Heidi’s life experiences as a sixth generation, non-Indigenous Montanan led her to pursue a life of creating positive change in individuals and communities. Heidi has a Bachelor’s of Social Work and a B.A. in Native American Studies from the University of Montana where she was honored in 2010 with the Distinguished Alumni Award. For the past 18 years, Wallace’s focus has been on advancing youth leadership and creating just institutions by assisting organizations and communities to dismantle oppressive practices. Through her work with EmpowerMT, Wallace has influenced policy change and trained thousands of individuals to build safer and more inclusive schools, organizations and communities.
Brooke has over 40 years of business creation, development, management, hiring, training, and team building experience. She has been a one on one coach, facilitator, and skill building educator for over 29 years. Brooke is a ‘Montana Certified Mediator’, holds a special ‘Family Certified’ designation, and is a proud Board Member of The Montana Mediation Association. Brooke was a facilitator and trainer for the National Coalition Building Institute from 1999 until 2010, and co-directed the NCBI University of Montana Campus Chapter for two years. She earned her BSW, with honors, from the University of Montana, with an emphasis in communication, multicultural counseling, neuropsychology and forgiveness and reconciliation. She is SUPER excited to be working with EmpowerMT!
In 2011 just after receiving his M.Ed from the Penn State, Jamar packed his life into the back of his small two- door Honda Civic and drove across the country to accept a position at the University of Montana as the University Center’s Diversity Programs Coordinator. Five years later, he joined EmpowerMT as the Youth Development Coordinator. He is an avid reader, a sports enthusiast and self-proclaimed “giant nerd” and finds great value in the many, intersecting identities that make up the individual. He believes that by embracing the many aspects that make us who we are, we are better able to relate to others.
Born and raised in Missoula Montana, Kelsie Severson has always been passionate about serving the Missoula community and social justice work. The daughter of a Union Leader and a long time feminist, Kelsie has been doing activist work in Montana her entire life. Kelsie started as a Development and Communications Intern with EmpowerMT in 2014 and has been volunteering and working in a number of capacities for EmpowerMT since that time. Kelsie graduated from the University of Montana in 2015 with a BA in Communication Studies and a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. After serving 2 years as an AmeriCorps VISTA member coordinating a tutoring program at Big Sky High School, Kelsie completed an MA in Communication Studies in the Spring of 2019. Kelsie is excited to finally be full-time with EmpowerMT after 5 years of volunteering and interning at such a wonderful organization.
Born and raised in Missoula, MT Loni holds Montana values close to her heart and is happy to be a part of the EmpowerMT family. She joined EmpowerMT ten years ago as a youth attending annual summer camp. Loni recognized the importance of EmpowerMT’s mission and was excited to pursue this work during her graduate studies at Walla Walla University in the Wilma Hepker School of Social Work and Sociology. pursuing her Masters in Social Work. In addition, after earning her BA in Technical Theatre from the University of Montana in 2014, Loni has remained an active member in the theatre community. The theatre is essential to her work because it allows her to facilitate audience participation in the artistic community and other’s capacity for self-expression and healing through the creation of art and communities.
After growing up in Cut Bank, Montana, a small town on the edge of the Blackfeet reservation, Spencer moved to Missoula in search of a more inclusive and accepting community. The injustices that transpired in his hometown inspired Spencer to pursue a degree in Social Work with hopes of creating a more just society and advocating for those whose voices need to be amplified. Spencer is currently a Senior at the University of Montana and a Youth Programs Specialist at EmpowerMT. Spencer facilitates EmpowerMT’s queer youth programs and is passionate about creating spaces where LGBTQ+ folks feel safe and empowered to be their authentic selves. In his down time, Spencer enjoys listening to music, surrounding himself with his family and friends, and spending time with his cat Frito.
Pronouns: they/them/theirs, she/her/hers
Sanai is a BSW student with the University of Montana, having originally hailed from Washington DC they were raised in Hawaii and developed a very unique look on life and the vastly different backgrounds of a large multitude of people. Sanai is an avid traveler, having spent time in over 41 countries, a member of the LBGTQ+ community and an activist and event organizer for the queer community in Missoula. She also spends a large amount of time making short films, doing creative photography projects, and hanging out in the coffee shops around town. Sanai loves Jazz music.
Nikki has always been passionate about helping others. She began her journey in high school, becoming a certified coach for Special Olympics Montana and certifying her dog as a therapy animal to visit schools and nursing homes. After graduation, Nikki moved to Washington to attend Eastern Washington University to pursue degrees in both psychology and gender studies. Upon graduation, Nikki moved back home to Missoula to pursue a career as part of a school based mental health team. To further her level of engagement in schools, Nikki began attending an online Master of Social Work program through Boise State University. Nikki is now in her final semester of her two-year program and has been honored to be a practicum student at EmpowerMT. EmpowerMT has provided her with the opportunity to further her experience of working with youth, their families and the community to help create a more inclusive and welcoming Montana community.
Jonathan Dominguez is currently in their 2ndyear part-time Master of Social Work program at the University of Montana. Originally from Mexico who has lived in the USA for 10 years. They moved to Montana last year during the summer. They obtain a bachelor’s degree in Dance from Idaho State University because of the love of performing. They are a drag queen named Sveta Shlyukha Svetlana involved with the Imperial Sovereign Court of the State of Montana (ISCSM). They hope to work with the LGBTQ Center in the Youth and Family department located in Los Angeles, California once they graduate from their Master’s in Social Work degree. A few of their hobbies are listening to music, hanging out with friends, dancing, going on walks and hikes, watching scary/horror movies in Netflix/Hulu or in DVD form, etc.