MEET THE Event Producers
Partner at Marketplace Events
Linda BaumannPartner at Marketplace Events
Linda Baumann, is the founder and co-owner of Marketplace Events.
Linda has worked in the media world for 30+ years in management positions such as Publisher and General Manager at radio, television stations and newspapers for some of the largest media companies in the country. She has also worked with some of the largest advertising agencies such as McCan Ericson, BBDO and J Walter Thompson.
Linda received the 2012 Businesswoman of the Year award from the Missoula Businesswomen’s Network.
Linda has been a community volunteer in Missoula since 1993. She has served on the boards of the Missoula City/County Animal Control, March of Dimes, YWCA and American Cancer Society. Community and giving back are important to Linda and her business partner and daughter, Megan. Together, they were the 2015/16 Chairs of the Missoula County Relay for Life and are volunteers for countless community non-profit events.
Linda also received the 2020 Flying High award from the Missoula Businesswomen’s Network. This award celebrates women who have made significant contributions to the Missoula Businesswomen’s Network and the Missoula community.
Partner at Marketplace Events
Megan PfaffPartner at Marketplace Events
Megan Pfaff is the co-owner of Marketplace Events.
Megan attended Hellgate High School and graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Psychology. She began Rock Against Racism while in college as a community volunteer program, raising funds and awareness for the YWCA. She also did volunteer work in the Dominican Republic teaching English to children and building homes with Habitat for Humanity. She’s involved with the Missoula Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Association as well as numerous non-profit organizations.
Giving back are important to Megan and her business partner and mom, Linda. Together, they were the 2015/16 Chairs of the Missoula County Relay for Life and are volunteers for countless community non-profit events.
She received the 2019 Flying High award from the Missoula Businesswomen’s Network. This prestigious award celebrates two extraordinary women each year who have made significant contributions to the Missoula Businesswomen’s Network and society.
Each recipient has helped raise the standards and level of professionalism in business, while inspiring and mentoring future generations, laying the groundwork that encourages all women to strive for excellence.
Megan has been a Partner at Marketplace Events since 2006. Megan has lived in Missoula since 1993 and is raising two girls, Bailie and Charlie, with her husband Matt. They love living in Missoula and relaxing at their family cabin in Seeley Lake.
MEET THE Host and Moderator
Owner of BFK Presents
Logan ForetOwner of BFK Presents
Meet Logan Foret, your Host and Moderator for Beast Your Biz! He's fun, creative and super intelligent and we promise there will not be a dull moment! He is no stranger to entrepreneurship and can be described as fearless and relentless when it comes to business.
Logan once turned an old department store in the mall into an escape for Missoulians. The Giggle Box was safe and accessible, providing an experience people may not be comfortable experiencing otherwise. Especially as people were practicing social distancing and trying to avoid cabin fever.
Logan also owns BFK Presents, a single solution agency for brand amplification, consumer immersion through experiential installation, and bespoke events. Ranging from complete turnkey music and cultural festivals to pop up speakeasy-style art galleries to from-scratch builds at mega-conventions and trade shows
MEET THE Event Speakers and Panelists
Executive Director: Downtown Missoula Partnership
Linda McCarthyExecutive Director: Downtown Missoula Partnership
Linda McCarthy has served as the Executive Director of the Downtown organization since 1999. She has fostered the growth of the Missoula Downtown Association, as well as the development and advancement of the Downtown Business Improvement District and the Missoula Downtown Foundation, all under the umbrella of the Downtown Missoula Partnership since 2014. Collectively, she and her team lead and nurture a vibrant Downtown Missoula as a place where people are inspired.
McCarthy is responsible for ensuring the organization is accomplishing its work plan across all spectrums. She works more specifically in strategic planning, board development, communications, public relations, fundraising, advocacy and implementation of the Downtown Master Plan.
McCarthy served on the Destination Missoula Board of Directors from 1999-2016 and was president of the board in 2011-12. She also served on the First Night Missoula Board of Directors from 1999-2001 and the Mountain West Track Club Board of Directors from 1994-2004. She currently serves on the Grizzly Sports Hall of Fame Committee at UM.
McCarthy has a BA in Communication Studies and a Master’s degree in Public Administration, both from the University of Montana. She previously served as a Sports Information Director for Grizzly Athletics from 1989-99. She was honored as the UM Montana Alumni of the Year in 2008, the Missoula Tourism Person of the Year (Jay Award) in 2016, and she and her husband were honored as the UM Community Service Award Winners in 2022.
Linda is married to Tom Gallagher, and their daughter, Madelyn, is a student at Montana State University.
Owner Tiffany Photography and Content Editor of 406 Families
Tiffany WilliamsOwner Tiffany Photography and Content Editor of 406 Families
Tiffany knows how to make you look good. Whether she’s taking photos, writing blog posts, or creating social campaigns, her initial goal is to create authentic relationships with her clients that allows them to feel seen. Tiffany knows successful branding isn’t about having thousands of followers, but the ability to turn those followers into evangelists by extraordinarily caring for them. Which is to say, she asks a lot of questions to get to the heart of who they are.
When Tiffany isn’t creating digital content, she’s organizing community-wide events like Queer Prom, hanging out with her husband and two children, or mastering recipes from the Disney Parks Cookbook.
Business Engagement Specialist at Montana Department of Labor & Industry
Andy ShirtliffBusiness Engagement Specialist at Montana Department of Labor & Industry
Andy's focus is to help Montana's innovators, entrepreneurs, and existing Montana small businesses start, operate, grow and recover their businesses, and create good-paying jobs.
He is a firm believer that our growth comes from within and that there is strength in our diversity of people as well as our industries. Andy takes pride in building and maintaining relationships and has traveled to all 56 counties to work with people of all walks of life to help keep Montana's economy growing and strong.
Andy has extensive experience in the private and public sectors as well as with nonprofit organizations, He has led teams and delivered award-winning and nationally recognized results. He is skilled in economic development, communications, fundraising, leadership, and collaborating.
Owner of The Free Spirited Coach
Nissa LieszOwner of The Free Spirited Coach
Nissa is a trained mindset and manifestation coach helping high performing female entrepreneurs expand their success in life and business. She believes our greatest success starts from the inside and work with her clients to move past limiting beliefs, fears, doubts, imposter syndrome and more so they can show up powerfully in their business.
Jessi Knudsen Castaneda
Animal Wonders - Co-Founder and Executive Director
Jessi Knudsen CastanedaAnimal Wonders - Co-Founder and Executive Director
Access to education and enjoyment in learning are the driving passions in all of Jessi's work. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of Animal Wonders, a nonprofit organization founded in 2008 dedicated to rescuing displaced wild and exotic animals and providing educational programs to our local and online communities.
As the host of SciShow Kids, an online science channel for children, Jessi helps bring informal science education to the world where anyone with access to the internet can benefit from the free content.
On the home front, Jessi is a mother of three, a dabbler in artistic creation, and enjoys supporting local organizations, businesses, and community events.
Neilson, Swanson, Dietrich, PLLC
Aaron NeilsonNeilson, Swanson, Dietrich, PLLC
Aaron advises individuals, startups, tech and telecommunications companies, banks, contractors, and businesses on a wide-variety of matters. With several years in private practice in Seattle and Missoula, and as the former Vice President and General Counsel of a leading technology / communications service provider operating in 16+ states in the greater Pacific Northwest, Aaron has the knowledge and experience to help you and to help your business grow, minimize risk, improve operational efficiencies, comply with regulations, and resolve disputes.
Aaron is active in the communities he serves. He is the supervising attorney at Blackstone LaunchPad at the University of Montana, where he helps law students at UM advise entrepreneurial individuals and students. Aaron is also on Camp Mak-A-Dream’s board of directors—a nonprofit that helps cancer survivors and their families develop lasting relationships with each other and similarly-situated individuals and families. He also advises some of the region’s largest nonprofit organizations.
Bonfire Brands Founder and Creative Director
Blake NicolazzoBonfire Brands Founder and Creative Director
Blake arrived in Missoula for the first time in 1995 and found herself working on the rivers and in the mountains and ended up crisscrossing the country several times pursuing her career. She found joy and passion while working for Outward Bound and later for Patagonia in sales and marketing.
That these beloved companies could find success while honoring the natural world inspired Blake to take a deeper look at the theories and practices behind sustainable and successful business. With this know-how in hand, she set off to create and grow brands in mindful, creative, and beautifully designed ways.
Blake loves working closely with clients to create the company they truly envision, through brand architecture, design, marketing and strategy. Blake empowers organizations to take their game to the next level and is dedicated to working with people interested in creating a just economy based on the success of people, planet and profit.
Senior Editor at Scary Mommy and Founder of Revival Comedy
Sarah AswellSenior Editor at Scary Mommy and Founder of Revival Comedy
Sarah Aswell is a writer and comedian living in Missoula, Montana. Currently a Senior Editor at Scary Mommy, her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, National Lampoon, MAD Magazine, Reductress, Forbes, and more. She’s also written for brands like Nike, Facebook, and Kitchenaid. An alum of the Big Sky Comedy Festival and HBO’s Women in Comedy Festival, she was recently named one of the best unknown comedians in America by Thrillist, which is one of those insults that sounds like a compliment.
Owner of Donation Warehouse, co-founder of 406 Families
Laci RathbunOwner of Donation Warehouse, co-founder of 406 Families
Like most business owners, and as a mom to three boys, Laci juggles multiple job titles depending on the day. Born and raised in Missoula, Laci graduated from U of M with a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and Nonprofit Administration.
In 2011 her and her husband started Donation Warehouse, a local used furniture and appliance store that raises money for child abuse prevention. She is also a property manager, certified water operator, and co-founder of the local parenting website, 406 Families.
After making movies in Hollywood, a failed attempt at horse whispering, and working in Alaska during the salmon runs, Jacob's love of listening to and helping people truly blossomed in his marketing career. From consulting to project management, the real joy for Jacob is helping businesses understand where they want to be and how to get there.
Home Resouce Development Director
Jess AllredHome Resouce Development Director
Jess Allred has worked for 15+ years in nonprofit leadership in the Missoula community. She is a reader, gardener, and mom.
Jess has spent her career at the intersection of direct service and advocacy, resourcing for important work happening today and collaborating to change systems that result in inequities for a better tomorrow. She has led development and advocacy teams at nonprofits like Missoula Food Bank & Community Center and is currently on the leadership team at Home ReSource.
Jess also manages a side business as a contract content and grant writer. She is a team builder and strong advocate for women in the workplace.
Nicole Sahara Coaching
Nicole ClarkNicole Sahara Coaching
Nicole is a business & mindset coach for corporate women dreaming of starting their own business. She helps them find the clarity & confidence to start their own business without overwhelm or fear of failure.
After a successful career in corporate spanning over 16 years, Nicole realized she wanted to empower other women like her who had found success in the corporate world but wanted more for their lives. She now helps other women find their passion & purpose and embrace the process of becoming an entrepreneur.
Director of Women's Entrepreneurship & Leadership at University of Montana
Morgan SlembergerDirector of Women's Entrepreneurship & Leadership at University of Montana
Morgan is an entrepreneur and economic development professional with over ten years experience managing economic development initiatives, SME business consulting and strategy, women's business ownership initiatives, grant writing, and higher education innovation.
She is currently the Director of Women's Entrepreneurship & Leadership at University of Montana which oversees the Women's Entrepreneurship & Leadership Lab (W.E.L.L.), W.E.L.L. Women's Business Center, and W.E.L.L. Native Women Launch. Previously Morgan spearheaded programming at UM's Blackstone LaunchPad as well as owned her own marketing and event-planning businesses.
Morgan holds two B.A.s and an M.B.A. from the University of Montana. She has served on several boards and started several initiatives to support women and was recognized by the Missoulian as a "20 under 40" in 2017 for her work on starting the Last Best Conference.
Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Morgan has lived just over half her life in Montana (Montegonian). Outside of the weekly Zoom meetings, you can find her adventuring with her family in the mountains.