Now + Next Alumni

NEW: One-Day Organizational Workshops Available

students discussing project around a table

Nantahala Health Foundation and Strategic Leadership Consulting have partnered to bring Now + Next training to your organization.

Now + Next alumni and other Nanthala Health Foundation partners are invited to host a one-day workshop specifically for your leaders.

This new one-day training is designed to help organizations capitalize on the power of the Now + Next leadership experience.

Benefits include…

  • Improving listening skills and presence to create more intentional leadership.
  • Developing coaching skills to support growth throughout the organization.
  • Becoming aware of change processes to bring organizational alignment.

Our Design Team
Winter 2021/22

Dr. Frederick Buskey

Founder & CEO

Strategic Leadership Consulting

Angie Knight


Graham County Schools

Alex Knight

High School Student

Graham County Schools

Lori Bailey

Executive Director

Nantahala Health Foundation

Russ Harris

Executive Director

Southwestern Commission

Todd Goins


Clay County Department of Social Services

Marianne Martinez

Executive Director

Vecinos, Inc.

Lisa Duff

Associate Director

Nantahala Health Foundation

Desta Trammell

High School Student

Graham County Schools

Our Pilot Cohort
Fall 2022

Joey Owle

Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Bernadette Peters

Main Street Economic Development Director

Town of Sylva

Jonah Lossiah


Cherokee One Feather

“The Nantahala Health Foundation Leadership program was an unexpected boost for me to focus on the most important part of my development for the benefit of my job, community, and personal well-being. The diversity of the folks in the cohort helped me view things from different perspectives, and [Dr.] Frederick [Buskey’s] guidance of the group contributed to our collective learning. This was a valuable investment of my time for the benefits I gained.” — Bernadette Peters

Paul Heckert


Hights, Inc.

Beth Booth


Graham County Health Department

Becca Scott

Director of Community and Economic Development

Southwestern Commission

“This leadership program has been an opportunity to examine myself as a leader by learning from peers across Western North Carolina. It has allowed me to network with peers, as well, and learn about the great work that they are doing in this region. And to see how much of it intersects!” — Becca Scott

Tim Radford


Town of Murphy

Parker Chatham

Executive Director

Restoration House of WNC

Cohort 1
Spring 2023

E. Claire Leipold

Health Science Student

Western Carolina University

Savannah Vining

 Education and Workforce Development Administrator

Hights, Inc


Deidre McMahon

Assistant Director

Southwestern Child Development

“The Now + Next program helped get me involved in real work with a valuable local impact. When I began this program, I was a college senior with nothing but vague plans for after graduation. As an alumnus, I work at a local nonprofit that focuses on decreasing food insecurity in the area, with many other job offers behind this one. Learning and growing with other members of my community in this program gave me the confidence and support I needed to step into a role I’ve always wanted to fill. I look forward to strengthening the awesome relationships I’ve made and doing more great work! — Claire Leipold

“This program empowers current and rising leaders in the WNC community through collaboration, connection, and strategy implementation which enables the region with powerful resources for sharing and implementing shared knowledge.” — Savannah Vining

“The Now + Next Leadership Program connected me with other leaders within the WNC community that I now consider colleagues and friends. This program encouraged me to not only challenge my leadership skills, but to explore professional growth opportunities with others through diversity and inclusiveness.” — Deidre McMahon

Stacy Guffey

Franklin Town Council Member

WNC Program Manager, UNC-Chapel Hill’s NCGrowth

Anna Rogers

Regional Ombudsman

Southwestern Commission

Beau Bishop

Housing and Weatherization Coordinator

Macon County Housing Department

“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

Anita Welch Lossiah

Policy Analyst

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Jose Perez

Victim Advocate

30th Judicial District Alliance

Kevin King


Swain County

This is a great opportunity for you to learn your own leadership style and how to strengthen it.” — Anita Lossiah

Cohort 2
Summer 2023

N+N Alumni

Valori Cassel


WNC Pacesetters

N+N Alumni Jennifer Fouts

Jennifer Fouts

Early Learning Pathways & Workforce Development

Southwestern Child Development

N+N alumni Emily Langdon

Emily Langdon

Development Associate


N+N Alumni Gail Mattingly

Gail Mattingly

Child Care Resource & Referral

Southwestern Child Development

N+N Alumni Lisa McBride

Lisa McBride


WNC Farm to Table

N+N Alumni Page McCurry

Page McCurry

HR Director

Town of Waynesville

N+N Alumni Michelle Shiplet

The Rev. Michelle Shiplet

Executive Director

GREAT and Five Point Center

N+N Alumni Kayla Nelson

Kayla Nelson

Adult Services and CMARC Supervisor

Clay County DSS

“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.” — Kayla Nelson

Cohort 3
Fall 2023

Stephanie Almeida


Smoky Mountain Harm Reduction

Amy Anders

Community Organizer

Swain County

Ronda Birtha


One Dozen Who Care

“Now + Next has the potential to have great impact on our region. There is so much power in unity and knowledge, but it is crucial to be united on the right fronts and to have the right knowledge. N+N provides tools for understanding the human side of life and how to value that aspect of any endeavor. When people learn how to effectively communicate and to recognize opportunities by pausing to consider the bigger picture, it can break down walls and demolish silos. An old African proverb says, ‘When spiders unite, they can tie up a lion.’ Now + Next provides the string to the spiders.” — Ronda Birtha

Brynn Green

Pre-K Teacher

Jackson County Schools

Katie Pincura

Health Sciences Professor

Western Carolina University

Yolanda Pinzon Uribe

Outreach Director


Cohort 4
Winter 2024

Gabby Beam

Administrative Director


Megan Crews

Director of Mental Health

Jackson County Schools

Becky Green

Child Support Services Supervisor

Jackson County Department of Social Services

Linda Lamp

Business Services Representative

Southwestern Commission

Ann Lukens

Board Member

Nantahala Health Foundation

Eric Reece


UMC Robbinsville

Russ Seagle


Sequoyah Fund

Chris Stuckey

Community Engagement Specialist


Carmen Waite


Boys and Girls Club of the Plateau

Paul Witty

Community Health Worker