Leadership Academy Facilitates Personal Growth and Peer Networking

Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center
Publication Date: Mar 26, 2021

Leadership Academy Facilitates Personal Growth and Peer Networking

The Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center’s (MHTTC) 2nd  Annual Leadership Academy for new and emerging leaders working in Region 8 states (CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, and WY) ran from November 2020 through February 2021. Participants with diverse backgrounds assessed their leadership style and learned effective leadership skills and strategies over the course of three formal intensive workshops and three informal coffee chats.


leadership-academy-screenshotThe two facilitators of the series have leadership experience in behavioral health, military, and private sector settings. Gina Brimner, MSW, LCSW currently leads the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education’s “Together with Veterans” rural suicide prevention program. Bob Dare served in the US Army for 28 years. He completed his military career serving as Command Sergeant Major, US Army Forces Command, the Army’s largest organization, and is now a certified executive coach.


Throughout the series, the group discussed understanding and developing their individual interpersonal leadership styles, how to build successful teams, and critical facilitation skills. During the formal intensive workshops, participants learned through facilitator guided discussion, as well as from each other, with each participant contributing their own unique perspectives. The informal coffee chats encouraged self-reflection and provided participants with an opportunity to check-in with one another and discuss the real-world implementation of leadership strategies learned throughout the series.  When asked to reflect on her experience with the Leadership Academy, Kathryn Lancaster, Sanford Research Program Manager in Fargo, ND said,


“I had the privilege of being able to attend the 2020 Mountain Plains MHTTC Leadership Academy and found the experience to be extremely educational, engaging, and informative.  The facilitators provided multiple opportunities for the attendees to explore their own leadership styles and abilities and how to best leverage these traits when working with our teams and each other. The Academy promoted participant growth and provided leadership tools and materials that I still reference on a regular basis! One of the most refreshing and essential professional development trainings that I’ve attended.”


The inaugural Mountain Plains MHTTC Leadership Academy was part of the International Initiative on Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL), which is currently featuring a series of workshops highlighting best practices for rural community development and well-being.  The first workshop featured representatives from five rural counties in Texas. Future IIMHL meetings will host similar communities from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other areas of the U.S.


The Leadership Academy has continued with monthly coffee chats to help participants stay in touch. “Focusing on growing leaders in the behavioral workforce is a key objective of the Leadership Academy.  We hope to continue fostering this network of peers through shared experiences and collaborations starting with the monthly coffee chats,” said Genevieve Berry, Program Manager at Mountain Plains MHTTC.


The 3rd Annual Leadership Academy is planned for Fall, 2021. If you are interested in participating, contact Genevieve Berry at Join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on all trainings, products, and resources!