women’s Leadership Retreats

Launched in 2015, our annual women’s leadership retreat 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 retreat 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.

Alumni Portal