Board Candidate 2019 / Voicing Our Values

Nathalie Wagler

June 17, 2019

Student, Western Washington University

(Bellingham, WA)

What is your experience with Forward Montana, or our sister organization Forward Montana Foundation, and why is our work important to you?

I learned about FMT at the first Youth Organizing Summit in 2017. At the time I was a high schooler and I was awestruck by the badass people in our state and all the cool things they were doing. I was completely inspired and wanted to learn as much as I could from all of these amazing people. When FMT opened the Billings field office in February 2018 I applied to be a Field Fellow and ended my time there in September 2018 as a Field Organizer. While at FMT I learned more than I ever expected about team building, voting rights and accessibility, and government in general. FMT is what really got me stoked about making change in Montana and now that I’m in college in Washington I’m able to take the skills I learned here and make change in WA!

Why are you interested in joining the Forward Montana Board?

As soon as I had to leave FMT to go to college, I knew I wanted to stay involved. Since I’m out of Montana most of the year, I think being a participant on the board would be a great way to still make a difference in Montana even while I’m in Washington. As a college student I don’t have the means to donate financially to Forward Montana, but I can offer my time, passion, and experience in order to better the organization.

What skills, characteristics, experience, or insight do you have that would be a valuable addition to the board?

During my time at FMT I was able to learn a wide range of skills from registering voters, to advocating for ballot issues, to fundraising, to recruiting and training volunteers, to planning events and networking. I would be able to take these skills as well as my knowledge of Forward Montana to the board. I also have experience volunteering with Planned Parenthood, one of Forward Montana’s coalition partners. At Planned Parenthood I learned how to advocate and fight for a wide range of issues from statewide ballot issues to national crises by phone banking and canvassing. I also did similar work as a volunteer for the Democratic Party during the 2018 Midterms. Having experience with this range of organizations prepares me for the responsibilities of the board. I always talk to people about organizations I love, even not as a board member, so as a board member it’s almost guaranteed I won’t stop talking about it!

What experience do you have fundraising, and what is your comfort level with asking for money?

I have successfully fundraised for FMT, Planned Parenthood, and Western Washington University mostly by phone banking. I am very comfortable talking on the phone and am comfortable asking for money when it’s for as good of a cause as FMT!

Being a board member requires a time commitment to meetings, phone calls, occasional events, etc. Will you be able to fulfill these time commitments? Does anything give you pause?

Since I go to school out of state, depending on the dates of the in-person meetings and events I might not be able to attend all of them. Other than that, FMT will be a priority and all of the other commitments I will absolutely be able to fulfill.

Good board members invest their time into Forward Montana, are ambassadors for the organization, are familiar with the work of the organization, and are responsive to other board members and staff. How will you go above and beyond being a good board member? How will you be a great board member?

I will make sure to be as available as possible to the other board members and staff and be of assistance in any way possible. Since I have experience as a field staff member, I’d love to work as a bridge between the field staff and the board so that the divide between the two is smaller, and so it’s more clear to field staff and general membership what the board is working on. Since I’d be a brand new board member I know I’ll have a lot to learn, but I’m a really quick learner and I’d make sure to be on top of everything so I can be as much help as possible. I honestly already act as an unofficial ambassador for FMT, so as a board member I’m certain I’d make sure everyone I talk to knows how rad Forward Montana is.

Anything else you want to add?

I love FMT SO much, and I’d love to continue serving and contributing to the good of Montana by serving as a board member. As a 2018 25 Under 25 Award recipient, I know I am in great company as a Forward Montana supporter and I really hope to be a part of this community again. I know I’ll have a lot to learn but I am ready and excited to be involved again! I really look forward to the opportunity to work with Forward Montana again and with the great people who make Forward Montana the awesome organization it is.