Board of Directors

Michael Stark

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President

Michael Stark is a financial adviser here in Missoula, Montana for a locally owned and operated financial firm. I’ve lived here for the past 10 years and try and actively participate in the community. Past and present community involvement includes being a Rotarian, coaching soccer for local youth organizations, fund raising for the Missoula Food Bank, volunteering for The Special Olympics of Montana, participating in The Flagship Program at local schools, and a bevy of other Missoula focused activities. I’m passionate about trying to make a difference in other’s lives and am a natural problem solver.

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Emily Cohen 

Emily Cohen2

Past President

Emily has worked in environmental planning for over 10 years.  After starting a family she also started working in her children’s school and continues to be very involved in supporting the school communities.  She has trained and worked with students with dyslexia, supported families with different needs and helped organize many fundraising events.  She is very committed to a strong community that recognizes the diverse contributions that we all bring.

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Leora Bar-el

Leora

Secretary 

Leora Bar-el is an Associate Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Anthropology at The University of Montana. Her interests include Indigenous languages of North America, English dialect variation, and dispelling commonly held myths about language and raising awareness about the value of linguistic diversity. Leora has been living in Missoula with her husband since 2007. A city cyclist, Leora is also a member of the City of Missoula Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Board and loves hiking, weaving, public radio, and live theatre. She believes that organizations such as WORD empower our entire community and is honored to be serving on this board.

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Jennifer Marrow 

Treasurer

Jenn has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Montana, and she also studied at the University of Burgandy in Dijon, France. Before earning her degree, Jenn opened her own restaurant and managed the deli at the Good Food Store. Since then, she has worked in public accounting, and she’s excited to now be working in the non-profit sector. Jenn enjoys spending time with her husband, son, cat, dog, and chickens.

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Heather Hibbard 

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Heather Hibbard is an instructor and academic adviser for the TRiO Student Support Services program at the University of Montana, which supports students who are low-income, first generation to attend college, or have a disability. Heather enjoys spending time hiking, reading, traveling, and adventuring with her husband, Tyler, and their son, James. She is passionate about helping underrepresented and disadvantaged populations gain access to opportunities and resources, and is eager to continue to support WORD and all of the invaluable services offered by the organization.

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Sindie Kennedy

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Sindie Kennedy is a Grant Administrator for Missoula County. She administers HUD grants that support housing and community development programs. She moved to Missoula with her husband and son in 2004. She has been involved with her son’s schools over the years as a classroom volunteer, PTA board member and currently as the Secretary for the Sentinel Booster Club. She also teaches online Indian Education for All classes. Her interests include backpacking with her family in the beautiful wilderness areas of Montana, hiking around Missoula, making and selling jewelry, Zumba and reading, especially historical fiction and Native American literature. She is passionate about giving back and promoting social justice, gender equality and anti-racism. She is especially honored to serve on the WORD board and to work with the amazing board and staff members who are committed to fulfilling WORD’s vision and mission. 

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Christy Milburn

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Blair Davison

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