Behind strong communities are passionate leaders with the capacity to innovate, collaborate, and create change. ARC’s Appalachian Leadership Institute was designed to help leaders, from all walks of life, develop those skills. During this session, hear how program alumni are using leadership skills and capacity-building strategies to strengthen their Appalachian communities.
Lisa Bright is the founder and Chief Executive Officer for the Will Bright Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to breaking the barriers of recovery from addiction. After the loss of her son, Will to a heroin overdose, she and her husband Bill decided to take their tragedy and use it to help those struggling with addiction. In 2017 the Will Bright Foundation opened Restoration Springs, in Fayette, Alabama. Restoration Springs is a transitional living facility for men coming out of recovery but needing help with that next step in life. Prior to her foundation work, she owned and operated a drapery design business for 24 years. Was featured in Southern Living Magazine numerous times with her cutting edge drapery designs. She has been married for 37 years has 2 daughters and 4 grandchildren.
Philip Cooper is a Western North Carolina Native and the Coordinator for Up Skill WNC and the Founder of Hire Powered Staffing. Philip has committed his life to human services and specializes in working with justice involved citizens. As an expert by experience, Philip has evolved into a regional Change Agent, advocating and innovating solutions for public safety. He has a beautiful Woman of God on his side and 5 daughters, yes all daughters! He is an Evangelist and loves music and lifting weights.
Bronwyn Lucas is the director of leadership at the NC Rural Center. She has a deep passion for leadership development, health equity, community engagement and systems change. She spent several years working on food systems change at the national level but loves working with communities across NC. Bronwyn is the founder and past executive director of Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!), a national nonprofit that empowers youth to create community change. Bronwyn’s roots are from Gastonia, NC and Sydney, Australia. Lucas has a BS from Amherst College and a Master of Public Health from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Jessica Mosley is the Academies & Institutes Program Manager at the Appalachian Regional Commission. Prior to joining ARC in 2018, she directed education and professional development programming for the Electronic Transactions Association, the American Fisheries Society, the United Fresh Produce Association, and the American Meat Institute. Mosley has a BA in Religion from Harding University and a MA in History from George Mason University.
Mack Durham is passionate about quality rural community development. As a former small-town Mayor, it is important to stimulate the healthy growth of our communities. As a Chiropractic Physician, he has a holistic view of communities. He believes a quality community environment draws residential interest and residential growth expands the market for local business investment.
Diane Lautenschleger found the passion of her lifetime serving Appalachia and growing the economy through tourism at the Tuscarawas County Convention and Visitors Bureau where she is responsible for Partnership Development. Lautenschleger actively seeks to influence positive workforce change throughout Tuscarawas County and the region. She is a 2021 graduate of the Appalachian Leadership Institute and describes her experience in the program as transformative.
Jason Ricker is an Ohio Certified Economic Developer with progressive management experience in organizational and project management with a focus on innovative economic development programs. As a Business Development Director with the Tuscarawas County Economic Development Corporation, Jason focuses on real estate development and works to identify critical infrastructure for economic growth opportunities in Tuscarawas County.