Ms. Wicks is a professional with a background in healthcare, community and workforce development, and higher education
Senior Government Relations Manager
Lewis & Clark
- Health Care
Strategic Planning, Organizational Leadership, Writing, Lobbying, PAC Management, Grant Writing and Administration, Program Development, Community and Workforce Development, Public Relations
Kali Wicks is a farm kid who was raised on a dry-land wheat farm in Liberty County. She attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington where she received her B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Public Relations, and an M.A. in Communications and Leadership. Kali also holds an M.P.A. from the University of Montana in Missoula. Ms. Wicks is an active member of the Helena Young Professionals and Helena Chamber Young Professionals, and previously held roles as Vice President and Social Chair of HYP. Kali is the current president of the Gonzaga University Alumni Chapter, and enjoys organizing game watches and community events for fellow alumni, friends, and fans. She is a 2016 graduate of Leadership Montana and a 2014 graduate of the Policy Institute’s Leadership Seminar Series. Ms. Wicks has also served on the board of the Montana chapter of the Council of Educational Facility planners.
Kali has a background in community and workforce development, higher education, strategic planning, grant and program management, and policy development. She currently works in Government Relations for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana and is Vice President of the Executive Board of the Career Training Institute in Helena.
How I Want to Participate in PowerHouse
Over the course of my career I have had the benefit of mentoring from several fabulous, intelligent, and funny women. I believe that there is always more to learn, and hope that I will continue to meet great people who can share advice and guidance. In turn, I hope that I can share my experiences and expertise through mentoring and can assist in empowering others to succeed.
What motivates and inspires you?
Montana. The people, the places – all of it. I love the way Montanans treat each other – always smiling and holding the door or pitching in when a community or family is in need. I also love how we value public lands, and work to preserve these spaces for future generations to enjoy. Montana is a special place, and living here not only reminds me of how lucky I am, but motivates me to live up to my full potential, both personally and professionally.
Who are your personal ‘Sheroes’/Female Role-Models?
Right now I am really inspired by Sarah Sapora and Amanda Lacount. Both are doing excellent work to break body image stereo types and promote body positivity. I follow their instagram feeds daily and am so happy that people are out there spreading the message that women are so much more than a pretty face or “perfect” body.
What technology/literature/art/seminars/ideas do you love, and recommend to others?
I am heavily addicted to audible, and am generally listening to at least three books at a time. One of my favorites that I heavily recommend is called “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Alfred Lansing. Not only was the book extremely interesting, but I learned a lot about what it takes to be a leader in really difficult situations.
How do you reboot?
My favorite way to reboot is to spend a low-key weekend with friends and family, complete with cozy slippers, multiple cups of coffee, and lots of laughs.
What is your biggest accomplishment, so far?
A few weeks ago I filed to run for public office at the municipal level. It was something I had thought about for years, but never had the courage to do. When I pushed the button to announce my candidacy online, my hands were literally shaking. It was an exciting and scary moment, but I am so proud of myself to taking the leap and getting involved.
What is the biggest career risk you’ve ever taken?
By far the biggest career risk I have ever taken is reporting gender discrimination and harassment. Over the course of my career thus far, I have had to do this twice. Long story short – the first time, there was extreme retribution (Actual words, “You’ll never work in this town again”) and I ended up taking a different job with a $10,000 pay cut just to get out of the environment. This was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life, but it was the right thing, and I am stronger now for it.
When another situation presented itself years later at a different workplace, I knew what the consequences could be, but I still knew I had to report. This time, it was handled in a very professional manner, and the individual was put on a corrective action plan and eventually left the company.
Although reporting was a risk in both cases, if I could go back, I would make the same decisions, as these experiences have shaped me and my values, and have made me the person I am today.
What is the ‘lasting legacy’ you hope to leave?
At the end of the day, I hope to make a positive impact not only in my community, but on my friends, family, coworkers, etc. I want to be someone people trust to help them, but also someone who can make them smile.
Words of wisdom you want to share with Montanan women?
Show up. Go where you’re not invited. Don’t be afraid to make a difference.