The Montana Foundation has announced winners for the third annual “Judy Martz Women in Leadership” awards.  Hallie Thompson of Great Falls, Kimberly Siemsen of Billings, and Maria Begger of Harlowton will share a total of $5,000 to further their leadership skills from the 2021 round of the Judy Martz “Women in Leadership” awards.

The award memorializes former Governor Judy Martz, Montana’s first and only female state executive, who passed away October 2017.  The Montana Foundation continues the Martz Fund created in 2018 to provide leadership development for Montana women, following the trail blazed by Martz.

Thompson will use the funds to help buy a food truck to expand her start-up business, Wholesome Hal’s.  “I hope to continue building my sphere of influence in the same way Governor Martz did as a small businesswoman.”  Coincidentally, October is National Women’s Small Business Month.

Siemsen will use her award as a scholarship toward a Native American Studies Certificate through Montana State University.  According to her application, “Our Native American population deserves to be acknowledged and discussed in a modern and authentic way.”

Begger’s award will go toward a masters in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences from UM.  After graduating and becoming a fully licensed and certified speech-language pathologist, “I want to get a job within the schools and special education cooperatives of small-town Montana to serve and provide speech and language services to the rural populations of the state,” she says.

“We had nearly 60 applicants this year, all highly qualified and deserving,” said Kathy Brown, Chair of the Martz Fund Committee.  “This is a testament to our late Governor Judy Martz.”

The three winners will become part of the committee selecting the 2022 award recipients.  Contributions toward the fund are welcome as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) entity.  Go to Martz  or call 406-431-9508 for information.


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