BELGRADE – After four decades of working for non-profits in the Gallatin Valley, a Belgrade woman is now stepping down.
Darla Joyner, the retiring Executive Director of Career Transitions, has a unique perspective at the changes that have shaped the community.
In 1978, Joyner was the executive director of the Bozeman Chamber of Commerce – one of two employees. In 1995, after leaving the chamber as the only woman to be the executive director, she began working with Career Transitions.
“I’m a Marine, always will be a Marine and I think that was instilled in me early on through what I went through as a Marine that you can accomplish what you want to do if you just take it one step at a time,” said Joyner.
The mantra of one step at a time, served Joyner and her clients at Career Transitions well, as the organization acquired new training ideas of getting people back in the workforce as soon as possible.
“We try to take advantage of opportunities for training that are short-term and Just in Time’,” said Joyner. “I think that’s what I see as the most important change for us.”
Even after 23 years of working, Joyner is approaching retirement cautiously.
“I think it’s like I said, I like sleeping in now, not driving so much but I can’t just stay even,” said Joyner. “I’m not a person to stay stagnant.”
Even with all the changes Joyner has seen in the past 40 years, she has seen one constant – the ultimate reward of helping people.
“We’ve had people we served 23 years ago come back and say, ‘you know Career Transitions did this for me now I have a daughter or a granddaughter maybe that needs some help and I know what you can do,’” said Joyner. “I think that’s rewarding.”
Travel for Joyner is next on her agenda, but you’ll still see her around the valley.
“I’ve loved everything I’ve done,” said Joyner. “My husband is still telling me, ‘you (have) got to let go, you have to let go.’”
“Well I’m letting go of the operational part but for support and the kinds of things I can do on the outside now I’m going to continue,” she said.
While at the Chamber of Commerce, Joyner organized 5 air shows, the yearly College National Finals Rodeo events and even a cattle drive down Bozeman’s Main Street to celebrate Montana’s Centennial. She also plans to continue working on behalf of Veterans. Career Transitions is hosting an event Thursday evening to honor her 23 years of service.
Reporting by Chet Layman for MTN News