EP. 114 From New York to Montana: Gen Z / Millennial Perspectives on Choosing Non-Profit Work Post-COVID

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Laurie McGraw is speaking with Inspiring Women Kiernan McCarthy and Natalie Studt, who both came to Montana from New York seeking an outdoor way of life and professionally, a focus on service.  Today, they are staff at Wellness in Action (WIA), a non-profit organization providing mental and behavioral health resources for local residents.  Big Sky Montana is a beautiful a tourist destination for many, but for full time residents, accessible and affordable resources can be challenging.  Also, representing the “younger generation”, Kiernan and Natalie acknowledge that they think about work differently, but please do not misunderstand – their work is very important to them!!

Hear Kiernan and Natalie talk about:

⚕️ Wellness in Action (WIA):

    • Big Sky, MT based non-profit that provides mental and behavioral health resources for residents.
    • Scholarships and a sliding fee scale increase access and affordability.

😷  COVID changed everything:

    • As a recent college grad, Kiernan found herself needing to move back in with her parents.  Grateful, absolutely.  Also, um…. stifling.  Montana, here I come!
    • Natalie was “an essential worker” which made her rethink her life and focus. Gaining new skills, thinking longer term, and pursuing alternatives became her priority.

🎂  Gen Z / Millennials think about work differently than their parents.

    • Older generations always misunderstand younger generations’ approach to work.
    • 60-80 hr work weeks….when your life is your work… mental health strain… No thank you!
    • INSTEAD – Wanting to live their WHOLE life now. Which includes being engaged at work.

🤐  Quiet Quitting (Give me a break!!)

    • Don’t confuse work life balance with NOT being serious about work.

🗣  Closing Advice:

    • Kiernan: Keep trying new things and take risks.
    • Natalie: Trust your gut



Kiernan McCarthy
Mental & Behavioral Programs Manager

Kiernan moved to Big Sky in November of 2021 to enjoy the slopes of Lone Peak. She holds a BA in Psychology and a minor in Spanish, from Geneseo. During college, she worked at DOROT, a non-profit in New York City that aided socially isolated older adults. As a community services intern, she would help social workers with local outreach events, meet with clients during home visits, and assist them with daily tasks such as grocery shopping or getting to appointments. After working seasonal jobs post-college, she has first-hand experience with the workforce and the needs of that population. She is deeply interested in contributing to the community and building connections to further local access to resources. In her free time, she can be found hiking, camping, or skiing


Natalie Studt
Operations Manager

Natalie Studt is the Operations Manager for WIA. She moved to Big Sky from NYC in May of 2019 and fell in love with Montana. After graduating from The City College of New York with a B.A. in Economics and a B.A. in Philosophy, she worked in the New York City service industry for a couple of years before moving west. Natalie worked at Big Sky Resort for her first summer in Big Sky, followed by the Hungry Moose Market & Deli. Natalie has a long held passion for community welfare and public service. Her desire to help the people of Big Sky led her to WIA, where she can implement her varied skills and training for a cause she wholeheartedly believes in.

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