Christopher has been with EmpowerMT since he was 17, and is excited and honored to serve as the board president. Currently, Christopher works as the Program Manager for Community Health Improvement and Partnership for Bozeman Health in Bozeman, Montana. As the Program Manager, he is responsible for building and sustaining meaningful, collaborative community partnership, planning informed, targeted health education strategies, and implementing community programs.
Previously, Christopher worked as an outreach educator for Planned Parenthood of Montana. In this role he was responsible for providing tailored sexual health education to youth and adults in school and community settings, as well as facilitating the peer-led sex-ed program, Teen Council. He also worked as part of a multi-state coalition funded by the Office of Adolescent Health to develop, implement, and evaluate an LGBTQ inclusive sexual health education program targeting both LGBTQ identified youth and sexual healthcare providers.
Christopher earned both his B.S. in Community Health, as well as his Master’s in Public Health, from the University of Montana. He is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES).
Kathy Witkowsky is an award-winning journalist whose stories have aired on National Public Radio and appeared in numerous national and regional magazines. In addition, she has written and directed two half-hour historical documentaries that have been broadcast on PBS television stations across the country, as well as a short documentary that followed one of her former figure- skating students who was wrestling with domestic abuse. Kathy is also a yoga instructor and a singer in Way Cool Music, an eclectic acoustic cover band that plays around town. Prior to joining the EmpowerMT board, she served as board president of YWCA Missoula. She earned her B.A. in English Literature from Cornell University, and her M.F.A in Creative Writing from the University of Montana. Her life mission is to inspire and empower, which is why she is a proud and passionate supporter of EmpowerMT, which does the same.
Kristina Lucero is an enrolled member of the Tsyecum band, First Nations people from British Columbia. She grew up in Washington but graduated high school in Polson, Montana where she fell in love with the community, culture, and landscape. Kristina earned her BA in Political Science with a minor in Native American Studies, and then her Juris Doctorate – both from the University of Montana. Kristina is currently working for the State as a Public Defender; she also sits on the Youth Justice Council, the Court Improvement Advisory board, and maintains involvement with court mental health programs. Needless to say, EmpowerMT’s mission and goals resonate strongly with Kristina’s passions in both her personal and professional life.
Kristina is a proud mother of two teenage boys who continue to inspire her to lead-by-example and achieve a healthy and happy lifestyle for her family.
Kate is the Legislative Director for the Center for Community Change, a national social justice organization, and has been an activist for women’s rights, racial and economic justice for more than 25 years. Kate served as the executive director for a Montana based economic justice organization (WEEL) and took that experience to the United States Senate to work as Professional Staff for the Senate Finance Committee where she provided leadership and policy expertise to Senate Democrats on welfare, childcare, child welfare, unemployment insurance, and tribal issues. Ms. Kahan also has a background with work and family issues and women’s rights in the workplace and extensive experience working on voter mobilization and civic participation as well as encouraging and supporting women to run for office.
Sepp is a journalist holding fast to the belief that our collective stories are lifeblood to a strong, dynamic human community, as well as to the idea that a compassionate telling of those stories, whether with words or photography, is among the most important work of our time. As a writer, photographer and activist, he seeks to help those who would advocate for social and environmental justice. Sepp has lived in Missoula for most of the 13 years he’s been in Montana, and is currently sharing his love of the region with his wife, two daughters and the family border collie.
Leanne holds a doctorate Human Services and Human Behaviors specializing in sex and intimacy among individuals with physical disabilities. Combined with a Masters in Public Relations and Health Communications. Leanne has been working with individuals with disabilities for over 20 years. Through her expertise in leadership skills and education of others on the divine right to be recognized and accepted she continues to specialize in human relations, health communications, body image and intimacy among individuals with disabilities. Currently living in Missoula, MT, Leanne has served on various non-profit Board of Trustee, as well as, serves on various Community Advisory Boards (CAB) regarding disability research. Leanne prides herself as a professional, class facilitator and advocate for topics such as assertiveness, self-esteem, safety awareness for women, non-violent communication, disability, sexuality, and healthy relationships. Leanne loves spending time with her family enjoying the Montana outdoors and all it has to offer.
Suzy Hampton is a retired teacher who has taught everything from weaving to English as a Second Language in Missoula, China, and South America. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English, a Master’s degree in the Education of the Deaf, and a Doctorate degree in Education. She highly values the friendships she has made through teaching. She and her husband “Hamp” of 57 years raised three sons who have given them four grandchildren.
Suzy was raised to care about others, has served on several boards including Planned Parenthood, the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, and a previous term with EmpowerMT, and has been active in Soft Landing. She has now returned to EmpowerMT because, as she says, “Today, it is especially important to spread the message of love and acceptance for others, and EmpowerMT is a most important link to that message. And besides, the other people involved are so special, so much fun, that it is a delight to serve with them!”
Twila Old Coyote is a proud member of both the Crow (Apsaalooke) and Gros Ventre (Aaniiih) Nations. She grew up both on and off the reservation, graduating from Browning High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in Native American Studies as well as a MA in Intercultural Youth and Family Development, both from the University of Montana. Twila attended the first training of trainers, nearly 18 years ago, and has supported the work of Empower MT ever since. She is currently the Director of TRIO-Upward Bound at The University of Montana, where cultural diversity is celebrated and promoted through higher education. Twila fully supports the mission of Empower MT and hopes to be a part of creating a more just and inclusive environment for all at the campus and Missoula community levels.
EmpowerMT is committed to developing youth leaders and values creating authentic representation of our constituencies at all levels of the organization. In order to achieve these objectives EmpowerMT established their Youth Advisory Council. EmpowerMT youth programs participants, volunteers, and staff select outstanding youth from all of EmpowerMT’s programs with diverse backgrounds and experiences to create the perfect team each year. The Youth Advisory Council is comprised of students from age 10-21 to ensure a diverse range expertise. The next EmpowerMT Youth Advisory Council is forming right now. If you would like to serve on this council email our youth program staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.