About Leading Out West


"Joe Whittinghill and I both have deep Montana roots and we are both passionate about the state. We often speak about our experiences growing up in our respective hometowns and of the unique qualities that make up Montanans. This program started as an idea over dinner in Seattle. We were speaking about how few recourses we had growing up LGBTQIA+ in Montana and about the resources that are available to young Montanan’s today. We both agreed that there are not enough people speaking about and teaching leadership skills in the LGTBQIA+ community back in our home state. From that meeting and from subsequent conversations with the University of Montana, we began to create this program which is a combination of our own experiences and of those of our network. At the end of these few days, our objective is for participants to start thinking, not about how to have a seat at the table, but how they build their own table and invite others in to have a seat at it." - Bob Boyce


The Leading Out West program is the first of its kind in the U.S. and held at the University of Montana. Many Montana kids grow up in rural areas that are not welcoming to people of diverse orientations, including people who identify as LGBTQIA+. The Leading Out West Summer Workshop is designed with these students and allies in mind.

The program is a three-day, three-night leadership and network building intensive program for a small cohort of college students. Industry leaders and business professionals help instruct and facilitate the summer workshop. 

The Leading Out West Summer Workshop will allow UM and the College of Business to leap forward in its commitment to provide a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQIA+ undergraduate and graduate students from across the region. This intensive program will launch diverse and effective business leaders who are confident in who they are.

While learning how to amplify strengths and personal leadership styles, students will also expand their network of business professionals and mentors that can share ideas and experiences.

Students will be charged $140 for this unique opportunity. The $140 fee will cover the cost of breakfast, a dorm room, and other administrative fees. Financial assistance for fees and travel expenses is available for those that qualify.

The first student cohort will complete the Leading Out West Summer Workshop June 10-12, 2020.

The University of Montana College of Business Partnership

The University of Montana is a place of extraordinary achievements. For more than a century, it has provided students - 20,000 alumni and counting - with exceptional undergraduate, professional and graduate education.

The world needs diverse leaders who tackle pressing global issues and entrepreneurs who see what's possible and make it reality. The University of Montana is answering the call - increasing our global emphasis, providing more real-world learning experiences and building an environment that fosters collaboration, acceptance and intellectual excellence. UM is going above and beyond, not only for students but also for the world they will shape.

As the top-rated and most rigorous business school in the region, the University of Montana's College of Business helps today's students become tomorrow's professionals.