Kody Farkell and Joan Kronebusch

Pondera County Clerk and Recorder Kody Farkell and Joan Kronebusch of Town Pump Hotel Group are among the 44 graduates of the 2019 Leadership Montana Class. The graduates came from a variety of backgrounds and included community members, participants from the business, education, healthcare and nonprofit sectors and government leaders from across the state.

“I applied to and participated in Leadership Montana primarily because I saw the value of its leadership development as well as the opportunity to share and learn about the many aspects of Montana,” said Farkell.  It was a great program for experiencing the many things communities are doing to survive and improve despite challenges well as developing into a stronger community.”

Kronebusch wishes she would have gone through the Leadership Montana program earlier in her career. “I look back and wonder how I would have handled difficult situations using the tools and techniques I learned in Leadership Montana.” 

She continued, “The value of the program, for me, was great. I came away from Leadership Montana not only with lifelong friends, but with many important tools I can use in my work and personal life.”

Farkell described Leader-ship Montana as a “wonderful program to create networking opportunities and develop contacts around the state, in a wide array of industries to both share ideas and coordinate with.”  She added, “I received great value in the leadership development portion of the program.”  

Each year, Leadership Montana presents a seven-session program of leadership development, education about issues facing Montana today, and opportunities for networking and collaboration. This year’s class visited Big Sky, Phillipsburg, Butte, Hamilton, Missoula, Helena, White Sulphur Springs, Great Falls, Glasgow and Billings.”

Kronebusch was quick to point out, “Leadership Montana is a huge time commitment–more than three days per month for eight months, in addition to homework and projects. But I’d do it again tomorrow if I had the opportunity.” She continued,  “The program allowed me to learn about different Montana communities–their struggles, their successes and how they are coping with many challenging issues. I also learned a lot about myself.”

According to Farkell, the Montana Leadership classes “are specifically chosen to represent diversity in regards to region, field of work, age, etc.  You spend the year with others who you may never have had the opportunity to meet and connect with otherwise. This provides for great insight and discussion as there are so many experiences and points of view.”

While Farkell admits participating in the program was “very time-consuming and intense” she said it was not only “very worth it but also fun.”

Kronebusch added,  “Leadership Montana has shown me the importance of being involved in my community, being present, listening with open ears and asking the difficult questions. I want to thank my employer for allowing me to attend the monthly classes and participate in the program.”

“On behalf of Leadership Montana, I am excited to welcome these accomplished individuals into our growing alumni group,” said Chantel Schieffer, President/CEO. “Leadership Montana is designed to bring together some of the brightest and most diverse minds to help secure the future of our great state. With these new alumni, we are continuing in the tradition set forth by our founding members over a decade ago.”

To date, there are nearly 650 graduates of the program representing over 50 communities across the state.  Leadership Montana alumni serve in key leadership positions in businesses, education, government, healthcare, non-profit organizations, and community boards.  

Leadership Montana exists to develop leaders committed to building a better Montana through knowledge, collaboration, and civility A collaboration of leaders from business, labor, healthcare, education, nonprofit, and government coming together to form a strong partnership for the betterment of our state, Leadership Montana offers participants programming that strengthens leadership skills while fostering personal growth. 

Upon graduation from Leadership Montana, alumni are invited to continue their leadership journey through the Masters Class, 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 civil discourse.

For further information about the program, call 406-577-2727 or visit the Leadership Montana website at:

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