Auditorium of people smiling in theater seats

VISION Henderson County Celebrates 26 Spring Graduates

The 26 graduates of VISION Henderson County pose for a photo together prior to graduating from the program. VISION HC is a local leadership program created to promote informed and committed civic volunteerism. 

VISION Henderson County, a local leadership program, hosted a graduation ceremony on May 3 for the 26 community members who completed the full program this spring.

VISION Henderson County is a comprehensive leadership program initiated by Blue Ridge Community College and the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce to promote informed and committed civic volunteerism. Accordingly, its programs are designed to help participants acquire both a fuller sense of the wide array of critical issues affecting Henderson County, as well as the leadership skills necessary to motivate and engage others in collaborative efforts to resolve them.

This year marked Ruth Birge’s final year as director, with Gary Heisey assuming the role for the 2022-2023 class.

Program graduate and Blue Ridge Vice President for Advancement Lisa Adkins said that VISION helped participants in a variety of ways.

“VISION Henderson County gave us the opportunity to focus on issues important to our community while networking with non-profit, government, and corporate leaders throughout the county,” she said.

Blue Ridge Director of Corporate and Customized Training Shanda Bedoian believes the VISION programs are committed to developing and providing leaders with opportunities to accelerate their knowledge and impact the community.

“The programs introduce the leaders to every segment of a thriving community from government to education to community-based organizations to public service to the private sector in manufacturing, healthcare, small business, financial institutions, etc,” Bedoian said.

The list of graduates and the organizations they represented include:

Lisa Adkins, Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation
Brooke Alexander, Watermark Landscape Architecture
Mandy Atkission, Trauma Intervention Programs,Inc.
Scott Bailey, Coffee Table Taxes,LLC
Becky Bonnema, Echo Mountain Inn
Daniel Carey, Council of Aging for Henderson County
Alicia Gash, Interfaith Assistance Ministries
Chris Hamlin, SCORE
Akaisha Hayes, City of Saluda
Jillian Humphries, Henderson County Department of Social Services
Annamarie Jakubielski, Discover Hometown Magazine
Nitiki Kilgore, Thrive
John Linkous, Northwestern Mutual
Jennifer Maynor, Western Carolina Community Action
Sonya McCall, Capstone Health Alliance,Inc.
Katrina McGuire, Blue Ridge Literacy Council
Elizabeth Moss, Interfaith Assistance Ministries
Todd Mullinax, United Community Bank
Blair Myhand, Hendersonville Police Department
Lorikay Paden, Hendersonville Family YMCA
David Setzer, Blue Ridge Humane Society
Phillip Stokes, Salvation Army Corps
Mike Sunday, Pardee UNC Healthcare
Chris Taulbee, Advent Health
Lauren Wilkie, Safelight,Inc.
Erik Wulfers, Ambassador Food Tours, LLC

Another offering within the VISION program, VISION Transylvania County, will host a graduation in June. This program explores Transylvania County’s past, present and future through two retreat days, an orientation, and 10 intensive days covering a myriad of topics.

For more information on the VISION programs, contact M.C. Gaylord at or at (828) 694-1779. You can register for the VISION HC 2022-2023 course at