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Meet Some of Our Stand Committee Members!

9 Apr

At the YWCA of Asheville we are honored to have an amazing and committed group of community members who form our Stand Against Racism Committee.

The Committee has been meeting since January to help plan this April’s events – and today 4 of the members shared with us why they are so passionate about their involvement with the Stand.

Let us know in the comments section – why do you take a Stand Against Racism?

Meet Our Board President: Melissa Williams

29 Oct

Tireless! Hilarious! Fearless! These are the three words most often used when describing the current YWCA Board President Melissa Williams. Always ready with a joke, a one-liner, or an impression, Melissa has been a constant upbeat presence at the YWCA since coming on the Board in 2011.

One year ago this October, Melissa was handed the unexpected task of chairing the Executive Search Committee. The Board President at that time, Nancy Ackermann Cole, laid out clear, strong guidelines for the Search Committee, and Melissa fearlessly took them and ran. The Committee met intensely for months. By late Spring, Melissa and the Committee presented Beth Maczka, who was affirmed unanimously by the Leadership Team, and approved unanimously by the Board of Directors. No small feat!

But there was no time to rest. Almost simultaneously as Beth was affirmed as Executive Director, Melissa stepped into the President’s role. She’s at the YWCA almost daily to meet, greet, and work.

In her “real” job, Melissa wears not one but two work hats. She manages the marketing for two different non-profits: WNC Alliance and Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF). Melissa hails from New York, is an avid runner, loves the YW with a passion, and is an avowed unashamed Michael Jackson fan.

Melissa, thank you for all your work for the YWCA of Asheville and for our community!

photo by zaire kacz

Board Member Profile

22 Jul

Name:  Lynette James

Career: Managing Consultant in the University Speaking Center at UNCG, currently an Academic Learning Center tutor (English and open computer) at AB Tech.

Education: Graduated from UNC Greensboro (Anthropology/Spanish, Religious Studies minor); low-residency MFA in creative writing in progress from USM Stonecoast.

History: Asheville native returned to the area after finishing a BA at UNCG

Community Service: University Ambassador, part of an Asheville-Buncombe Library Systems grant project promoting early literacy among economically-challenged families.

Interesting Fact: When I was a child, my family only moved one time…to the  house next door.

Why I wanted to be a YWCA Board Member: I wanted to be involved in my local community and the immediate impact of this organization as well as its amazing mission statement really impressed me.

Photo by Shutter Shack Photography

Board Member Profile

2 Mar

Name: Lourdes Lorenz

Career: Director of Integrative Medicine at Mission Hospital

Education: MSN with focus in Integrative Healthcare

History: Moved to Asheville in 2005 and has a large Cuban family

Community Service: ABCCM. Day of Caring, Habitat for Humanity, work groups with HUB projects, Council on Aging, ABIPA Board Member

Hobbies: Painting, Taught Dancing, Theater, Tennis, Golf, and Bowling

Fun Fact: Lourdes was recently featured as one of VERVE Magazine’s “10 Women to Watch in 2010”. Congrats, Lourdes!

Board Member Profile

12 Nov

Name: Rachel Ansari

Career: Owner of The Well Traveled Child, Inc. (baby equipment rentals)

Education: BS in Management from UNCARachel Ansari

History: Moved to Asheville 8 years ago to attend college.  Fell in love, both with Asheville and with my husband.  I worked as the marketing assistant at Asheville Mall then as the communications director for the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Community Service: volunteered with March of Dimes, ABCCM and MotherLove

Hobbies: volleyball, camping, hiking, spending time with friends and family

Why she is a Board Member:  The YWCA is in touch with and serves many different parts of our community. I’m a stay-at-home mom and a small business owner and being a board member allows me to stay connected with bright women working to make a difference in the community in which we live.

Photo by Shutter Shack Photography

Board Member Profile

4 Nov

Name: Charlie Reed

Career:  Owner of Long Term Care Insurance Connection, Inc; Financial Representative of Northwestern MutualCharlie Reed

Education: PhD Florida State, MS Southern CT State, BS Bethany College

History:  28 years of teaching and administration; 1978-1996 Professor or Education , Chari of the Education Department at the University of North Carolina at Asheville

Community Service: Co-Chair United Way Campaign in 2005, UW deToqueville Leadership; Carolina Day School Board Community Foundation Board, Memory Care Board, 2003-present

Hobbies:  General Contractor of home at beach, Golf, and Hiking

Why she is a Board Member: I belong to the YWCA board because I am committed to the mission: “eliminating racism and empowering women.” Although many people profess these values, not many actually embody them. The YWCA not only professes and embodies them, but impacts the community through programs that benefit women and children. It is an honor to sit on board that actively works toward positive individual and community change.

Board Member Profile

27 Oct

Name: Barbara Benisch

Career: Engaged in non-profit management for over 30 years focusing on arts and educational organizations.Barbara Benisch

Education: Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and Theatre from Beaver College in Glenside PA, Masters in Educational Theatre from New York University.

History: Born and grew up in New Jersey, lived in Florida for 10 years, in western NC for 12 years. Owned and operated a women’s retreat in Mitchell County.

Community Service: Serves on the board of directors of North Carolina Stage Company and chairs the board of directors of Arts North Carolina, the statewide advocacy organization for the arts.

Hobbies: Travel, Reading, Hiking, Kayaking, Cooking, Yoga, attending arts events.

Why she is a Board Member:  I wanted more diversity in my life and to be able to connect with people outside my typical arts-focused community.  So far, it’s working!

Photo by Shutter Shack Photography

Board Member Profile

13 Oct

Name: Elly Wells

Career:  Elly Wells Marketing and Project ManagementElly Wells

Education:  BS Management, Guilford College

History:  NC native with big love for the outdoors and projects that benefit the world we all share.

Community Service:  YWCA Board

Hobbies: Cooking, Travel, Reading

Why she is a Board Member: Because I wanted to help support the important work of the YW’s amazing staff and volunteers. 

Photo by Shutter Shack Photography

Board Member Profile

29 Sep

Name: Melissa Williams

Career:  Community Relations Manager, Asheville Police DepartmentMelissa Williams

Education:  BA English/Creative Writing Hamilton College, 1989 MA, English, Miami University of Ohio

History:  Government Editor/Reporter, Asheville Citizen Times; Family Planning Assistant, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio & Northern Kentucky

Community Service: YWCA board, Steering Committee Member/Secretary for the West Riverside Operation Weed & Seed

Hobbies:  Running, Gardening, Cooking, Reading Memoirs/Biographies

Why She is a Board Member: “I love the YWCA and have been a happy member for about 5 years. Serving on the board feels like a real privilege. I’m not what anyone would call a ‘joiner,’ but I am so honored to be a member of this board and a part of the YWCA community. ‘Eliminating Racism and Empowering Women.’ Is that not THE BEST mission statement you ever heard???”

Photo by Shutter Shack Photography

Board Member Profile

15 Sep

Over the next few months we are going to post up short bios of our Board Members. Here is the first, Vice President Nancy Ackermann Cole: 

Nancy Ackermann ColeCareer:  Organizational Consultant, Synapse Consulting

Education:  B.A. English, University of Louisville; MS Organization Development, The American University

History:  Originally from Knoxville, TN; in Asheville for 9 years; former art gallery owner

Community Service:  Diana Wortham Theatre Board, Women for Women, Rotary Club

Hobbies:  Gardening, Hiking, Traveling, the Arts

Why She is a Board Member: “Values, Values, Values; mine match the YWCA’s”

Photo by Shutter Shack Photography