Public Service Academy Faculty

Tara Jensen

Tara Jensen

Co-Director, Public Affairs and Operations for the Montana Budget & Policy Center

Tara Jensen guides the organization to ensure its position as a leading voice shaping the debate around state budget and fiscal policies. She works with the media, foundations, policymakers, and advocates to build the reputation of MBPC as a respected source and ensure the information is accessible to the public and partners. For more than fifteen years, Tara has worked in state government and several nonprofit organizations in Montana, including the University of Montana Foundation and as the executive director for CASA of Missoula. She has served as the communications director for the Montana Office of Public Instruction and the deputy chief clerk at the Montana House of Representatives. She has a master's degree in public administration from the University of Montana. 

Adam Jespersen

Adam Jespersen

Associate Director, Montana Nonprofit Association

Adam joined the Montana Nonprofit Association in 2019 after more than a decade of progressive experience in nonprofit management, leadership, fundraising, and grant writing. Raised in rural Montana, Adam received his bachelor’s degree from Carroll College and his master’s in business administration from the University of Montana. Trained and experienced in Lean management and person-centered design, Adam is passionate about helping people, teams, and organizations across Montana find their stride in being more effective and impactful and has been recognized for his ability to dive headlong into finding solutions and for his cooperative and thoughtful leadership approach. Adam lives in Helena with his wife and two daughters and enjoys hiking, skiing, and all that Montana has to offer.

Maureen Wicks

Maureen Wicks

Liberty County Commissioner

Maureen “Morb” Wicks has a long record of public service.  Morb began her career in 1976 as a Government and Social Studies teacher and subsequently taught in various rural and urban public school systems across Montana until she retired in 2013 in Chester, MT.  In 2014, Morb was elected to serve as a Liberty County Commissioner – the county’s second female ever elected.  She was re-elected in 2021 and currently serves on the Liberty County Mental Health Board, The Liberty County Council on Aging, and the Montana Association of Counties (MACo) Agriculture committee.   

Morb has also served as an owner/operator on the family farm since 1980, working on dryland wheat operations in both Eastend, Canada and in Liberty County.  Morb was heavily involved in WIFE (Women Involved in Farm Economics) from 1985-1995, including serving as the Hi-Line Chapter President and leading several lobbying trips to D.C.  Morb was also the first female elected to the Liberty County Farm Services Administration (FSA) where she served from 1998-2015.  Morb additionally serves on the Tiber Water Board, the Bear Paw Development Board, and the Liberty Medical Center Board.  Morb holds a B.A. in Political Science & Government from Montana State University.

Suela Cela

Suela Cela

Vice President Academic & Student Affairs, Dawson Community College

Versatile, results-driven, and strategic‐thinking professional with ten years of higher education experience developing exceptional relationships with students, peers, and senior leadership to provide sustainable solutions. Superb project leadership abilities and personnel management skills with strong experience in higher education, enrollment, and student affairs. A dedicated professional with problem solving and analytical skills, a fast-learner, and able to adapt to evolving industry trends. Adept at assessing needs, generating options, and implementing solutions in collaboration with students and stakeholders.

Dr. Alison Pepper

Alison Pepper

Associate Professor, Missoula College, University of Montana

Ali Pepper, Ph.D. is an associate professor at UM Missoula College, where she has taught psychology for 12 and a half years. She is also the prevention education coordinator at UM’s Student Advocacy Resource Center, where she helps develop and deliver sexual assault prevention trainings to UM students, and she provides therapy and advocacy for survivors of identity-based harm.   

Salena Beaumont Hill

Salena Beaumont Hill
Director, Inclusive Excellence for Student Success, University of Montana

Salena Beaumont Hill is a member of the Crow Nation and holds a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from UM. Salena has spent her career working in student support services with programs serving Native American college students at UM and Little Big Horn College. Her work in college access and student advocacy has been very rewarding.  She currently serves as the Director of Inclusive Excellence at UM working towards building an anti-racist campus and developing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts that support UM’s Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQ+ students.

Stacey Otterstrom

Stacey Otterstrom

Professional Coach, PLucK! Coaching

Stacey is a professional coach with PLucK! Coaching where she helps clients make success look easy. She spent almost 20 years working with elected officials at the top of their game, from the Montana Legislature, the U.S. Senate and the Governor’s Office, and now provides these strategic planning services to the public. Her MPA from the University of Montana was instrumental in developing her leadership skills that she now shares with her clients. Everyone wants to achieve and do more, but there’s only so much time in the day and you can only accomplish so much…or so we are told. Stacey takes you and your goals into account, helps you simplify where you’re headed and brings clarity to your growth; making decisions easier and success look easy. So, let’s get started.

Stacey is also the co-owner of Helena’s first female-based collaborative working space, The Virago Collaborative, where they support entrepreneurs as they grow their small businesses with purposeful networking, helpful collaboration and office space. Her first client was her amazing husband Odie, and she’s added two daughters, a puppy and cat to her busy home. When not coaching, or supporting female business owners, you’ll find her camping, boating, golfing, renovating a part of her home, reading a good book, or tackling her next goal!

Sam Scott

Sam Scott

Assistant Director, Missoula County Clerk & Treasurer 

Sam Scott is the assistant director of the Missoula County Clerk & Treasurer. Sam has spent six years with the Missoula County Clerk & Treasurer’s Office focusing on land use and property records while using data to improve Missoula County’s policies and processes. Sam holds bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Community Planning and received his MPA from the University of Montana. Through his academic career, professional experience, and consulting, Sam has worked analyze and visualize data gathered from complex systems in intelligible and accessible ways that promote transparency and informed decision-making in the public sector.

Kathy Crego

Kathy Crego

Human Resources Consultant

Kathy Crego has spent almost her entire career in public service, detouring briefly to a “green” start-up company.  Kathy has held Human Resource leadership positions in higher education, local governments, public transportation, and a public employees’ union.  She continues to do HR consulting in the public sector after contributing to organizations ranging in size from 20 to 4,500 employees. 

Kathy describes her greatest challenges as successfully working with a 3,000-member transit workers union and broadening her leadership knowledge of diversity and workplace culture. 

 

Chantel Schieffer

Chantel Schieffer

President & CEO, Leadership Montana

Chantel Schieffer is the chief strategist and creator of connection for Leadership Montana. “Work hard, do good, and be kind” has been her motto over the past twenty-five years while making a career of building better communities through public service, private industry, and non-profit organizations.

A lifelong Montanan, Chantel knows the power of bringing people together in collaboration to advance our treasured state. Chantel’s passion for community extends to her volunteer work as she has served too many statewide and local organizations to name. Chantel currently serves as International Vice President for Alpha Omicron Pi women’s fraternity. 

A student of leadership, Chantel is a graduate of Leadership Montana’s Class of 2010 and the inaugural Masters Class of 2019. She was honored internationally with the Alpha Omicron Pi Woman of Leadership Award in 2017 and in 2018 received the prestigious ATHENA Leadership Award. Chantel is a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator, trained by Dr. Brené Brown in 2019, and also a certified Gracious Space facilitator.

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