By Rachel Huff-Doria, Executive Director

Transitions always bring new opportunities and new leaders to the forefront. While I’ve been on maternity leave, I’ve been inspired by our staff, interns, and volunteers who have been making waves across the state.

Week after week, Forward Montana leaders continued to make headlines and BIG changes for our community:

Montana see big increase in young voters

Billings passes first high school levy in 12 years

New Montana law creates farmer-rancher student debt assistance

There’s nothing that compares to the feeling of your first win as a young organizer — the realization that your passion and your hard work via phone calls, door knocks, and testimony have created change in your community.

What was really cool for me about these wins was getting to hear more about the leadership growth of so many young people I already knew. Michael, our Billings Field Manager, told me about Isabelle and Clara, two former Billings interns, who made sure high school students’ voices were front and center during the Billings levy campaign. Kiah, our Deputy Director, told me how Rachel, a leader at Carroll College who has hosted National Voter Registration Day events with us, advocated for farmer-rancher student debt assistance, as a young person growing up on a family farm.

Our staff also told me about new leaders involved — interns and volunteers who made their first phone call to a legislator, carried their first clipboard, and got their first dose of democracy.  

While I’ve been on maternity leave, I’ve had the unique opportunity to reset and reflect on what Forward Montana does best — investing in new leaders for the long haul. I’m excited to be back and continue to give space and opportunity to these voices.

Rachel Huff-Doria is Forward Montana’s Executive Director.

Inside the office, Rachel leads our board and staff in planning efforts by asking heady questions like, “How can we ensure young Montanans’ values are better represented in our government?” and “How do we make sure the coffee pot is turned off when we leave?”. Outside the office, Rachel LOVES frequenting Montana hot spots–hot springs, saunas, bubble baths, sunny spots on the floor.