Page 1




Featured 8

Mette Axelsen Cephers 12 Katy Mendoza 14 Sportsman


24 Haddon Hufford

406 Profiles

26 Inge Cahill 28 Maria Phelps


16 Artificial Harmony 18 Where Did All My Cash Go?


406 Man

20 Make the Most of 2012

30 Malaika (Angel) Orphanage 32 Planetree 34 The Barn Antiques

Cover Girl

Met t e Axel sen C epher s Read her story on page 8 Photo by: Jaimie Nelson ( Published by Skirts Publishing six times a year 6477 Hwy 93 S Suite 138, Whitefish, MT 59937 406-862-1545 Copyright©2012 Skirts Publishing

View current and past issues of 406 Woman at w w w . 4 0 6 W o m a n . c o m 406


WOMAN 4   

WOMAN 4   



Susan B. C l ar ke

Kat ie Edmist on

is a Montana native with a passion for the outdoors. Shortly after learning to walk, her parents had her on skis, and she has been hooked ever since. Upon moving to the valley, she joined the Flathead Nordic Backcountry Patrol, and remains an active member. She graduated with a degree in Anthropology from the University of Oregon and is currently working for Fly Out Media and

C hr is Parson

is a native of Montana. Since December of 2008, he has worked as the Small Business Development Director for NW Montana, located at Flathead Valley Community College. The Small Business Development Center provides business counseling in the areas of business planning, financial management and cash flow, marketing assistance, and general business management practices.   His office offers one-on-one free counseling and conducts numerous training events for local businesses.  Chris earned his bachelors of science in Economics with a Business Administration minor from Montana State University in Bozeman, MT.   In 2010 he was designated as an Economic Development Finance Professional from the National Development Council and is trained as a professional facilitator. Prior to that, Chris served 10 years as an Officer in the United States Marine Corps including 3 tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Primarily a AH-1W helicopter pilot, Chris also had several other jobs including; Aviation Safety Officer, Air Officer/Forward Air Controller (responsible for controlling air/ artillery missions in designated airspace for ground forces), and Operations Officer. Chris enjoys the great outdoors of Montana with his wife Stephanie from running, skiing, hiking, hunting, boating, and anything else that they can find time for.

Peter Madsen

Father of three, husband to disabled Iraq vet, former Army Aviator, Peter Madsen’s writings on Family, war and veterans issues have appeared in the Washington Post, Newsweek, The Denver Post, and Rocky Mountain News. Peter was also a contributing writer to the Random House/NEA Operation Homecoming Anthology as well as the documentary film about the book. He has been an NEA and Boeing guest lecturer as well as a guest creative writing instructor for the Arts Midwest and NEA’s veterans writing project. He is currently working on writing projects that pique his interest.


WOMAN 6   

Susan Clarke has an MA in Applied Behavioral Science, BS from the University of Virginia and a Diploma in Counseling from The Haven Institute, an International Training Center in BC, Canada. She is co-founder of Thrive! Inc. with CrisMarie Campbell. Together they work with organizations and teams to develop trust, effective communications and strategic alignment.

Her journey through a life-threatening illness has given her a depth of experience and commitment to living life full out. She shares her journey of living full out on her Blog at She has been a part of The Haven Institute faculty for over 20 years, leading Come Alive, Living Phase and Couples Alive.  In addition to her group facilitation and corporate work she has continued to coach and work with individuals and couples to invite and encourage aliveness.  To contact Susan you can email her at:

Kr i sten Hami lt on

wears many hats these days. As founder and co-owner of Ham It Up Strategies, she and her husband, Bob, work with many clients on various projects to help them grown their business.  Recent projects have included event planning and execution, magazine project management and sales, operations management, electronic newsletters, website development, and freelance writing.  She particularly enjoys writing these days and is working on a novel in her spare time. She has lived in the valley for over twenty years and has an extensive background in tourism and working with non profit organizations.  Kristen is grateful to her friends and colleagues who have supported her throughout the years.  She knows the importance of giving back and therefore volunteers her time and services whenever she is able.  In her free time, she enjoys the arts and concert offerings in the valley and tries to play outdoors as much as possible.  Kristen is blessed to have a happy marriage and two terrific teenaged children who make her smile every day!

Kel l y O’Br ien

works for Measure Law Office, P.C. in Kalispell, MT. She is licensed to practice law in Oregon and Montana, and focuses on estate planning, probate, business, real estate and natural resources law. Kelly earned her J.D. at Lewis & Clark School of Law in Portland, with a certificate in natural resources law. She also has a B.S. in Business Administration & International Business from the University of Montana, and a minor in German. Kelly is originally from Kalispell and recently returned to the area to work with Measure Law Office. Prior to returning to the Flathead Valley, Kelly worked in private practice with law firms based in Portland and Bend, Oregon. She now lives in Whitefish with her husband and son where she enjoys a multitude of outdoor activities. Contact Kelly at or 406-752-6373



Mette Axelsen Cephers Never Sleeps

Written by Peter Madsen Photos by Heart to Lens Photography

OK, that’s not really true but it’s when you start peeling back the layers that make up Mette and her Knitwear Accessories Company, SNÖ. What you really find is a mother of two very active young children, the wife of a husband whose work as a fire chief and fire consultant keep him traveling, well – always, and a woman who found herself again, by building a company that creates beautiful things. She is driven to design and make knitwear products that generate smiles and whimsy at first glance. Mette loves nothing more than sharing the story of someone who approaches her on the mountain or in town and wants to talk about her mittens and hats. If you know Mette, there is probably a lot of hugging and laughing involved in the exchange. She loves to share their stories of warmth and beauty, and she revels in the smiles her designs generate. SNÖ is so much more than a business; it is Mette’s passion and it makes her whole.


Still, Mette has been focused, since 2010, on turning SNÖ into a brand that sticks. She has developed local banking relationships to fund her strategies, found reliable suppliers, sustainable manufactur-

WOMAN 8   

ers, created new and reproducible designs and brought on a business partner who focuses on the numbers so she can focus on the designs that fill her head and her heart. In January of 2013, SNÖ will make its debut at the Ski Industry Association’s (SIA) annual show in Denver, and the positive reviews are already pouring in. All whimsy aside, Mette is laser focused on a single goal: to make SNÖ the most recognizable and desirable Scandinavian designs in the market.

Maybe I should have said; Mette Axelsen Cephers never has time to sleep.

Mette’s not a native of the Flathead Valley, but when she and her husband Durant, fresh from their third year on the Antarctic ice, walked off a plane into the winter of 97/98, they knew they were home. “At twenty below, it was twenty degrees warmer than my last place. Besides, they only had five feet of snow on the ground” says Mette, dropping an easy laugh that seems to accompany everything she does. Kalispell was, like SNÖ. It was the next logical step for a country girl whose native Colorado had gone California way too fast. They bought a house, rented it to her brother, and after another twelve months on the ice, came Home to Montana for good.

Big Things Have Small Beginnings

One of six children, Mette grew up on a tiny farm just outside Denver, Colorado. Times were tough so her mother made sure that the farm could supply everything they needed. Everyone who was old enough, pitched in. When she was in the sixth grade, Mette learned how to shear a sheep, spin and dye the wool and knit. Her brother, Seth, could blacksmith and pretty much all of the older children could shoe a horse. Their farm, The Amy Farm, grew to be a standard stop on the Denver School circuit. Teachers wanted to teach their children about farming, and Mette’s mother wanted to teach the children about sustainable living. Mette taught classes on cheese and butter making and did needle work for fun. She and her brothers and sisters went along for the ride but ended up skilled and self-sufficient. “I know it sounds cliché, but I learned from a very young age that you can do anything you want to do. The settlers did it, my mom did it, and I will do it with SNÖ.”

Spare Time to Knit

Mette did her first fourteen month tour on the Antarctic ice in 1995 and 1996. Although loving


every minute of the new experiences associated with the most remote job in the world, she found herself looking for something to do. In Denver for a couple of months between tours, her mom suggested knitting to keep her hands busy. The very next season, she got off the plane in Antarctica with an extra bag of needles and wool, and an old Scandinavian mitten design her mother had suggested. Within a couple of months Mette’s Mittens, the first incarnation of SNÖ, was selling mittens to the other folks working on the ice as fast as she could knit. Fortunately, it was the summer season and supply planes were still coming in. Mette’s mom sent more yarn and Mette started creating her own patterns for mittens and hats. By the time she said goodbye to the ice for the last time in 2001, her hats and mittens, and a line of fleece blankets and accessories, were being sold at all three permanent Antarctic research stations.

Dark Days and SNÖ Angels

Mette is pretty straight forward about what caused her to decide it was time for her to take SNÖ to the next level-

I think there comes a point in every mother and wife’s life where they look in the mirror one morning and they don’t recognize the person looking back at them. I was there in early 2010. I’d spent almost a decade having and raising babies and playing mother and

father while my husband traveled the world to support us. He’d been in Iraq and Africa for years doing what was best for us and despite my close knit family, (they’d all eventually followed us to Montana from Colorado) I felt lost, alone, and without an identity. I was still supplying the Antarctic stores with Fleece but I barely had time to knit. I certainly didn’t have any time to create new designs. I was frustrated and exhausted, constantly afraid for Durant and every day started to drag on me. It was a really dark time in my life.

Later that year, Mette started getting friend requests on Facebook and calls from people she’d spent all those years on the ice with. Some were just checking in, caught up in the frenzy of social networking but most were requests for hats and mittens. Were they available on-line? What stores could they find them in? Can I get them in time for Christmas? It may have been the vitality that comes with friendships renewed or seeing the interest in the beautiful things she’d created but Mette came back. She bought a new pair of yoga pants, put some long hours in at the gym, and realized it was OK to give in to a secret obsession with a certain retailer’s boots. I don’t suppose it really matters why, but Mette started to see new designs in her head and started to make whimsy again. She also decided it was time for SNÖ to grow.

Mette Axelsen Cephers

Moving Forward

By the fall of 2010 Mette was getting more requests for hats and mittens than she could handle. She started sourcing new and better suppliers, she hired local knitters, and she began to see the possibilities. She brought in a new business partner who could support her by focusing on the numbers while she focused on the designs swimming inside. Mette built a plan to make SNÖ into what she wanted it to be: a company that is profitable, sustainable, empowers women, and allows her to pursue her passions and bring compelling designs to life every day. She is driven to bring style, grace and elegance back to an industry focused more and more on sleek technology, and to make money while she does it. With sales more than tripling each year, I’d say her drive is pretty well placed; and, since SNÖ‘s products are made with the best fiber technology available, pure Icelandic wool, Mette’s hats and mittens not only look good, but they bring Mother Nature to her knees. She likes to remind whomever she’s sharing the story of SNÖ with that “there’s no such thing as bad weather – just bad gear.” Mette Axelsen Cephers – wife, mother, and entrepreneur knows exactly who the woman in the mirror is. And she likes her just fine.

You can find SNÖ products locally at Sportsman & Ski Haus and The Toggery in both Kalispell and Whitefish.



Katy Mendoza

Photos of Katy and her family by Marianne Wiest


The Circle of Life K a t y H a s A U n i q u e Vi e w By Cindee Pascoe NVH have been delighted with the quality of work Katy produces. She has just reached the 500th baby mark. Inspired by the whimsical images of such famous baby photographers as Anne Geddes, Katy is always coming up with new staging ideas – cozy baskets, colorful woven caps, and artful props. As a bonus, her years as a labor and delivery nurse give her an ease and comfort in handling newborns, and also give the new parents the trust that their new baby is in good hands.

Katy (Kate) Mendoza advocates that she may just have “the best job(s) ever!” When the cards fall right, she will be a pregnant woman’s maternity photographer, the couple’s childbirth educator, their labor and delivery nurse, and the newborn baby’s photographer. This full-circle process has only happened a few times, but when it occurs, Katy feels blessed to be a part of these new beginnings. She claims she feels like a newfound member of the family. Originally from northern California, Katy has been a Whitefish resident for five years. As her neighbor and local singer/songwriter John Dunnigan teases, she’s hardly a “local” yet, but she feels she is earning her stripes through her total immersion into the community, and her heartfelt appreciation of all things Whitefish has to offer.

Katy is an RN, a childbirth educator and a photographer. She has been providing newborn photography to women who deliver their babies at North Valley Hospital (NVH) since October 2011. After only one year of volunteering her photography services, both parents and 406

WOMAN 12   

While many believe that her work meets professional standards, Katy modestly calls herself a “self-taught amateur photographer.” She has taken a few digital photography classes, but mainly has learned everything by trial and error.

Photography has been a hobby for her for years. She obtained her first camera at the age of 15, where she was fortunate to have a dark room set up in her home in Australia (where she lived as a teenager). When she was attaining her Exercise Physiology degree at the University of California, Davis, she purchased her first digital camera, but didn’t explore it much as her focus at that time was still on education. After she graduated from UCD, she moved to

Lake Tahoe and became a ski instructor for the winter season. She then worked as an exercise physiologist at a gym solely for pregnant women (“Pregna-Gym”), and then became a certified Doula (birth coach).

While getting her professional life in order, photography continued to take the back burner. After marrying her college sweetheart, Nick, she moved to Baltimore and attained her nursing degree at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Directly after graduation, they moved to San Diego where she was hired by UCSD Hospital as a Labor and Delivery RN. During their years in San Diego, Katy and Nick started a family. When the children were born, the camera came back into the picture, and Katy’s love of photography was once again sparked. Katy and Nick have three children: twins Brandon and Mia, almost 10 years old, and Ava, 7. In San Diego, Katy was “just having fun” with photography - playing with technique, experimenting and gifting friends with maternity, newborn and family photo shoots. While San Diego was a great place to live, after their children were born, the Mendoza’s sought to move to a town that had more community


presence and a good school system. Missing the seasons, they were also ready to trade ocean surfing for snow skiing. After visiting Whitefish for three days in December 2007, they felt drawn to the town and purchased a home situated on ‘Lot 22’ of the plans.

Inspired by the idea of the future of their newly purchased home on “Lot 22,” Katy created her photography company, Lot 22 Photography. Six months later, they threw caution to the wind, quit their jobs and adventurously moved their family to Whitefish. Katy was lucky enough to get a job immediately at the NVH Birth Center. The Mendoza family is entering their fifth winter in Whitefish and is just as excited to watch the snow fall as they were that first winter. All avid skiers, Katy says they spend more time outdoors as a family in the wintertime here in Montana, then they did in sunny San Diego.

Katy Mendoza

“The outdoor mountain and lake opportuni- her professional nursing career at NVH, her ties, and the amazing changes of seasons is friendships and the wonderful warm and something that San Diego could not offer us. welcoming town of Whitefish. We love it!” Katy says. While newborn photography is her specialty, Katy has a full and busy life working as a Labor Katy also enjoys doing maternity, seniors, and Delivery nurse at NVH, taking newborn engagements and family photography. photographs two days a week, and teaching She is inspired by the many outstanding Childbirth Education on a rotating schedule photographers in the Valley and continues with two other instructors. And the best part, to be encouraged to create photographic art. she says? Her schedule allows her to be a full Katy is grateful to the NVH staff and her fellow time mom as well, participating in classroom Labor and Delivery nurses for the success of activities, attending most school field trips the newborn photography endeavor and feels and acting as the chauffeur/schedule manager that the excellent level of care NVH has the of her three children’s active after-school reputation of providing, has motivated her life. Her job(s) allow her to see her kids off to also produce her absolute best newborn to school and be home when they return. photographic work. She looks forward to the When she is not driving her kids to soccer, future as she continues to capture the unique piano, guitar, hip hop or gymnastics, she is and magical moments as new arrivals of NVH editing digital photos, often late into the night Birth Center experience their first days of life. on her home computer. She wouldn’t want it any other way! She loves her crazy busy life,  13



Mike Gwiazdon, Dave Harvey & Kyle Joos

What is an employee owned company? By Kristen Hamilton Photo by Lune Axelsen

To answer that question I met with Mike Gwiazdon, CEO of the Sportsman Ski Haus. The Sportsman is an example of a successful Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) company, here in the valley.   The ESOP was established 12 years ago. An ESOP is an employee benefit plan that is designed to purchase the stock of the sponsoring company.  All contributions by the company to the ESOP are tax deductible by the company.  An appraisal is prepared by an unrelated third party to determine the company's fair market value for the purchase by the ESOP.

It is important to note that shares in the Sportsman ESOP are only available to employees. They do not pay for the shares but are rewarded with stock certificates for hard work and longevity with the company.  Kyle Joos, manager of the Kalispell store, said, "I know what I have in stock certificates and feel unbelievably fortunate."

Gwiazdon explained that the previous owners (Mel James and Don Burks) were ready to retire and were looking for a way to give the long-term employees a benefit for their hard work. Additionally to sell outright would have had negative


WOMAN 14   

tax ramifications. An ESOP was the answer as it offered tax benefits for ownership as well as benefits for employees.  "It was a win-win all the way around. It was good for them, good for us, and good for the community," he added.

in the company. Gwiazdon commented, "The company needs to be run well as the ESOP is only successful if the company is."  Not only is the Sportsman successful, but they continue to grow with plans to add 25,000 sq ft to the Hutton Ranch store and renovate the Whitefish store in the spring.

The ESOP was established with shares distributed to employees. Essentially the employees now owned the company.  "The plan was to have the previous owners paid off completely in seven years but we did it in five years," Gwiazdon said.

Crown Enterprises, Inc. (parent company of the Sportsman) also owns four stores in Idaho and Washington. All six stores are part of the ESOP plan with 239 employees participating.

Do the employees run the company? Well, yes and no.  All employees are responsible for the success of the Sportsman; but, as it turns out there is still a chain of command to help ensure that success.  It should be noted that no employee has more than 10% of the shares

The Sportsman also credits their commitment to the community as a factor in success. As an original sponsor of WINGS Regional Cancer Support, the Sportsman donates and helps raise thousands of dollars every year for the local organization.  WINGS raises money to help cover out-of-pocket expenses associated with cancer treatment.   They help local patients and 100 percent of the donations go directly to the patients.  Gwiazdon said they initially became involved when Ray Washtek and

As an employee acquires stock, they do not pay taxes on it until it is sold. If an employee with Sportsman leaves the company after they have earned vested stock (after six years), they can sell it back to the ESOP.  Only then do they pay taxes unless it is transferred to an IRA or similar investment.  Not all former employees sell their stock back.  Joos commented that, "They know what a huge benefit it has been as their share value has appreciated over the years."

"It has been super successful and timing is everything. We have had our best 12 years of the company since becoming an ESOP," Gwiazdon said.  He credits the employees' hard work along with the Canadian factor in much of that success.

John Horine, local cancer survivors, were trying to start the organization in 1997. The Sportsman threw their knowledge and resources behind WINGS, hosted the first annual radiothon fundraiser, and have continued to support this great cause through the years.  The 16th annual radiothon will take place January 17th & 18th, 2013. Donations can be made by contacting WINGS at 257-WING or may be dropped off at either Whitefish or Kalispell Sportsman locations.  The Sportsman Ski Haus supports many other local causes and believes in the importance of giving back. All said, the sentiment from Gwiazdon, Joos, and Dave Harvey, president, is that establishing the ESOP was a wonderful choice by the original owners and they consider it a huge gift.

Management feels lucky to have many long-term employees that take their job very seriously knowing the success of the company will benefit them. "Since there is no cost of the stock to employees it is essentially earned by 'sweat equity'", Joos said. He added, "We have to be humble, work hard and keep our nose to the grindstone.  We need to keep customers and continually grow new ones." Sportsman Ski Haus Hutton Ranch - Kalispell Mountain Mall - Whitefish



Artificial Harmony; The Silent Killer of Teamwork

Written by Susan B. Clarke

Okay, you asked for it. I am angry and think this is a waste of time. People have had lots to say about how I have not done my job, but no one says any of it to me in person. Why should I trust these people?”

Tom’s tone was loud, and as he spoke, he hit his fist on the table.

The silence that followed seemed like minutes. I am pretty sure only seconds passed. I knew this was a critical moment in the success or failure of the team meeting, and I, as the management consultant and facilitator, needed to say something that would ensure the opportunity did not slip by. Tom was a senior member of the team, responsible for a critical project that had failed. I didn’t like that Tom was yelling, nor that he had hit the table. However, I was glad that something ‘real, raw and honest’ was being said. For the better part of the morning artificial harmony had been maintained and frankly very little accomplished.

“Tom, first I get that you are angry, and even though I am uncomfortable with the volume and the fist hitting the table, I am glad you spoke honestly.” Tom looked at me, and I knew he was weighing my response.

“I think I have the most to lose here, and why should I be interested in trying to fix the damage done? Apparently, it has been my lack of leadership and mismanagement that has resulted in most of our current issues. People around this table basically think I am stupid.” The tone was still strong but a definite shift.


I countered: “Look, if you really were going to be fired, do you think you would have gotten a seat at the table today? I doubt people think you are stupid. They may well have some concerns about how you have been doing your job, and if you really want a straight answer on that, then now is the time to ask for it.”

WOMAN 16   

You may be thinking this must be some type of high tech business team. But no, this was a non-profit higher education leadership team. They had been ignoring the team’s interpersonal issues for a long time. The desire to have appropriate, respectful, meetings had resulted in mounds of tension going underground, making forward progress on team business issues almost impossible. What happened after the initial breakdown and messy start of this day’s meeting was a lot of honest, raw, dialogue. People spoke up and told Tom the things that they had been saying behind his back, one-on-one, and to the leader, and Tom listened. The Work

There is more work to be done, and it won’t be easy; however, these folks believe they may have found a path forward. Instead of agreeing to live in artificial harmony, they are more willing to dive into conflict and see if they can help each other build bridges and resolve differences instead of pretending they have none.

We often have leaders tell us they want their meetings to be respectful, efficient and effective. However, meetings are the playing field for decision-making, innovation and dialogue. That means differences and conflicts are going to happen and things may not always be neat and tidy. In fact, you don’t want them neat and tidy. Otherwise, the team is not dealing with real issues that will move the business forward.

Definition of Conflict

Conflict is one of those words that tend to scare people. A simple definition of conflict is when three conditions occur: - Strong emotions (passion) - Differing opinions (smart people) - High stakes (important matters)

When you think of conflict by that definition, doesn’t it seem like a necessary and critical success factor for leadership meetings? You want people who are passionate about their work, smart in their respective areas, and—

when getting together—are talking about important issues. However, we are humans- messy, fallible creatures. If you put two or more of us in a room, we are going to make mistakes, step on each other’s toes and get messy. So there isn’t an easy, efficient way to get through this process.

Build Trust

Good leaders know that taking the time to build trust is one step that can help. It can be as simple as learning more about each other’s backgrounds. Another option is learning more about each other’s styles. There are many profile types that can be taken and used for dialogue and discussion about how styles help and hinder working relationships. Indeed, these types of activities may seem ‘touchy/feely’ and time consuming. In our experience an hour or two dedicated to this process can pave the way for much richer discussions and team results for months. Hmmm… sounds like a pretty good ROI to me.

The Cost

Too many leaders are fearful themselves of conflict and work hard to either take crucial conversations off-line or have them one-onone. The problem is that this does nothing to build trust. Things get said behind closed doors and never directly.

We have found that the cost of not building trust leads to more significant problems and inefficiencies down the road. Without trust, teams feel uncomfortable entering into healthy conflict, without knowing they can come out the other side intact. Thus, issues go underground and tensions build.

We believe it’s better to err on the side of discomfort than to settle for artificial harmony and mediocre team results. Sure, voices might get loud and someone may get their feelings hurt, but in the long run, open, honest dialogue will take a team to new and more creative ground. So, get messy! … And then, do the work to clean it up.



Where Did All My Cash Go???? Written by Chris Parson

Have you ever said to yourself…. “I know I made money last year, but what happened to it? Where did all the cash go?” Many of you have heard the term “Cash is King” in terms of operating your business. The absence of cash will likely put you out of business faster than the absence of profits. Cash is what allows your business to operate on a daily, weekly, monthly cycle. It is what pays the bills, buys inventory, covers payroll, and buys that replacement computer. Cash is a precious asset in a business, the lifeblood of survival, and in most cases you can only run out of cash once.

Financially based decisions that use not just profits but cash flow as a basis for making them are much more likely to yield positive results. Flying by the seat of your pants and making decisions based solely on your gut or heart do not generally produce the results intended. I heard a saying that I like to repeat - “The results in a business today are based on the decisions we made in the past. Likewise, where you end up in the future is a reflection of the choices you make today.” The more information you can use to make an educated decision in your business, the chances of success increases exponentially. Using your financial statements, reviewing them regularly, knowing your cash flow, and understanding what they all mean can help you make solid decisions. Analyzing cash flow on a regular consistent basis is the proactive approach to good business management.


The definition of cash flow is the movement of money in and out of a business. Think of your business as an engine. You have money coming in to fuel the business that then pays for the fuel and its production on the way out. Cash

WOMAN 18   

flow is a more dynamic tool to focus on measuring the day to day operations. Profit is revenue minus expenses over a period of time and does not show a good picture of what the true cash flow is. In other words revenue minus expense does NOT equal cash flow. There are certain cash flow items that never show up in an income statement while other cash flow items may show up but in different time periods and amounts. For example, the purchase of a vehicle with cash, sales that were not collected on or accounts receivables not yet collected, estimated tax payments, distributions, principal payments on debt service, and maybe even increased inventory levels to prepare for the upcoming season.

Have you ever told yourself that you just need a few more sales to get you over the hump! If you could just sell 10% more in sales you would be much more profitable. The truth is that more

sales will generate less cash and for a while will lead to less profitability. If a business is operating at a level of efficiency that is not generating profit, then increasing sales just means that that spread of sales, cash, and profits will continue to get farther apart. At this point you might be asking yourself why? How? That doesn’t make sense. If I sell more, I should have more cash and profits. If you sell more you will have more sales, but you will also have more expenses. You’ll have to buy more inventory, increase payroll, increase hours worked, and even incur other expenses that are a direct result of increased sales. The above is exactly where your cash will end up. To affect the cash flow in a positive way, you actually have to become more ef-

ficient in how you run your business. For example receivables and payables need to be aligned. The money that your customers owe needs to arrive in time to pay your suppliers, vendors, and employees. When your customer takes 45 days to pay you, and your suppliers want to be paid in 30 days, then you might have a cash flow problem. Keep tight control of your credit. Business owners can end up in credit trouble really in two ways: giving credit to customers and misusing credit they receive from banks and credit cards. Lines of credit are an essential part to maintaining cash flow especially in a seasonal business but not managing them properly can put a business further in debt. The rule of thumb for this is borrow it when you need it and pay it back when you have it. Financial statements that you get from your bookkeeper or your accountant are focused on the past. They represent where you have been historically and what has already happened. That is not to say they are not useful , as they can be a good benchmark tool to determining if what you set out to accomplish is what actually happened. They are a good measurement tool so you can decide what to do in the future and give you great feedback as to what’s working and what’s not. These statements are not the only means to understand and manage your cash flow. Here are a couple of essentials that help you take control of your cash flow. Build a cash flow projection that demonstrates the true cash flow of your business. When either building projections or creating a cash flow of existing operations show your cash flow monthly for at least 12-24 months. I would recommend that you use the past 6 months of cash flow to then create the next 6 months cash flow projec-

tions. It’s kind of like having a road map to the future. You know what you have done so you can make some educated decisions about what might happen in the future.

Your cash flow should be presented logically. It should start with a beginning balance that shows the actual cash expenditures and end with an ending cash balance that continues to the next month. This is something

that no financial form will show you, so creating this will demonstrate the cash flow, and seasonality trends in a business. The cash flow statement can be created by looking at your revenues and expenses on your income statement; however, as mentioned earlier, there are things that have no impact on your cash flow and vice versa. The cash flow should be a complete picture of your cash flow that includes debt service, capital expenditures, inventory, accounts payable, etc. These have to be included to show the real picture. Hopefully this article has given you a few ideas to better manage cash flow and take control of it. There are many great resources and financial experts that can help you better manage your cash flow and make you more profitable. I encourage you to seek out help and use another’s expertise. Entrepreneurs are usually good at selling or making their product, but they not always good on the financing side of things. Take a look at the next Profit Mastery course here at FVCC, starting late January 2013. It can help you “Create Wealth and Build Value” into your business. Remember “Cash is King”.



Make the most of 2012: Year-End Estate Planning Considerations Effectively Planning for Your Estate to Provide for Potential Changes in Federal Estate & Gift Tax Exemptions Written by Kelly O’Brien, Attorney at Law

With the election finally us, we all now can take

behind a deep

breath start looking ahead.


conversation immediately shifted from politics, to a discussion of financial




tax changes on the horizon. Among these issues, are the Bushera tax cuts, including federal estate and gift tax limits , which are set to expire at the end of this year.


there are many

2013 estate exemption amounts,

speculations as to the and gift tax

the next phase for federal estate and gift tax remains to be seen.


lack of certainty presents a

unique challenge for those individuals and families concerned with potential federal estate and gift tax issues .

First, what is estate tax? Estate tax, which is often called inheritance tax or “death tax,” is a tax on the overall estate of an individual upon his or her death. The Internal Revenue Service defines estate tax as the “tax on your right to transfer property at your death. It consists of an accounting of everything you own or have certain interests in at the date of death.” (See www.irs. gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Estate-Tax). Essentially, estate tax is the tax that surviving family members pay on the inheritance they receive. Gift tax is similar, but it is the tax paid on the gifts transferred during one’s lifetime.


WOMAN 20   

Current law in 2012 provides an estate tax exemption of $5.12 million per individual. Accordingly, if an estate is worth less than $5.12 million, then no estate taxes will be paid. Conversely, for estates with a total value higher than the current exemption amount, any amount above the current limit will be taxed at a rate of thirty-five percent.

However, at the end of 2012, these exemption amounts are set to expire. Without any Congressional action, the federal gift and estate tax exemption amount is set to decrease from $5.12 million to $1 million. In addition, the estate tax rate is set to increase from thirtyfive percent to fifty-five percent. This means that many more individuals and estates will likely be subject to federal estate and gift tax, and at a higher rate. There are countless options for Congress regarding the federal estate and gift tax levels, however, more than likely one of a few scenarios will actually take place. First, and often the most talked about, is simply an extension of the current $5.12 exemption amount and thirty-five percent rate. This may be the most likely scenario, at least for the next year, until Congress has sufficient time to determine the overall estate and gift tax scheme for the long-term. There also has been discussion of Congress re-instating the previous, $3.5 million dollar exemption amount and 45% rate; or a rever-

sion back to the lower $1million exemption and 55% rate, permanently. How Do You Effectively Plan in Light of Uncertainty?

Plan with Flexibility What Congress actually does in the coming months is difficult to determine. With that mind, the best approach is to utilize the 2012 tax code provisions while planning for the coming years in a manner that is flexible and accounts for changes in the tax code. Talk to your financial advisor, accountant or attorney about your specific situation, and review your estate plan to ensure that it adequately accounts for uncertainty. Utilize the federal gift limit in 2012 Currently, you can gift up to $13,000 per year, per individual without any gift tax consequences. Even though the annual gift limit is set to increase in 2013, it is a good idea to make annual gifts in 2012. The 2012 total lifetime exemption amount at $5.12 million, which is a historically high level. If the total lifetime exemption is reduced you will not be able to take advantage of this high level in a later year. If the change in the federal exemption amount is of a concern to you, taking advantage of the lifetime giving will help to reduce uncertainty and reduce your overall taxes.

which essentially freeze the value of certain assets that are transferred to your family members in exchange for an annuity for a period of years. The trust will invest the assets and, after the annuity payments are made, the remainder will distributed to your family without the need to pay gift-taxes. These trusts are more effective when the interest rates For example, a joint trust and real property values are with the option to “disclaim” both low because the assets assets upon the death of must appreciate a rate highone spouse, allows the sur- er than the interest rate to viving spouse to analyze be advantageous from a gift the current estate tax ex- and estate tax perspective. emption amount, and his or her financial needs, to These are just a few exammake estate planning deci- ples of the potential changes sions during the same year. in the federal estate and gift These types of trust reduce tax schemes and a few posthe need to speculate as to sible options to optimize what the estate tax exemp- the current limits available tion amount may be during in 2012. With all of the unany given year and provide certainty in the federal tax a great amount of flexibility. code the key to any effective estate plan is flexibility, and Irrevocable Trusts: There regular review of your plan are certain irrevocable with your advisors. Because trusts, such as Grantor Re- some of the current stratetained Annuity Trusts, or gies may no longer be availCharitable Lead Annuity able next year, make sure to Trusts, that may be advanta- speak with your attorney, geous when the estate and CPA or tax advisor as soon gift tax exemption amounts as possible to ensure you are making the most of your in the future are uncertain. estate plan and gifting stratFor example, Grantor Re- egies. tained Annuity Trusts Contact Kelly O’Brien at Measure, (GRATs) are a type of short- Sampsel, Sullivan & O’Brien, P.C. at term, irrevocable trust, (406) 752-6373/ Utilize Trusts to Ensure Your Estate Plan Provides for Flexibility Joint Revocable Trusts for Married Couples: For a married couple likely to have federal estate tax issues, work with your attorney to create a joint trust with “A/B” or bypass trust options that provide flexibility and changes in the tax code.



406 man}

Haddon Hufford

Master Silversmith: -

Haddon Hufford By Brian D’Ambrosio

Lost wax casting. Synclastic raising. Anticlasting raising. Hollow construction. Haddon Hufford speaks the vernacular of the silversmith with a lexicon centuries old. Common terms: annealing, engraving, chasing, planishing, polishing, raising, r poussage, sinking and soldering.

Spend a few hours with Hufford in his quiet, rustic Frenchtown home and studio, and his encyclopedic knowledge of the craft makes you feel badly uninstructed. With a rough-hewn scholarliness, Hufford explains that ‘annealing’ is when metal is heated for altering. ‘Planishing’ is the act of using a highly polished hammering to refine metal surfaces. ‘Raising’ shapes a hollow form in the metal.


Hufford is the consummate teacher, sharing definitions and histories with thoughtful regularity. One minute he could be discussing the colonial artistry of Paul Revere, and his “first copper rolling mill”, and the next, he describes how to imprint and texture a design into metal. Then, there is talk of sinking (hammering the metal to create a concave hemispherical shape), and soldering (connecting metal with a low temperature heat). Hufford’s sentences are not

WOMAN 24   

haphazard slivers of verbiage, but more like authoritative pronouncements.

“Silversmithing in many ways is the forcing of metal into new directions, directions it may not wish to go,” says Hufford. Looking at Hufford’s work, you glimpse silversmithing’s ancient endearment, intense difficulty, and unique beauty in a single handsome piece. On one table stands a pair of sterling silver candlesticks, with a long tapered, hammered stem, and a spiked candle holder. Contemporary candelabras, its finish both hammered and polished, with a ball and jutting arms for tapered candles. Hufford’s craftsmanship articulates the flurry and force of a man who pays stout attention to details.

Many of the tools used in ancient times are still used by modern silversmiths. Ancient tools Hufford finds familiar include tongs, hammer, anvil, engraving burins, small mallets, large scales, weights, and blow pipes. Hufford’s studio walls are lined and stacked with dozens of different shaped hammers and mallets, each with its own distinct impression. Also displayed in his shop

are specialized hammers, anvils, and metal working stakes, many of which are hand-made.

Tools alone are simply tools. It’s the craftsman who breathes creative life into them, who understands their purpose, and perpetuates their methods. There is something revelatory in seeing the two together, an almost Pentecostal feeling of seeing in tongues. Hufford says that each hammer’s shape and style leaves its own distinction. Mental conditioning is important, too. Metal moves at such a leisurely pace; hammers slowly form their outcome. Arms tire and the mind needs to be attentive to the body’s needs. It is written that sometime in the Middle Ages a rift between goldsmith and silversmith took place. Silver was plentiful, less costly than gold. Individuals starting out could not afford gold as their working medium. Goldsmiths became highly revered. They often served as the local banker, whereas the silversmith took the goldsmith’s training and began a new trade commodity. Hufford’s art is the continuance of that split.

Hufford has lived in the woodsy hills of Missoula Valley since 2006. He was born and raised in New York's Hudson River Valley. He studied graphic design at Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, before serving in Vietnam as a combat cameraman in the Army's 1st Air Cavalry Division, from 1969-71. Hufford then trotted the globe in the subsequent twenty-eight years, working in the film industry as a dolly and crane grip and set builder (he worked on at least 75 films). His journey into metalsmithing began serendipitously on a trip through Argentina in 1996. In a tiny village on the Pampas, Hufford visited a silversmith's workshop and become fascinated. Wonder is a measure of what this world is all about. In that South American shop, Hufford learned that wonder could be an antidote to the chaos of the world.

“There were three silversmiths in town,” says Hufford. “One of them invited me into his studio. It was a powerful and exciting exhibition. I came home and I got started.” Sterling is his material of choice because of its inherent beauty and value;

it requires Zen-like endurance forming and forging noble metal. Hufford says, "I know that the blow from the smith's hammer is directly related to the heart beat and rhythm of life itself. There are times in the solitude of my studio when hand and hammer become one and the repetition of the overlapping blows brings me to the point of meditation." Techniques used to join silver together include welding, soldering and brazing. Hufford’s silversmithing incorporates the skills he obtained in the workshops and homes of craftsmen across the world, an Irish metalsmith, a Bulgarian silversmith, a New York jeweler. A desire to follow an abiding sense of curiosity opened up an entire new world of shape, form, and creation. Some of his forms are common, finely metal-smithed forms: letter openers, candelabras, goblets, and vessels. Each hand-wrought piece that Hufford forms is original, masculine, and ordinarily geometric, and he is proud to have not once duplicated an object.

All of Hufford's work is either created on commission or sent to Lauren Stanley American Silver gallery in New York City. No matter where they go from there, they will remain fragments of Hufford’s experience, accounts of his spiritual growth. In some ways they remain part of the silversmith himself.

Silversmithing, like life, allows for the possibilities of transformation, a daily opportunity for Hufford to experience the vigor of the everyday. Its enduring link to man’s innate desire to shape and create something eye-catching isn’t lost on Hufford. “Silversmithing goes in and out of vogue,” says Hufford. “But I think that silver has, and always will, connect to people. Think about it, candlelight, a glass of wine, a great dinner, and silver, hand-wrought candleholders. That says it all.”  25

Home Matters LLC - I


Inge Cahill

was born in


and grew

up in a small town near the border of



The nearby, oldest city in the country Romans who heavily influenced the architecture in the entire region. While studying German literature, English, French and psychology, she also developed an eye and appreciation for stonework, architecture, fibers and fabrics. Her travels through Europe, the South Pacific and the United States augmented her well rounded palate of creative interior design work. was built by the

In 2002 she established Home Matters, a company focused on providing clients with a full spectrum of interior design services . Her belief is that a home should tell the story of the people who live in it. Her work has been published in Luxe Magazine, Montana Living, and Log Home Living.

Q. You grew up in a creative household, your mother was a tailor and your father a fine furniture maker. How did that influence your interest in design? A. At a very young age I was introduced to


fabrics and fashion. My mother taught me a lot about how to apply fabrics into wearable art and home decor. My father introduced

WOMAN 26   

Cahill, Interior Designer

me to furniture design, wood species and finishes. I remember one Christmas he made an adorable doll house which included a han made upholstered sofa, tables, chairs, a complete kitchen and two furnished bedrooms. He was a very passionate and meticulous craftsman.

Q. Can you elaborate on your passion for stone work?

A. Color has a big effect on the mood of a structure, the way it interacts with light and how we feel about the space, be it in a home or public area. Using color efficaciously is a simple way to improve your surroundings. My background in psychology is the basis of my interpretation of a client’s ultimate goal and helps them to discover their personal style to create what truly fulfills and feels like home. Deciphering and understanding my client’s needs is the most important part of building a successful working relationship.

Q. What do you never leave home without ?

Q.Your Education includes color studies and psychology. How do you apply this knowledge into your design work?

Q. From what do you draw your inspiration?

A. I draw from everything I see, feel and touch in nature and society. From the most stunning color combinations, shapes and forms to fashion design as well as reading blogs and magazine articles.

A. Stone is raw nature, you see the differ-

ent shapes and sizes in the rock yard bins and it is a long way from the bin to the final fireplace or wall. It takes some vision and collaborating with good masons to translate a desired look into reality. I like to introduce different styles and patterns of stonework on one project.

A. My tape measure, a small bag of almonds and Koelnisch Wasser refreshment towelettes. Q. What is your favorite thing about design?

A. Totally customizing spaces and offering clients options they did not know they had. Visualizing shapes, finding value and conveying information is important when creating environments. I enjoy introducing spirit and warmth into a space. Creating comfortable and attractive rooms is very satisfying. Q. What is your favorite space to design?

A. The Kitchen because I love to cook my-

self. It is the heart of the home, the place

406 women}


where nourishment is generated for the entire family. It is who we are. Kitchens can be very complex, they need good flow, ample work space, good storage and appropriate selection of appliances as well as appealing fixtures and finishes to set the trend of the home. I am also keen on powder rooms and bedrooms, spaces that lend themselves to a little magic. Clients are usually willing to play it up in these rooms, which allows me to push the envelope and try interesting things.

Q. What three words would you use to describe yourself?

A. Thorough, sensitive and committed

Q. Who would be your Dream Client?

A. Someone with good taste who gives me as much information up front and is able to make choices from the carefully selected options I offer. The ideal client designer relationship is about role definition, honest open communication and trust.

Q. What items do you use to accent a home?

A. Wall sconces are like jew-

elry, they provide a sparkle in a room, interesting vessels for arrangements, and wall art add personal touches. Quality throws add warmth and are fun to wrap yourself in.

Q. If you were a pattern, what would you be?

A. At the moment I feel like being plaid. I love to wear and decorate with plaids for the holidays.

Q. What do you think about green building design trends?

A. It is not a trend for me. It is always considered during the design process for my clients. Using reclaimed wood,

natural fibers and stone, being conscious of energy efficiency, supporting the use of natural energy systems like solar and geothermal are always promoted for a healthy living environment.

Q. Does your home have any green features?

A. In 2000 my husband and I purchased a small home originally constructed in the ʼ50ʼs. We remodeled it with reclaimed wood, metal and locally acquired stone. Our home heating system uses natural gas to fire a superefficient, hydronic boiler that circulates heated water into our concrete floors. The stone & stucco exterior is a very efficient thermal barrier, and with well insulated walls and ceilings our monthly utility bills are very manageable.

Q. If you were not designing spaces, what would you be doing?

A. I would be a floral designer and a gardener, creating unique fresh designs with flowers, berries, grasses and vegetables. There are no boundaries of combinations. Q. What is your favorite Blog?

A. Slettvoll and Belgian Pearls

Q. Do you have a closing comment?

A. I have always been inspired by the American lifestyle and the variety of cultures meshing unique styles and art forms. The design business is exciting when you are not following a pattern and more fun to guide someone who is inspired by a new challenge. Fulfilling a client’s objective with quality products and materials, creating a timeless composition free of trends and producing a home that is continuously fresh and new, is a very gratifying achievement.  27

406 women}


M aria P helps Find it Flathead

Photo by Fairweather Photography

“Every beginning has a story. You can either be a catalyst to keep it going forward, or a piece of a memory that makes it stop.” -Maria Phelps

Last spring, Maria Phelps began her story. On March 16, 2012, she launched an idea over the Internet, taking Facebook by storm and spreading a new concept for business networking across the Flathead Valley.

This is her beginning.

In June of 2011, Maria graduated from Colorado Technical University, with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Marketing. “I wanted to own a business someday. I studied management and marketing because those two areas of expertise are moving businesses forward. Plus, I love talking with people so I knew marketing was a great fit.” After graduation, Maria studied the Flathead Valley and the economic downturn it had taken. “My husband and I grew up here, we want our kids to do the same. We were looking at the future of our kids and it did not look good.”

March 16, 2012, the key to business is finding a need and filling it. What everyone needed, Maria saw, was help.

And so Find It Flathead was born.


What Exactly is Find It Flathead? It’s a unique directory of businesses and services in Northwest Montana. Maria developed it to be different from other platforms by making it user friendly, search engine friendly (Maria controls every aspect of the site) and it has the capability to fill

WOMAN 28   

the need of every business and user of the site. Everyone’s business is unique, and the site is flexible enough to serve all of them, offering a position on the site for all types and levels of businesses.

How is Find it Flathead Different from Other Directories in the Area? First of all, when Maria initially had this idea, she didn’t plan to put it into a directory format. She wanted to create a place for people to ask questions, and find local resources to help them. After some research, she discovered two main problems with local directories. The first is that they are not full enough, and the second is that they’re outdated. “No wonder everyone is struggling,” Maria realized. “No one could find them.”

Those two key aspects are what push her to make the directory full and complete. It’s important for the businesses that are a part of it, and the people who use it, and it’s all to help our local economy. As for other directories, Maria loves shopping local, and she loves having choices, but—like all of us—when there isn’t either enough information, or if it’s information from an outside source, she will probably walk away. The World Wide Web offers countless tools for people to use, and often, people don’t understand and know how to use them. Maria’s emphasis is to have everyone know about the site and the value, while making it a priority to have it be found. “Otherwise, what’s the point? People need to know it’s there.”

Find it Flathead is not a franchise and is not a part of any other business entity. Maria owns the business and controls all aspects of operation. She works with a necessary set of guidelines, but the platform is flex-

ible so that she can cater to the needs of every client. That is what makes it unique and different from other directories out there. The importance of buying, selling, and thinking local, drive the spirit of Find it Flathead like no other.

How many businesses on the site now? Right now, there are over 400 businesses on the site from around the Flathead Valley and Northwest Montana. Maria averages 8-10 new businesses a week, steadily fulfilling her goal of a full, complete directory of local businesses with information by the business owners. Site health is phenomenal. “When I first started this, I was nervous about how long it would take for Google to recognize me. Now, I average 75-100 views on the site DAILY, and average visitor time on the site is 6 ½ minutes! People are browsing the directory and finding useful information.” Is This Just a Directory? “I am glad you asked - Simply, No. This site is full of information. Along with the directory listings, I am educating businesses on how to market themselves with little cost. I have seen businesses crumble because of the avenues in which they spend their money, and I have talked with several businesses that have quoted ‘I am only doing (that) because my competitors are.’ This can cause businesses to spend money in places that they don’t need to.” Helping businesses think ‘outside’ the box, allows for more creativity and expression to come forward. Also, the site doesn’t have unnecessary information. “It doesn’t have the weather, or the news, or things that ‘get in the way’ of searching for a business. We already have great resources for that, there is no reason to fill the site with just links to other sites.”

With that, Find It Flathead offers business blogs, social events, connections and interaction opportunities with business partners (which are available to help Find It Flathead clients), opportunities for businesses to promote themselves through learning Social Media Best Practices, the use of QR codes, Twitter, Foursquare, other LOCAL resources, collaboration with likeminded individuals, relationship development, and the list goes on. Maria has also created a printed publication called “A Day in Whitefish” that showcases 16 businesses in Whitefish, and then links back to the full directory. Plans to move that to the Kalispell area will happen by summer 2013. Maria’s idea and development is driven forward because of her attitude and dedication to her clients, product and service. “I grew up here, I have seen talented people stop doing what they love because it was too hard. We have to STOP doing that and keep on moving forward. “You are the one who will limit your success or be the one who is limitless, and strive to be the best at what you do.” You can learn more about Maria and keep up with her “Positive Marketing” practices by visiting, following on Facebook at www.Facebook. com/FinditFlathead and following on Twitter @FindItFlathead To be a part of FindItFlathead Directory Listings, submit request through www. Consultations can be scheduled by emailing Maria at Maria@ or call 406-871-4546

“The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.” -Steve Jobs


Malaika (Angel) Orphanage Written by Jessica Flink

Friends of ours, Debbie and Ryan Weisser, went to South Africa a year ago after purchasing an African Safari at a fundraiser. They decided to extend their trip so they could volunteer their time and efforts at an Orphanage. After researching many orphanages on the internet, they decided to spend the week at Malaika Orphanage as it looked to need serious help. They knew they would fall in love with the children, but what they did not know they would meet an incredible, selfless man that would forever impact their lives.


Asumani Ssengendo is 36 years old and was born and raised in Uganda. He is the founder and director of Malaika Orphanage in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, South Africa. At 24 years old, he moved to South Africa in search of a better life; but what he found were children that needed his help. Hillbrow is the inner city residential neighborhood of Johannesburg. It is known for its large, over-crowded population, unemployment, poverty and crime. The children are abandoned because their parents have either died or cannot take care of their children, let alone themselves. They are so vulnerable to abuse, AIDS, starvation, etc. These children need food, shelter, education, safety and love. That is why Asumani started the Malaika Orphanage. He knows too well what abandoned children need

WOMAN 30   

because he also grew up in an orphanage. He understands their pain and vulnerability.

In 2005, he opened Malaika (Angel) Orphanage alone. The Orphanage is located in part of an abandoned hospital that is inhabited by many other squatters. The other squatters battle between themselves over territory, but so far have left the orphanage alone.

The orphanage started when Asumani took in one disabled child. Within 6 months he had 45 children to care for. Now there are 135 children that he and his 5 volunteers provide for. The local police are a constant source of more children for the orphanage. Asumani was never able to find a job in South Africa, but has made the orphanage work for seven years. His days are spent struggling to try to earn enough money to provide the children with at least one bowl of porridge at 3:00 in the afternoon and other necessities. He has done an amazing job for the resources he has, but he needs help. Asumani’s dream is to build an orphanage outside of the inner city where the children will be safe and free. There the orphanage can be more sustainable, with dreams of having a working farm, a garden, an education center, play area, kitchen, restroom facilities and a safe place for volun-


teers to stay and sleep. A woman from Colorado donated 3 acres of land to the Orphanage for this purpose. The land is located in Nghezimani Village, Malamulele Limpopo Province South Africa, close to Krueger National Park. Now the Orphanage needs to raise about $160,000 to construct the building.

Debbie and Ryan have never felt as unsafe as they did while at the orphanage, and therefore they promised to do whatever they could to help. Asumani and one of his volunteers, Mikateko, were given airline tickets from a donor in Washington. They decided to take our friends offer of help and come to Montana. While staying with our friends for three weeks they spent their time fundraising. We hosted a small fundraiser at our home. It was an amazing and humbling experience to meet Asumani and Mikateko. As we often wonder how we are going to avoid certain foods each day, they wonder if they and the children will have any food to eat each day. Debbie continues fundraising and is working with Rotary International to make Asumani’s dream a reality. She has gotten a good start with the kindness and generosity of Montanans!

For more information or to donate contact: Debbie Lillebo-Weisser 406-880-7249



WOMAN 32   

community} happenings

The Planetree Festival: A Community Celebration The warm sun beat off of the colorful lanterns and welcomed guests to the inaugural Planetree Festival on September 12th. Celebrating North Valley Hospital’s 10 years of affiliation with Planetree, a national organization formed to support patientcentered care, the Planetree Festival was born. More than 500 community members joined the North Valley Hospital family for a festive evening of food, education for all ages, music and camaraderie.

“The festival was originated to recognize our 10th anniversary with Planetree,” said Mary Sterhan, Director of Planetree at North Valley Hospital. “Since we haven’t held a big community event since the MASH BASH, we wanted to hold a fun and welcoming celebration that was free and provided our community with the opportunity to experience the flavor of Planetree. It was so successful we’re considering continuing the festival as an annual event.” Participants were treated with the 10 components of patient-centered care. Massage, pet therapy, a chance to complete advanced directives, outstanding food prepared by the Valley Café and meaningful raffle prizes were just the tip of the iceberg. Educational booths incorporated interactive elements on topics such as senior, men and women’s health, The Birth Center, orthopedics, healthy nutrition, diabetic nutrition, complementary therapies, bicycle helmet safety, medication safety and

organ donation information. A few big hits were the raffling of a couple dozen baskets of fruits and vegetables from our food display, reminiscent of a farmers’ market.

Katy Myers set the tone for the evening with her beautiful harp. The Marshall Catch Band followed and picked up the pace with their lively music and opportunities for dancing. A bouncy house and slide were surrounded by picnic tables for families to congregate and wind down with the beautiful September evening.

An unveiling and dedication of the Fit Trail also was presented. The Fit Trail spans along NVH’s 1.5-mile paved walking path and provides 10 stations of beginner to intermediate exercise instructions along with the applicable apparatus to perform each exercise. The stations were donated by the NVH Foundation and the installation was donated by Swank Enterprises.

In addition, participants were invited to tour the hospital and see, first hand, the healing architecture and art as well as visit the lab, imaging and in-patient areas as an introduction to our services and the care available. Guests enjoyed seeing how the da Vinci surgical robot worked with many having the chance to operate the robot themselves. There were also demonstrations of the Stryker Computer Navigation for orthopedic surgeries. Surgical equipment like these are great examples

of how NVH incorporates advancement in medicine to improve patient care.

“Planetree really is a journey, a never-ending process of evaluating what we can do to make our care more patient-centered,” Sterhan said. “Planetree is about respecting patients’ wishes and making them a partner in their care. It goes above being a ‘spa hospital’, even though that contributes to the healing process. We believe that providing the personal touch, both figuratively and literally, and combining that with outstanding medical care leads to better patient experience and healing.” Preparing for the event paid tribute of the whole journey by involving people who have been active in establishing our Planetree affiliation and program through the years, including Luann Basirico, the original Planetree Coordinator at North Valley Hospital. A great turnout was had from board members, physicians, staff, volunteers and local business leaders. We even had a few people arrive for the festival on horseback!

“The festival celebrated the culmination of the past, present and future of Planetree at North Valley Hospital,” Sterhan said. “It was a real treat to share the Planetree vision from the eyes and hearts of those people who live and breathe this healthcare philosophy every day, and to watch the community joyfully experience it all.”


community} happenings

THE BARN ANTIQUES, CONSIGNMENTS AND GIFTS Christmas came a little early this year when Santa and one of his elves stopped by The Barn for their annual Christmas Open House. The Barn was magical with twinkling lights, beautiful music and tasty treats. The new gingerbread house was the perfect background for pictures with Santa. If you missed the open house, we sure hope you have a chance to stop by and be blessed by the Christmas spirit at The Barn. When you step through the doors of The Barn, be prepared to be inspired and excited by the warm and inviting feeling. The Barn Antiques and Consignment Shop, offers an ever changing collection of quality antiques, home accessories and unique gift items. This beautiful shop presents a fresh mix of old and new, combined in


WOMAN 34   

unexpected ways. The ever changing vignettes The Barn is located just outside Bigfork on Hwy will keep you inspired and always coming back 83, right before The Echo Lake Café. for more. Stop by and visit to see our latest finds and have With 12 Antique vendors and over 100 consign- a delicious espresso drink from our coffee bar. ors at The Barn, the variety of wonderful mer- We proudly serve Fieldhead’s Coffee at The chandise is endless. Boxes arrive daily, and we Barn. are always excited to see the treasures inside. Wishing everyone the best and most The stylish yet vintage feel of the shop is seen blessed Christmas everthroughout the store in the beautiful displays. From large furniture pieces to small collectThe Barn Chicksable pieces, the Barn truly does offer something Carole, Doe, Becky & Holly for everyone. The helpful and friendly “Barn Chicks” are here to make your trip to The Barn The Barn Antiques, Consignments and Gifts one you will always remember. The Barn was 100 Hill Road - Bigfork, Montana voted The Best of Bigfork “Best Place for Unique 837-2276 - Gifts.”

406 Woman Business Vol. 5 No. 4  

406 Woman Business Vol. 5 No. 4

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you