Bozeman Daily Chronicle
By Lewis Kendall Chronicle Staff Writer
A reformed group aimed at addressing various community issues has taken root in Livingston.
Formerly called Livingston Women in Business, Montana Matriarch plans to tackle topics from domestic violence to mental health through its three-pronged approach of “awareness, skills and action.”
The rebranding — spearheaded by Rachel Anderson, owner of marketing firm Markouture, and Shannon Stober, owner of training and development organization Verve Exchange — was an effort to open the group to women from all walks of life, Anderson said.
“There were a lot of women that, especially in this area, didn’t identify themselves as a person in business, so that was a big impetus for it,” she said. “The other part was focusing more on community and how women can play a huge role in shaping that.”
The group will host monthly forums, quarterly workshops and conduct regular service projects to get members, as well as the general public, involved in both dialogue and action.
The first of these forums will take place Thursday at 6 p.m., at the Markouture office in Livingston and will focus on the issue of domestic violence. Mary Young, program and outreach coordinator for support nonprofit ASPEN, will lead a discussion that will include a Park County Sheriff’s deputy, as well as a survivor of domestic violence.
The goal of the meetings — which are free and open to the public — is not only to educate but to prompt participants to take steps to get involved in critical community issues, Anderson said.
“Volunteering, monetary donations to support programs and education will all be a big part of it,” she said. “It’s trying to find those issues that people can relate to and that are common themes within the community where people can find ways to get involved.”
Montana Matriarch will continue some of the popular Livingston Women in Business events, such as the annual winter clothing drive, but forgo most of the business-focused classes.
And if the model proves successful, Anderson said she hopes to spread it to other cities across the state.
“The whole concept behind it is that we believe women have this innate ability and passion to make positive change,” she said. “I look at (Livingston) as a microcosm for Montana as a whole: We all have our issues we struggle with and it’s just important for all members of the community to be involved.”