Photo courtesy of Sarah Blechta

59716 Volunteer: Boardrooms of progress

Sarah Blechta helps guide the community she loves
“I grew up here and really want to see this place thrive,” Sarah Blechta said.

A recent study by the Alliance for Board Diversity found that women and minorities are slowly making traction in boardrooms. After serving on the Morning Star board for 4 years, Sarah Blechta’s friend mentioned that she would be a good fit for Resort Tax. She had not thought of joining it before that conversation – but ran and won. 

“I felt really passionately, specifically when Resort Tax came up. I knew at the time that no other women were running,” she said. “I think you need diversity on a board: age, sex, economic. I have a lot of experience with growing up here... that could be beneficial with resort tax. My age, my gender, there was nobody who looked like me on that board. 

I want to show my daughter you can do whatever you want to do.” 

She considered her responsibility to the position and ultimately decided to remain focused on Resort Tax and not diversify her volunteer efforts too much and spread herself too thin. 

“Sticking with one was a good plan for me in that moment,” she said. At the time that she started, Resort Tax was a working board – they did it all. Now, with a full staff in place, it allows the board to be more strategic in their endeavors, she explained. It also may allow her to pursue a position on another board – she is kicking it around. 

“That was initially my goal, to beef up staffing,” she said. “I wanted to work on staffing levels to make it work like a business. We are now fully staffed. I’m thrilled with how that is all turning out.” 

With the board now fully engaged in tackling amending the taxability ordinance, she said the move is important. 

“I think it will help everybody have a better understanding. The Devil is in the details– for sure,” she said. 

The sense of community and thriving spirit of volunteerism is something she treasures about Big Sky.  She hopes that characteristic does not change as the community grows. 

“I grew-up here and really want to see this place thrive,” she said and explained that she and her husband, Ryan, value the community and want to be involved. 

When her time is up with Resort Tax, she said she will find something else – “It’s just something I feel passionately about,” she said. 

Blechta is one of the few residents of Big Sky who was raised in Big Sky. Her family initially moved to the area in 1991 and she spent 1st-8th grade in the small community. There was no high school at the time and one of her best friends went to boarding school at Saint John’s Preparatory in Minnesota. She applied, was accepted, received a “substantial scholarship” and went. Leaving when she was 13 led to her being a “relatively independent person.” 

She found her way back home, to a community she loves and a place she wants to help thrive. 

“One of my favorite things about Big Sky is that we are truly a community and there are a lot of people who contribute,” she said. “I hope it stays that way. It’s been that way since I was a kid. I hope that everybody continues to see the value in others’ volunteer endeavors.  I always like that we seem to be supportive. I hope we can continue in that front because that’s what makes it special and that’s what makes it Big Sky.”

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