Fortune names Montana woman among World’s 50 Greatest Leaders

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By: Jesse Chaney

When a coworker showed Marilyn Bartlett that she made Fortune’s 2019 list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders, she initially thought it was a joke.

“I just accused him of being really good at Photoshop,” said Bartlett, the special projects coordinator for the Office of the Montana State Auditor.

But her skepticism quickly turned to tears of joy, she said, and everyone in the room got a hug…

Checking in at No. 13, Bartlett has joined the likes of Gates Foundation co-founders Bill and Melinda Gates, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Apple CEO Tim Cook and actor Michael J. Fox on Fortune’s sixth annual list of the world’s greatest leaders.

Selected by a team of Fortune editors, this year’s honorees include men and women who are “transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same.” Bartlett was selected for what she accomplished during her time as administrator of the Health Care and Benefits Division of the state Department of Administration, a position she held from September 2014 to June 2018.

“Bartlett helped save Montana’s state health plan from bankruptcy by demanding transparency from hospitals and doctors, then negotiating better deals,” according to Fortune. “Other employers are now clamoring to follow her lead.”…

“By the time she left, she turned it into a massive budget surplus,” said Kyle Schmauch, spokesman for the auditor’s office. “ … She played real hardball with the hospitals to get a more reasonable rate for their services.”…

“I never intended for all this publicity,” she said. “I was just doing my job. I’m an accountant, and we dig into the data and we ask questions.”

Read more at the Helena IR