I had the honor of celebrating some amazing women over the last few weeks. These talented and driven ladies have all given me encouragement as I reach for my goals, and I want to honor them and hopefully through their stories touch other women and girls who are trying to follow their own dreams. I am ending the project with a local lady from my hometown of Bozeman, Montana. I present today’s Women of Inspiration featuring Chantel Schieffer.
This amazing women came briefly into my life several years ago when my oldest daughter was struggling with her body image and confidence while being bombarded by negative self talk. That is when I discovered Thrive via Girls on the Run. Since that time I have watched with amazement as Chantel has grown and evolved, now making monumental changes through Leadership Montana.
Leadership Montana exists to develop leaders committed to building a better Montana through knowledge, collaboration, and civility.
This is non-profit collaboration of leaders from all sectors of our community coming together and creating strong partnerships for the betterment of Montana. That is music to my ears, as those of you who know me understand how special this corner of the world is to me.
Describe who you are and what you do.
Mama to the sweetest, most awesome little boy
Devoted Wife to a man who makes me a better person everyday
Loyal friend to those who help me stretch and grow in ways I couldn’t imagine
CEO of an organization dedicated to building a better Montana by developing great leaders
Deeply rooted in Montana
When did you decide to pursue your dream? Was there a specific moment or event?
I think I’ve always known that I wanted to make my world a better place and have chased every opportunity to do that. Even as a kid, I was focused on fairness and doing whatever I can to make life a little easier for others. That’s my dream and I’m lucky to live it in everything I do…raising my son, working hard and volunteering for organizations that make Montana a better place to live, work, and play.
What has been the scariest or most difficult part of your journey, and what did you/are you doing to overcome?
The scariest part of my journey – now or ever – has to be the health challenges of my son, Dax. He has a rare genetic condition that causes all kinds of challenges and now he needs a bone marrow transplant. I am learning to work through these challenges by talking about them openly. Vulnerability is super hard, but it’s worth it when you see just how much people deeply care about us. Too many people live life without knowing their true impact on others. The overwhelming level of support we are receiving tells me that we’ve done something good with our lives.
What is the best part about what you are doing?
The best part about my work with Leadership Montana is seeing how a seemingly simple leadership development program can truly transform a person. I saw it within myself and now I get to sit back and watch others experience this gift. I also am honored to watch as true partnerships develop that result in strengthening our state. I see our alumni doing incredible work and feel honored to be a small part of their stories.
If you could tell all the young women out there questioning themselves one thing, what would it be?
I have spent the last decade mentoring college aged women through my sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi. I often tell them that they are the authors of their own stories and that this snapshot in time is merely a chapter. I share with them how many mistakes I’ve made in my life and I always come out just fine.
I’m writing because you obviously inspire me, who has inspired you?
There are so many I couldn’t possibly list them all. My mother taught me how to care deeply and to give freely. Sarah teaches me still to have fun like we did when we were five. Christina inspires me to put others needs before mine. Robin inspires me to work really hard at things that really matter. I could go on and on…
I don’t know what to say to you Chantel, thank you just doesn’t cover it. I believe in our state, in empowering women and the fragile yet powerful love of a mother. You somehow are able to embody all of this.
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