WIA’s HISTORY IN BIG SKY

Kids skiing, at camp and doing various activities
Girls after a WIA fun run in Big Sky Montana

Wellness in Action (WIA) was called Women in Action until 2022. The name was changed to be more inclusive and signal to the community that our services are for everyone who lives and works in Big Sky, and, we need everyone’s support! 

Women In Action was founded in 2005 to address the concerns of children and families missing out on opportunities for quality education and health and human services.

Comprised of nine women who lived and worked in Big Sky, the founding board of directors established WIA as a grassroots nonprofit organization to help address those concerns. 

Over the years, WIA has provided a broad range of social programs that include counseling services, education programs, scholarship opportunities for summer and winter camps, and support groups focused on substance abuse and suicide prevention.

Currently, WIA provides sliding scale counseling, wellbeing opportunities such as camp scholarships so that people may participate in educational, recreational, and cultural events and a community health worker program. WIA’s community health worker furthers WIA’s mission by connecting individuals and families to resources in Big Sky and the surrounding areas.

WIA collaborates with our local schools, health care providers, law enforcement, local businesses, the Big Sky Resort Tax District, our local foundations and nonprofits, and Big Sky residents. 

Thank you for being part of our story

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

MEET THE TEAM

Board of Directors

Michelle Kendziorski - WIA Board of Directors

Michelle Kendziorski
President

Michelle is the Executive Administrative Assistant at Big Sky Resort. Prior to this position, Michelle worked in the non-profit world for over 20  years.  She is currently a volunteer member of the Lone Peak High School Booster Club and a member of the BSCO Gala Committee. Michelle holds an AA in Travel in Tourism from SUNY- Morrisville and BS in Sociology from Montana State University. Michelle is passionate about WIA because it is an organization that has been able to provide much-needed services to our dynamic community.  In her words, “It (WIA) was the first group to recognize the needs and provide affordable and accessible options.  WIA continues to bridge the gap by providing access to much-needed resources. As someone who has utilized the programs and services you see firsthand how essential this is for our community.

Betsy McFadden
Vice President

Betsy is the Vice-President of WIA.  She has a background in office administration, event planning and fundraising.  She has been involved with many children’s foundations and causes.  After working almost 25 years in New York City, she and her husband retired to Big Sky in 2007. Betsy has been on several Big Sky community committees and non-profit boards.  She volunteers with Eagle Mount, Friends of the Big Sky Library, Gallatin River Task Force and Big Sky Mountain Hosts.  In her free time she can be found Nordic or Alpine skiing, hiking, or playing golf.

Betsy MCFADDEN / WIA Board of Directors
Katie Grice -WIA Board of Directors

Katie Grice
Treasurer

Katie Grice has been a resident of Big Sky since 2007, she currently serves as the Vice President of Sales for Boyne Resorts. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science (Political Science, Central Michigan University), a Master’s in Business Administration (University of Montana) and she has held a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation since 2013. Katie strongly believes in giving back to the community and initiatives that support living in Big Sky. She also serves on the Montana Governor’s appointed Tourism Advisory Council, and as the current chair of the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Katie has a passion for the programming WIA offers, behavioral health in particular. Katie enjoys the best Big Sky offers through skiing and mountain biking with family and friends, and her loyal Golden Retriever companion, Watson.

Stacey Chapman
Co-Secretary

In addition to the WIA Board, Stacey serves on the Board of the Gallatin Canyon Women’s Club and has volunteered with several organizations in and around Big Sky including Eagle Mount and the Big Sky Library.  Following a career in nursing and nurse management, Stacey retired to focus on her family and community service.  She and her husband first visited Big Sky in 1998 and became seasonal residents in 2006.  Enjoying the beauty of Big Sky and the strong sense of community they moved from their home in North Carolina and have been year-round residents since 2016.  Stacey is passionate about the well-being of those around her and WIA’s commitment to its mission.

 

Stacey Chapman - WIA Board of Directors
Wellness In Action Logo

Judy Katany
Co-Secretary

Judy has been coming to Big Sky since 2004 and has been a full-time resident since 2013.  She holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh and certifications in project and process management.  While still running her own consulting firm, Judy serves as an Advisory Committee Member for Spanish Peaks Mountain Club and on the Membership Committee Member for Big Sky Chamber of Commerce and was previously a Board Member for Warren Miller Performing Arts Center.  She is committed to helping address the behavioral and mental health needs of our residents and workers as the pressures of expansive growth continue to weigh heavily on our community.

Shelly Bermont
Director

Shelly Bermont became a seasonal Big Sky resident in 1998, moving here full-time in 2008.  She has spent the last 25 years in the jewelry business as a designer and goldsmith, opening Shelly Bermont Fine Jewelry in Big Sky's Meadow Village five years ago. A Miami resident for 30 years prior, Shelly was involved with fundraising for the Junior League of Miami, Project: New Born, Adopt-a-Pet and many other organizations. Her Big Sky community involvement includes creating the successful Parks & Trails Gala annual fundraiser for BSCO and contributing her designs and donations to many local fundraising efforts throughout the year. When she isn't in her workshop or store, Shelly and her fiance Clay Lorinsky enjoy traveling and golf.  A strong supporter of access to wellness services for all, she is excited to be a part of WIA.

Shelly Bermont
Durbin Emerson

Durbin Emerson
Director

Durbin and her husband, Trux, were cofounders of what ultimately became Fisher House Charleston, something similar to a Ronald McDonald House, but for Veterans and or their families where they could stay without charge for as long as necessary while the patients were undergoing treatment at the Ralph H Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, SC.   Durbin and Trux are members of the Board of the Arts Council of Big Sky and serve on the Public Arts Committee.
Durbin holds a BA in Psychology from Hollins College and has held numerous jobs over the years including the opening of what is now Montana Trails Gallery in Bozeman.
Durbin states “Recently,  I have become painfully aware of the depth and range of the mental health and substance abuse issues afflicting too many members of the Big Sky community. However, the fact that I can contribute to helping to alleviate these problems is the motivating factor in my desire to join the WIA Board. I am grateful for the opportunity.

Krista Boersma
Director

Krista moved to Big Sky in 2001, where she raised her two now college-aged daughters and helped her husband build Lone Peak Physical Therapy.  She has a Master’s degree in Education from National University and a Transitional Life Coaching certification through Western Seminary.  Krista was one of the founding board members of WIA in 2005 and is excited to be working with WIA once again. Her passion for education, young moms, children, and teens aligns perfectly with WIA’s mission.

Krista Boersma
Jahnel Knippling

Jahnel Knippling
Director

Jahnel moved to Big Sky in December of 2006 to enjoy a winter of skiing and has called it home ever since. She currently works for Lone Peak Physical Therapy as a Patient Coordinator. She also manages the Yeti Dogs Softball team in the summer and the Sweeping with the Enemy Curling team in the winter. Jahnel’s passion for the well-being of the Big Sky Community brought her to WIA and she is looking forward to helping spread awareness of WIA’s services to the community.

Becky Brockie
Director

In 2012, Becky relocated her photography business from Billings to Big Sky to enjoy winters on skis and summers behind a lens. In 2020, she pivoted her career for a third time and began working at Big Sky Community Housing Trust shortly after it became an independent nonprofit. As a former high school English teacher and small business owner, Becky’s skills translated well in the nonprofit world, and she became the Housing Trust’s Program and Communications Director in 2022. In addition to her desire to help WIA expand its wellness services, Becky also enjoys volunteering as a CAP mentor, biking Big Sky’s spectacular trails, and adventuring with her dog Duke.

Becky-Brockie

Staff

Ginny Hicks - Wellness In Action

Ginny Hicks
Communications & Development Manager

Ginny Hicks is the Communications and Development Manager for WIA. She moved to Big Sky in July 2022 with her fiancé. She comes from a diverse background and has worked on film sets, non-profits, events, marketing, and recruiting. After getting her MBA from Creighton University in December 2022, Ginny knew she wanted to give back and be involved with the Big Sky community. Ginny loves hiking, fly fishing, and spending time with her dog Boudin (Boo).

Kiernan McCarthy
Programs Manager

Kiernan moved to Big Sky in November of 2021 to enjoy the slopes of Lone Peak. She holds a BA in Psychology and a minor in Spanish, from Geneseo. During college, she worked at DOROT, a non-profit in New York City that aided socially isolated older adults. As a community services intern, she would help social workers with local outreach events, meet with clients during home visits, and assist them with daily tasks such as grocery shopping or getting to appointments. After working seasonal jobs post-college, she has first-hand experience with the workforce and the needs of that population. She is deeply interested in contributing to the community and building connections to further local access to resources. In her free time, she can be found hiking, camping, or skiing

IMG_0089
Natalie Studt, Administrative & Development Assistant

Natalie Studt
Operations Manager

Natalie Studt is the Operations Manager for WIA. She moved to Big Sky from NYC in May of 2019 and fell in love with Montana. After graduating from The City College of New York with a B.A. in Economics and a B.A. in Philosophy, she worked in the New York City service industry for a couple of years before moving west. Natalie worked at Big Sky Resort for her first summer in Big Sky, followed by the Hungry Moose Market & Deli. Natalie has a long held passion for community welfare and public service. Her desire to help the people of Big Sky led her to WIA, where she can implement her varied skills and training for a cause she wholeheartedly believes in.

Hope Finch
Community Health Worker

Hope, originally from New Haven, Connecticut, is thrilled to call Big Sky home! Hope has a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Geography from Southern Connecticut State University. She has long been passionate about ensuring that individuals, regardless of their circumstances, have the tools and resources to reach their full potential. This belief led her to undertake coursework focused on social and public policy, human rights law, development theory, and public health interventions at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. She is very excited to serve the Big Sky community and contribute to the great work being done at WIA. When Hope is not in the office you can find her seeking out her next cup of coffee or on one of the many trails around town with her dog Duke!

Unknown

WIA’s 5 PROGRAMMING PRINCIPALS

  • 1 WIA’s 5 Programming Principles WIA’s overall behavioral health programs align across a continuum of services. WIA’s programs include a mix of services ranging from providing behavioral health messages and education on key topics such as suicide and substance abuse to more focused supports leading up to individualized counseling with a licensed provider. The mix of services should also span tiers of intervention: preventative; focused supports for coping; and, aftercare.
  • 2 WIA’s programming incorporates all community voices. Meaningful programming in a resort town such as Big Sky requires consistent and trustworthy communications with everyone who forms the community: private sector (resort HR departments and management, business owners, neighborhood associations); public services (fire department, sheriff’s staff, schools, hospital administrators); faith community; non-profit organizations; residents and daily and seasonal workers. Special attention is paid to populations who have been historically underserved and marginalized based on race, socioeconomic status and language abilities.
  • 3 Established community leaders are engaged in all phases of WIA’s program planning, implementation and support. Behavioral health programs are required by and serve all segments of the community’s society thus leaders from all these civil society entities are consulted and invited to weigh in on programming in order to build services that support all of Big Sky.
  • 4 In an expanding community such as Big Sky, it is important to WIA to build programming that expands the professional capacity of behavioral health workers. The investment in a pipeline of behavioral health workers with gradually increasing training, skills, and certifications ensures that there will be sufficient human resources to address Big Sky’s behavioral health needs and prevent the interruption of healing relationships.
  • 5 WIA’s programs are based on need and empirical information. WIA’s programs utilize data for continuous quality improvement.
1

CONTACT WIA

PO Box 161143
Big Sky, MT 59716
(406) 589-6522

Please enter your name.
Please enter a message.