STAFF

Michael Schechtman – Executive Director

In January of 2001, Mike became the Big Sky Institute’s full–time executive director. Prior to accepting this position, Mike was the president and owner of Eaglecliff Associates, a Helena–based consulting firm specializing in organizational development and fundraising for nonprofit organizations. Mike has over 48 years of professional experience in nonprofit program development, administration and fundraising, including 37 years as a consultant to nonprofits in the Northern Rockies. Mike was BSI’s lead staff member for creating the Montana Nonprofit Association (MNA), and he staffed MNA for three years while BSI incubated its development. He was also BSI’s lead staff for creating the Park County Community Foundation (PCCF), and staffed PCCF for several years while BSI incubated PCCF’s development. Mike has led numerous cutting-edge initiatives at BSI, such as the Montana Nonprofit Connections capacity-building grants program, the Philanthropic Divide initiative, the incubation of the Indian Nonprofit Alliance, and the Missoula Project for Nonprofit Excellence. Mike has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Chicago and an M.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan.

Kristin Sewak – Development Coordinator

Kristin brings 24 years of experience in development, leadership, nonprofit management, events, communications, and natural resources. Originally from the Appalachian Mountains of western Pennsylvania, Kristin moved to Montana in 2014, when she became the first Executive Director of Montana Watershed Coordination Council. Also, she founded and served as Executive Director of Natural Biodiversity, served as Alumni & Annual Giving Specialist with University of Pittsburgh and Development Director for Montana Audubon. Kristin co-authored the mushroom book, Mycelial Mayhem, New Society Publishers, British Columbia. She served on several boards, including Mid-Atlantic Invasive Plant Council and Pitt Alumni. She also served two years in AmeriCorps. Kristin holds a B.S. in Biology from University of Pittsburgh and a M.S. in Organizational Leadership from Geneva College. She is a Chamber leadership alumna and a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), the only accredited, globally-recognized certification for fundraising professionals, which emphasizes knowledge, experience, ethics, and professionalism. She has two grown children, Aedan and Cassidy, and lives with her 14-year-old son, Sage, in Wolf Creek. Kristin loves the outdoors and the myriad of experiences that Montana offers.

Tessa Hurley – Program Associate for Training and Resources Development
AmeriCorps VISTA

Tessa graduated Boise State University in December 2020 with a B.A. in Spanish, Global Studies, and Nonprofit Management. Her engagement with nonprofits has included an internship with the Idaho Chapter of the Sierra Club and helping organize community fundraisers for nonprofits. She has also worked with the Undocumented Migration Project to bring the participatory art exhibit, Hostile Terrain 94, to Boise State in the fall of 2020. With other students in her program, she participated in community service projects in Corozal, Belize, which included teaching healthy lifestyles courses for students of all ages, constructing a wall around their play area, and building a bathroom. While attending college in Boise, Tessa volunteered with several organizations, including the Idaho Food Bank and the Ronald McDonald House. She has been involved with Rotary International and was a Rotary Exchange Student to Spain in 2015/2016. She maintains involvement with Rotary International through Rotex and Rotaract, helping plan and conduct activities for exchange students coming to Boise.

Naomi Schwartz – Book Keeper

Bio coming soon!