Meet our Staff and Board of Directors

Our staff currently consists of four full-time staff members and two part-time staff members. Our Board of Directors is a group of dedicated and passionate volunteers who give their time and talents to help our organization run effectively and efficiently.

Family Promise Staff

Kevin Sylvester
Executive Director
ksylvester@familypromisegv.org

Originally from New England, Kevin moved to Billings, MT a decade ago and has been involved in Montana’s nonprofits ever since. As the executive director at Family Promise of Gallatin Valley, Kevin oversees the organization’s strategic plan, fundraising initiatives, and internal operations. Kevin holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut and a Masters in Public Administration from Montana State University. Kevin is also a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and a Fellow in Charitable Estate Planning (FCEP). In 2017, Kevin was named a 20 Under 40 recipient, an honor that spotlights southwest Montana’s top young business professionals.

Kevin currently serves as Vice Chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Montana Chapter, Vice Chair of Programming for the Gallatin Valley Interfaith Association, and is a member of the Bozeman Noon Rotary Club. Kevin was recently appointed by the Governor of Montana to serve on the Montana Commission on Community Service. Kevin and his wife Carolynn enjoy hiking, skiing, rafting, and taking advantage of all the recreational opportunities Montana has to offer.

Kara Meier
Program Manager
kmeier@familypromisegv.org

Kara has lived in Bozeman since 2000, and brings over 20 years of experience in mental health, developmental and physical disabilities, at-risk youth and the criminal justice system in Minnesota, Vermont and Montana. She has a BS in Sociology and Criminal Justice and a MA in Psychology. Her exhaustive knowledge of community resources and her active participation on numerous committees, combined with her sharp wit and passion for advocacy make her a natural for the job. Kara has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, The Help Center, Big Sky Youth Empowerment (BYEP), and sat on the Restorative Justice Council. She relishes in the expansive playground of Montana when she is not working. She has a 9-year-old daughter who enjoys accompanying her to work when she is able. Stop by and say hello or send her an email at kmeier@familypromisegv.org.

Jill Yoder
Development and Volunteer Manager
jyoder@familypromisegv.org

Jill is a long-time resident of Bozeman and brings with her a diverse skill set and a wealth of experience.  During her graduate studies at Montana State University, Jill taught writing, tutored at the Writing Center, and volunteered as a writing tutor at the American Indian Center.  Since finishing her MA in English, Jill has worked at The Gallatin Mental Health Center, was self-employed as a contract editor/writer, and was a marketing assistant at a small locally owned business.  Jill enjoys developing and nurturing relationships within the community, new and old.

Jill is the mother of two fun teenagers. Her daughter is a freshman at Columbia University, and her son is a junior at Bozeman High.  On weekends and days off you can find Jill fishing, backpacking, taking her dog Scarlet for a walk around town, and gardening.  She generally just enjoys being outdoors.

Michelle Simpson
Family Case Manager
msimpson@familypromisegv.org

Michelle spent her 8th grade and high school years as a Bozemanite; she then moved to Orange City, Iowa to study Spanish Translation & Interpretation at Northwestern College. There she worked at a community living service called Hope Haven, providing compassionate direct support to individuals with behavior disorders, disabilities and mental illnesses. After graduating with her Bachelor’s degree in 2018, Michelle moved to Hermiston, Oregon, where she worked as a certified medical interpreter (CHI) at Good Shepherd Medical Center for a year. Michelle is happy to be back in Bozeman in her new role, giving families a voice and empowering them to achieve independence.

Michelle spent the majority of her childhood living in in Venezuela and Panama; as a result, she is fully bilingual and is a seasoned traveler. In her free time, Michelle enjoys being outdoors, playing bass and guitar, longboarding, and sculpting.

Debbie & Larry King
Sunday Coordinators

Larry and Debbie King are active members of the Mount Ellis Seventh Day Adventist Church. Larry is a native of Bozeman and Debbie is from Massachusetts. They have been married 30+ years and have three adult children. Larry is a certified nurse’s aid and bus driver. Debbie is a registered nurse, but much prefers her home-based career in medical transcription. Since they have been volunteering through their church for all of their lives, Family Promise was a natural place for them to become involved.

Shelly Frye
Saturday Coordinator

Shelly is a Montana native, growing up in the small town of Hinsdale. Since graduating from the Montana State University with a degree in Health and Human Development, Bozeman has been her home. Shelly has worked in the field of human services for over 30 years. She has been employed full-time by Reach Inc. for 20+ years, where she currently serves as the Intensive Work Services Supervisor, and also helps coordinate the Special Olympics program. Actively involved with her church, the Bozeman Church of Christ, Shelly has been involved with Family Promise for over ten years, including serving as Coordinator multiple times. Since 2015, she has worked for Family Promise as the Saturday Coordinator. Shelly loves animals, especially her two “fur babies” Inky and Lucy, and maintains an active pet-sitting business.

Board of Directors

Matt Hudak AAMS®, CFP® – Owner/Founder, CoCreate Financial
Board Chair

Matt joined the Family Promise Board in 2015 after serving for several years on the Finance Committee. Matt is an independent financial planner and is passionate about helping people discover causes they are passionate about and ways they can increase their impact in those arenas. Matt is a Bozeman native and his passion for housing issues in the Gallatin Valley began when he worked with underserved individuals, first time home-buyers, and people facing foreclosure at the HRDC.  With experience in finance, ministry and housing in both private and non-profit sectors, Matt brings a diverse and empathetic perspective to the board.

One of his favorite quotes is from a pastor in the Carolinas, “Great leaders call people to greatness.”  He has a firm belief that Family Promise is effective because it’s volunteers and staff challenge each of our guests toward greatness one step at a time.

 

Lori Hart – Realtor, Hart Real Estate Solutions
Board Vice Chair

Lori joined the Family Promise Board after years of volunteer work with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Toledo and various churches. She is passionate about serving others and helping transform lives. After a decade as an estate planning attorney and another decade as a full-time mother, Lori joined her husband, Tim, in starting Hart Real Estate Solutions. Together, they work with a dedicated team to serve others with their real estate needs. Lori and Tim are raising 3 children in the Bozeman community and schools. With their family, they enjoy Bozeman’s many outdoor amenities, spending time with friends, art and music.

 

Wendy Wigert – Director of Operations, Montana Conservation Corps
Board Treasurer

Wendy Wigert has worked as the Director of Operations with Montana Conservation Cops since December 1995.   Wendy and her husband Sven have two children — Svea born in 2000 and Jack in 2002. Wendy graduated from Wittenberg University in Springfield Ohio with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Computer Science.  She worked with Ernst and Whinney for 3 years obtaining her Certificate of Public Accounting before specializing in non profit management. Wendy’s passion has always been with organizations focusing on empowering youth, community building, and fighting poverty. Wendy is currently a board member with The Corps Network and the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative Project. Wendy previously served on the board of the Greater Gallatin United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Leadership Bozeman, Child Care Connections, and the Bozeman Youth Initiative.

 

Jolene Randall – SVP, First Security Bank
Board Secretary

Jolene moved to Bozeman and started working at Big Sky Western Bank in January of 2008.  She has been in banking since 2002. Jolene has a BS in Communications from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND and an AIB Certificate in Banking from UNLV, Las Vegas, NV, and graduated from the Pacific Coast Banking School in Seattle, WA in 2012.

Community involvement is very important to Jolene, she is very active in Gallatin Co. 4-H as a club leader, County cooking leader and volunteer. Other organizations Jolene is currently or has been involved with many organizations, including the Montana Hope Project, Gallatin County College Business Degree Advisory Board, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Bozeman Exchange Club, and the Girl Scouts. Jolene and her children enjoy spending time at sporting events, hiking and traveling. Jolene is from Broadus, Montana where her family still resides on a cattle ranch.

 

Jody Bartz – Assistant Professor, Montana State University
Member at Large

For nearly 13 years, Jody worked with families and children in the Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) and taught preschool, elementary, and high school students with moderate to severe disabilities in a rural, culturally and linguistically diverse school district in Southern Arizona. For the past 7 years, Jody has been a teacher educator who is passionate about ensuring our early educators are prepared in evidence-based practices, so they can provide the educational supports and services all children deserve. Jody is currently the Don and Sue Fisher Endowed Professor in Montana Sate University’s Early Childhood Education Department. Jody’s research is motivated by a passion to provide excellent services and support to young children with disabilities and their families.

 

John Clark – Partner, Rudd & Company
Member at Large

John joined Rudd & Company in January 1992 and has the proud distinction of having worked in all of the firm’s offices. He helped open the Bozeman office in December 1998. He is the partner in charge of the Bozeman office. John spends the majority of his time on tax and business advisory areas. His focus has helped his clients with complex business entity structuring, saving taxes, protecting assets, and providing a vehicle for tax planning. John has served on boards of several civic organizations. He is a member of the AICPA, Montana Society of CPAs, and the Bozeman Society of CPAs. His spare time is spent playing raquetball, road biking, and spending time with his family.

 

Ken Gibson
Member at Large

Ken Gibson, a retired school teacher and administrator, is a Bozeman native and graduate of Montana State University. He taught social studies for nine years in Harrison, Montana and seven years at Bozeman High School before assuming a leadership position at the school. Ken finished his education career as an administrator at Bozeman High, including one year as the interim principal. He and his wife Lynn, who is a professor at Montana State University, have been long-time Family Promise volunteers at Hope Lutheran Church. In addition, Lynn attended the original Family Promise organizational meetings on behalf of Hope Lutheran. Ken and Lynn have one adult daughter who, along with her husband, teach and coach at Bozeman High School.

 

Kelley Dowdell
Member at Large

Kelley is passionate about volunteering in her community, especially serving children and families. She has valuable experience as an Executive Director and fundraiser in the nonprofit sector for more than 25 years. Currently she is a member of the Shane Lalani Center of the Arts advisory board, a trustee for the Bozeman Public Library, servers on the vestry at St. James Episcopal Church, and works part-time as a ski instructor at Bridger Bowl. She and her husband, Matt, are proud parents of three adult children and owners of Ace Hardware stores in Livingston, Butte, and Anaconda. In you want to find her, when not volunteering, she’s probably skiing or hiking.

 

Roxanne Klingensmith – Deacon at St. James Episcopal Church, Archdeacon of the Episcopal Diocese of Montana
Member at Large

Roxanne was born in Duluth, Minnesota, raised and educated in Minneapolis, and has lived in Bozeman since 1981. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Minnesota and certificates from University of the South in theological education and ministry formation. Roxanne was ordained to the Diaconate in 1999 through the Episcopal Diocese of Montana. She is assigned to St. James Episcopal Church and is the Archdeacon of the Episcopal Diocese of Montana.

Roxanne is active in community organizations particularly those having to do with social justice issues.  In addition to being the “founding mom” of Family Promise of Gallatin Valley, she is an active member of the Gallatin Valley Interfaith Association, Bozeman’s Business and Professional Women, and is on the boards of Energy Share Bozeman and Energy Share Montana. Through her statewide involvement, she is also a member of the Friends of Treatment Court. Roxanne was the co-facilitator for the Gallatin County Re-entry Initiative Program (now called Fresh Start) and founder/facilitator of Survivors, a group that embraces formerly incarcerated and/or recovering addicts who are committed to living a healthy and productive life. She served on the State of Montana Legislative Commission on Sentencing at the behest of Governor Bullock between 2015-2016.

 

Rick Landers – Attorney at Law, Axilon Law Group
Member at Large

Rick has been practicing law since 1997, beginning his career in Georgia and then moving west to Bozeman, Montana in 2005. His practice generally consists of commercial litigation and transactions, real estate and construction law. Rick is rated “AV” Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethics standards, reflecting the confidential opinions of members of the bar and judiciary. Rick currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Gallatin Valley United Way, and is a member of the Bozeman Noon Rotary Club. He is also a regular volunteer for Family Promise of Gallatin Valley, and a pro-bono attorney for the Gallatin County Guardian Ad Litem / CASA Program. In his spare time he enjoys skiing, hiking, running and biking.

 

Stephanie E. Siegel
Member at Large

Stephanie “Steffi” E. Siegel shares her residence between Bozeman and West Yellowstone. She has a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology and is an author. Before her retirement, she was the Founder and Director of an Adoption Support Center, addressing the needs of adoptive families, parents, children and birth parents and training interns in the field. She and her late husband founded the West Yellowstone Foundation in 1993 addressing the needs of West Yellowstone and the Hebgen Lake Basin through philanthropy. They were also founding members of the Yellowstone Historic Center. Currently, Stephanie is on the Boards of the West Yellowstone Foundation, the Little Rangers Learning Center and is honored to be joining the Board of Family Promise as a Member-at-Large.

 

Kevin Thane
Member at Large

Kevin Thane has been active as a Family Promise volunteer for over a decade. A long time resident of Bozeman, Kevin currently serves on the Sweet Pea Board of Directors, the Greater Gallatin Homeless Action Coalition, and is vice-chair of the City of Bozeman Affordable Housing Advisory Board.  He retired from Montana State University in 2013 where he served two terms as president of the Staff Senate.  During his time in Bozeman Kevin has served as president of the Downtown Bozeman Association and the Monforton Education Association, and has volunteered for various other community organizations. He and his wife Pam have four grown children, three of whom live in Bozeman.

 

Michael Tess
Member at Large

Mike Tess retired from Montana State University in 2009 after 28 years in academic research, teaching, and administration. Mike and his wife, Kathy, are the proud parents of four children and 15 grandchildren.  Mike owns a small consulting business, Packhorse Services LLC and serves as an elder for the Bozeman Church of Christ. He has been involved with Family Promise in Bozeman for over a decade.