MEET TERRY CUNNINGHAM

"LAURA & I FIND GREAT SATISFACTION IN SERVING OTHERS"
The task might seem challenging, but it all starts with a decision to take the first step. Let's take that step together. See you at the top!

When I started dating Laura, she said, "I want to show you Montana." Laura had spent part of her childhood in Montana and her family owned property in Gallatin County throughout her youth. I was hooked right away (by Laura and by Montana). We relocated from Atlanta to Bozeman in 1999 to start our married life, drawn by the city's small-town character and its boundless outdoor opportunities, but we didn't know a soul. We rented an apartment on Bozeman's west side and launched a sales promotion agency - Cottonwood Enterprises. My prior professional background included working at New York advertising agencies, Media Services Manager at RJR Nabisco, and VP of Promotional Sales at Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta. In late 2000, we bought our first home north of Bozeman and then in 2008, we moved to the Alder Creek neighborhood just south of MSU so we could bike to downtown and enjoy the fabulous in-town trail network.

As we became more connected to the community, Laura and I realized that we could make a positive difference by volunteering in areas that reflected our passions. Over the years we have met wonderful folks by serving in the following volunteer capacities:

  • Run Dog Run - Executive Director - building off-leash dog parks in Gallatin County.

  • Bozeman Health - Chairperson of the Board of Trustees.

  • Bozeman Health Foundation - Board member and campaign co-chair.

  • Bozeman Boulder Initiative - Installing recreational climbing boulders in city parks.

  • Bozeman United Methodist Church - Mission & Outreach team member.

  • Gallatin Valley Food Bank - Volunteer.

  • Gallatin Valley Land Trust - Trail Ambassador.

  • Bridger Ridge Run - Aid station coordinator and course sweeper.

  • Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter - Dog walker and Dog Ball event emcee.

  • Alder Creek Homeowners Association Board member.

  • Spirit Hills Homeowners Association Board member.

  • Bozeman Ice Festival - Volunteer and competition emcee.

In each of these roles, I learned the value of community collaboration. At Run Dog Run, we work closely with the City of Bozeman, Gallatin County, GVLT, Trust for Public Lands, Bozeman Sports Park Foundation, the Bozeman Police Department and private land owners to achieve goals we could not have achieved alone. At Bozeman Health. we regularly collaborated with Community Health Partners, Montana State University, Gallatin Mental Health Center and a host of area healthcare providers to improve community health and quality of life.  By focusing on shared objectives and values, organizations that collaborate can increase efficiency and effectiveness - it just makes sense. I believe the City of Bozeman can achieve similar results by seeking collaborative partnerships with the community's major institutions: MSU, Bozeman School District, Bozeman Health, select non-profits and Gallatin County.

When I moved to Bozeman 19 years ago, I never envisioned that one day, I'd feel compelled to run for the City Commission. It's a time-consuming, demanding job that requires a servant-leadership mindset. My leadership roles have taught me that effective leadership involves setting a clear vision for the organization, providing the resources necessary to achieve that vision and fostering a mutually-accountable environment at all levels of the organization. That's what I plan to do as a City Commissioner. Here's the vision I'd like to implement:

“To ensure Bozeman is a connected, caring community where families can thrive, our workforce can live and our collective passion for the outdoors is maintained.”

 

Regardless of the task at hand, my approach will be "Listen, Learn & Lead." I will take the time to hear what divergent members of the community have to say, thoroughly study the issue, then make an informed decision guided by how it aligns with the vision outlined above.

I'd be honored if you would be willing to join me on this journey. I can promise you I'll work my tail off to reward your confidence in me.

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