Lover of Montana. Citizen of the World. Former entrepreneur in Japan & economic developer in the Flathead Valley. Eager student and avid hockey mom.
Business Development and Special Projects
- Entrepreneur/Business Owner
Grant Writing, Business Development, Establishing Non-profits, Fundraising, Community Development
After living in Kumamoto, Japan for three years I started Big Sky International Trading in 1994. We specialized in importing U.S. products and materials that filled unmet demand. This included Made in Montana products for retailers in Montana’s sister-state, Kumamoto as well as American furniture for large retailers in southern Japan. Additionally we worked with Japanese architects and contractors to build American style homes to meet the Japanese lifestyle, importing containers of building materials from Seattle and managing the logistics of getting those materials to the job site. Starting and growing that business over eight years was a terrific education in both running a business with all of the challenges an entrepreneur typically faces and the rewards of mentoring. I’m so happy to see my former employee and friend, Mako Sakaguchi, representing Montana as its Trade Representative to Japan.
After returning to the Flathead I had the opportunity to serve as the president of Flathead Area Young Professionals and then the president of Flathead Valley Hockey Association. It was here that I learned a great deal about establishing non-profits, building their member and volunteer bases, fundraising and event planning. Working with the dedicated board members of these two groups has been one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had since moving home to Montana.
Recently I have had the opportunity to work with a number of public and private organizations in leading the Kalispell Core and Rail project. This $34 million project will transform downtown Kalispell for the next generation.
How I Want to Participate in PowerHouse
PowerHouse Montana is an exciting opportunity to meet and collaborate with smart, engaged and focused women from around the State. I hope to both learn from and share my knowledge with fellow members to build a network that will act as a positive force for the good of our communities.