Member Spotlight: Jessica Lahr

What is your name?

Jessic Lahr

What do you do for work and what is your slash (aka what do you do in your free time)?

Outreach Coordinator/Brewery Passport Enthusiast.

I’ve been with the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV) for two and a half years. Our organization provides technical assistance, trainings, networking opportunities for our members, and advocates on behalf of victims and survivors of violence during legislative sessions. We also spend time educating our national policy leaders about the issues facing our member programs and their clients. As the Outreach Coordinator, I organize and host public outreach and education events, awareness campaigns, and I work with other non-profits and partner organizations on a variety of social justice issues. I spend a lot of time tabling at conferences and events, engaging with the public about our organization. CPS workers, victim advocates, Americorps volunteers, and public safety communicators are a few of the groups that I train throughout the year about domestic and sexual violence, stalking, Limited English Proficiency, and LGBTQ+ relationship violence. In my free time, I like to pack my schedule with as many social interactions and events as possible.  I enjoy learning and I enjoy interacting with others, so going to concerts, community forums, and drinking beer for a cause are a few of my preferred pastimes. I purchased a MT Brewery Passport two years ago, so many weekend adventures have been had, going to towns I wouldn’t normally prioritize visiting otherwise. With only four more stamps to go, it’s been a great motivator for me to explore MT.

How did you land in Helena? 

I grew up in Helena and truthfully had no intention of living here after I graduated college. My plan was to move to Bozeman and then go to Graduate school out of state. On the day of my graduation, a friend that I was set to move in with in Bozeman decided to have her job transfer her to Helena, and so my plans changed as well. However, for the past four years, I have been very grateful for the experiences and opportunities I've had here. The Helena community has evolved and blossomed so much since my teen years, exceeding my expectations of what this city was capable of. I value the people here, the small arts community, my friends, and the incredible advocacy organizations that I get to work alongside.

What is the best piece of advice that you ever received – career-related or otherwise? 

The best advice I’ve ever been given is “Show up”. I have the job I have today because I showed up to volunteer orientations, to meetings and events that I had never gone to before, and I made connections with activists and people who became my mentors. My volunteer work and enthusiasm lead to an internship with Planned Parenthood in 2015, which connected me to my current field. For the different social and political movements I've been part of as well, I know how essential it is to show up in order to be heard. It's also worth the effort to show up and support our community – whether that be showing up for musicians, attending fundraisers, art walks, local businesses, etc. I acknowledge that not everyone is extroverted like me, but I still challenge folks to show up as much as they can. You never know who you might meet, what you may be able to contribute to, or be a part of unless you do that.

When do you feel the most yourself?

I feel most myself when I am interacting with and engaging with others. I have a very fulfilling job where I get to talk about issues that are important to me. Being in front of a room and educating others is incredibly rewarding.  Another time I feel most myself is when I am with my friends -whether that be at Burning Man, or the Blackfoot, I'm fortunate to have a diverse and supportive group of people that I am close with.

Where is the last place you explored and where do you want to explore next?

In the past year, I have spent time in Philadelphia, Dallas, Detroit, and New Orleans. Getting to explore new or less familiar cities, with rich histories and communities different from my own has been wonderful. I will admit that I need to explore more of Montana's public lands. There have only been two years in my entire life that I haven't spent time in Glacier National Park, but I've never been to the East side so that's another place I'll explore soon.

Tell us something about yourself that we didn’t ask:

I love cheese. Also, I can occasionally be spotted around town performing covers of songs by pop-punk bands of the early 2000s.