Bridget McMillion, our 2nd flying high award winner this year, is someone who truly embodies the mission statement of her company: To give unlimited opportunity to women. She opens door for women who work under her, and I believe she is a role model to the many women who know her. She is a model of balance, creating time for family, work, faith, and fun. Don’t get me wrong, she isn’t perfect, but she understands that balance is something you always work at. Life can throw obstacles, but you work to maintain balance.
She grew up in Missoula the youngest of four kids--two older brothers and an older sister--loving parents and always a big dog in the family. She attended St Joseph grade school from third to eighth grade. Her grade school highlights were being in the Missoula community dance and theater scenes, one of which was a tap duet with now-MBN member, Karen McNenny Marsolek.
She attended Loyola Sacred Heart High School where she was on one of the first winning Speech and Debate State Championship teams in 1985/86 (Loyola now holds the record in the United States with 29 consecutive state title wins!)
Bridget attended Carroll College where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper her junior year, when layout was still cut and paste by hand! She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Writing and a Minor in History, in December 1990. By graduating in three and a half years instead of four years, she came back to Missoula where she took some University classes for fun in Dance, Literature and Outdoor Recreation Management.
After a year of piecing together employment at Snowbowl and a local book publishing company, she started to create a freelance vision for her life. In 1992 she moved to the Flathead Valley, and pursued her passion to research and write about the hotels and chalets of Glacier National Park. In 1995, Glacier's Grandest: a Pictorial History of the Hotels and Chalets of Glacier National Park
was published. It is now in its seventh printing. She said she is happy to autograph any books you bring her!
She and her husband met while working college summers in Glacier National Park. They had the same day off together in May of 1989, and he asked her if she wanted to go hiking. She says, “We were encouraged to never hike alone—so matching days off with other employees who had the same day off—was not unusual—even if you didn't know each other! She says, “I respected him from the beginning because he respected me” They became good friends after hiking 12 hours together that day ... and little did they know they would be married six years later!” They now have been married 17 years, and have two beautiful children--Ella, age 11, and Gordon, age 9. They lived in Boise, ID for 10 years, where both of their children were born. As Ella and Gordon started getting older and nearing school age, she said, “Our hearts tugged us back to Montana.” She feels she has come full circle with their kids now both attending St. Joseph's School and volunteering and pitching in with fund-raising and school events, just like she watched her parents do for her!
Alongside her writing pursuits, she began her Mary Kay Cosmetics business in 1991, qualifying for her first company car and becoming an Independent Sales Director in 1994. Over the past 20 years, her unit has qualified for six company cars. She has enjoyed business accomplishments, including the "Most Improved Unit" in her National Area in 2009 and is currently ranked #18 in Montana out of over 50 Units. Most recently she applied for and was accepted by the Mary Kay Global Leadership Program to work with Mary Kay Brazil, and now former MBN member, Scarlette Bencia--expanding her Mary Kay business Internationally.
In her free time she loves spending time with her family and doing just about anything outdoors. Favorites include telemark skiing, mountain biking, hiking, flat-water kayaking and introducing the kids to the same. She also really enjoys the adventure of not knowing where the kids' interests will take them next!
She says that one of her favorite family memories is summit-ing Ch-paa-qn Peak (the prominent mountain west of Missoula) together with her husband, Geoff, and her kids. “Now, when the kids catch a glimpse of the peak from town, it amazes them that they have stood on top. In some strengthening way, my hope is that that mountain will always remind them of what they can accomplish when they really put their minds to it.”
She Joined MBN in December 2006, two weeks after moving back to Missoula. She has been a member of the Missoula Chamber since 2007. In 2011 she was both Vendor Co-Chair of the Symposium Committee and table speaker at Queen of Anything. This year she was a speaker for the 2012 Women’s Symposium.
The Awards Committee chair, Christine Johnson, had this to say of her: “Bridget McMillion was one of the most well-organized, most efficient people on the Symposium committee last year. I never had to question or worry about anything she was supposed to do. She always did an amazing job. She always looks professional, always smiling, and willing to give 110%. Most of the time her work is behind the scenes without her face being the one the public sees.”