Women's Leadership Conference
Formerly Women's Circle of Excellence!
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.
Tentative Conference Schedule:
8:30-9:00 am: Event check-in and breakfast
9:00 am: Conference kicks off
3:30-5:00pm: Afternoon Social/Networking and Silent Auction
Early Bird Conference Registration: Now until March 20, 2024. Be sure to get your tickets now!
Keynote Speaker: Kathleen Williams
USDA Rural Development Director for the state of Montana
Kathleen Williams has enjoyed a 38-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. Kathleen has two adult stepsons and an energetic German wirehaired pointer.
2023 RECENT EVENT
Keynote Speaker: Sarah Calhoun
Former WCOE Mentorship Award winner and the Founder 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.
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
Interested in sponsoring, or donating? Click here to view our conference sponsorship levels.
Questions? Email [email protected].
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:
Carpenter Bee Sponsor:
|Big Sky Resort
|Farmer's Daughters / RSVP
|Gallatin Valley Mall
|Jessie Moore Photo
|Mountains Walking Brewery
|MSU President's Office
|MT Science Center
|Red Ants Pants
|Riverside Country Club
Our 2023 Outstanding Mentor Award winner will be announced at the event. 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
JJCBEDeansOffice@montana.edu or 406-994-4423
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.