Parents and Family News: Published by the Parent and Family Association

  Resource Education and Agriculture Leadership
November 2017

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Class III receives intensive media training in Billings

Class III of REAL Montana just returned from the second seminar in their two-year educational program. The focus of the seminar, held November 2 - 4 in Billings, was media & communications. Class members participated in 14 live television and radio interviews and took part in editorial meetings at the Billings Gazette and the KULR8 and KTVQ-2 studios. The class received training on how to handle challenging interviews, get a story in the news, elevator speeches, social media, and crisis management from media professionals hailing from the Billings Gazette, Northern Ag Network, Big Sky Business Journal, Montana State University, Yellowstone Public Radio, ExxonMobil, and BNSF. A highlight of the seminar was a networking banquet at the Petroleum Club where class members interacted with local program sponsors and industry leaders.

Photo: Class III at KTVQ-2 news in Billings

Scenes from Seminar 2

Working with the media panel featuring Tom Lutey, Evelyn Pyburn, and Russell Nemetz

Class III member Bridger Mahlum receiving intensive media training from Becky Hillier with KULR 8 tv

Kevin Kanduch and Rose Malisani on the Voices of Montana radio show with Jon Arneson

Billings Gazette editor Darrell Ehrlick explaining the newspaper printing process

Brian Thompson and Ben Lehfeldt live at KGHL radio

Jillien Streit participating in a practice interview with Jackie Yamanaka of Yellowstone Public Radio

Seminar 2 Insights

"This seminar was packed full of excitement and amazing learning opportunities. We had the chance to interact with and learn from some of the best media professionals in Montana. For me, the most memorable learning experience was practicing interviewing techniques while also receiving valuable feedback from media professionals and other Class III members. I left the seminar with a new confidence in my abilities and eager to practice my new skills.”
-Karen Helfrich: Environmental Engineer, Pioneer Technical Services, Butte

The media seminar in Billings was an amazing opportunity to experience multiple facets of the press. Newspapers, radio shows, and news broadcasting companies participated in the education of our class. The media is a great source of influence and having a working relationship with these groups is very important. I am grateful to have had this experience and for the relationships that I was able to create."
-Jillien Streit: CMO, Stricks Ag, LLC, Chester

Class III Profiles
Kim Gibbs: Agriculture Instructor, Miles Community College, Miles City
“When opportunity knocks, who will answer"? I applied for REAL Montana as it provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the resources Montana has to offer, issues facing the natural resources and agriculture industries in Montana, as well as at the national and international level. I look forward to the opportunity to work with and learn from professionals in the natural resources and agriculture sectors in Montana.

The Media Seminar taught us the importance of making personal contacts in the media sector at the local and state level. I felt learning how the media works, and what is needed to get your story in the news was valuable information and something I can use every day. As professionals in natural resources, we need to learn to tell our story, and if we do not someone else will, and it may not be the story we want told.

Hobbies: cooking and baking, spending time with with my husband Collin, and daughters Morgan and Teagan, camping, helping my in-laws on their ranch, and advising college students

Lexi Palagi: Marketing Representative, Calumet Montana Refining, Great Falls
I applied for REAL Montana to become a better advocate for the natural resources industries in Montana. In our state, we rely on natural resources more than most realize and we are extremely fortunate for the variety that we have. Through this training I hope to learn about other industries, help Montanans understand the challenges these industries face, and how they can get involved.

Learning from other participants in REAL Montana has been the most impactful experience. Our group of 20 comes from a multitude of industries, backgrounds, and walks of life but we are all joined together and determined to grow as leaders in Montana. Learning their stories and their goals for the future has helped instill drive and passion in myself. I look forward to seeing the growth and impact that our group makes over the next two years.

Hobbies: spending time with family and friends, cooking, getting outside with my energetic puppy, spending time on the river, and traveling anywhere and everywhere

Meet Class III

Class III of REAL represents a diverse cross-section of natural resource industries across Montana. Twenty participants were competitively selected based on leadership capabilities and willingness to serve in decision-making roles upon completing the program. For a complete list, CLICK HERE.

Our Advisory Board

The REAL Montana Advisory Board consists of 12 industry leaders from across the state who donate countless hours to ensure REAL Montana is a success. CLICK HERE to meet our Advisory Board.

REAL Montana Sponsors

REAL Montana is made possible through the generous support of a broad group of public and private entities. CLICK HERE for a complete list of program sponsors. For information on becoming a sponsor of REAL Montana, please contact the Program Director.





Our media seminar marked my last as director of REAL Montana.  I have been honored to work with the program since its inception in 2012 and am excited to watch the continued growth of natural resource leaders in our state.  Starting January 1, the program will be in the very capable hands of Tara Becken, our incoming director.  Thank you for your engagement and support these past five years. I am looking forward to working with you all in the future!

- Janelle Booth
Director, REAL Montana

Seminar 3: Coal & Culture, January 18-20, 2018 in Colstrip

Seminar 4: Federal Policy, February 26- March 4, 2018 in Washington D.C.


REAL Montana
Janelle Booth, Program Director
Tara Becken, Program Coordinator

MSU Extension
Culbertson Hall
PO Box 170535
Bozeman, MT 59717-0535

Tel: (406) 994-6480
Fax: (406) 994-1905