VISION Henderson County logo

A comprehensive leadership program designed to develop community leaders, promote networking, teach leadership styles, explore local issues, enhance critical thinking and further economic development.

Presented by:

Blue Ridge Community College logo


The Chamber Henderson County Chamber of Commerce logo

Since its formation in 1996, Vision Henderson County has become one of the most prestigious programs in Henderson County. Each year, a select group of local leaders learn about what is going on in our business community and how they can make a difference. The program builds community leadership through an in-depth view of the cultural, economic, historic, social, educational, environmental and government assets in Henderson County and connects participants with prominent civic, business and government leaders. The result is that hundreds of alumni have made countless contributions to the community and its quality of life.

The Vision Henderson County leadership program is designed to:

  • Develop a leadership pool of informed, involved and committed citizens
  • Enhance communication and interaction among participants to form a network for cooperative community trusteeship
  • Experience and understand the diversity of leadership decision-making styles and processes
  • Explore issues facing Henderson County, to gain insight on how to formulate solutions and to encourage the team approach to solving community problems and visioning the future

Classes begin with orientation and a one day retreat in August, followed by monthly classes from September to April. Graduation is held in May.

Class day topics include:

  • History
  • Government
  • Economic Development
  • Law Enforcement/Emergency Services
  • Health Care
  • Manufacturing
  • Education
  • Environmental

For more information call Blue Ridge Community College at (828) 694-1779.


Vision Henderson County Class Directories

1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022

Logo: Hendersonville Lightning - The fastest name in media.Learn more about VISION Henderson County in this special Hendersonville Lightning feature, “Clear Vision Leadership Program Turns 25.” Special thanks to the Hendersonville Lightning for sharing this important story.

View Article (PDF file)


Ruth Birge portrait

Vision Henderson County is led by Executive Director Ruth Birge.
Birge relocated to Hendersonville in 2002 from Lakeland, Florida to serve as Publisher of the Times-News, a position she held until December 2008. After 22 years in the newspaper business, Birge became Executive Director of the United Way of Henderson County in 2009, a position she held until March of 2015.

In addition to her role as Vision Henderson County Executive Director, she advises the Hendersonville Lightning, a locally owned weekly newspaper, on strategies for sales, marketing and circulation.

Birge was the 2015 recipient of the Sauer Charitable Award, the Community Foundation of Henderson County’s highest honor awarded to individuals who provide outstanding leadership through their personal philanthropic efforts in Henderson County. In 2016, she was honored with a lifetime membership into the North Carolina Press Association due to her distinguished service in the field of journalism and newspaper publishing.

A native of Indiana, she is a graduate of the Indiana University Kelly School of Business, majoring in Advertising and Marketing.

Caption: "VISION Henderson County Alumni Association" logoVision Henderson County Alumni Association

Inspiring purposeful leadership by alumni who are passionate and committed to progress across Henderson County.

The Vision Henderson County Alumni Association was founded in 2010 to allow networking and educational opportunities to continue for the alumni of Vision Henderson County and the Leadership Henderson classes of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s conducted out of UNCA.

John L. Boyd portraitThe Alumni Association hosts quarterly events designed to keep Vision Henderson County Alumni informed on issues affecting Henderson County and available service opportunities. Funds raised from these events support the John L. Boyd Vision Endowment Fund. The fund, established in 2014, helps cover tuition costs for community members who wish to attend the Vision Henderson County Program but do not have finances available. Named for long-time Executive Director, John L. Boyd (pictured), the fund will carry forward his legacy of building community leaders with a fuller sense of critical issues affecting Henderson County, while motivating Vision Alumni to collaboratively resolve them.

For information on the Vision Alumni Association call the Chamber at (828) 692-1413.