Heidi’s life experiences as a sixth-generation non-Indigenous Montanan led her to pursue a life of creating positive change in individuals and institutions. Heidi is alumni of the University of Montana, where she was honored in 2010 with the Native American Studies Distinguished Alumni Award. Heidi has served as EmpowerMT’s Executive Director since 2013 and is a certified Diversity and Inclusion leader through Cornell University. A skilled facilitator, consultant, and educator Heidi has a 20-year history of building strategic partnerships regionally and nationally to foster innovation, elevate leadership, and inspire action in the areas of racial equity, diversity, access, inclusion, and coalition building. Heidi serves on the Board of Trustees for the PacificSource Foundation for Health Improvement and other social justice-focused coalitions, advisory boards, & committees.
Pronouns: she/her/hers or they/them/theirs
Brooke has over 40 years of business creation, development, management, hiring, training, mediation, and team building experience. She has been a one on one coach, facilitator, and skill building educator for over 32 years. Brooke is a ‘Montana Certified Mediator’, holds a special ‘Family Law Certified’ designation, and is a proud past Board Member of The Montana Mediation Association. She earned her BSW, with honors, from the University of Montana, with an emphasis in communication, multicultural counseling, neuropsychology and forgiveness and reconciliation. Brooke is also a SHRM Senior Certified Professional.
In addition to her role as Operations Director Brooke also provides external partners with:
Business Accumen and Human Resource Consultations especially around sensitive and difficult situations.
Workplace, Family Law, and Organization to Organization, Mediation and Conflict Solutions services.
Skill Buildings, Team Buildings, and Leadership Coaching and Support
Facilitation of retreats, strategic planning sessions and town halls
Brooke loves to hike, snowshoe, garden, rock hound and play music when away from EmpowerMT.
Rajiem Seabrook is the Director of Equity and Impact at EmpowerMT, a statewide nonprofit with a mission to create a just and inclusive society. Mr. Seabrook is an educational and institutional leader in shaping and promoting equity and diversity-based policies, partnerships, and strategic initiatives that foster inclusive businesses, schools, and communities across Montana. Rajiem is a long-standing member of the community and passionately engaged in athletics, academics, social justice, and political reform. Rajiem is one of several co-founders of the Montana Black Collective-Missoula, and serves on the MCPS IVALUE Leadership Team and the MLK Jr. Community Celebration Committee. Mr. Seabrook’s devotion as a father, coach, mentor, community leader, connector, and organizer fuels his commitment to creating a better world for future generations.
Ivy is a mother, social worker and self-described “Queen of the Calm”. She joined EmpowerMT as the Director of Youth Programs in August of 2022, and values this work because of her deep commitment to justice and ending mistreatment in every form. Ivy believes in the power of youth voices and knows how vital they are for the changes we wish to see in the world. She has facilitated groups with youth and families since 2013 and is passionate about creating healthy and supportive relationships that foster healing, growth and resiliency. She has worked with many community organizations including: Missoula County Detention Center, Missoula Justice Court, CASA, St. Patrick Hospital and the University of Montana to educate on the importance of trauma-informed care practices. Ivy loves spending time near/in water, her precious family and their beloved pug named Bob, all things joy and finding the beauty in daily life.
Mike brings 10 years of experience in working to strengthen the Missoula community. He is a University of Montana graduate with a background in social work, counseling, youth development, education and technical writing. Much of Mike’s career has been dedicated to youth development work with a focus on adolescent mental health. Passion for serving and strengthening the Missoula community, developing youth leadership, and advocating for those who are underrepresented lead Mike to EmpowerMT. Mike has worked for several local non-profit organizations, The Department of Health and Human Services, and Missoula County Public Schools. Outside of his work in the community, Mike has a passion for high school sports, loves to travel with his wife Britney, attend concerts and recreate in the beautiful Montana wilderness. In addition to his role as Director of Transformational Growth, Mike continues to mentor and develop youth in Missoula by serving as an assistant high school football and track & field coach.
My name’s Samantha Veneski, and I received my Bachelor’s Degree in International Political Science and Sociology, as well as a minor in American Sign Language and French at Flagler College in Saint Augustine FL. Born in the Bronx and raised in the Hudson Valley, I’ve experienced an array of different cultures but none as community-oriented as Missoula. Growing up as a first-generation college student, college and the world of academia was not an easy transition. Throughout high school and college, I’ve devoted myself to my passion to help people and connect with people in an honest way that sometimes can be lost in translation. Whether it be music workshops in children’s homes, volunteering with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, helping others who were born bilingual and are also struggling with English, or simply volunteering with eldercare. After serving as EmpowerMT’s AmeriCorps VISTA from July 2020-July 2021 I was accepted to the Law School at the University of Montana. My goal in law school is to continue fighting for social justice and helping to give a voice and a fighting chance for those who don’t have it. While I attend law school I’m continuing to work at EmpowerMT as their Social Media Manager, using my creative talents and my previous VISTA work to keep EmpowerMT’s social media timely, equitable, and engaging.
Sierra has lived in Missoula for thirteen years and got involved with EmpowerMT when she was receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and Minor in African-American Studies. Serving as both a practicum student and racial justice intern for the 2018/2019 academic year, Sierra was able to use her passion for social and racial justice to connect further with the Missoula community. While she moved to Portland,OR after graduation, she has now moved back to Missoula and is excited to work with EmpowerMT again!
Harper Kushner is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Communication Studies, as well as a minor in American History at the University of Montana. Born in Germany and raised in Montana and Australia, Harper is passionate about the pursuit of social justice and equality to support minorities and at-risk populations. He has been part of EmpowerMT since 2010 when he helped establish Youth Forward to support queer youth in Missoula and its surrounding areas. He enjoys learning, walking his dog, and spending time with his partner and cats.
Sydney is a second year Master of Social Work (MSW) student at the University of Montana. She has a passion for social justice, activism, and disability advocacy, stemming from her lived experience as a wheelchair user. After completing her degree, she hopes to work with youth and their families as a school-based social worker. When Sydney is not at EmpowerMT, you can find her video calling her dogs (and family), making way too many Spotify playlists, or talking about tennis with her mom.
Josephine Lange is a senior studying at the University of Montana, getting her degree in Social Work with a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as well as a minor in Wilderness Studies. She is also working towards getting her certification in Licensed Addiction Counseling. Josephine was born and raised in the Bitterroot Valley in Montana and has also been interested in working in social justice. Josephine has also been very passionate about helping people. Her goal is to work and counsel youth and young adults who are experiencing mental health disorders and substance use disorders using motivational interviewing techniques. Josephine is very excited about working with EmpowerMT this year. When she is not working or going to school, she enjoys hiking skiing, seeing live music, going to the farmers market with friends, and visiting her family.
My name is Sage Plumage, I am in my senior year at the University of Montana, majoring in Social work with a minor in psychology. Born in Havre MT, and raised in Missoula, I am Nakoda and Salish. My passion is to help people through social justice and equality in schools and the community. I am excited to be doing my practicum with EmpowerMT and learning how to better help the communities I am involved in. Outside of school and work I am a member of the University of Montana Pacific Islanders club, I enjoy hiking and doing new things with friends.