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20 Choosing The Right Guardian

8 Leah Lindsay 12 Oula


406 Man

22 Financial Gap

14 Leon Wieder

406 Profiles


24 Erin Blair

16 Overcoming 18 Workplace Gossip


28 Samaritan House

Cover Girl

L eah L i ndsay Read her story on page 8 Photo by: Molly Claridge

( hair and makeup by: Melanie Hobus Published by Skirts Publishing six times a year 6477 Hwy 93 S Suite 138, Whitefish, MT 59937 Copyright©2013 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


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Mar ia P hel ps

a Montana native, wife to Kevin Phelps, mom of 2 – Jack 7 and Abby 3 ½, Maria keeps a busy ‘day life’. When she is not wrangling her kids, riding horses, or hunting with her husband, she is networking and helping businesses grow to their full potential by teaching them how take the steps needed to accomplish goals and move past barriers. Maria graduated, with honors, from Colorado Technical University with a Bachelors in Business Management and Marketing and pursued her dream of helping others succeed. With the start of her business in 2012, Find It For You, LLC, and (formerly, she created a platform to help people Connect, Communicate, Collaborate and Retain. Developing lifelong relationships that continue to build on each other. Maria is also the Vice President of Flathead Area Young Professionals ( and works to strengthen the professional development in the Flathead Valley, Northwest Montana and beyond.

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.

Anna Rose, CP T

Anna is a certified personal trainer, as well as the sales advisor at The Women’s Club in Missoula. She has always believed that exercise should complement an active lifestyle, rather than become a chore. The best kind of fun is the kind that makes you forget that you’re exercising, and the best kind of accomplishment leaves you breathless at the end. Anna is an avid snowboarder and trail runner, and she enjoys hiking, gardening, working in the woods and riding her bike in the sunshine.

Susan B. C l ar ke

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

Heidi Long

Photographer Heidi Long has a passion for fine food, creative architecture, and social advocacy. Because of her dream job, Heidi was able to photograph and write about all three of these interests for this issue. Schooled at the Art Institute of Chicago and educated in life, Heidi’s energy, vision, and inventiveness have made her an indispensable partner in her clients’ marketing efforts. Her work is regularly featured in national ad campaigns, editorial publications, and, most prominently, on her mother’s refrigerator. She lives in Kalispell with her husband and two sons.


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Br ian D'Ambr osio

lives in Missoula, Montana. His latest book about the life of Ronan, Montana boxer "Indian" Marvin Camel titled "Reservation Champ" is due out in mid-2013. D'Ambrosio writes widely for multiple publications. You can contact him at:


Leah Lindsay

Let's catch up with the Flathead's busiest woman,

Leah Lindsay! Written by Leslie Stoll O'Neill Photos by Be Still Photography

Leah thanks for taking some time today. What's new in your world?

I'm working on Death By Chocolate: Murder at the Hop! for the Conrad Mansion Museum. It's the twelfth annual event and this year and it's like Grease meets Happy Days! I'm going to admit that it's mostly because I've always wanted to play Rizzo. I mean, I'm 47, when am I going to have another opportunity to play Rizzo? You've done several projects with the Conrad Mansion ~ tell us about the evolution of your relationship.


At the beginning it wasn't a scripted mystery. We just got together with limited rehearsal time and a more casual storyline. It was a different kind of event than it is now. I didn't start out organizing it, I started out as an actor but I always thought it could go a different direction. Then, five years into it

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they asked if I wanted to create the whole thing ~ write and direct ~ and I jumped on it. I decided we should write scenes, have storylines and give the audience a real experience. I wanted the audience to really love coming year after year and I wanted them to be completely entertained.

like airplanes because they were threatening the railroad industry. Lewis and Clark were also there, even though it's not historically accurate. So we made it like they were lost. It's all pretty politically incorrect. Regardless, I decide whom we will murder and each character has a motive to keep everyone guessing.

In the last seven years, we've turned the Mansion into the Titanic, a Speakeasy, and the Wild West. One of the most fun scripts to create was a theme for the Glacier Centennial, which became one of the official kickoff events of the Centennial. The characters in that script had something to do with Glacier with a few exceptions. Like Amelia Earhart, she was never in Glacier or was she? That year we murdered James Hill (head of the Great Northern Railroad). Amelia's motive to kill Hill hinged on the fact that he didn't

My favorite moment was when we killed John Travolta during the Disco-themed mystery in 2012. The story also had the characters from Austin Powers in it. Dr. Evil was trying to take over the world with subliminal messages through disco music.

Tell us about some of the other fun stories What's your favorite moment from a Conrad you've created for Death by Chocolate. Mansion fundraiser?

I emceed the show as Cher. And when John Travolta is murdered, I say, "Is there a doctor in the house" and Dr. Evil says, "I'm not that kind of a doctor." So, there's the actor playing John Travolta dead on the floor.


Leah Lindsay

Leah at a glance Leah Lindsay is a Montana native and is the type of person that has never met a stranger. She and her husband, Steve raised their four beautiful children Nick, Kayla, Dylan, and Jackson in the Flathead valley. Leah has a degree in Acting and Directing from the University of Montana-Missoula. She is a popular radio personality. Leah hosts the Morning Show on KOOL 105 in the Flathead as well as other shows for Bee Broadcasting stations. She has been on the air for over 16 years. With her great looks and wonderful personality, she's a favorite choice for emceeing numerous events in the valley. She also works as an an Associate for Aflac and is an Independent Insurance Broker for American Insurance Exchange Group (AIEG) selling all types of Health & Life Insurance. She is the epitome of someone who gives back continually with her volunteer work.

in-law, no less ~ and she won. We had to campaign and go door-to-door; all my friends were putting stamps on things, stuffing things. My Mom & Grandpa were both brilliantly charming and could talk to anyone about anything. So, I learned from masters. And then I learned that being that kind of light might lead to doing something good for the world. For years, the ReCommunity service seems to be a cornerstone publicans tried to get my grandfather, who was a great, kind, honest man, to run for Governor in your life. Why do you do it? but my grandma would have nothing to do with Wow. Wow. That's a big question! I like to help. I it. Maybe it's in my blood! My family was always like to make a difference and to see that people insistent on achieving big things. are helped when they need it. We all just do what we can with our talents and we can all Don't you think that's part of a kind of Montana make a difference. I believe it's about creating a exceptionalism? conversation about issues. So, I like to do things around stories and theatre, which is my way of Yes, I'm addicted to accomplishing things that it seems like I shouldn't be able to do. I like doing doing it. things against the odds. I love jumping off cliffs Well, your mom and grandfather were public in life. I'm not a daredevil in the physical sense servants, right? Let's go back to your childhood! but I do all kinds of things that scare me in other ways! It must have been pretty convincing because this woman in the audience wearing pink GoGo boots started performing CPR on Travolta. Then the paramedics (who were planned) came in and carried him out ~ that's when the poor woman knew we hadn't really killed John Travolta.

When I was a little girl, the first thing I would ask people when I met them was, "Are you a Republican or a Democrat?" My grandfather was a State Senator for 18 years ~ George McCallum. I remember being in parades with him, campaigning. Then in 1980 my mom decided to run for State Senate ~ against her brother-

stuff out there. I just received the Ruby Award from the Soroptimists for my work with the Abby Shelter last year. I don't remember how many years ago I first won the Best Volunteer Award in the Daily Interlake and have done it for several years since. It's not why I do it, but it sure is nice to be recognized. Kind of cool! The Soroptimists gave me this dinner for the Ruby Award and I swear it's the closest thing to being at my own funeral ~ all those nice people saying nice things! Humbling, for sure. The best rewards, though, are a standing ovation at the end of a play I've directed or emceeing an event and knowing we just raised thousands of dollars that are going directly to help someone, plus I get to meet people I'd never ordinarily get to meet. Like my little friend Katelyn Roker, who died a year and a half ago, I was able to be a part of her life while she was here. That's why I do this. And now it's time for the twelfth annual Death by Chocolate. Give us the details!

And you've been rewarded for your endeavors. It is April 26th and 27th at the Conrad Mansion. You can get tickets at the Conrad Mansion Go ahead. Brag a little! or you can go online to their website for more Oh, gosh. It's very cool. The Flathead has been details: You can also very good to me, so I try to be good to the Flat- call them at 755-2166 for all the information. head! You get good stuff when you put good




Oula Written by Anna Rose Photos by Brian Powers

If you haven’t yet heard of OULA, brush off the coating of dust you’ve collected from underneath that rock, put on your dancing shoes, and prepare yourself for what their website boasts as, and I quote: “The funnest. Workout. Ever.” OULA, brain-child of University of Montana graduate Kali Lindner, is a combination of high-energy intervals, hidden under layers of catchy, popular songs, and an infectious amount of motivating silliness. You will not believe how quickly the hour flies by as you shake and shimmy your way through instructor-led routines. Yes, your heart will be pumping and you’ll be pouring, sweat, but that’s just an added bonus, as the roots of OULA’s inspiration go much deeper than your typical exercise program.

neither mention of calories burned nor figurative pounds to be shed. She was simply hunting for a special feeling, and when she didn’t find it, she created something on her own.

Lindner returned to MissOULA, and set to work with the resources she had on hand. She began teaching dance classes that blended her experience and training in various disciplines, with her love of music and the philosophies of both Nia and yoga, combining them all in her own unique style to produce a more fun and joyous experience.


It was the energy and emotional release of Lindner’s classes that made Crystal Smith fall in love with OULA after her first experience. She immediately knew that this was someAfter receiving her White Belt in the Nia Tech- thing she wanted to help share with the world. nique, 2010, in Portland, Oregon, Lindner So, she, along with Lindner and three other decided that even with all of her training, she dedicated OULAgins ( the name invented to yearned for something that moved her more - describe any teacher, participant, or OULAsomething that brought more joy, laughter and lover), set out to develop a program that they fun to her life. Even as she describes it, there is could promote.

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Like each of the five women who now equally own the franchise, OULA is more than just a business to Smith. After she watched her father collapse under the weight of ALS, Smith felt that she had lost a piece of herself. The joyous and silly nature that she found in OULA classes renewed her sense of self, and after just a few classes, she saw that she began to feel happier. Her own personal journey of recovery ultimately convinced her that the team had to share OULA with the world. Over just a few years, the community of support has grown to a full-fledged OULAnation (seriously, almost any world improves with a little OULA!) of dedicated and loyal participants, teachers and fans from Baja, Mexico, to Palmer, Alaska. The five women, Lindner, Smith, Carrie Nowlen, Lacie Ellis and Christy Nouchi Bradley, each in her own way have been touched by the freeing energy and spirit of the experience. Despite the personal origins of what was originally Lindner’s creation, this team of dedicated women has managed to deliver a product



“We expect our instructor to be a little karaoke star, a little bit shake your booty” and a whole lot of joyous and silly inspiration.

ervoirs of joy. The training sessions sound more like a therapeutic celebration of self-confidence than an exercise certification. A prospective teacher enjoys three months of close mentoring with a Master OULAgin before she can even auIt is no wonder that OULAgins are so proud and dition for OULA certification. The training proThey decided that they would together cre- eager to share their secret, whether it’s in a flash cess once again reveals the dedication of this leading team of women to the quality and level ate a platform to launch OULA that would help of expertise each class can know to expect from spread the joy and happiness that they experi- mob in the park, or a taxi-cab in Bangkok. an OULA instructor. As Nowlen, Partner and Dienced, as broadly as possible. All five women together plan to promote and share the OULA Now, with a state-of-the-art world headquar- rector of Community Engagement, puts it, “We experience with anyone who is looking for that ters in Missoula, the possibilities for OULA are expect our instructor to be a little karaoke star, endless. The women in OULA leadership are a little bit shake your booty” and a whole lot of extra dance in their step and joy in their life. focused and driven, have set their eyes on the joyous and silly inspiration. What is most fascinating about both OULA and horizon, and are collectively launching OULA the women involved, is the degree of dedication around world. Online classes are in the works, When asked, “what’s next?”, Lindner, Smith, inspired – and not just in building a brand, but as well as upcoming teacher trainings in Boise, Nowlen, Ellis and Nouchi Bradley communally rather a deeper dedication to the spirit of the Missoula and Seattle - though it takes more than throw their heads back in laughter. “There are no boundaries! We’re taking it everywhere!” program. OULA is more than a workout. OULA a weekend course to get your OULA badge. is “dance-mania for the soul”. OULA’s lighthearted spirit promotes happiness, joy, and immense Unlike any other exercise certification, the train- Because, as Smith says, “When you love somelevels of energy. The diversity of the organiza- ing to be an OULA instructor requires digging thing this much, you can’t wait to share it with tion is a result of the personal flare and attitude deeply into the prospective teacher’s own res- everyone you know”. with the kind of generality that is able to reach a broader audience. OULA brings together women – mostly – from a variety of backgrounds and with a wide range of goals; women whose paths wouldn’t otherwise cross.

of each of the five leading ladies, who as a team produce a product that anyone can relate to. Watch a class for just a moment, and I dare you to stay seated.


Photo by: J.Willis photography. From left to right: Taylor Chlarson, Leon Wieder, Jamie Lynn Sievers, Melina Whited.

406 man} Leon Wieder

Behind Every Man Written by Jamie Lynn Sievers

His story has been in the papers, and on the news. After all what “kid” at the age of 20 and again at 21, spends his summer riding a horse across Montana to raise money for cancer patients… One who has a really big heart and the support of a few women behind him. Like he says, “These girls are a lot like a good mom with a troublesome kid. When others would have given up on that kid they kept going and kept him on the right road. Without these women we would all just be standing there throwing rocks at passing cars.”

Leon Wieder started Spur the Cancer out of Montanan the beginning of 2011. The reason for it all was one very important woman. His auntie Lynn had passed away that 4th of July after a nine year battle with cancer. She always said how bad she felt for all the people who weren’t able to afford their medications. So in memory of her he started to raise money.


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He raised money for cancer patients who were unable to afford treatments, couldn’t pay their power bills, or couldn’t afford rent or a mortgage. He even paid for the gas needed to get to treatment centers. What he found along the way was; his gestures weren’t going unnoticed, most people are affected one way or another by cancer, and that there were a lot of people who need help right in his own neck of the woods. His little organization needed to grow bigger than just a one-man-band. That’s when we stepped in, the women behind the man of Spur the Cancer out of Montana. I suppose I should introduce myself. Hi, I am Jamie Lynn Sievers, fourth generation Montanan, wife to a roughneck, mother of an amazing little girl, a photographer, and cousin to Leon. At first I just started out donating packages from my photography business, and taking pictures when needed. I was from the other side of the family but I wanted to help because I admired what he was doing and we were brought up to support your family in everything, and this was a pretty big thing.

That horrible disease had taken a very close friend of mine in high school and even 7 years later it had still affected me. Then the summer of 2011 my step-dad got sick and never got better. The cancer had taken

over his liver. He was diagnosed in July and died two days before Thanksgiving. From then on I had a mission I wasn’t just going to help with Spur the Cancer, I was going to be part of it. It got a little more personal for me. The first family I was a part of helping had a little boy who had eye cancer. It was at the point where it could go to his brain. He is a year younger than my daughter and that nailed me right in the heart! No one should ever have to go through that in the first place. I couldn’t imagine having financial difficulties on top of it. To this day I still keep in contact with them.

I call myself the executive assistant. Leon is gone working quite a bit so I try to hold the fort down while he is away. I am the creative one, always coming up with new ideas and events. I am also kind of the bossy one, but sometimes you need a little bit of that to get something done! Leon and I are ten years apart so I always tell him he has to listen to his elder… of course he just laughs and come back with “Yeah but I’m your boss.” Melina Whited was the next one to step up right behind him. She owns a small business called Renegade Cowgirls Boutique. She is a fifth Generation Montan-

an, a wife to a cowboy, a mother to two beautiful little girls and Leon’s neighbor. She started out helping him by selling the Spur the Cancer clothing in her shop, and hosting shopping events with different venders, donating a portion of the proceeds to Spur the Cancer and spreading the word. From there her involvement just grew more and more.

When asked why she does it, most of the time she just says “cause I like doing things like this.” It baffles me every time, because she is the business woman behind it all. She does things like paperwork, and organizing. I don’t know anybody who likes paperwork! She is the quiet one behind the scene that gets everything done. It is always things that we “artistic” people never think of. She really does fill in all the holes. She completes us.

Never fully satisfied with her answer I asked her again why she does it. In her own way she explained to me that helping others is something she has always believed in and been passionate about. For her being part of Spur the Cancer is an important aspect of her life and she appreciates the fact that we have kept it a small “hometown” organization, but yet we are big enough to help anyone who needs it. Really she is just a cowgirl with a big heart, who knows we need her.

Then we have Taylor Chlarson. She kind of got forced into helping out at our rodeo last year. She was my assistant and my part time nanny, so she had to come with me for the whole weekend to help with my daughter and work on pictures of the rodeo. She ended up not

only helping with my stuff but also a lot of the Spur the Cancer stuff.

Then Leon stole her from me. A few months later they started dating and she then became part of our crew. She got so much inspiration from Leon, she had to join. She is another organized one. While Melina is keeping me in line, Taylor is keeping Leon in line. She is also our work horse. She is often the front woman, sitting at the booths selling stuff, handing out flyers and letting people know who we are and what we do. Taylor’s family had been greatly affected by cancer. Her grandparents who helped raise her both got struck down by the disease. It took her grandpa and still attacks her grandmother to this day.

This last January we took a check to a high school kid in Stevensville, who needed tests done to find out which kind of chemo his cancer would react to. Insurance wouldn’t cover the cost of the test and at that point they hadn’t found a chemo that would work. He wasn’t that much younger than Taylor, and had already been battling cancer for years. So far it has taken one of his legs. You could see the change in her after that. Her passion for it just grew even more and all of the work we had done had so much more of a purpose. It wasn’t just Leon’s inspiration that was driving her, but also the sense of accomplishment.

If we are talking about the women of Spur the Cancer we have to pay tribute to Leon’s mom. At first it was just

kind of a family thing, most of the help coming from his mom. To this day Darcy Malatary is one of Spur the Cancer’s biggest supporters and the top sales women for raffles and shirts. She was right there with him his first trip across Montana. She drove from town to town as he made his way across the state on his horse, riding in memory of her sister. If it weren’t for her Spur the Cancer would have never got its foot out the door.

Since Spur the Cancer has started it has given away over $27,000, rode over 1200 miles on horseback, bucked bulls and broncs, and even held a cowboy ball, all for the fight against cancer. We are currently working on our second rough stock rodeo and barrel race, which will be held May 25th and 26th in Arlee. It is our biggest event of the year, and a lot of fun! We are looking forward to a whole new year helping and getting to know more people. After all, the people we have met and the stories they tell are what keeps us all going.

From the man out on our front lines “Someday my ride will be done and my family’s story will be told. But with the love and strength we have gained with our little organization/family, our fight will last forever. Not very often does one have women like these in their life. I’m glad they found me!”

For more information you can visit us at or find us on Facebook.



moving forward

Overcoming, what we may feel, is the impossible… Written by Maria Phelps

First off, what you want/need/dream of doing is NOT impossible. The only reason it may ‘feel’ impossible, is if YOU allow it to be impossible. So right now, tell yourself it is POSSIBLE…..have you done that yet? I am asking you to do this because I believe in you; I believe you can make a difference in your own life by just making a simple change and believing in yourself. You may not realize it yet, but making that simple choice of ‘believing’ has already put you ahead of yesterday. That simple thought and action will allow you to achieve great results.

I want to take you on a journey. A journey that started five years ago. What was your life then? Your business? Your dreams? Did you write them down? Are you ahead of where you were five years ago? If not, what can you do today to change the course of YOUR history? Remember, YOU are the one who can change your ‘history’ by doing a few simple things. Five years ago, I started writing my goals down. YES, I wrote them down. My first goal was to continue my education and start my own business. Three years ago, what was life like? Were there improvements in your everyday activities? Were there any big life changes that changed the course of your history from a few years prior? Did you make your way out of debt? Did you work towards a new position in your job? Did you make ANY steps to improve your life?


Two years ago….Wow, that wasn’t too long ago. Did the course change yet again? What I have seen in the past couple of years is that over the course of a few years, we may not realize the changes that have been made until we actually sit down and take a few steps

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backwards. Have you looked back and reevaluated your life? How far have you come? You may surprise yourself with the changes that happen over the course of a few years, most of which are good, as long as you chose to take a ‘small’ step forward. Graduating college was a HUGE step for me. It took 10 years to accomplish that goal, but I finally did it!

What about one year ago? What was last year like? Did you take a step forward? Or did you just stay where you felt comfortable? Change doesn’t happen unless you make the choice to change. What did you change? One year ago, I decided to start my own business. It was one of the scariest things I have ever done. It was the most unraveling and intimidating thing; but, I still did it.

Now we look at today. You can consider yourself successful if you have made a baby step forward. It doesn’t have to be a huge leap, but I tell you, if you made a step five years ago, I bet you’re further than a step now. Give yourself credit for making a change!

When I look back at my last year, I went from an idea to a leap! Yes a leap. And it was because I had a vision and I did not let fear lead the way. I am writing this to help you realize that it only takes a step to make a change. Yes, you can take a step forward, then fall two steps back. It’s okay, as long as you stand up, brush yourself off and get the job done. Everyday, wake up and decide how your day will be. Decide what you will accomplish, what do you need to finish and what you you plan to do to make your day great. Remember, you are the one to make your dreams come true. No one else has that power.

What can you do now? -Write your goals down (I can’t emphasize this enough).

-Get a support team (whether it is your family, friends or co-workers, you need a support group).

-Understand what you can handle (don’t take on more than you can handle at a given time, it is better to end above your plan than to fall short and feel discouraged; but, if that happens, it's okay, you will rise up). -Make a schedule-We all have tons to do. Why not put tasks in your calendar and make a list of what needs to get done to accomplish your goals. It works, believe me!

-HAVE FUN!!!! The best part about your ‘dreams’ is that they are YOURS and you need to have fun with them. If you’re not having fun then what’s the point?The hard work will pay off ! Maria Phelps is the owner of Find It For You, LLC and (previously FinditFlathead). Maria has built her business around a positive marketing approach. She works to help others see the value they hold within themselves. Her directory has grown to all of Montana with and is a great example of community, passion and support. Find It For You, LLC, offers a support system for all your passions in life.



The Cost of Workplace Gossip Written by Susan B. Clarke

“I wanted you to know that Sharon did not go to all of the training classes. I thought you should know.” Jane, just back from a training seminar with three other colleagues, was having a coffee break with her boss.

“Was there a problem? Do you have concerns?” Ted, the boss, hadn’t heard anything but positive comments about the training and was surprised to hear Sharon had not attended all of the scheduled events.

“Well, I guess I just thought that since you sent us and paid for it, you needed to know what happened. I think Sharon had some issues with the trainers. You know how picky she can be,” Jane said.

“I am sorry to hear that. Sharon didn’t say anything negative. I appreciate you letting me know.”

Ted walked away determined to get to the bottom of the attendance issue. He went straight to his office and sent an email to the trainers asking for an attendance record. Having paid a significant fee for the training, he was concerned that maybe Sharon had not taken the training seriously.

On the one hand, this might seem like a helpful interaction and an appropriate follow-up action on the part of both Jane (the gossiper) and Ted (the boss) about Sharon (the apparent problem participant). This isn’t an uncommon coffee break or water cooler conversation after folks have been out of the office for training or team building. However, it is the worst type of interaction for building team trust and accountability.


I am coach, trainer and consultant. I regularly coach employees, conduct leadership trainings or two-day corporate team off-sites. Often, I am working with people who are sent by their leaders or organization. I have been in the situation where I have gotten the follow-up email from Ted (the boss) asking about someone’s attendance or participation in a coaching or leadership development program. It can be a touchy situation. Frequently, a boss has paid to have an employee get some additional support or training, and they may feel like it is their business to

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know whether or not an employee showed up and took things seriously.

The best solution to this type of situation, however, isn’t office gossip and indirect check-ins with an outside trainer or coach. No, that isn’t going to resolve a motivational issue or inspire trust and confidence for people being asked to step out of their comfort zone in a learning/ coaching environment. If Ted had sent Sharon to the training because of a significant performance issue and had discussed this directly with the trainers and Sharon, the circumstances would be quite different. The best solution here would have been for Ted to ask Jane (the gossiper) about her intention. It might go something like, “Jane, I am going to stop you right here. I am curious why you are telling me about Sharon’s efforts at the training. What is your intention? More importantly, have you already spoken directly to Sharon about this?”

Ted may have learned that there was a genuine concern or fear in speaking directly to Sharon, which may have needed to be addressed. However, it was much more likely that Jane was uncomfortable in having open and direct dialogue with Sharon. It is so much easier to talk about someone rather than to them. Jane may have found it easier to tell the boss and let him deal with it.

Normally, this type of situation goes like this: Ted asks Sharon to come into his office and he says, “Sharon, someone said, that you didn’t take the training seriously.” Unfortunately, this is gossip, and gossip breeds politics, slashing any sort of team trust. Sharon’s first question will be, “Who said that? Why didn’t they talk to me directly if they had an issue with me?” Now, Sharon is distrustful of all three of her peers who went to the training with her. The war is on. This scenario breaks down team accountability as well. Sure, you want team members to know the boss will deal with problem behaviors. But first, you want teammates to first hold each

other accountable before bringing the problem to the boss. Second, Ted would have been best served if he spoken directly to Sharon, asking about her attendance. He may have even been able to mention having heard that Sharon had some issues with the trainers. The conversation could have gone something like: “Sharon, I know you are very picky about these types of trainings. So, I was wondering how it went? I had some concerns as to whether you would hang in there if you didn’t like the way things were going. I am curious about your experience.”

Once Ted participates in office gossip the potential of stopping breakdowns becomes very difficult. Ted’s job is to let his employees know he wants them to be able to deal directly with each other, and if that isn’t possible, to solicit his help as a last resort. The least effective, and most damaging, approach is indirect gossip about a teammate’s poor behavior. It is easy as an outside coach, consultant or trainer to get caught in the same trap. Unless I know in advance that there is a performance issue, and that a boss is going to be following up with me, I would not give specific details of an individual’s efforts. My job is to help the leaders like Ted to deal with concerns openly and address team dynamics in a way that doesn’t create distrust.

In the end, Ted went back and had a frank conversation with Jane. He spoke with Jane and Sharon together about their thoughts on the training. He asked them directly about his concerns regarding their full engagement and participation. What he discovered was that Sharon was quite willing to share what she liked and disliked. She acknowledged missing an afternoon due to a stomach virus and that she had asked to share a meal with one of the trainers in order to catch up on the material she had missed. Jane had no idea Sharon had been sick and had assumed the special meal was because Sharon was being difficult. In the end, their open and direct dialogue helped Jane understand Sharon better, and Ted confidently walked away knowing he had made a very good investment in the program.



Choosing The Right Guardian For Minor Children By Kelly O’Brien, Attorney at Law

For many people their largest concern in estate planning is providing for their children. The best way to provide for your minor children after you are gone is to ensure that they have a loving and safe home. Everyone who has a child under the age of eighteen should consider who would raise their children if they were unable to do so. However, determining who would act as a guardian for minor children is perhaps the most difficult decision in estate planning, and the one with the most potential impact.

Perhaps the best place to start is by making a list of good potential candidates for the role of guardian. Initially this list may include brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents or even family friends, basically anyone you can think of that may act as a guardian.


Then consider the factors that are most important to you in deciding on a guardian. Some considerations may include:

WOMAN 20   

·What is their relationship with your children and do they have a genuine interest in your children’s well being?

·What is their current job situation and do they have time available to care for your children?

·Do they have similar philosophies about raising children?

·Are they willing and interested in acting as a guardian for your children?

·What are their religious beliefs or do they possess the ability to follow your desires for your children’s religious upbringing?

·Do they have children of their own and are their children compatible with your children?

·Do they possess the ability to follow your instructions about education, activities and child rearing, in general? ·What is their age, health, and level of maturity? ·What is their level of stability and integrity?

·Do they live in the same geographic area as you? Is this important? ·What are their social, political and moral values? ·Are they financially responsible? ·Do your children enjoy their company? ·Is their overall lifestyle compatible with

·Are they physically capable of caring for your children?




Open discussion with your family members, including your spouse, children and potential guardians is a key component in this process. While the discussion may be difficult at times, keep in mind that this is one of the most important life decisions you will have to make.

Once you have considered these factors, I recommend prioritizing the factors that are the most important to you and your spouse (or other co-parent as the case may be). Understand that you and your spouse may have conflicting ideas about the most important attributes however the discussion is important to have within this process. Once you have decided on a few key factors you can compare these to your list of candidates and determine who would best fit based on your priorities. Open discussion with your family members, including your spouse, children and potential guardians is a key component in this process. While the discussion may be difficult at times, keep in mind that this is one of the most important life decisions you will have to make, so discussion is important. If you do not make this decision together and

take the proactive step of nominating a guardian in your will or other estate planning document, you leave the decision up to a judge.

If you have additional questions about choosing a guardian for your minor children, or if you would like additional assistance from an estate planning attorney with the process of nominating a guardian for your minor children or other estate planning techniques to provide for your children, contact Kelly O’Brien, Measure, Sampsel, Sullivan and O’Brien, P.C. at (406) 752-6373/

This article is intended for educational and information purposes only, it is not intended to act as legal advice. Kelly O’Brien at Measure, Sampsel, Sullivan & O’Brien, P.C. at (406) 752-6373 /  21


Financial Gap

Fi n a n c i a l G a p . W h a t d o e s i t m e a n ?

Written by Chris Parson

Financial gap, simply put, is the difference between the monies you have and the monies you need. This is a common term when dealing with young or start-up companies as well as with mature companies that are in need of capital investment to pay for projected growth. When looking at a proposed project, you first look at the total required to fund the project, determine available funding resources, and the difference between the two amounts is the financial gap. On the personal side, when you attempt to purchase an item from a store and you don’t have enough cash in your checking account you then reach for your credit card. The credit card then becomes the resource for filling the financial gap that you need to fill in order to purchase the item. Much like in everyday personal spending, businesses are faced with financial gaps and need to know how big the financial gap is and how they go about filling that gap.


In business, the term “financial gap” is primarily used when a business is trying to start-up, grow, expand, buy equipment, or purchase a large asset. Let’s say, for example, that a business is trying to buy assets worth $450,000, and the business owner has $100,000 (22%) cash available. The borrower would then be short $350,000 or about 78% in order to purchase the assets. Depending on the unique variables, a bank might be able to lend $250,000 (56%). There would be a total of $350,000 to purchase the assets, $100,000 (owner investment) plus $250,000 (bank investment), leaving a financial gap of $100,000 (22%).

WOMAN 22   

Once we have determined the financial gap to buy the assets that will help grow the company, we then need to look at how we are going to fill the financial gap as well as the resources that are available to fill the financial gap. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a great resource in this example, to help walk the business owner through all the local, state, and federal programs and lending organizations that might be available to fill the financial gap. The goal of the SBDC, in this case, is to ensure that the proposed project makes good business sense, the business has the ability to cash flow the added debt service and growth, and then help that business owner find the means to borrow the money. With so many different funding mechanisms available to small businesses it would be impossible for any busy owner to know about all of these programs and which programs that they might be a good candidate for.

Financial gap can also be used as a tool for determining how much of an investment a small business requires to grow. The old saying, “It takes money to make money”, is very true in the sense that as you increase sales, in most cases, you can expect to use more cash. This is why understanding your cash flow is very critical. Paying attention and managing your cash flow can help you know when you’ll need to borrow money to cover your operating expenses and purchase assets to support your sales. The financial gap tool is based on your company’s current efficiencies and when you project growth in sales your balance sheet can then determine the “financial gap” that you’ll need in order to pay for the growth. This process looks at the efficiency

of the balance sheet to help you determine the needed increase in assets to support the sales. A well-managed balance sheet with accurate information on it can help a business owner grow at a rate that they can pay for rather than growing too fast.

This may sound like a complicated process and it might be easier to just fly by the seat of your pants, but this process can position you to go from having no cash to having cash available for those “next steps”. It might mean the difference between staying in business and going out of business. For small business owners it is important to know and understand your financials so that you can make financially based decisions as you grow your business. You need to know how to manage growth, how much money you need to grow and exactly when you need it. The SBDC is one resource that can help you answer those questions and when there is a financial gap we can help you try and fill it with the right resource or point you in the direction that will provide you with the most support for your business. The SBDC offers free one-on-one confidential counseling in the areas of financial technical assistance, business planning, marketing, and general business questions. Let us help you take your business to the next level. Chris Parson 756-3836

406 women}


Skin Therapy Studio E rin

B l air

Photos by Scott Wilson Photography

Skin Therapy Studio. It’s a quiet little place, located between Whitefish and Kalispell. And they’re doing big things for skin…especially for those suffering from acne. What are they doing differently? Why such incredible success with one of the most difficult skin conditions? We visited with owner esthetician, Erin Blair, to find out what all the talk is about. What we found is that in this charming, cheerful, and private studio, Erin is changing lives.

ten ask what could be done about their breakouts, and I was at a loss to really help them. Then my own seven year old daughter started to show the first signs of acne, and I thought, ‘I have got to find a solution here. Something just HAS to work.’

I started searching, re-searching, and learning all I could. It was an arduous process, but eventually I found some incredible mentors to study under. I’m grateful to have been able to learn from some very advanced skin treatment specialists not only here in the states, but also in Europe and Australia. There are as many theoErin, how did you get into working with ries about skin as there are estheticians, and I acne? took the information that was useful to me to create the program I have now. It’s funny…breakouts are so hard to overcome, mainly because there are so many factors So what does your program entail? Is it adding fuel to the fire, so to speak. When I was just facials and skincare products? in school to become an esthetician, they didn’t teach hardly anything about treating acne. So I It’s a lot more involved than that. I do inwas on my own to figure things out. Facial cli- corporate clinical skin treatments and skinents would come to see me at the salon, and of- care for home use (in fact, I’m developing my

Q: A:

Q: A:


WOMAN 24   

own line of products), but my program is more holistic, meaning a ‘whole person’ approach. Food, lifestyle, medications, and hormonal issues are all pieces of the puzzle that need to be addressed on the road to getting clear.

In addition to being a Licensed Esthetician, I’m also a Health Coach, trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. My signature system for acne is called Clear Skin Therapy ™, and a large part of this program is nutritionally based. In putting this all together, I also drew on my years of experience with detoxification and wellness therapies, prior to the start of my esthetics practice. Depending upon the level of need a client has, I’ll incorporate diet and lifestyle coaching to help them achieve the best results in the least amount of time.

Q: Who are your clients? A: I work with a lot of teens, understandably. People who have tried most everything else and have been disappointed with the results

are an ideal match for Clear Skin Therapy ™. On the flip side, those who prefer a more natural or holistic approach, aiming to avoid pharmaceutical drugs (with their inevitable side effects) are thrilled to know about my programs. Beyond teens, I have many adult clients who have either suddenly started breaking out, or have struggled for years without satisfactory results. I’m pleased to see that Nurses, Nurse Practitioners and Physicians are even coming in for acne treatments for themselves or their family members. It’s very gratifying to be able to help someone who’s ‘tried everything’, and just wants off of the hamster wheel of medications. If you are interested in this program, a 30 minute Clear Skin Strategy Session is a good way for us to decide if we might want to work together.

Q: Do you work alone at Skin Therapy?

A: At this time, there are two of

us at the studio. Debbie Huntington joined me last May, and she specializes in aging (not to mention, she gives a fabulous facial). Between the two of us, we have 25 years of skincare, health and holistic wellness practitioner experience. Eventually we may expand, but this setup is working really well for both of us at present. Clients can schedule appointments online, through our website -, or Facebook. We are available by appointment. Clients may also call us at 406-257-3686.



Samaritan House

Pay It Forward Written and Photographed by: Heidi Long

When someone owes you money or a favor it’s generally expected that they’ll pay you back. What if, instead, they paid it forward to someone else-someone unrelated to the original “debt”?


Nine local girl scouts are Paying It Forward in support of the Samaritan House homeless shelter. At the annual Cowboy Up Auction on April 20th the girls hope to raise money, awareness, and action. Their live auction “package” is less of an item and more of a cause. The highest bidder for their package will not receive jewelry, fine dining, a fly fishing trip or any other typical auction fare. The winning “bidder” gets to set this cause in motion. The money raised from the Pay It Forward live auction package will go to the homeless shelter (it costs $10 a day to feed, house and counsel each resident at Samaritan House). The girls will then match the monetary funds with volunteer hours by performing various tasks such as preparing and serving meals, landscaping, building shelves, and painting. Nine girls between the ages of 10-14 will Pay It Forward to roughly 95 residents of the homeless shelter. If each one of those residents responds in kind at some point in their lives to even one other person, then an exponential phenomenon begins to take shape…1 bidder, 9 girls, 95 homeless shelter residents x 95 other people x 95 others equals 857,385 in just 4 turnovers. 5 turnovers would touch 81,451,575 lives (which, by the way, is about 80 times the population of Montana). Remember, this is assuming each person

WOMAN 28   

only Pays It Forward once. How would you respond if a stranger paid your dinner bill or shoveled your walkway or fixed your car for free?

Who is really benefitting the most here? The girl scouts are learning about homelessness in our valley, gaining valuable community service hours and thereby experiencing the joy of giving to and inspiring others. The “Winning Bidder” gets the satisfaction of knowing that his or her dollar contribution doubles with volunteer hours (and multiples from there). The residents at the Samaritan House benefit by way of much needed funds and volunteer hours, but more importantly, from the incalculable benefit of knowing that someone they’ve never even met cares enough about them to give them time, talent, and treasure while asking for nothing more in return than perhaps to someday Pay It Forward. How can you help? Come to the Samaritan House auction Saturday, April 20th at Gardner’s Auction Barn in Kalispell. Call 257-5801 for tickets, to volunteer at the shelter, or to find out what items the shelter needs most. Oh yea, and buy Girl Scout cookies!

"To volunteer at the Samaritan House I would feel happy,

“I am hoping that me helping at the Samaritan House will help

like I accomplished something worthwhile and important.

people have a better day, and that maybe with a bunch of better

9 area girl scouts hope to touch 857,385 lives.

"I think it would be interesting to work at a homeless

I hope to be a bright spot in someone's day." -Abbey

95 residents at Samaritan House homeless shelter will be among the first to benefit.

days, they can have a home of their own.” -Delaney

shelter. I know I would be really helping someone who doesn't have what I have.” -Allison


406 Woman Business Vol5. No.6  

406 Woman Business Vol5. No.6

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