Leadership MT Confluence Event Held In Sidney, Gracious Space Curriculum Available To Employers

The Confluence, which is a Leadership Montana Signature Event, was held in Sidney May 4-5. The Confluence was held at the Pella Lutheran Church and was organized by local leadership graduates Leslie Messer, Cami Skinner, Elaine Stedman, Paula Eberling, Kelly Reisig, Katie Dasinger, Jen Doty, Lorilee Norby and Michelle Frank. There was a total of 30 alumni from across the state in attendance.

The first concept was to provide transparency about oil and energy revenue, as well as correct the idea that everyone in Richland County has an abundance of oil money. Speakers for the Oil and Energy Review Panel & Discussion touched on how oil and energy revenue is being utilized in their specific areas. Some of those presenters included Mayor Rick Norby who spoke about how that revenue is being used to ensure public safety; Commissioner Shane Gorder discussed the new fire hall and Senior Center in Fairview, the Richland County Health Department, Law Enforcement Center, and upgrades to the fairgrounds. Superintendent of Schools Tim Tharp shared how revenue is being put to work differently in each school district to meet their specific needs, Lower Yellowstone Electric Coop General Manager Jason Brothen compared development in Montana versus North Dakota, and Melissa Boyer, Foundation for Community Care, shared their contribution to the Sidney Health Center's purchase of their own Care Flight.

The second concept of the two-day conference was a panel & discussion entitled "Pivoting in Agriculture". Speakers included Director of Science and IGS Operations Jackie Atkins who presented the newest developments in A.I., Sarah Degn who shared her experience moving back to Richland County and taking over the family business from her father, Mike Degn, and Don Steinbeisser Jr. who was there on behalf of the Richland County Farm Bureau and MonDak Beet Growers former president.

Additionally, there were social hours at the South 40 and Meadowlark, spin and yoga flow, tours around Sidney and a Gracious Space Presentation given by Richland Economic Development Corp's (REDC) Director Leslie Messer. Gracious Space is a course that works on communication, respect, accountability and civility in the workplace and is used as part of the Leadership Montana Curriculum.

Following the final day of the Confluence, Heather Nevins, Richland County Health Department, inquired about Messer presenting the Gracious Space Curriculum to the Richland County Health Department, which happened May 24. One of the unique aspects of this course is that it teaches coworkers to disagree respectfully in a constructive manner. 

"It was humbling to be able to share the training I've had and utilize that to help businesses and employers in Richland County," Messer said, adding that the Gracious Space Curriculum is available to any business in Richland County that is interested.

Last month's events provided a realistic picture of the oil, energy and agricultural situation in Richland County to those who came from other parts of the state, and continues to provide resources for area businesses who are interested in strengthening their workplace through the Gracious Space Curriculum.

Any employer interested in the Gracious Space Curriculum can contact REDC at 406-482-4679.


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