Kelly Heaton

Executive Director

Red Lodge

Core Values:  Hope, Honesty/Integrity, Love, Trust, Curiosity

Kelly has always had a passion for nonprofit work since her early organizing days in collegeShe loves the energy and ingenuity of mission-driven work and the opportunities nonprofits provide to make powerful impacts and positive changes. Now in a career that spans nearly 20 years, from entry-level to ten years as an Executive Director and all the positions in betweenKelly is excited to bring her skills and passion to Leadership Montana. As a graduate of the Flagship Class of 2014 and the inaugural Masters Class of 2019, Kelly sees this role as the perfect way to give back to the organization and the state that has given her so much in return.

Kelly grew up in the foothills west of Denver, graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and moved to Montana in 2004. 

She truly enjoys meeting and connecting with people and learns something new from each experience. If there is something to plan or a problem to solve, she jumps in with gusto and always pines for a good strategy session. She is happiest in the great outdoors, hiking, backpacking, and skiing with her family and friendsKelly rarely turns down an opportunity to dance or bowlShe also serves on several local boards and as Red Lodge City Council President, weaving Gracious Space into as many conversations as possible. Kelly lives in Red Lodge with her husband Matt, and their son Connor.

Current Favorites  

Word: Connection

Sound: Spring-Sandhill Crane calls, thunderstorms, and rushing waters  

Book: Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life 

Holiday: Birthdays-I love honoring the day people were born 

Movie: Little Shop of Horrors. I love musicals! Watching people singing and dancing evokes a lot of emotions. Also, anything with humor because smiling and laughing more is always good.  

Song: I truly appreciate all kinds of music, so it’s hard to pick a song. My favorite genre is Rock, and the only thing I struggle with is heavy twang. 

Montana scene: Mountains-all the crags, lines, crevasses, waterfalls, the microenvironments, and the scale of the space they cover is breathtaking and fascinating to me. It’s a 3-way tie between Hole in the Wall campground in the northern reaches of Glacier National Park, the Shields Valley, and winding along Hwy 78 at the base of the Beartooths.