Board & Staff

Meet the friendly faces that work behind the scenes at the Bozeman Public Library Foundation. The Foundation is led by an all-volunteer Board of Directors. A professional staff raises and administers gifts and ensures the quality and effectiveness of funded programs.

Board of Directors

Tom Stonecipher

Tom Stonecipher

President

Tom  is from the Midwest, principally Indiana. He enjoyed a wide-ranging law practice with larger firms in Chicago for 18 years and thereafter in Bozeman for the last 28 years, where he co-founded a law firm with a strong Montana-based civil practice. He has canoed many of Montana’s wild rivers and became a solidly mediocre skier. He has been a supporter of the MSU and local libraries for years, for he believes they can be both enriching and, for some, life-changing. Tom graduated from Dartmouth College in 1968 with a degree in philosophy and from the Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington in 1974. In between, he was a member of the United States Army and spend a year in Vietnam, serving in the field artillery.

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Tom Whyel

Tom Whyel

Vice President

Tom’s grandmother instilled a life-long passion for reading and a curious mindset through regular library visits. Tom believes that public libraries enhance local communities and inspire individual growth. He is honored to support the Bozeman Public Library and its multiple learning opportunities. Tom is the Director of Financial Planning and Analysis at Copado, a technology startup in the Salesforce DevOps industry. Tom began his career in the consulting industry, focusing on accounting and merger and acquisitions. He received his Bachelor's degree from Elon University and Master's degree from Wake Forest University. He enjoys spending time outdoors fly fishing, rafting, and camping with his wife and dogs. He also serves on the finance and investment committees at the One Valley Community Foundation.

 

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Kit Heffner

Kit Heffner

Treasurer

Kit currently serves as a Professor of Management at MSU and a Board Director for several multi-national companies while also actively supporting Montana’s small business start-up community. He spent the majority of his career working in Southeast Asia and Africa, first managing companies for Chevron and then building start-up companies in frontier markets such as Myanmar and Cambodia. Kit received his Bachelor’s degree from Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania and has an MBA from Kellogg at Northwestern University. He has lectured at Harvard Business School on Globalization and Emerging Markets. Kit believes that engaging with the outside world is vital to our long term success both here in Montana as well as for the United States as a whole.

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Cindy Christin

Cindy Christin

Secretary

Cindy retired from the Children's Room at the Bozeman Public Library in August 2021, after 33 years of helping kids find books and planning programs to welcome kids and families to play and learn at the Library. She was active in creating the Children's Festival of the Book in 2008, and was awarded the Montana Librarian of the Year in 2020. Cindy continues to work on early literacy issues with the Montana State Library, and was involved in the national Collaborative Summer Library Program for the past 20 years. She volunteers with the Food Bank, the CAP program, and Pecha Kucha. Cindy loves to walk with friends, cross-country ski, swim, hike, and of course, read!

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Diana Blank

Diana Blank

Diana moved to Bozeman from Atlanta and has been involved with many non-profit boards, including Literacy Volunteers for America, Atlanta and National Parks Conservation Association, Washington, DC. She taught Great Books to elementary school children and sponsored the "I Have a Dream" program in Atlanta. In her spare time enjoys Bozeman's outdoor activities: hiking, gardening, cross-country skiing, and being a CAP mentor.

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Elizabeth Kelly

Elizabeth Kelly

Elizabeth is a former public relations professional and copywriter with a decade of experience serving a variety of industries including oil and gas, high tech, and consumer products. She and her family have lived in Bozeman since 2011, and she has valued her connection to the library ever since. Mother of two young boys, Elizabeth strives to balance the endless pull of digital interaction with meaningful in-person engagement and believes that the library provides people of all ages a dynamic community space that blends both worlds in inclusive, inspiring ways. Elizabeth’s interests include nutrition studies, volunteering at her sons’ elementary school, and returning to her native New England to practice a newfound love of sailing.

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Marley McKenna

Marley McKenna

Marley is co-owner of McKenna Adams Commercial Realty, which specializes in creating long-lasting relationships to foster healthy and sustainable growth and development in and around Bozeman. Marley has a passion for community involvement and previously sat on the BridgerCare board, the Women’s Business Center advisory board and the Downtown Bozeman advisory board. She is currently on the Prospera Business Network board and the Downtown Urban Renewal District board. Marley is a 5th generation Montanan and enjoys biking, skiing, boating, and playing in the great outdoors with her husband and daughter. She has a MA in Literature and was an adjunct professor at MSU, and continues to write and read as much as possible.

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Connie Ostrovsky

Connie Ostrovsky

A proud Butte native, Connie left Montana to attend the University of Southern California. After the birth of her son, she and her family moved to Bozeman to return to a life of authenticity and outdoor magic. Her background includes public relations specializing in product publicity and event planning, Pilates instructor, and other entrepreneurial endeavors. Her passions include Holocaust education and instructional programs that combat discrimination and prejudice. Connie fosters the ideal of the public library being a community gathering place, an inclusive safe place for all.

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Rachel Ruggles

Rachel Ruggles

Rachel has spent most of the last decade teaching technology and library sciences in rural school communities in the Gallatin Valley. She received her Bachelor's degree in geology in 2001 and worked in the oil and gas industry for several years prior to pursuing a Master's of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. She has called Bozeman home since 2001. Rachel treasures the many facets of the library and the community it continually offers her and her family. She prefers wearing skis to shoes—you can often find her at Bridger Bowl chasing her kids down the slopes or shooting biathlon at Crosscut.

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Staff

Janay Johnson

Janay Johnson

Executive Director

Janay grew up in the Midwest, but has called Bozeman home since 1992. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Kansas. Most of her professional life has been spent in development and leadership roles for local nonprofit organizations, including the Yellowstone Park Foundation and American Prairie Reserve. Janay became Director of the Library Foundation in January of 2017. She is thrilled to spend her days raising funds to support the community’s top-notch library and its programs. She enjoys spending time outdoors skiing, hiking and camping with her husband and daughter.

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Sonja Bahr

Sonja Bahr

Director of Development & Communications

Sonja is a born and raised Montanan and long-time Bozeman resident. She has spent most of her professional life with nonprofit organizations to support the arts and education. In 2022, she earned the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential by meeting a series of professional standards and passing a rigorous written exam. Sonja holds an A.A. from The Art Institute of Seattle and a B.A. in Liberal Studies from Montana State University. Outside of work, Sonja enjoys spending time at the small cabin she and her husband designed and are building, hosting gatherings, cheering on her MSU Bobcats, cross-country skiing, and being on the water. She is an incredibly proud mom of two fantastic "kids", her son and daughter-in-law.

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Andrea Kavert

Andrea Kavert

Operations Manager

Andrea grew up in the Flathead Valley and moved to Bozeman to obtain her bachelor's degree from MSU. Over the past few years, she has served on the Dog Ball Committee for Heart of the Valley and the Board of Directors for Headwaters Community Housing Trust. She has always had a soft spot for libraries, even going so far as to intentionally miss the bus after school to spend more time browsing books and attending teen programs. 

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