Now + Next

WNC Deserves Exceptional Leaders

Realizing our region’s rural nature requires a unique brand of collective problem-solving was only the first step. Next, we must act on that reality if we hope to address our region’s health disparities and inequities in hopes of creating a brighter future for the next generation of Western North Carolinians.

What Alumni Are Saying

“I loved this program. I do not say that lightly. I am usually someone who leaves a training without really learning anything. Now + Next was a complete 180 from any kind of training I have attended in the past. This program encourages you to look introspectively to see your strengths and weaknesses as a leader, teaches you how to build on those, and gives simple, easy-to-understand ways to implement those changes to become a more effective leader. I feel anyone in a leadership role would greatly benefit from this program.”
N+N Alumni Kayla Nelson
Kayla Nelson
Adult Services Social Work Supervisor, Clay County Department of Social Services
"This program will help you with work/life balance by teaching you better self-care. It will help you prioritize elements of your work, making your efforts more effective and deliberate. Additionally, you’ll meet, get to know, and collaborate with a variety of leaders in a variety of fields from around the region.”
Stacy Guffey
Franklin Vice Mayor

Request a Seat in an Upcoming Cohort

Our thanks to Southwestern Community College in Franklin for providing Now + Next meeting space.

All sessions include lunch and afternoon refreshments. Posted dates are subject to change.


MAY 1, 15, and 29, 10 a.m to 4 p.m.

Lunch Included


JULY 31, FULL DAY, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

AUGUST 14, HALF DAY, Noon to 4 p.m.

AUGUST 28, HALF DAY, Noon to 4 p.m.

SEPTEMBER 11, HALF DAY, Noon to 4 p.m.

FALL 2024

SEPTEMBER 25, FULL DAY, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

OCTOBER 9, HALF DAY, Noon to 4 p.m.

OCTOBER 23, HALF DAY, Noon to 4 p.m.

NOVEMBER 6, HALF DAY, Noon to 4 p.m.

2025 Cohort Dates To Be Announced Soon

The best way to learn more about upcoming Now + Next cohorts and other events is to join our mailing list.

Our Now + Next Vision

Our unique program offers a diverse group of individuals the opportunity to develop leadership skills that will keep them engaged in our communities and provide them with the organizational and collective tools they need to collaborate effectively with others and to grow the people they serve, resulting in a richer, more inclusive and connected community.

Essential features of Now + Next include:

  • An intergenerational component to broaden our reach and enhance relationships;
  • Action-focused, not theoretical, support for the application of leadership skills;
  • A focus on shifting the way leaders approach challenges to be more proactive and collaborative;
  • Techniques that empower leaders to develop and support others (their employees, as well as customers and others) to increase human capacity and aid retention;
  • Networking and community building designed to increase inter-agency collaboration, as well as create avenues for young leaders to be engaged in both the present and future;
  • Consistent and ongoing training, support, and activities (meaning this program is not limited in its duration) will include support in grant applications and project management;
  • Facilitated collective problem-solving.

Our Now + Next Visionary

Meet Dr. Frederick Buskey,
an expert in leadership development
and our Now + Next partner

Dr. Frederick Buskey spent 17 years in P-12 education, 13 years as a leadership development specialist in higher education, and has been consulting with public and private sector organizations since 2006. A resident of Cullowhee, he strives to serve others by developing relationships, listening, and supporting their efforts to align values, goals, and actions.

"I am privileged to work with other passionate leaders in both the public and private sector. My passion fuels my interests in personal and organizational leadership development. I am specifically interested in helping leaders become more strategic by working purposefully to address root problems, engage in continual incremental improvement, and invest in growing people. I am excited to be able to work with current and future leaders in Western North Carolina to enrich our communities through connecting and collaborating."

[email protected]          |        |        828.550.3790        |        The Assistant Principal Podcast

Our Now + Next Alumni

Now+Next Fall 2022
Now + Next Summer 2023 Class Members

Now + Next Pilot Cohort members (left) during their closing exercise learn the value of connection. Summer 2024 Cohort members (above) learn to be brave.