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Leadership that listens

From the January 2004 issue of The Christian Science Journal

To live in the mountain town of Bozeman, Montana, might sound like the epitome of the quiet life—clean air, rugged beauty, and breathtaking vistas. But governing this city of about 30,000 residents—one of the fastest-growing communities in the state—can be anything but quiet. Maintaining quality of life and affordability, balancing existing neighborhoods with new development, and preserving open space are just a few of the issues that Bozeman's leaders have had to grapple with in recent years. Over the past decade , former Bozeman mayor and current city commissioner, has had plenty of opportunity to reflect on what it takes to be a good leader. She talked with the Journal's about what she's learned.

How did you get involved in city government?

Not on purpose. I never aspired to be a leader. I had a background as a grass-roots organizer on neighborhood and national social-and economic-justice issues. I helped people work together and learn how to solve problems. But I didn't solve them myself, and I certainly wasn't out front.

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