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Executive Director Mary Peterson Announces Retirement

Dear Eagle Mount Friends and Family,

It was September 2009, and I had butterflies in my stomach as I arrived on Eagle Mount’s doorstep as a first-time Executive Director. I had a lot to learn!

And yet, it seemed that my whole life had led me to Eagle Mount. You see, I grew up as the eldest of five children whose mother was sick, I had a sister who went blind in her 20s, and skiing is what held my family together. I had also worked in my hometown hospital nursery back when mothers of babies with Down syndrome were “counseled” to give the baby up for adoption.

To be honest, Eagle Mount looked a little shaky when I arrived.

And yet this beautiful gem–the bold and daring adventure that is Eagle Mount–shined through. I had worked with a lot of nonprofits, but I had NEVER seen anything like Eagle Mount. It brings out the best in everyone it touches. It inspires a kind of generosity I had never experienced.

And miracles! Imagine my joy at meeting capable and accomplished people like Jackie, Luci, Ty, Anna, Max, and many more! And coming to know the resilience of the human spirit in people like Liz Ann, Neal, Keith, Dave, and Bill… Not to mention the Big Sky Kids, children with cancer who teach you what it really means to live each moment to the fullest. And in the last two years, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know some of Montana’s courageous veterans, and the loving, grieving families of our participants.

As I grew into the job, Eagle Mount changed me forever. It was as if the spirit of the organization itself was lighting a path for me to learn, to grow, and to do what was needed.

Bob and Greta Mathis imbued this organization with their own enduring courage, faith, humility, and generosity of spirit. Today, that spirit fills the hearts of everyone Eagle Mount touches. Who would believe that more than 2,000 local folks would step up and volunteer, out of the goodness of their hearts, for this one cause? Who would believe that a small group of extraordinarily talented individuals would come together to serve as dedicated, albeit poorly-paid, staff to run the programs?

With the help and support of kind people like you–Board members, family members, donors, volunteers, staff, and community members–Eagle Mount today has grown into a healthy, thriving organization. There is much yet to be done, especially to protect Eagle Mount from future economic downturns! But I have broken trail long enough.

I am going to retire at the end of September. This is a very happy move for me, as someone who has never not had a job since the age of 16…and who will be turning 67 later this month.

It’s a great time for Eagle Mount to find the new leader who will take it forward from here. The possibilities are limitless! A search committee has been formed, and in the coming months you’ll see our succession plan in action as the Board selects the person who will lead Eagle Mount into the future.

Please know that I am, and will always be, grateful to YOU for the part you’ve played in making Eagle Mount the wonderful, soulful organization it is today. I would love to hear from you as I savor my remaining months here at Eagle Mount.


Mary Peterson
Executive Director

P.S. If you want to know more about how we’re protecting Eagle Mount for the future, I’ll be happy to tell you!