History of Leadership Wyoming

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In August of 2000 a group of 40 leaders gathered at the University of Wyoming to kick off the first official Leadership Wyoming Class.

At the helm was Bill Schilling, President and Founder of the Wyoming Heritage Foundation and visionary for Leadership Wyoming. Hosting that first session was University of Wyoming President Phil Dubois. And participating in the program was then Speaker of the House and Chairman of the Wyoming Business Alliance and Wyoming Heritage Foundation, Eli Bebout. These three, along with a Leadership Wyoming Founding Committee, had put in the time and effort to launch this program. The rest is history.

Over the next 20 years Leadership Wyoming would see over 800 incredible leaders complete the program and continue on to lead their communities, state, and nation forward. In 2019 Leadership Wyoming moved from being a program of the Wyoming Heritage Foundation and the University of Wyoming to existing as a standalone nonprofit. This was only due to the tremendous alumni and donor support over that 20 year history.

We encourage you to review a list of Leadership Wyoming Alumni to see the incredible impact of this program on the state of Wyoming.

Our gratitude to all of those on the Leadership Wyoming Founding Committee, including: Larry Atwell, Donna Bagby, Eli Bebout, Dave Bell, Kathy Cuomo, Philip Dubois, Gary Havens, Rick Kaysen, Trudy McCraken, Dan McMullin, Phil MOrrow, Charlene Murdock, Jim Pearce, Dave Raynolds, Bill Savage, Bill Schilling, Tom Thorson, and Molly Williams.


Leadership Wyoming Staff


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Mandy is an Alum of the Leadership Wyoming Class of 2017 and began serving as the Executive Director in early 2018. She is passionate about Wyoming and about helping leaders become the best possible version of themselves. She is honored to work with so many amazing people around Wyoming to deliver a world-class leadership program.

Phone: 307-577-8000, opt 2

Email: mandy@leadershipwyoming.org

Linda Walsh, Program Coordinator


Linda has been with Leadership Wyoming for over nine years and is the heart and soul of everything that happens at the Sessions. From planning meals to organizing tours and looking after each class member, she believes strongly in the mission and impact of Leadership Wyoming.

Phone: 307-577-8000, opt 1

Email: admin@leadershipwyoming.org

Leadership Wyoming Board Members

Wendy Smith, Sheridan, Class of 2011

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Chair. Wendy Smith is the Assistant Vice President for Strategic Communication for the Northern Wyoming Community College District. She graduated from the Academic Management Institute in 2007 and was one of 24 local leaders to participate in the Center for Vital Community CiViC Leadership Project in 2009. Wendy graduated with the Leadership Wyoming Class of 2011. Professional appointments include serving as a Trustee for the Center for a Vital Community, Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee, and President of the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Wendy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Chadron State College and a Master of Science degree from Montana State University-Billings.


Randy Bruns, Cheyenne, Class of 2004


Vice Chair. Randy Bruns is CEO of Cheyenne LEADS, the economic development entity for Cheyenne and Laramie County. He started with Cheyenne LEADS in May 1999 and was named CEO in 2002. Prior to joining Cheyenne LEADS, Randy worked for Unicover World Trade Corporation for 11 years where he traveled extensively on international business. Randy has lived and worked in Lincoln, NE; Puerto Rico; Germany and Chappell, NE before coming to Cheyenne in 1987. Randy is a graduate of Leadership Cheyenne, Leadership Wyoming Class 2004 and is Past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra. Randy's hobbies include writing, hunting, fishing and flying.

Tom Saprony, Evanston, Class of 2012

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Treasurer/Secretary. Tom Saprony has been in public service to the Country, the state of Wyoming and his Uinta County communities for almost 30 years. He is a United States Army Veteran and retired law enforcement professional (25 years). In his retirement, he has worked to protect children and families with the Department of Family Services, and currently assists citizens through the Department of Workforce Services. Specifically, Tom assists eligible veterans find employment through the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program in Uinta, Lincoln and Teton counties. He graduated from Leadership Wyoming (2012) and law enforcement’s prestigious FBI National Academy (2005).

Linda Lindsey, Lander, Class of 2009

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Past Chair. Linda Lindsey is the former Human Resources and Diversity Director for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). NOLS is a nonprofit international school dedicated to teaching wilderness skills, leadership, environmental studies, and wilderness first aid, with operations in twelve countries and 25 states. Linda was responsible for directing and administering the school’s human resources and diversity programs. NOLS is one of the largest employers in Lander, Wyoming. Past service to other organizations includes serving on the board for the Lander Chamber of Commerce and the Wilderness Medical Society. Linda is a graduate of Leadership Wyoming 2009.

Wanda Burget, Aladdin, Class of 2005

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Wanda is a co-owner and principal of Accord Resource Solutions, LLC, a woman-owned natural resource-focused consultancy based in Wyoming and serves as the Executive Director of the Wyoming Mining Natural Resource Foundation. The Foundation manages a large landscape-scale conservation effort created to benefit the Greater sage-grouse which was initiated by the mining industry in southwestern Wyoming. Prior to starting her consultancy, Wanda served as the Vice President of Environmental Services for Norwest Corporation based in Salt Lake City, Utah for 3 years and worked for Peabody Energy Corporation for 29 years. Wanda is graduate of Leadership Wyoming, 2005.

JJ Chen, Cheyenne, Class of 2018

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JJ Chen is a 2018 Leadership Wyoming graduate. A psyciatrist, he has practiced at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center for the past four years. He is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Medicine's WWAMI program, where he met his wife, a native of Rock Springs. JJ is also a rare dually-trained preventive medicine specialist in Wyoming. He participates in downtown Cheyenne economic development and revitalization and serves on the Cheyenne/Laramie County Economic Development Joint Powers Board. JJ is a Rotarian and one of the youngest members of the Young Mens' Literary Club of Cheyenne. He enjoys playing the piano and volunteers at local nursing homes.

Jean Garrison, Laramie, Class of 2015

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UW Representative. Jean is the director of the Office of Engagement and Outreach and professor of political science and international studies at the University of Wyoming.  She served as the director of the Center for Global Studies from 2014-18 Jean has fostered faculty and student international research opportunities and organized a decade-long partnership with Wyoming's community colleges and communities. In 2015, she was a fellow at the Free University of Berlin, she also is the past recipient of a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship and has worked in the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs in the U.S. State Department in Washington, DC. She holds a PhD from the University of South Carolina and B.A. in political science from the University of Wyoming. She is a graduate of Leadership Wyoming Class of 2015.

Bill Knickerbocker, Casper, Class of 2016

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Bill is a 4th generation native of Gillette and grew up on his great grandparents homestead. While in high school, Bill played football and worked at a local radio station, graduating with the Class of 1987. His radio job lead to an education at Brown Institute in Minneapolis with an Associate's Degree in Radio Broadcasting. After college, he returned to Gillette to work in radio, however that was short lived. Bill worked for Gases Plus for over 20 years. In 2012, he was and wife relocated to Casper where he went to work for Energy Transportation (now known as NCSG) as General Manager. He has two daughters and two grandchildren. Hobbies include: long walks/hikes plus enjoying the mountains and wide open spaces of Wyoming. Bill is a 2016 Leadership Wyoming graduate.

Lindsey Krause Crandall, Class of 2016

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Alumni Chair. Lindsey Krause Crandall is an Associate Attorney at Simpson, Kepler & Edwards LLC, the Cody, Wyoming Division of Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh and Jardine, P.C., as well as a part-time Public Defender for the State of Wyoming. Her practice areas primarily include, criminal law and personal injury. Lindsey grew up in Jackson before moving to Laramie to attend the University of Wyoming College of Law. She serves on the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Cody Culture Club Board of Directors. She is a member of Leadership Wyoming Class of 2016.

Tom Scott, Dayton

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Tom Scott is a long time resident of Dayton, Wyoming and the former CEO and then Chairman of First Interstate Bank. The Scott family manages the Padlock Ranch and IXL Ranch. Tom is proud of his two children and five grandchildren. Tom is passionate about leadership and civility and was deeply involved in the founding of Leadership Montana as well. Tom is eager to get to work in shaping leaders for Wyoming's future.

Tim Sheppard, Cheyenne, Class of 2007


Tim retired from the Army after a 40-year career which included serving as the Chief of Staff for the Wyoming Army National Guard. As an Army Engineer, he enjoyed completing construction projects throughout Wyoming. Currently, he serves as the governor for the Rocky Mountain District of Kiwanis; president of the board of directors for Raising Readers in Wyoming; vice-president of the board of directors for the Cheyenne After School for Kids program and a board members for the Cheyenne YMCA. He holds a MS in Strategic Studies from the Army War College. He is married with seven children, including two sets of back to back twins. Tim graduates from Leadership Wyoming in 2007.

Nolene Wright, Wright, Class of 2007

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Nolene Wright is a fourth generation Wyoming native, growing up on a ranch in Campbell County. After seven years with Peabody’s Powder River Coal Company she left the mining business to spend more time on the family ranch. She also started doing more volunteering with such varied groups as the Gillette Abuse Refuge Foundation board, American Cancer Society’s Daffodil Days, Casper College Alumni Board of Directors, Gillette College Foundation Board, Campbell County League of Women Voters, Pearls of the Prairie, Wright Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Wright Centennial Museum board. Nolene is a member of Leadership Wyoming Class 2007.

Alumni Committee

Jen Crouse, Banner

Terri Dawson, Buffalo

Nish Goicolea, Cheyenne

Lisa Johnson, LaGrange

Mary Melaragno, Gillette

Chad Nelson, Casper

Mike Peck, Laramie

Heidi Peterson, Laramie

Heather Roe Day, Cheyenne

Bobby Rolston, Cheyenne

Carolyn Walton, Greybull

Lauretta Welch, Jackson

Ron Wild, Rock Springs