2019 3rd Annual Leadership Conference

2019 3rd Annual Leadership Conference

Dale Smith Thomas

Dale Smith Thomas is an in-demand corporate speaker and is considered a customer experience expert. Her practical keys to creating success in all areas of life have many organizations around the world not only inviting her to share her message but inviting her back for repeat engagements.

In addition to speaking worldwide, you may also recognize her from one of her many national television appearances. Because of her dynamic work, she has been a featured guest expert on The Dr. Phil Show and The Big Idea on CNBC. She was featured in a documentary on The Travel Channel, she hosted a national television show with the late Dick Clark and was featured in a Fox Reality Show with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie

Dale’s biggest impact is on her audience members and one of her audience members says it best. “Dale’s name should read Dale Smith Thomas, PH. D, The Hope Doctor.” When asked her definition of hope Dale sums up her life and her message stating, “I believe hope is Helping Other People Excel and that is my goal each and every time I am privileged to step on the stage and share my message.”

You may also read more about Dale Smith Thomas on her website:



Elizabeth Hansen is the National Vice President with 5 Rings Financial. Her forte is hosting educational events for women on how to get ahead financially; including Wine, Women & Wealth and Money, Mommy & Me. Elizabeth believes that women are underserved in the financial industry. Considering that at some point in their lives, 90% of women will be solely responsible for their finances, she believes it is crucial for women to gain as much knowledge as possible. Elizabeth lives in Billings with her husband, Jeremy, and two daughters, Molly and Grace.  

Elizabeth Hansen’s Workshop introduction video


Krista (Fjelstad) Montague is entering her 16th year at MSU Billings and her sixth as director of intercollegiate athletics in 2018-19.

When Montana State University Billings announced the hiring of Montague as its new athletic director on May 10, 2013, it became the first NCAA institution in Montana to have a female athletic director.

History was made on the hardwood in 2017-18, as Montague watched a women’s basketball team she was once part of match her status with an NCAA D2 Elite Eight appearance. It was the first NCAA west region championship for the program since Montague’s senior season in 1998-99, as the Yellowjackets won both the GNAC Championships tournament and the regional event.

Click to finish reading Krista’s Bio…

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Dana moved to Billings in August of 2015 after her husband took his dream job at Peaks to Plains Designs LLC. After working in higher education for five years, in Idaho and Oregon, she moved into K-12 education. In the Billings Public School District, she started as a Communication Aide and has transitioned into the Secretary at Broadwater Elementary. Acting as a liaison between teachers, administration, parents, and community organizations, Dana employs her strong communication, organization, and efficiency skills to leverage opportunities for collaboration. She has a contagious enthusiasm and passion to improve the communities in which she lives.

Dana holds an MBA from Davenport University, BS from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a Certificate in Massage Therapy. She belongs to several civic organizations in Billings including Billings Kiwanis, Landon’s Legacy Foundation, Educational Foundation of Billings, Salvation Army, and United Blood Services. She is the current Treasurer for the Billings Heights Kiwanis and is the Director at Large for the BCEA. She previously sat on the Board of Trustees for Oregon Institute of Technology and served as Treasurer on the Advisory Board for Junior Achievement of Klamath County.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading books that have become major motion pictures, shopping the clearance racks for bargains, competing in pageants, and hiking under big sky country with her husband Gordon, and two dogs Luna and Storm.

Kris Carpenter photo

My passions are fly-fishing, community service, my family and dreaming up businesses that are fun!

Businesses: Sanctuary Spa & Salon (1998), The Joy of Living (gift store) west end Billings (2010), The Joy of Living in downtown (2016) and the newest project as a minor partner with my son and daughter-in-law Black Dog Coffee House.

I was born and raised in Billings. I love Billings because it’s a community all about coming together to get things done. I’ve enjoyed being a part of these organizations and helping them make a difference in my city!

  • Past board member of Planned Parenthood and YWCA.
  • Current Past President of the Yellowstone Art Museum.
  • Immediate Past Chair of the Billings Chamber of Commerce (2017-2018)
  • 2018 recipient of the SBA Montana Woman Owned Small Business of the Year
  • Billings Chamber of Commerce Small Business Award-Woman Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Montana SBA Woman Owned Small Business
  • Recipient of the Aveda Humanitarian Award
  • YWCA Salute to Women Honoree
Kelli Toohill

Currently, Kelli Toohill is the Executive Director of the Wise Wonders Children’s Museum, a project incubated by the Junior League of Billings.  Kelli was an active JLB member for 8 years and is in her third year as a sustaining member. She is married and has three children, 17, 15, and 10.  Kelli has lived in Billings for approximately 14 years but grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. She has a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and audiology, and then received her master’s degree in deafness rehabilitation counseling.  Kelli enjoys running, triathlons, reading, refereeing and coaching soccer (in addition to watching my children play soccer), and cooking.

Joy Honea

Dr. Joy Crissey Honea is professor of sociology and Acting Associate Dean for the College of Allied Health Professions and the College of Business at Montana State University Billings. She earned her Ph.D. from Colorado State University in 2004 and teaches in the areas of the sociology of health and medicine, social theory and gender studies. Her current research focuses on the sociology of mental health and youth suicide prevention efforts.

464_pp Helen La Ferriere

Helen Laferriere

Helen Laferreier joined Junior League of Billings in 2016. Born and raised in the Washington DC area, Helen moved to Montana 15 years ago. She graduated from Billings Central High School and went on to receive a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Presentation College. Helen moved back to Billings after graduating and started working at St Vincent Healthcare. Shortly after moving back to Billings, Helen met her husband Clint, a native Montanan. She decided to return to school and earned a Masters in Nursing from the University of North Dakota. She continues to work at St. Vincent as a Nurse Practitioner in Internal Medicine. Helen loves working together with patients to achieve optimal health.

Helen actively volunteers in her church, St. Thomas the Apostle. She volunteers as a youth leader for the high school youth group weekly. Helen is also a co-coordinator for St Thomas hosting Family Promise, a community program which provides shelter and meals for families who are experiencing homelessness. She helps organize and deliver food baskets for needy families in our community for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Helen enjoys spending time with her husband, family and friends. She enjoys all outdoor activities that Montana has to offer including camping, hiking and rafting.

Helen is looking forward to the upcoming year as Fund Development Council Leader and Board Member. She is excited to work together with the women of Junior League to better serve the impoverished in our community.


Carlos Arce

Carlos Arce is the company leader of Customer Experience at Elation – a company using neuroscience and mindset research to improve individual and organizational performance.
With over 25 years of expertise in leadership and workforce development, Carlos has helped teams and companies achieve outstanding business results by improving the effectiveness of leaders, organizational culture and employee
Carlos has successfully designed and led leadership and staff learning initiatives that improve workforce performance and the customer experience. He has helped companies in a wide array of industries and previously served as the Chief Learning Officer for a nationally recognized healthcare organization.  Carlos has repeatedly guided and led change efforts that achieve and sustain their desired results. His application of innovative and brain-friendly methods have helped transform and improve a variety of organizational offerings including executive team effectiveness, strategic planning, and leadership and staff development.
Most recently, he has been combining his expertise in healthcare with applied
neuroscience and mindset research to offer healthcare leaders an innovative
approach to create organizational resilience and address problems such as
physician burnout and employee disengagement.
Carlos holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Santa Clara University and a
Masters in Education from the UCLA. He is a former Division II Head Coach in the NCAA and has taught, coached and consulted for over thirty years. In
addition, Carlos is a student of Complex Systems Theory and its application within business and teams.


Brian Boyette

Brian Boyette is a partner of Avior Group, LLC.  Before Avior Group, Brian spent over four years as the Deployment Director at Six Sigma Academy (SSA) consulting, guiding executives and champions in deploying the Lean Six Sigma methodology. Clients include Billings Clinic (11 years), RiverStone Health First Interstate Bank, Billings Public Schools, Citizens Bank R.I. (a subsidiary to RBS), Wellpoint (Anthem), Merrill Lynch, Westinghouse, ConocoPhillips, Alliant Energy, Rhodia P.I., Dominion, and Scholastic to name a few.  Brian was responsible for developing many of the deployment infrastructure applications to enhance the organizational adaptation of operational excellence (LSS) methodologies. Before consulting in Lean Six Sigma he worked for Honeywell Int. (AlliedSignal) for 20 years as a manufacturing and quality engineer. Brian was certified as a Master Black Belt for AlliedSignal Engines & Systems in 1998.

Jane McCracken

Jane McCracken

Jane McCracken works for Family Service as the director of campaign and development.  Jane and her husband, Tersh, moved back to Billings, after being away for 15 years, when they realized that there is no better place in the US to raise their family.

They have 2 children who graduated from Senior High.  The oldest, Anna, graduated from Elon University in North Carolina and is living and working in Washington DC for US AID, doing things that her parents don’t really understand because they don’t have a high enough security clearance.  Her son, Ian, is in his second year of medical school, working hard and loving it.

After working as an accountant in private business and with other non-profit organizations, Jane is honored to be working at Family Service.  It is a privilege to help the huge number of struggling families that Family Service sees each year.

Kay Foster

Kay Foster

Education B.A. Degree from Seattle University
One year at University of Montana Law School

Professional Owner of Planteriors Unlimited, Inc., a foliage plant sales and maintenance business in Billings and Missoula from 1980 to 2006

Community Served on Billings City Council (1982-1990)
Past board member and president of Junior League of Billings,
Tumbleweed Runaway Program, Montana League of Cities and
Towns, Downtown Billings Association, MSU-Billings Foundation,
Montana Ambassadors, Billings Area Chamber of Commerce,
United Way of Yellowstone County, Billings Preservation Society,
Yellowstone Art Museum, and St. Vincent Hospital

Historic Served as volunteer and board member during the startup phase of
Preservation & of the operation of the Moss Mansion historic home with continuing
Development involvement to date
Co-chair of the Downtown Billings Framework Plan 1996-1997

Purchased with my husband the historic Montana Power Building in downtown Billings in 2000 and involved with placement on the National Register of Historic places and revitalization of the building into a fully occupied mixed-use business and residential structure

In 2008 purchased with partners the 1907 downtown Babcock Building and worked to transform this quarter of a block from a mostly empty building to an occupied structure with 6 retail spaces, 14 apartments and an operating historic theater

In 2014 purchased with my husband the old downtown Greyhound Bus Depot and worked with our tenant (The Pubstation) to renovate this building into a thriving pub and music venue
Kay Foster
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Purchased the Yellowstone Valley building on the east side of downtown Billings in 2018 which is currently in the process of being licensed as Yellowstone Valley Brewing, Spirits of Montana distilling, and a live music venue

Fundraising Leadership chair of United Way campaign (2 years)
Experience Co-chair of United Way annual campaign (2 year)
Chair of MSU-Billings Foundation annual campaign
Member of Finance Committee and chair of Development Committee
for Yellowstone Art Museum


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