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Mentoring, Inspiring, Networking, and Educating...
The MSU Jabs Women's Leadership Conference's mission is to enhance and enrich the lives of our women alumnae, associates and friends by opening doors for mentoring and networking while creating educating and inspiring opportunities for women by women. 

May 20, 2024 | In-Person Conference | Strand Union Building, MSU Campus

Designed to encourage professional networking and to further launch and support your success, this conference will feature inspirational speakers, impactful networking, and many opportunities to re-energize your personal and professional development.

Conference Schedule:

8:30-9:00 am: Event check-in and breakfast
9:00 am:
Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:10 am: Morning Keynote with Karen Grosz: How to Lead, Quietly
10:15 am:
Breakout Session I:

Amanda Diehl (SUB A):
Brittany Cooper (SUB B):
Amanda Stonerock (SUB C): On the Pursuit of Awesome

Allie Bonthius (SUB D): Navigating Green Waters: Breaking Barriers in the Cannabis Sector


11:15 am: Breakout Session II:

Sam Yarborough (SUB A): The Power of a Global Network and Why You Should Have One

Karen Lum (SUB B):
Brandyn Roark Caires (SUB C): 3-Steps to Quiet the Noise and Clear Your Path

12:00 pm:
12:45 pm:
Panel - Resilience in the face of "NO"
1:45 pm:
Group Session - Lori Addicks

2:45 pm: Presentation from Jabs Women In Business Club

3:00 pm: Keynote Speaker- Kathleen Williams
3:50 pm:
Outstanding Mentor Award
4:00 pm:
Networking Social and Silent Auction


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Conference Registration ($150): Be sure to get your tickets now! Student tickets ($50) are also available.
Up to 5.7 CPA CPE credits available.


Keynote Speaker: Kathleen Williams
USDA Rural Development Director for the state of Montana

Kathleen WilliamsKathleen Williams has enjoyed a 41-year career in economics and natural resource planning and policy spanning the public, private, and non-profit sectors. She is deeply rooted in Montana, having served as lead legislative staff for water, mining, and recreation policy, run a statewide water resources program, and helped various organizations with program review and strategic planning. As a state legislator, she served as Vice Chair of the Agriculture Committee and passed legislation to improve health care and infrastructure, grow and diversify Montana’s economy, and advance local food production systems.

Williams has worked, hunted, and campaigned statewide, helped build an organization of farmers and ranchers across the North American West, and has a special love for, and commitment to, rural issues and economies, including Montana’s diverse indigenous communities. Her recent run for Montana’s lone congressional seat allowed her to broadly discuss solutions to rural issues across many kitchen tables, town mayor’s desks, and tribal halls, while traveling over 100,000 miles in the process. She currently serves as Montana State Director for USDA Rural Development, based in Bozeman, Montana.

Kathleen has two adult stepsons, a wonderful grand-baby, and an energetic black Labrador retriever. She enjoys hiking, fishing, canoeing, bird hunting, and always a good swing dance.


Click here to view other conference speakers.


Thank You to our Generous 2024 Conference Sponsors:

Executive Sponsors:

    BCBS logo               Title One logo


Printing Sponsor:

PFL logo    


Management Sponsor:

HoM406 logo            Turf Tech


Friend Sponsor:

Berkshire Hathaway logo

Interested in sponsoring, or donating? Click here to view our conference sponsorship levels.
Questions? Email [email protected].


A huge congratulations to our 2023 Outstanding Mentor Award winner: Elizabeth Greenfield.
Click here to view past award recipients.


Your proceeds provide scholarships for Jabs students: Click here to view past scholarship recipients.



For sponsorship or registration information contact or 406-994-4423

We are on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook!


Keynote Speaker: Sarah Calhoun
Former WCOE Mentorship Award winner and the Founder of Red Ants Pants.

Sarah Calhoun, owner of Red Ants Pants

Sarah Calhoun has decades of leadership experience in both the non-profit and small business sectors, working in the outdoor education industry before founding Red Ants Pants in 2006.

Raised on a farm in rural Connecticut, Calhoun was inspired to move to Montana by Ivan Doig’s This House of Sky. From her home in the smalltown of White Sulphur Springs, she has become an inspiration to entrepreneurs nationwide and is known for her dedication to supporting rural communities.

Tired of wearing men’s work pants that didn’t fit, Calhoun designed pants that would fit, function and flatter working women. Red Ants Pants are made in the USA and that will not change. Red Ants Pants is based out of White Sulphur Springs, Montana where the storefront, distribution center, and international headquarters all reside in an historic saddle shop.

To show support for the hard-working side of Montana and beyond, the Red Ants Pants Foundation was born in 2011. The Foundation supports women’s leadership, working family farms and ranches, and rural communities - the three things most important to Calhoun and the Red Ants Pants Community.

Calhoun has been called a “revolutionary figure in rural business today” and a “powerhouse of inspiration for women in business.” Her dynamic style and inspiring experiences as an entrepreneur make her a highly sought-after keynote speaker. She has given two TEDx talks, dozens of keynote addresses, and has been featured on national television programs such as CNBC, CNN, and Bloomberg. As Calhoun has risen to the top echelons of success as a rural entrepreneur, she is paying it forward by actively encouraging and mentoring other women starting their own businesses.Click here to view her full bio.

Click here to view other conference speakers.

Conference Schedule:

8:00 am        Welcome Breakfast
8:35 am        Morning Group Session - Carmen McSpadden 
9:45 am        Breakout Session #1

Lorca Smetana                Resilience is Energy
Deb Penner                     The "F" Word: The Surprising Seed of Success
Amber Raile                     Confronting Conflict for Professional and Personal Success
Jillian Deitle                      Leadership at All Levels: How To Be A Leader No Matter What Your Role Is

10:50 am      Breakout Session #2

Stacy Scott                        Using Local Values to Make a Global Impact
Brandy Lawson                Bee Bold, Bee Brave, Bee Confident: How to Get Out of Your Own Way
Nissa Liesz                        Transform Your Life for Abundant and Sustainable Success   

12:oo pm      Networking Luncheon

1:20 pm        Breakout Session #3

Spirits and Brews Panel - Mary Pat Harris, Beth Stohlmann and Sarah MacDonald

Susan Bennett Fisher         Identify and Activate Your Natural Superpowers!
Lori Addicks                         Mindset for Change: What is Your Change Style?
Karen Lum                           Architecting the Life You Want

2:20 pm        Keynote Speaker Sarah Calhoun
3:30 pm        Mentorship Award Presentation
4:00 pm        Networking Social and Silent Auction


CPA CPE credits available: 7.1


To view photos from the 2023 Conference, please click here for the Facebook photo album.

Thank You to our Generous 2023 Conference Sponsors:

Networking Bee Sponsor:

Charles Schwab logo    Montana Bankers Association logo

Carpenter Bee Sponsor:

Title One logo

Bumblebee Sponsor:

HPW logo    Suelto    TURFTECH, INC.

Auction Donors:

7 Sushi Armory Hotel              Bend Beyond      
Bequet Confections           Big Sky Resort Blackbird Kitchen
Cottonwood Golf Craft Aesthetics Farmer's Daughters / RSVP
Girls Outdoors Gallatin Valley Mall        Hannah Uhde
Jessie Moore Photo Meridian Mountains Walking Brewery
MSU President's Office         MT Science Center  Outlaw Brewing
Poweryoga Red Ants Pants Riverside Country Club
Sage Lodge SkincareMT Spire
Suelto Treeline Coffee  



Brief History

The MSU Jabs Women’s Circle of Excellence (the Circle) was created in the fall of 2006 based on the vision of Jackie Sather and Micki Munro.  A group of alumnae and administrative employees of Jabs were brought together to form the Core Committee of the Circle. In the spring of 2007, the Core Committee hosted the Circle’s first event, a graduation celebration for the graduating seniors and MPAc women, where they were congratulated on this significant achievement by local Jabs alumnae. 

The Core Committee brought the first annual Women’s Circle of Excellence conference, a two-day event held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bozeman, Montana on April 17th and 18th, 2008. This also coincided with the 115th anniversary of the College of Business. The theme of the conference was “Links of a Lifetime," which promoted the existing bonds between alumnae and friends and fostered opportunities to establish new ones.

This conference featured national and local speakers who presented inspirational and educational sessions and events, as well as mentoring and networking opportunities.  These two days featured presentations capturing the true meaning of being a woman in today’s busy world, while sharing the pride that comes from being linked by the common thread of graduating from the same institute in business.