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.



is the time to act to ensure our most forward-thinking leaders become and remain effective change-makers.


our region’s leaders must nurture those who will follow in their footsteps. In short, we believe that better health and well-being for all begins with strong leaders who possess the skills, wisdom, and ability to soar to new heights.

Hike leader

Our Now + Next Mission

To develop a sustainable leadership program focused on building essential skills for rural non-profit and governmental leaders, as well as potential and aspiring leaders from youth and under-represented communities.

Our current plans call for a two-year pilot, during which we will develop and administer a leadership development program to serve progressive cohorts of 16-20 community leaders representing our seven geographic areas and a cross-section of our diverse population. The program will focus on building essential leadership skills for rural non-profit and governmental leaders, as well as potential/aspiring leaders from youth and underrepresented communities. 

Our Now + Next Vision

Our unique program will offer 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.

The essential features of our Now + Next program 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."

Now + Next Alumni

Now+Next Fall 2022